Simple Tailoring Options for the Petite Plus Size

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Let me start with saying how excited I am to be working as a contributor for The Curvy Fashionista! I’m humbled at the opportunity and hope you will find my posts useful and entertaining. My focus will largely be on how to get your style on when you have a hard-to-fit curvy and petite body type.

If you’re petite and curvy, then you know that it’s virtually impossible to find clothes that fit off the rack. Plus-sizes are proportioned for taller women. Petite sizes are sometimes too small in key areas like bust lines or hips, and stylish petite plus-size options are few and far between. As a curvy and petite gal, virtually every piece of clothing I purchase undergoes some form of transformation. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that almost all of my clothes have to be altered, but alterations can be expensive and sometimes tricky. It’s useful to know what to look for while shopping to minimize the number of alterations required and to know what can and cannot be changed.

Tailoring Options for the Petite Plus Size

Hemming pants and blouses is one of the easiest and cheapest alterations, and it makes a world of difference! With the exception of intricate hem or ankle details, most shirts and pants can be hemmed. I’ve rarely forgone an article of clothing due to it being too long. I’m 4’9”. Everything is too long!!!

Tailoring options for the petite plus size on The Curvy Fashionista

If an item fits everywhere else, then hemming is well worth the cost to get a good fit. The outfit I’m wearing here fit fairly well, with the exception of both the blouse and pants being too long. I had the shirt hemmed halfway up from the original hem and the bottom button, and the pants were hemmed past the lower ankle (hemmed a tad long to allow for shrinkage).

Voila! I have an outfit that is much better proportioned to my frame.

Pants, Shirt: The Limited (Availablehereandhere); Blazer: New York & Company (old); Heels, Clutch: Target (Heels availablehere)

Plus size petite alteration options

A quick note about button-down blouses and larger bustlines: Larger busts, shorter frames, and poor button placement often leads to gaping in the bust area. Button-downs can’t easily be let out or otherwise altered in the bust area. While double-sided tape can prevent gaping, it seems like too much trouble to me. Purchasing clothes that are ill-fitting and that can’t be altered is a recipe for disappointment and body bashing.

When buying button-downs, I look for a proper fit in the bust area. Purchase button-downs to fit the bust, and the rest can generally be altered.

Do you have clothing altered, and if so, what are your typical alterations?

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  1. Hi there, I have a fit question that I’ve had no luck finding information about. I’m 5’7″ but my legs are long and my torso is short. I’m plus size, but not busty. Tops and blazers are often a huge disappointment because they hang too low in the neckline. Sometimes that’s an easy fix just by wearing a solid tank underneath (and boy do I have a ton of those) but sometimes, if it’s a more fitted or structured top or dress, it’s just a mess. If I pull the top down so that the shoulders lay nicely, any darts or under bust hems hang very low, causing the shape to be off. If I pull the top up so that the darts or under bust hems are in the proper place in relation to my bust, there’s all this extra material just floating around from there up. When I wear a blazer and my arms are down, the armpit area of the blazer hangs really low so that I can’t lift my arms unless I slide the sleeves up, and then that causes the shoulders of the blazer to float above my actual shoulders.

    Is there a term for this issue? I don’t know enough about sewing and tailoring to describe this problem in an efficient way and I’m hoping there’s a simple term for it that I just don’t know. I sometimes order tailored clothes online and there’s never a measurement or question that related to the distance from the top of my shoulders to my bust. Can you help me with this problem?

  2. Besides arm length, hem, and princess seaming, my most common alteration is to have the shoulders taken up. This makes the arm holes fit and the bust lay correctly (distance from my shoulders to bust is very short). The work is only worth doing for only some garments, but is a world of difference!

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