Yesterday I showed you what’s going on with the Hummingbird Top pattern linework. It’s based on plain measurements, without assigning a waist length/waist circumference to a particular bust measurement. I like this, and I think you will, too.
The Hummingbird straight skirt presents a sizing/fit puzzle I’ve been working on for a long time. Last year, I started a hip-to-waist sizing survey to collect self-reported data on the waist and hip measurements of my readers. As of writing, I have 700+ data sets. I’ve returned to these numbers over and over again while I worked on the Hummingbird Skirt.
Start with the Hips
The Hummingbird skirt comes in five base “sizes”: 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 hip circumference. Think of it as XS-XL sizing, with customization options built in.
Then the Waist
Each hip has four waist measurement options, which are based on hip to waist ratios gleaned from my data (survey spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of notes).
No Pattern Will Fit Every Body
The biggest fitting issue associated with a straight skirt is the lower back/high hip area. Among women, waist to hip ratios vary widely. Further, two women with the same waist and hip measurements might also have very different body shapes in this area. (Full stomachs, on the other hand, are much easier to predict and accommodate. This is reflected in the Hummingbird patternwork.)
Waist to hip ratios are a function of an individual’s bone structure and weight distribution, and ruled by other genetic factors such as estrogen levels. Science. Our bodies are ever-shifting shapes, but ratios have relatively little to do with the individual’s relative weight or circumference. It’s fascinating.
The Hummingbird Mid-Construction Fit Check shows you how I fine tuned my fit for the closely fitted denim Hummingbird and the less fitted organic cotton twill version.
“Swayback” is a term used in modern sewing and pattern alteration to describe a range of body variations which may or may not have any relation to the actual medical diagnosis of swayback. Swayback is blamed for creating wrinkles at the lower back.
I believe for many people, a swayback issue is less about posture or spinal curvature and more to do with the relative roundness or flatness of the derriere. Swayback is like an FBA for your bottom. Think about it…
Whether swayback is posture or a round backside, the net effect is the same. So is the practical fitting fix, which often involves pinning out darts and extra fabric located in the small of your back. It’s hard.
Cup Sizes for Bottoms?
I tend to think about swayback and backsides and so forth in the same geometric/topographic ways I think about breasts and cup sizes and proportion. Larger bottoms = deeper darts and a curvier waistline seam, just like with busts. That’s true whether you slash and spread the pattern for an alteration or draft your own. The Hummingbird Skirt offers cup sizes for your derriere while working to alleviate wrinkles in the small of the back!
Read more at the Hummingbird Mid-Construction Fit Check.
The Virtual Fitting Room
Once the Hummingbird patterns ship and you receive them, we’ll have another 30 Minutes A Day sewalong which means I can work with you on fit. (We’ll have a Sorting and a House Prize again, too, that was really fun!) I love our sewalongs, and rather look forward to fit challenges in the next one. I’ll be there with you from fabric selection to cutting to finishing- the sewalongs are like a free online class companion to the pattern.
The Waistband Must Be Mentioned
The waistband on the Hummingbird Skirt hits just below natural waist, and is a simple 1″ straight waistband with a lapped back closure. It is discreet beneath an untucked shirt. We had a few issues with the Pavlova Skirt waist binding, which sent me back to my drafting board to check and test every waistband length/width for Hummingbird. I also re-visited the method of creating a simple but effective finish at the waist, opting for a narrow straight waistband over the bound edge finish used for Pavlova.
I can not promise to create patterns free of errata any more than I can promise to be a perfect person, but at the end of the day I don’t want your sewing to be a painful experience. I’m here for you. Twitter, email, flickr, this blog and sewingcake.com. I constantly field questions about fabric suitability and fit, which I enjoy. I want your sewing to succeed. I see my role in this as a facilitator to help you achieve your sewing goals. That’s what Cake is about. (And pockets.)
Tiramisu and Pavlova taught me more than I can express about the process of creating a useful pattern. During Hummingbird’s production I finally felt like I was in control of the process from beginning to end. It’s one thing to draft and fit and teach and blog, it’s another thing to start a company.
What do you think?
Please, please ask me questions about cup sizes for your derriere! I’ve been excited/nervous to show you what I’ve been working on and I’m happy to be challenged or questioned because I am sure about this sizing scheme. I know it’s different, but I also know we’ll get many great Hummingbird Skirts from this pattern.
Hummingbird Peplum Top & Skirt pattern on Etsy- special presale price only available until April 7!