How to sew and dress for your body shape

Everyone’s shape has its own silhouette attributes which you’ll need to know to make clothes that not only fit well but also look nice too.
Learn to balance your silhouette and choose styles that suit it!

How to sew and dress for your body shape
How to sew and dress for your body shape

Determine your body shape

Stand in front of a mirror in your underwear

With your legs together and your arms by your side

Look at your silhouette from your bust down to your waist and to the fullest part of your hips to decide your shape

What shapes matches your silhouette?

Simplicity 1104 by Cynthia Rowley

Simplicity 1104 by Cynthia Rowley

My shape is Rectangle:

I’ve the same size on top and bottom
I've a boyish figure
I've a small bust and little or no waistline
My hips and bottom are straight?

Style solution:
Rectangles need to create a defined waistline
Avoid straight lines and garments with no shape
Create a waist with a waistband or belted garment
Choose low-round necklines like sweetheart and scoop

Jacket - Choose boxy jackets that split your torso in two
Sleeves - Choose loose fit sleeves like cap, 3/4, puff and flared
Tops – Any style must fit you around the bust. Choose empire line that separates waist from hip area. Use ruffles and frills to add texture and volume (and femininity). Tops should be short to medium in length.
Dress – Choose dresses that have a definite waistline and structured with darts
Skirts – Select cross-over, panelled, ‘A’ line and straight skirts and wear with medium to wide belts. Add embellishment.
Trousers – Choose flare, bootleg and ankle skimming styles that flow into the leg with detailing like pockets and embellishment. Avoid any style of trousers that is baggy and loose including dropped waist jeans, tapered or cropped.

Astrid Pants from Named Clothing

Astrid Pants from Named Clothing

My shape is Inverted Triangle (carrot)

I wear a larger size on top than bottom
There's not much difference between my waist and hips
My hips and bottom are quite flat
My shoulders are wider than hips and I have a straight shoulder line

Style solution:

You need to wear and make clothes that make your hips look wider to balance out your top half.
Keep detailing to the lower half of your body
Make sure your top half has clean lines and clutter free
Choose straight lines, as they're a natural extension of your silhouette
Create a waistline with a belt or waistband
Use large collars and lapels to disguise a small bust

Skirt – ‘A’ line or straight skirts with volume such as tiers, dropped waistline, panels, box pleats are good choices. Most length skirts will suit you.
Jacket – Choose a straight line or flared jacket with vents, lower pockets and a full hemline.
Coat - Select a longline coat that tapers towards the hemline and has hip pockets.
Dress – Straight lines suit you best such as the shift or ‘A’ line with tiers, pleats and patterns.
Trousers  – Select patterns with detailing such as back pockets,  use pattern fabric, turn-ups, combat trousers, wide-legged, Palazzo, flares and culottes. Boyfriend styled jeans are perfect and in other styles, choose coloured-denim or add big pockets.

Simplicity 8694

Simplicity 8694

My shape is Pear (inverted triangle)

I carry most of my weight on the hips
My shoulders are narrower than my hips
My bust is smaller
I have a defined waistline
I wear a larger size on your bottom half than your top

Style solution:
Those with triangle silhouettes need to balance their top half by wearing garments that make the shoulders look broader to balance the narrowest of their hips

Tops - Layer and embellish tops to draw the eye upwards. Tops and blouses should finish above the widest point of your hips. Make a fuss on top and keep the bottom half simple. Wear fitted blouses and tops with a fitted waist such as empire line, wrap-over, waistcoats, straight yoke, breast pockets, large collars and structured waistlines. Add shoulder pads or sleeves that add volume like puff, cap. Wear boleros and shrugs to cover up tops of arms.
Trousers - Avoid wearing trousers with too much detailing such as turn-ups, pleats or wide-legged trousers and avoid pockets on the hip area. Flat fronted, bootleg are the best choices with no belt loops, creases, pleats, pockets.
Skirts – Stay away from mini (however good your legs may be), dropped waist or panelled skirts. Choose straight knee-length or mid calf-length pencil, ‘A’ line and wrap skirts. Bias cut is good too.
Coat/jackets – Choose a longer line coat with detailing such as on a trench coat. Double-breasted is a good choice for this shape.

Marguerite Dress from Sew Over It

Marguerite Dress from Sew Over It

My shape is hourglass
I wear the same size top and bottom
I've a visible waist and bust line
I have a shapely bottom

Style solution:
If you are classic feminine hourglass shape – you need to wear make clothes that are shaped,
fitted and defined to show off these lines. With your shape you can wear most styles of garment
but make sure that whatever you're making is always fitted or has a belt.

Dress/Coats – Show off that waist! Make sure it's fitted or semi fitted. Empire-line dresses are excellent
and those with structure with darts. Wear belts both wide and thin to draw attention to the smallest part of your body.
Skirts – You can choose straight, ‘A’ line, pencil, dropped waist, bias cut, pleated and full skirts.
Trousers – All styles will work right through from wide-legged to ankle-skimming straight-legged.
Always make jeans with a waistband.
Tops/Blouses – ‘V’ necks and scoop necklines are a good choice

Pembroke Dress from Cashmerette

Pembroke Dress from Cashmerette

My shape is Apple

I carry my weight/fullness around the tummy area?
I have good legs
I have a flat bottom
My bust is larger than average
My shoulders are rounded

Style solution:
Round silhouettes need to follow the line of their body and avoid adding any fussy detail around bust, tummy and hips. Detail should be above the bust and below the hip line.
Garments should be slightly straight or fitted and fabric soft to avoid creating bulk around bust, tummy and hips.
Apples should pay attention to both front and side view. Always keep garments fitted under the bust and avoid styles that finish at the fullest point and have excessive fabric in the middle section.

Coats – Select coats single breasted and a single button positioned under the bust and above the tummy. Lapels are good.
Skirts - The best length for you is just above the knee.
Tops - Necklines need to be low and wide like scoop, square, ‘V’ neck or sweetheart. Shoulder pads are a good idea as they help garments drape from the shoulders. Make sure you've  a well fitting bra. Blouses should have simple lines and opt for side and back zips and fastenings.
Trousers – Select flat-fronted, wide-legged that don’t cling to the body. Choose trousers that fasten at the side or back. Dark coloured boot cut jeans are best for your shape. Don’t choose high waist jea