The words plus size and our body image words we use to describe our bodies need to change as we grow into empowering women to feel beautiful the way we are.

At Sew Dayton we teach people to make their own clothes. During class, quite often the question comes up from average size women about the patterns sizing being only for small, youthful figures and they want to know why that is when most ladies are an average size 14? Even the words PLUS SIZE feel discriminatory. We want to inspire an army of makers that is not subject to just one group! We want everyone invited!


everyone should be a maker!

If you sew you know a size 22 is only a 44″ bust and it says 37″ waist most of the time in store bought patterns.


Tracy McElfresh blog on curvy sizing Tracy McElfresh blog on curvy sizing

This is a challenging subject and I wish I had the power to change the sizing, making sewing with big box patterns not discriminate. I’m thankful there are people that are making patterns for everyone Like Jenny Rushmore owner of Cashmerette. She makes patterns designed for curves. An escape from what fashion dictates, so women can love their bodies and feel good about themselves. We have her patterns on order at Sew Dayton and they will be in soon.

There is also Rachael Gander of Imagine Gnats  making patterns for real people. We carry her patterns at our store and love her. Many other indie pattern makers are following suit and talking about this very subject in our sewing community. Below is a dress I made for Dayton Fashion Week in 2012.


Dayton fashion week, Tracy McElfresh's line

You can still buy big box sewing patterns but you will have to learn how to alter them to fit your perfect body. Everyone needs to make alterations to patterns no matter what your size is. “Fit issues” is what they call anything you need to alter on a pattern. I feel those words need to be changed along with plus size. Personally my “fit issues” are a sway back, full bottom alteration and I’m a larger size on the bottom half of my body than the top half of my body so I have learned to make these changes on every dress. Oh yeah and I’m really short and the patterns are made for an average 5’5″ lady. These are really easy to do, a simple fold of the tissue here and cut there. This was one I made and altered in 2013 and what a beautiful bride Alana was. 


big box patterns can be altered

Another great beginner pattern that we teach at Sew Dayton that gives us more/better sizing is the Dottie Angel Frock. Finished her XL is a 50″ bust and it shows they are starting to make patterns for to fit everyone.


Dottie Agnel Frock pattern

I was excited this morning to hear this news story on the today show about clothing stores changing the name from plus size to curvy size.

My wish is that in 2016 these issues will change and that I will have more positive words to describe alterations, that more curvy patterns will be available and that we can all start to be happy just the way we are.

feel good words

Tracy McElfresh

Tracy McElfresh is the owner of Tracy’s Sewing Studio LLC.
Tracy McElfresh