Hidden Plus Sizes on Etsy

You may already know that Etsy is a middle-class fat girl’s dream when it comes to stores like Jane BonBon, MissBrache, and SelenaEon (reviewed by stitchtowhere on Fatshionista), all of whom specialize in or at least explicitly advertise plus sizes. If you’ve got the money to buy new clothes but don’t think you have the money to get everything bespoke, Etsy sellers skirt that line — affordable personal seamstresses for all! Marianne collected a bunch of plus-size sellers in a recent post, and her readers actually turned me on to a few shops I hadn’t known about (I spend a LOT of time on Etsy, but it’s also a vast site with a lot of chaff to sift through). For fatties with the freedom to spend about $100 on a dress, there are plenty of talented dressmakers working in 14+. Kate, incidentally, wore a Jane Bonbon custom creation for her party; there was some waiting involved, as there always is for handmade stuff and especially for Jane because she’s in high demand, and the dress still required a little alteration when she got it, but she got to set the parameters of the dress herself and work with someone who knows how to design for fat bodies. (Jane’s making me a skirt too, and she asked me whether I had a sticky-out butt — she likes to add a bit of length in the back for the big-arsed among us, so that our skirts maintain an even hemline. That’s service!)

What you might not have known is that not all the plus sizes on Etsy are out in the open. Because of the high level of customization and personal attention that’s generally involved in an Etsy store’s business model, many stores displaying a standard straight-size range will happily open their size charts’ borders to let in paying customers. SM and I both had experiences recently with sellers whose posted size charts top out at L or XL, but who are still body-positive and happy to make their wares you-sized. Below the fold, we offer reviews, with links and (headless) pictures.

SM – Ureshii

If I were suddenly presented with piles of cash to spend, WNTW style, I would get a whole new wardrobe from Ureshii. I recently picked up two tops — Aviatrix and Life in Plastic — from their sample sale, and I could not be happier. The jersey material is soft but pretty, and the designs are retro without having the unforgivingly wasp-waisted silhouette you often find in vintage/repro clothes. I am aching to buy the Sunday, Sailor, and Classic Wrap dresses, all of which are drapey without being blousey, and sleeveless but bra-friendly — and the latter two are even reversible! Seriously, I am pretty sure that if I bought three or four of these dresses, I’d never have to shop again in my life. Not that that would stop me, natch.

The lack of head keeps the focus on the decolletage.

The lack of head keeps the focus on the decolletage.

As for sizing, all of Ureshii’s listings are custom order except for the sample sale items. Their standard size chart goes from XS (32″ bust) to L (41″ bust). These days, I generally wear a 10/12 (with a 34E bust), and their sample M fit me beautifully — many of the designs seem very Rack of Doom-friendly. I asked Emily and Amanda, the seamstresses behind the curtain, what their policy on plus size pricing is, and here’s what they had to say:

At the moment, we price things out on a case by case basis. Very generally, we charge $6 more for any separate (top or bottom) that is outside of our size chart, and $10 more for dresses. Our patterns are often designed to fit as efficiently as possible into the width of our fabric, so larger pattern pieces can result in more wasted fabric. If that isn’t the case, then we don’t charge more.

We have a few customers who will hopefully be sending us some personal photos soon, wearing our garments. We have our fingers crossed that they’ll follow through! Then we can start to have a better idea of how to standardize our larger sizes.

We’re always happy to customize a garment to a woman’s personal preferences. Higher or lower necklines, different sleeve or (minor) hem lengths, better bra coverage – these are all important changes for which we do not charge an additional fee.

They add that they’ll be starting a shop blog soon, and they plan on featuring pictures of women in a range of shapes and sizes wearing their designs (which I look forward to, because my only complaint about their shop is that their model stands in a pose I have never once made in my entire life). Apparently one reason they do not have a standard set of plus size measurements is that they have been having a hard time finding larger women to be their test models (any Vancouver Shapelings want to volunteer?). So, the upshot is, this is a body-positive store run by a couple of friendly Canadian moms with a retro touch. Depending on how the design sizes up, you may have to pay a little more for a plus size item, but it will be customized to your actual body, and not the imaginary one some mass designer thinks you have. They ask that you convo them before purchasing a custom sized item, so they can give you an accurate price.

FJ – Black Rabbit

I actually found Black Rabbit when I was looking for dresses for SM, but I found that I couldn’t get this dress out of my head for weeks. Finally I gave in and contacted Carina, the seller, to see if she could size it up a bit and do a short-sleeved version in black and turquoise. A week or so after ordering, I found myself (due to mail problems) without something to wear to Kate’s party, so I asked Carina when she thought she’d be done — I didn’t intend to rush her, just wanted to know my options, but as it turned out I was nervous and she picked up on that and rushed on my behalf anyway. She could have said “sorry, no can do,” but when I showed up in email wringing my virtual hands and going “er if it’s not too much trouble and you happen to get finished do you think you could overnight it to me?” she made it happen (and she was incredibly kind and professional about it in the bargain). Even if she didn’t also do custom sizing, that would have been above and beyond anything you’ll get from another store.

Headlessness: This seasons hottest accessory

Headlessness: This season's hottest accessory

As you know, I found something a bit dressier at Marshall’s at the last minute, but even though I think of this as a work/semi-casual dress, it could easily have done double duty as a cocktail frock. On top of being a really striking design, the fabric feels substantial and luxurious, nicely drapey but not too heavy. There’s a bit of loose stitching at one side of the belt, no doubt because I was riding poor Carina like a pony about the damn thing, but they’re not load-bearing stitches and on the whole it’s incredibly well-made. The crossover neck even covers my bra without gapping — they NEVER do that!

Here’s the best part. I asked Carina how much extra she would charge for plus sizes — she hadn’t charged me more but I was only an inch or so outside her usual range. Here’s what she said:

As for plus size charge..I don’t do that, I think it’s rude and perpetuates certain ideas I don’t value. So, I factor the cost across the sizes and create a mean average that is distributed within the cost of goods.

Could you kiss her right now or what? We keep hearing about how dreadfully difficult it is to provide plus sizes — the extra fabric costs alone are enough to drive you out of business, not to mention all those special patterns and fit models! Yet somehow, when the sartorial becomes personal, it’s possible not only to get clothes that fit you but to get them from someone whose business plan acknowledges your existence and even welcomes your patronage. I will drink to that, in my hot-ass dress.

If there’s one complaint I have about the dress, it’s actually that it doesn’t fit me perfectly — but that’s entirely my fault. Carina said she could size up from my bust measurement, and since my proportions cleave pretty closely to size charts I said “cool, that’s easier on me.” What I was forgetting was that I usually look at plus size charts — Carina sized up perfectly for a straight size chart, which tends to be proportionally a little narrower in the waist. The upshot is that, though you can’t see it in this photo, the dress is just a hair too small in the middle, making the waistband tend to roll up.

The moral here is twofold. One, when buying custom, make sure you know your measurements (I do) and don’t be too coy or embarrassed or just lazy to verify and communicate them (I was). The other is that if you think you’re a little smaller than me — say you wear about a 16W too but you don’t have a fat belly — and you love this dress as much as I do, please email me and I will sell it to you! Then I can start over again with Carina working on a new dress — which I’m really keen on, because otherwise I have to come up with a new idea for color combos before I get to work with her again.

Meanwhile, of course, the larger moral is that you never know until you try. That seller whose size chart tops out at a 44″ bust might think that charging extra for plus sizes perpetuates ideas she doesn’t value. The one whose clothes don’t officially go beyond a size large might be actively looking for plus-size fit models and pictures of her wares on real bodies. Fashion is an intimidating milieu, but a lot of Etsy is more Craft Mafia than Project Runway — the sellers like making things, like selling those things to actual people, realize that actual people come in sizes, and will do all they can to see to it you’re clothed in their creations. Don’t be afraid to click “contact the seller” and see what they can do for you. And share your good — and bad — Etsy experiences in comments.

(P.S. just in case it needs to be said — we’ve gotten no incentives from these sellers except good shopping experiences, though I’m sure we wouldn’t say no. ;))

87 thoughts on “Hidden Plus Sizes on Etsy

  1. “The lack of head keeps the focus on the decolletage.”

    lol. But I’ve noticed that if you do the decolletage right, a head will fail to serve as a distraction. :)

  2. I have to say that my latest peeve is Etsy sellers who include language like “I am unable to work with measurements larger than 43 inches” (on a maker-of-dance-skirts’ store) or “I can make [item] in the following sizes: … XL (30″ waist)…”

    I actually messaged the former to ask why she “couldn’t work with” measurements above 43″, given that my hips are 45″ and I’d like one of her skirts. She didn’t even bother to message me back, which I’m assuming means “I don’t want to get your fat on me, fatty.” Or something.

  3. There is also the wonderful jibrionline.etsy.com, as well as myblackdress and EllePhantePhashion. Erm, who else. Vigilantelabs. wildewear. missbrache. missbombshell. TopsyCurvyDesigns. lyptis. For the yalternative crowd there is smarmyclothes, diysewrad, CuteandEvil, Platipuses and XPoppysWickedGardenX

    (all reachable by username.etsy.com)

    I wish I was richer!

  4. I hope you’ll excuse the mash-note quality of this post, but I am SO charmed by these vendors’ clothes (and have just ordered two items from Ureshii.) I didn’t even know Etsy existed until Fillyjonk posted on the Queen Bee bags back in March (and I am so going to order one of those come August, too), and now I’m well on my way to addiction.

    I can do pretty well off the rack most places, even at the Great Goodwill in the Sky in my nearest city; but if one is prone to boycott Wal-Mart, complain bitterly about the fact that all clothing except Baggy Deva is apparently made by child slave labor in China, and still wish to continue one’s selfish life as a clothes whore (er, horse), one should perhaps put one’s money where one’s mouth is: the work of individual crafters who provide real service. Your links have made that substantially easier–thank you.

  5. I have been saving up to get a skirt made by Vigilantelabs at Etsy. I’m so excited about it.

  6. This is wonderful! Thank you! FJ and SM already know this but I’ve been looking for an Etsy seller who would be willing to make me a whole custom capsule wardrobe now that I’m earning a real salary and need some proper work clothes. I’ve had two strikeouts so far, but this inspires me to try again. Yay!

  7. Oh, and I forgot to say how much I appreciate these links to stores with all the lovely fat-friendly clothing. I am both Pleasantly Plump AND Officially Old {having recently had my 75th birthday} and I can tell you that finding clothing that fits and is not old-lady dowdy is very difficult.

  8. I am so grateful to see this post! My fiancee and I have just begun wedding planning for next summer, which has me realizing I need to start thinking about wedding dresses. Which has all KINDS of body shame surfacing in a way I hadn’t expected. And my initial search for wedding dresses on Etsy led me to all the “will only sew for the skinny” vendors.

    I have a feeling I”m still going to need to traumatize myself with a visit to David’s bridal, just to get some vague sense of what styles would be good for me. But y’all have given me hope that I might be able to find a body-positive vendor on Etsy who can then help me make a wedding dress. Thanks!

  9. Sherri,

    I totally hear you on the wedding dress issue. The first dress I wanted, I was out of the manufacturer’s size chart and would have had to get it custom made at an exorbitant price that I couldn’t afford. I cried and cried- especially because I was still in the throes of WW at the time and had actually (temporarily, of course) lost a good bit of weight at that specific time and WHAT GOOD DID IT DO IF I STILL WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR A FREAKING WEDDING DRESS. (No good at all, obviously, and it was the dress that wasn’t good enough for me; but I didn’t realize that at the time.)

    I will say, though, that warehousey and annoying as it can be, David’s bridal had a dress in stock, in sale, that fit with minimal alterations, that I ADORED and looked really pretty. (I wear a US size 24-26, for reference.) So you may be able to try things on that are actually, you know, your size or close to it.

    If you’re in the Atlanta area there’s also a plus-size wedding dress shop. Too rich for my blood but they were very nice and helped me try things on to get a good idea of the styles I liked (which will be a help when looking for a custom order as well.)

  10. MezzoSherri – please do not traumatize yourself that way. When my mother and I showed up at David’s Bridal we were treated horribly, as if we were not good enough to shop there. I don’t know why…we weren’t “dressed to the nines” so maybe it was because they thought we were poor. Or maybe it was a fat girl thing. I really don’t know. They were really snooty and did not wish to give us the time of day. After going to several other nicer shops and not finding anything, I ended up ordering my dress directly from a manufacturer without being able to try it on, and had to have it drastically altered. Thankfully, I still looked hot!

  11. Hey, SecretLentil’s stuff looks like our friend’s (SM’s friend first, now mine). She also does custom work and occasionally turns out something in plus, but sadly even though I love it with all my heart I have not yet been able to afford something. (ETA: Although holy shit, I love this one so much that I would absolutely shell out if it would fit me.)

    I hear very, very mixed things about David’s Bridal — I think it depends where you go. MezzoSherri, how wedding-y of a dress are you going for? Definitely for simpler or more retro dresses, you should be able to find something on Etsy.

  12. I think Davidses tend to vary a lot from location to location. I went to one near my mom’s house in New York, and left it wanting to set things on fire. I went to one near my house in Michigan, and adored it and bought my dress there right off the rack. A lot depends on the shop people.

    Now I need to get on Etsy and find a veil! And thank you for this post, because I need to also find a dress for the rehearsal and whatever the hell else my mother insists I do.

  13. I committed at the beginning of this summer, after a traumatic jaunt at Target, to only buying customized clothing for 6 months. Etsy is my major resource. I’m having a custom dress made by hissyfitoly, (my boyfriend, not well-versed in fashion lingo, but wanting to give a critique a go, saw the photo and said, “That’s going to look so. . . lovely . . . with your. . . cans!”) bought AMAZING lounge pants from spazzspun, and have a pair of pants in progress from annyschoo. The only one I found by specifically searching for “plus-size” was hissyfitoly—the rest just offered custom and I gave them a try. All three of these women had great communication and were a pleasure to work with. . .and the clothes ROCK and are more ME than I even expected!

    I broke my own rule by purchasing a couple of sale item cardigans from Torrid, but I’m back on the horse. I can’t believe how liberating it feels to have my clothes fit EXACTLY as I want them, and how flattering that looks, as well! And I’m able to step out of the carefully crafted bitter spinster schoolmarm look I have adopted over the past few years because I am suddenly presented with options that flow and breathe. I need a bathing suit for a trip in August, and am working up the courage to go custom for that, as well.

    This could be an expensive project. . .but when I look at the clothes I have spent money on merely because they FIT and not because I particularly LIKED them at all, I feel more comfortable splurging on something that I know I will love to pieces.

    Sadly, I’m a teacher who doesn’t get paid over the summer, so the real spree will have to wait till September.

  14. Oh, and Poppy from Poppy’s Wicked Garden was terrific. She told me she couldn’t make one pattern with my measurements, but then got back to me right away with a different idea and some fabric suggestions for an incredible pair of pants that I have pretty much lived in since they arrived!

  15. MezzoSherri, just remember that whatever you wear to get married in is your wedding dress. Once you come to that realization, it’s amazing what options open up.

    Also, there are some places online that carry larger sized wedding gowns. They won’t necessarily look like the ones in David’s and other bridal salons, but some of them are pretty gorgeous. For instance, Zaftique has some pretty styles ( https://www.zaftique.com/index.php/browse/a90097824c4422739edfb47305d21308////99/ ) in sizes up to 38.

    There’s also the possibility of having a gown custom made. Depending on what you want and how the seamstress charges, you may be able to get something spectacular at a deal, without snooty salespeople body shaming you.

    When I got married, I happened to have a very good friend (she was one of my bridesmaids) who was able and willing to make a completely custom gown for me at a deep discount as her wedding present. I got precisely what I wanted, no matter how little it had to do with the popular wedding style of the moment, I got it perfectly fitted to my oddly-shaped body, and I didn’t have to explain over and over again why I didn’t want a train or a veil.

    No matter what anyone tries to tell you, you have lots of options for a wedding gown. Try on a variety of formalwear (or even not-so-formalwear) to see what lines flatter you best. Try on every white blouse you can find until you spot the perfect shade for your skintone.

    Then find yourself an available line of gowns, an Etsy vendor, or a local dressmaker to take care of your needs.

    Oh, and if I may advertise a bit, I also write weekends for Manolo for the Brides ( http://manolobrides.com ). Never teh Bride, who writes through the weeks is awesome on toast, too. We’re both big on skirting the Wedding Industrial Complex to get what you really want at a price you can actually afford.

  16. Thanks everyone for the helpful tips about wedding dresses. We’re leaning towards a Saturday daytime ceremony, and I think something more simple and Etsy-findable could work well for me — I’ve never had much desire to have a merengue-y dress or a cathedral train.

    Sounds like David’s is really a mixed bag. I might still try the one near me in hopes it’s one of the nicer locations. And I’ll run like the wind if it turns out to be one of the mean branches of the chain!

    Finally, although I live in Philadelphia, I have a couple trips to Atlanta coming up. ObliqueRed, if you still remember the name of the plus-size wedding shop, I’d LOVE to have it, ‘cos I think I could schedule a little shopping time while I’m there in August…. :)

  17. Oooh, you’re right about The Devil Made Me Do It. Another Etsy seller doing amazing stuff with upcycled fabrics is brendaabdullah–and MOST of her stuff is generously sized:
    http://brendaabdullah.etsy.com
    If I lived in a place with cold weather…. and had a bigger clothing budget…. I’d love to dress in these.

  18. Thank you so freaking much for bringing my attention to Black Rabbit! I just ordered something for myself since the second job lately means I have a bit extra around (okay if you count student loan debt and such I have negative monies…) so I just ordered this: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=27215708 and can’t wait to see what sort of fun alternative color combos Carina comes up with (she offered from the Convo to give a couple choices since I asked about it!!) :D How freaking awesome?

  19. aliciamaud74, I know they aren’t custom, but I’ve had really good luck with the bathing suits at Junonia. They have great two pieces, so I can get something that fits the top and a different size that fits the bottom.

    If you do get a custom suit and you like it, I’d love to know about it!

    As a former seamstress I’m just stunned at the reasonable prices people are charging for custom stuff. It’s really exciting.

  20. Oooh, I’ve been drooling over Ureshii’s stuff for MONTHS. I want the wrap dress and at least four of their tops. The colors they use are lovely. But alas, I am unemployed, so the pretty clothes will have to wait. :(

    And thanks for all the tips for other stores! If I ever get a new job I’ll know where to spend my first paycheck!

  21. A Sarah! I am interested in learning more about your capsule wardrobe, including what pieces it will contain and how you plan to wear them. I love the idea, just as I love the idea of only buying custom clothes, but for some reason even though I have the means to do either (or enough clothes to not buy any while I save up the means, anyway) for some reason I never go ahead and do it.

    Also a question for those of you who have bought custom fit clothing – who measured you and how accurate was it?

  22. Like, seriously if I could pay a flat fee to someone who would ask me some questions about personal style and color preferences, measure me, and then make me X number of pieces based on that information, I would be so happy.

  23. Ooooh… you mean, I could get pants that fit? Every part of my waist, hips, butt, belly, thighs, rise? Now THAT would be worth shelling out the bucks.

    I bought a swimsuit this month, though, so lovely custom clothes will probably have to wait. Kate, thanks for your awesome bathing suit post a while back- I remembered it, found it again, and had several vendors to choose from when I hunted the wild swimsuit! Vendors who sell colors other than black and navy! This suit is now on its way to me, and I hope it fits comfortably.

    Sorry for threadjacking, I just had to thank Shapely Prose for guiding me through the desert of Too-Small Swimsuits. We now return to your scheduled thread.

    /hijack

  24. Fillyjonk and MezzoSherri, that is exactly the place I meant! I was there 2 years ago, but they were very nice and helpful with the trying-on of many different styles, and turned me on to the halter neck which I now love.

  25. There’s a reason I was avoiding Etsy…you people are evil :). Sigh. Now I’m going to have to get a couple of pieces. The problem is going to be narrowing it down.

  26. Just linked to devilmademedoit and secretlentil, and am just bubbling with lust–they really are getting a bit out of my pricing league, at least unless I save up, and the breaking waves skirt at Devil isn’t my size anyway, but ooh, oooh, double oooh, how gorgeous are these things? The hours these links have taken from me today will never return. :-( But, on the other hand, my fashion horizons, which I thought were doing just fine, have just been broadened WAY the hell out. Thanks…I think.

  27. This is great info — thanks! A few pieces for work would go a long way…I can’t even begin to tell you how sick of J. Jill I am.

    Can’t wait to get home and do a little shopping.

  28. Wow, this is super helpful. I had no idea that Etsy sold that much plus-sized clothing. I am definitely going to check out these shops. Thanks!

  29. I have had incredible luck with multiple items from both annyschoo http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5837677 and idea2lifestyle http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5874423 both of whom were extremely gracious about custom-sizing for a plus-size pregnant customer (and both of whom make some items already fitting plus-sizes, even if they’re not specifically advertised that way.)

    I love the fact that accommodating variously sized people seems to be the rule rather than the exception at etsy. I buy most of my clothes there because the materials used by artisans seems far superior to that (eg polyester/rayon blends, ick) used by “regular” plus-sized stores. It’s like no one believes that fat people might like to wear cotton, linen, or silk and thus be comfortable in their clothes. Maybe they just think that fat people don’t iron?

  30. If I stated it poorly in my first attempt to heart this post, here goes with a second try: Hard-to-fit tall gals (like me) dislike crotches at the knees & dorky too-short sleeves, which is why Etsy custom is better than off the rack. Anybody who craves good fashion for the “off-the-rack challenged” will also love Etsy’s treehouse28, in addition to the talented etsy sellers mentioned in this great post. At my own blog, http://etsylounge.blogspot.com, I showcase custom clothing designers about once a week (click the keyword “clothing” to have a look at some more Etsy brilliance.)

  31. Etsy sellers who include language like “I am unable to work with measurements larger than 43 inches” (on a maker-of-dance-skirts’ store)

    Six-foot-tall dancer girls, boycott line forms to the left.

    *rolls eyes hard at pseudo-seller*

  32. I’m surprised that Ureshii says they have trouble finding plus sized models in Vancouver – I live in Vancouver, and I have lots of friends who, like me, are plus sized beauties. I think I’ll have to contact them! ;) That Sunday dress is so so so gorgeous.

  33. OMG, April D, that DRESS! !!!!!!! And I love it in the colors shown, but how awesome that others are available. OKAY, I am not allowed to buy more clothes this month, but that is going straight into the favorites for later.

    Also, although I have NO INTEREST in supporting someone who is unwilling to even respond to emails from people over 43″ waists, I’ve had trouble finding makers-of-dance-skirts on etsy. is there some secret search trick?

  34. SM, thank you! Heather uses what she calls the “Crayola” method. Buy a box of 64 crayola crayons, and tell her what crayon is the color you want. She takes her crayon to the fabric store and matches it. It works amazingly well!

  35. Also a question for those of you who have bought custom fit clothing – who measured you and how accurate was it?

    I had a tailor measure me, and then sent those measurements to Jane. I think the measurements were pretty accurate, but I still had to go back to that same tailor with the BonBon dress, because it came out just slightly too big all over. Which may, in fact, be because the tailor kept the tape loose, knowing it would be better to make a slightly too big dress and alter it than make a slightly too small one. But I don’t know — the one other time I had a dress custom made, the woman making it measured me in person, and it still came out too big. (That time, at least, I was right there, so she could pin it and do alterations for free.)

    In any case, I’d highly recommend having a tailor do it — and honestly, I’d also recommend asking that the tape be kept a bit loose, rather than gambling on it being perfect just from the measurements. (That can lead to the kind of heartbreak FJ experienced with the above dress, where it is just the TINIEST BIT too fucking small, and you can’t do anything about it. Too big is usually pretty easy to fix.)

  36. I had my mom measure me, and it fit perfectly. But my mom also was a make-your-own-clothser, so she knew what she was doing. Heather doesn’t cut to the measurements — she builds a form in your size and builds the dress on it (assuming she doesn’t have one already).

    But she WILL NOT hem. For the exact reason that slightly off ruins the whole dress. So she’ll send it to you and you’ll have to take it to a tailor for hemming.

  37. Kate, did the tailor give you any hassle about measuring you so that you could then send those measurements to someone else? I have been meaning to develop a relationship with a tailor, but as of yet have not, so I don’t know if they will take kindly to some ruffian off the street demanding a measuring service.

  38. She totally didn’t, but I am a good customer (and did eventually spend money to have the dress altered there), so that may have influenced her. I would think many would do it without complaint even if they didn’t know you, though — it takes all of 2 minutes and builds goodwill.

  39. Elusis, anyone who considers a 30″ waist a size XL isn’t worth buying from. Mine is 32″ and I’m usually a L…

    And FJ, I want that dress. So pretty!

  40. @Siobhan–that is one of the prettiest wedding dresses I’ve seen–and you look gorgeous in it!

  41. @MamaD: Thank you — but it’s really all Heather — we did EVERYTHING via email, she’s just amazing. When I took it to get it hemmed (the one thing she won’t do — she says that even 1/8″ off can ruin the dress) the tailor was in transports over how well made it was. And it really was — solid and fabulous.

  42. I know I already said this, but I continue to be terrifically grateful about all the great advice y’all have shared about wedding dresses — or, as per @Twistie, whatever dress I choose to wear at my wedding. :)

    And let me just add my voice to the chorus of praise for @Siobhan’s dress: you look lovely!!! My own style preferences are a little more modern (I’d like http://tinyurl.com/95bxgv with a shorter skirt, or maybe http://tinyurl.com/c6zq9n with a slightly fuller skirt — of course all of this is being chosen without any real sense of whether those dress styles will look good on ME…), but your dress is gorgeous, as are you in it.

    Another question for Etsy clothes buyers: any recommendations for custom made tailored-looking slacks? I’ve seen lots of great dresses and skirts, and some wonderful comfy pants I’d happily wear every off-work hour I get, but no slacks yet that would be appropriate for my in-office time.

    Thanks again!

  43. Long time lurker, first time commenter…just wanted to say how much I LOVE missbrache’s clothing, she was soo nice to work with and made me her super cute black and white polka dot swing dress, its so comfy I’ve been wearing it around all summer long and she tailored it perfectly to my body which was fantastic. I wish I could attach a picture of me wearing it but don’t know how since this is my first time commenting…

  44. I apply the same logic to Etsy shopping as I do to mall shopping — if the only clothes on display are on thin women or Barbie-esque mannequins, and they don’t show off their plus-sized wares, I tend to assume that the plus-sized stuff doesn’t look as good or isn’t made as well. Why else would they hide it in the back of the store?

    A lot of people who make garments have no idea how to size up their designs properly, or have no idea what kind of styles are more flattering on bigger women. If they show a skinny model wearing a small size and have a footnote saying “I can make this in plus sizes too!” I doubt that they really know how.

  45. I actually think this would make an amazing wedding dress! This site makes me wish I were still a goth.

    Brenda, okay, nobody’s forcing you. More for me.

  46. Don’t get me wrong, I love Etsy, I’ve got a store there. I agree that it’s probably easier to find good plus-sized clothes there than in more mainstream shopping venues.

    It was the bit about the ones who have a standard size range happily opening their borders to paying customers who want larger sizes — I dunno, just didn’t strike me as being the dream come true that it sounded like.

    Apologies, I’m having a very cynical day and am putting my foot in my mouth way more often than I usually do.

  47. I actually think this [link to alienskin.co.uk] would make an amazing wedding dress! This site makes me wish I were still a goth.

    I’m not especially Goth-like, but yeah, that dress TOTALLY makes the list of possibilities. Fabulous!!

  48. I’m trying to be positive about this, I really am, but I go searching on the site and I just find tons of stuff tagged “plus_sized” with pictures that are far from it, and it makes me sad. Sorry if I’m pissing in everyone’s cornflakes.

  49. You’re not pissing in our cornflakes, you’re pissing in your own. We’re all talking about great stuff we got on Etsy from body-positive dressmakers who haven’t hired models in every size and shape they can sew for. You don’t have to take part in that conversation, or purchase those clothes, if you don’t feel like it.

  50. Well, Brenda, that is one of the reasons we are recommending that people try out body-positive stores that *aren’t* marked specifically as plus size specialists. It’s totally fine if this doesn’t float your boat, but I’m not really sure why you think people shouldn’t try this out. As for the plus size stuff being lower quality if they don’t show it, maybe you missed the part of the post where, for instance, the Ureshii women said they haven’t been able to find plus size fit models yet.

  51. “I’m not really sure why you think people shouldn’t try this out.”

    Heh. Money, I guess? That’s why I won’t be trying it out, but people who have got the money definitely should!

    If I really needed a new dress I could drop a hundred bucks on it, but I can’t afford to ‘try’ new things that I don’t already know will work. I can think of one or two shops that have not failed me in the past, and I’ll go there where I can try things on and make sure I get something that will work. It’s just my own sour grapes, don’t worry about it.

  52. Speaking as someone who does product photography for artisans — much of the time you are seeing a “skinny/not skinny/whatever” model because that is who was handy and free; I have had exactly one client in several years with the budget to *hire* models. Often they don’t have the budget to hire me to take pictures, even with my steepest discount, unless they band together with several other vendors.

  53. If I really needed a new dress I could drop a hundred bucks on it, but I can’t afford to ‘try’ new things that I don’t already know will work.

    Brenda, I really empathize with what you’ve said here, and I hope you don’t mind if I offer you a slightly different perspective.

    I’m a total Etsy newbie, but a lot of the vendors I’ve surfed by in my first few days exploring the site seem to have one model in all their pics — half the time I wonder if it’s the vendor herself, or maybe a best friend who has the patience to pose for all those pictures gratis. So my (rose-colored glasses?) interpretation of seeing non-plus-sized models is just to accept that the vendor/friend in question has a body with a different setpoint than mine.

    BUT, there’s still that niggling concern — “what if that difference in body setpoint means she doesn’t quite know how to construct clothing for plus sizes?” This is why I’m finding this whole conversation to be so helpful, because I’m able to see folks reporting that such-and-such vendor really DOES know how to construct clothes for plus sizes, because I can read comments by real live Shapelngs who have received wonderful clothes from that vendor.

    Obviously, YMMV. That’s totally cool.

  54. half the time I wonder if it’s the vendor herself, or maybe a best friend who has the patience to pose for all those pictures gratis.

    I’ve also seen instances in which the model also has an Etsy shop, and therefore modeling for other shops brings publicity to her own.

  55. internet!

    Brenda Shaw, I see what you’re saying about expense, but a lot of custom-made clothes from etsy are cheaper than what you might be able to get from a tailor in person. So some people might consider it worth the risk.

  56. Handmade clothes are generally going to have steeper price tags than mass-produced clothes–it’s pretty hard to avoid the basic economics of the situation. But if you factor in the environmental and ethical costs of clothing made overseas under dubious labor conditions and shipped across the world, and the eventual cost of quality differences, THEN it makes a lot more sense to buy directly from the person who designed and made the garment.

    There’s also a way to search Etsy for local crafters–”shop local” under the buy option–to avoid unnecessary shipping waste, and its attendant costs. You can save a little money, and maybe make a valuable local contact. There’s also an instant gratification aspect of buying something on Etsy, and having it the same day by meeting the seller at a convenient coffeeshop or library.

  57. Also to add to the last few points about cost, for those who often have to get clothes tailored because inseams and sleeves are too long, waists need to be taken in because they’re very curvy, etc, if you factor in the fact that you won’t need to do that on a custom made garment the price can come out more reasonable than you’d think. I’m actually considering a few of these partly because some of the vendors are willing to customise length on dresses at no cost, and for me just above the knee is more flattering than just below, which is where things often hit because i’m short.

    My only complaint about etsy so far is that I’d like to see more stuff that’s really tailored, in less stretchy fabrics. I see lots of pencil skirts, for example, but they’re mostly in soft stretchy fabrics, which actually aren’t ideal for a pencil skirt.

  58. As an Etsy seller (www.miribelladesigns.etsy.com), I can vouch for using either yourself or one friend as a model. Admittedly, I make/sell jewelry, so size isn’t an issue in the same way (and I gave up on using human models a while ago), but most of us are very small businesses and can’t afford to hire models in a variety of shapes and sizes.

  59. But if you factor in the environmental and ethical costs of clothing made overseas under dubious labor conditions and shipped across the world, and the eventual cost of quality differences, THEN it makes a lot more sense to buy directly from the person who designed and made the garment.

    I mean, this is a nice thought in principle, but it doesn’t actually help people who really can’t afford it.

    I do want to point out Kate’s point above – sometimes with custom-made garments, you might still need to get them tailored for them to fit perfectly. Your measurements will help a lot to make sure the garment is much closer to your size than clothes off the rack, so it’s less likely, but it still happens.

  60. HI,

    I’m glad all these great Etsy shops are being mentioned. I, too, have an Etsy shop and I am constantly amazed with the talent found there.

    I use plus size models for my swimsuits. They are my friends and they love to model. I’m lucky in that regard. I usually barter with them. They get to pick whatever swimsuit they want!

    I wil be adding more items for the fall season. Have a great summer season. :)
    http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6148943

  61. Oh, the sticky-out butt. I haz it. My little sister’s fat-fuel tank is in her stomach; She has what we call a ‘tucked under butt,” or tuckbutt for short. Yay etsy!

  62. I am very late to the party but I needed to post. I saw this thread and about died of happiness. It is so hard to find great clothes in my size. In particular, finding quality conservative business suits is the absolute worst thing ever. I have been struggling with this for months as my school’s interview season approaches. So after reading this post I looked on etsy for tailored suits and found a shop called Vigilante Labs: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5651674. They are plus size friendly and make custom suits!

    I would love to hear more about etsy, it is such a fantastic clothing option.

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