I am a sewist for life, but I still have to buy ready-to-wear clothing. If you are above a size 24 (US), then you know how difficult it is to find clothes. The selection drops by orders of magnitude. If sizes 14-24 are one tenth the amount of clothing in smaller sizes, then sizes 26 and up are one tenth of that one tenth.
Although it can sometimes feel like being a dog sniffing for crumbs on the floor, there is also delight in finding a 4X item. Here are three places, all online, that do not generally let anyone know they carry anything larger than a size 24 or 26. (That is a whole other issue, I know.)
The trick I use to find these secret sites is by using the Search by Size function. I usually click on the Plus Sizes section and then click on Search by Size. Sometimes you’ll have to pick a category, like Tops or Swimwear first. You’ll see a menu that lets you choose your size or sizes. Sometimes it’s at the top of the items and sometimes it’s in the side column. If there’s a 4X I select that, but I also check and see if there are any 28s available.
Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom I’ve found mostly tops made by a few manufacturers, but really, anything could show up there, just like in their stores (except for a 4x!). During their recent clearance sale, I found several tops for under $10 at the Nordstrom Rack site.
Land’s End Here you will find sizes up to a 5X in the Business Outfitters department, which is found by clicking a link you may have never noticed on the upper left corner:
You’ll have to click on a category in the Women’s section and then sort by size. This division of Land’s End is for uniforms for businesses on which logos can be printed. The selection is undoubtedly utilitarian, consisting of polo shirts, button downs, and cardigans, but sometimes I’ve found technical clothing like rain coats (so hard to find truly waterproof clothing in my size!). Coupons and discounts may or may not work here, as there is a separate shopping cart for this division.
Macy’s I use the same technique here, where they even have I.N.C., one of my favorite lines.
Have any of you found 4Xs or higher in higher end department stores? Let me know. I haven’t bothered to even try in a few years. I hope this helps some of you out there who sew but still need to buy ready-to-wear clothing. The struggle is real, as they say.
I’m finally back into sewing after moving in August, even though not everything is tidily packed away yet. I was determined to sew some things in time for winter, and these pajama pants by Indygo Junction were at the top of my list.
The fabric is a kinda crazy flannel I bought a few years ago from Discount Fabrics in Berkeley, CA. It feels like good quality flannel, and hopefully it won’t pill too badly like other flannels I’ve used before.
I did enlarge the pattern by a few inches around, since the largest size for this pattern is a 2x, but I left the ruffled hems the same size just so they wouldn’t flare out quite so much.
I’m debating whether to make the matching top or not. I actually made a pair of these 2 years ago in a black linen and I do wear them out and about, grateful that I live in a somewhat hippie-ish place.
I know that Kwik Sew is not known for their fashion forward patterns, but I do use their patterns and am looking forward to sewing with them in the future. When I say “Two New Kwik Sew Patterns,” I mean two TOTAL in Plus Sizes. If I had clicked on Summer, there would have been none. I had honestly thought Kwik Sew had given up on Plus Size patterns altogether, but no. A few drips here and there will quench our thirst. And apparently we fat people don’t go out much because all I need for fall is a pair of pajamas and one 3-piece outfit.
Craft Industry Alliance had an interesting article about the legalities around selling things you’ve made from patterns you’ve purchased. I’m sure you’ve seen the warning not to sell things you’ve made from a pattern, especially those from independent pattern companies. There are always “ifs, ands, or buts” with the law, but it appears that no one can really stop you from selling items that are considered “utilitarian”, which clothing most definitely is. Let the sewer/seller/buyer be aware.
The Curvy Sewing Collective is holding a pattern size survey. I encourage you to take it as I think it will have an impact. I was especially happy to fill in my dimensions as I am beyond most pattern size ranges, most notably the Big Four (except for Connie Crawford patterns on Butterick).
It took several weeks to cut this stencil out. It sat on our dining room table like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle you pick at whenever you pass by. I think I bought too thick a sheet of acetate so I had to stop because it was hurting my hands and enlist my husband to finish, which he did, the sweetheart.
This Alabama Chanin design was printed out, pieced together and spray glued to the acetate. It’s called Magdalena and it’s one of their biggest patterns. Why didn’t I start with a smaller design, I wonder. I think next time I’ll try their other suggested way of making a stencil which is to use the same method on felt.
This mess of a package is about to become Colette Pattern’s Aster blouse. I must have been under a rock or something, but Colette patterns now come in up to a size 26! When did this happen?! I’m so excited because it used to be almost painful to look at their website, knowing how much work it would take to grade up a size 18 pattern to my size.
As it is, I had to add a little bit to this pattern, but not so much I was made unsure of the outcome. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have to do anything to the bust darts, either.
The fabric is from Fabric-Store.com, a wonderful place to buy linen fabrics. Do not go there unless you want to increase your stash by orders of magnitude. Fair warning!
I got a nice email today linking to Simplicity’s newest patterns. Clicking through, I found one, that’s right ONE plus size pattern, and its maximum size is 28. I’m about a 32/34, which in the ready-to-wear world is around a size 3x/4x.
Now, I’ve become quite proficient at altering patterns to fit me, but the closer the pattern is to my size, the easier it is.
Even though it’s not always easy to find ready-to-wear clothes in my size, they are available, which is to say, it’s not absolutely freakish to be this size. Clothing in my size is mass-manufactured overseas, imported to this land and is being sold to people all over the country as we speak.
Oh, excuse me, there’s a swimsuit pattern, too.
There used to be many more patterns in my size in the 80s and 90s. I’m collecting photos of them so I can prove it! Even Vogue designer patterns. I will report further.