The Body Shape Struggle is Real

Feb 21 2018 1 Comment

What body shape are you?  Are you an apple (larger bust and waist, smaller hips)?  Or are you a pear (smaller bust and waist, larger hips)?  Or indeed a banana (fairly equal measurements)?! Or are you lucky enough to be the "perfect" hourglass shape?  Ok, sit down, Nigella!!!  If you have a look around the interweb, you will find loads of different websites trying to label you as an inanimate object, which is all well and good, but what happens if *SHOCK HORROR* you don't completely fall into one of these categories?!  I know, unheard of, right?!!

Personally, I have just spent the last hour investigating what the best garments are for my body type.  Technically I am a cross between a pear and an apple, or a "pepple".  The internet insists I'm primarily a pear shape, as my hip measurement is wider than my waist and bust, however what the man in the  internet fails to recognise is my bread addiction, which means I have a lovely little bread basket sitting round my middle.

All the advice on how a pear shape should dress includes accentuating your "small waist".  I really don't think that's the way to go in my case, unless I feel the need to do an "Adele" and wear four pairs of Spanx!  Instead, I need to find items which skim past the old bread basket, which is why I've recently taken to wearing high waisted skirts and trousers which are especially flattering if the fabric has a bit of stretch to them as they help to hold you in a bit!  They also mean that I can tuck in tops; if I tucked a top into a low or mid rise garment, this would only highlight the old bread basket.  A-Lines are also a good idea as they seem to balance me out a bit!

Dress-wise, I don't suit anything too form-fitting (Marilyn Monroe I ain't!) so I choose frocks which have a bit of shape to them but graze past my midsection and fit semi-snuggly over the hips.  I am a firm lover of the Tilly and the Buttons Coco and Nina Lee Southbank Sweater dress as they do just that.  In summer, I can't go far wrong with a shift dress so I'll be knocking up a few Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dresses for the warmer weather.

Given that my waist measurement is quite out of proportion to my hip, finding ready to wear bottoms to fit properly can be a nightmare.  If I bought some to fit my hip measurement, they would be too snug on the waist and if I bought some to fit my waist measurement, they would be too big over over my hips.  All in all, MY DRESS SIZE DOES NOT EXIST!!!  This is why I prefer to make my own clothes whenever feasible and is also why (which I think I've talked about in a previous blog) I have to grade every single pattern I cut out over three different sizes (same size for bust and hip and often an increase of two sizes over the waist!) but it is definitely time well spent.  It's bad enough buying something that doesn't fit, never mind taking the time to make something!

This technique is not easy when you're starting out.  The shapes you cut from your pattern look a bit unnatural which makes you wonder whether you're doing the right thing, but rest assured the end product fits like a dream so it really is worth spending the time initially to make sure the pattern is accurately graded to your measurements.

So the moral of this blog post is this; don't feel bad because you don't belong in a fashion industry derived group.  The beauty of sewing your own clothes means that you don't have to feel bad if you can't fit into clothes made for the "perfect" shape.  After all, the world would be a very boring place if it was just full of apples and pears, we need a few "pepples" here and there.


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  • I am a banana too or is it a rectangle?? I have hated my body shape for years (blame the kids) until I took up sewing again. The Coco and Southbank dresses are my 2 most used patterns and I love me a shift dress or A-line pattern. It’s great that more indie pattern designers are out there and the Avid Seamstress and Merchant & Mills are among my favourites. I trace 99% of my patterns due to my unique shape. Sewing is our superpower for sure! ?

    Liz on

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