#72: Sewing for Body Changes

Check Your Thread
Check Your Thread
#72: Sewing for Body Changes

As sustainably-minded garment makers, our goal is to make items that will have a long life and see lots of use. But what about when our bodies change? Everyone experiences fluctuations in shape and size, so in this solo episode I explore how we can future proof our garment projects to accommodate that fact. 

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Outerwear patterns

Coats and jackets:

Cardigan patterns:

My current favourite:

Patterns for cardigans worn open:

Image source: Papercut Patterns

Shawl pins and closures:

Image source: Textile Garden

Wrap style cardigan patterns:

Top, dress and jumpsuit patterns

Boxy Woven tops/dresses:

Image source: Elizabeth Suzann Studio

Oversized style patterns:

Trapeze shaped patterns:

Top and dress patterns with gathering or pleating at the neckline or into a yoke or panel:

Image source: Sew Liberated

Wrap dress and jumpsuit patterns:

‘Faux-fit and flare’ dress patterns:

Elasticated waist dress and jumpsuit patterns:

Image source: True Bias

Skirt, trouser, pinafore and dungarees patterns

Elasticated waist skirt patterns:

Image source: Threads by Caroline

My favourite elastic waist trouser patterns:

Partly-elasticated trousers and shorts patterns:

Image source: Named Clothing

Buttonhole elastic:

Image source: William Gee

Amazing Check Your Thread listener Hinerangi @duckgoesoink experimented with hacking the Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern to include buttonhole elastic in the back of the waistband (shared through Stories). 

Trouser patterns with adjustable straps:

Pinafore and dungarees patterns:

Image source: Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Bias cut patterns:

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3 comments on “#72: Sewing for Body Changes

  1. Nicky Slade says:

    So interesting and useful, especially all the links you worked so hard to include! Also really good point about not stitching through elastic – I’ve had trouble with RTW back elasticated garments because the elastic is so tight that the front fixed waist really digs in. The other thing that has worked for me is waist ties in dresses and skirts – either from the side to tie at the back, or two short ties on either side to pull the waist in a little but still allow flexibility.

  2. I loved this episode! It’s funny how even just saying out loud that people’s bodies change over time (er, especially monthly) seems so radical.
    One variation on adding elastic to waistbands I’ve always wanted to try is this one form Threads magazine, where elasticated dart-shaped inserts are added to the sides of pants which are tailored front & back, creating a tailored look which still accommodates size changes, from bloating to simply eating a larger meal than usual.
    I’m new to the podcast, and have been happily listening to the back episodes and reading the show notes/blog. I only started home-making sewn clothes last September (been knitting and crocheting for decades), basically for all the reasons you go over in the podcast.

    1. Zoe says:

      Hi Katherine, so happy that you have found the podcast and it’s helping you on your sewing journey! Thanks heaps for taking the time to leave this comment and share that Threads article! I have seen elastic insertions like that for maternity trousers but hadn’t considered it for non-maternity trousers, such a great idea. If you try this, please report back! All the best

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