Sewing Patterns for Pear-shapes

Welcome to the new-look blog, what do you think?! I’ve been working away in the background to give the blog a little refresh, I used to work in Systems back in another lifetime and it was so refreshing to work with coding and widgets and all that fun stuff again, I hope you like it! Anyway, after my post last week about how I made a SO MANY changes to make the Arenite Pants work for my pear-shaped body, it got me thinking about all the patterns that DID work well for my shape. I received so many messages from so many of you on this subject that I thought I would pull together a little post about what patterns worked for me with no/minimal adjustments to take into account my hip to waist ratio. As I am sure most pear-shaped people will be intimately familiar with grading out several sizes, or doing a ‘full seat adjustment’ to get a pattern to work for your body, it’s like the holy grail if you are actually able to make a pattern straight out of the packet! (of course I am aware that most bodies will need some sort of adjustments, this isn’t exclusive to pear shapes, it’s just so fun when you can dive straight into a pattern for a change!)

I would like to start by saying, that I love being pear shaped, I think all bodies are fabulous and I will not hold space for any sort of fatphobia on my blog. So, you will not hear me use the word ‘flattering’ and none of the patterns I recommend will be to make my hips look smaller. I have chosen these patterns based on what I’ve made and what needed the least amount of adjusting to work for wide hips and a narrower waist/bust. As a straight-sized person, I recognise that some of these makes are from a long time ago and these aren’t always from inclusive designers, I am sorry about that. I know the term pear-shaped has been under fire in the sewing community lately with people raging against being compared to fruits and vegetables. As someone with a 17inch difference between my waist and hips, I like the term pear-shaped and will continue to use it in reference to myself. It is a quick and easy descriptor of my shape. If I don’t say ‘I am pear shaped’ then what am I going to say? ‘I am someone who has a vast difference between my waist and hip measurements?’ when discussing pattern adjustments or size info this is a mouthful to say every time.

Named Clothing Sointu Tee

Top Tops!

Obviously tops are something that many of us can just make out of the packet as rarely are they snug enough round the hips to cause us pears much of a problem. I particularly liked the Named Clothing Sointu Tee (pictured above) as it is lovely and boxy but can be cinched in with a belt.

A Peppermint Peplum Top refashioned from a dress

Emily, the designer for In the Folds also made several free patterns for Peppermint Magazine and the Peppermint Peplum Top is another swingy top with generous ease in the hips. Again, I lengthened this one ( I spend a lot of time crawling around on the floor playing with my son, so cropped tops often feel like I am going to end up flashing people!) and even with the extra length, there is lots of room in the hip. The In the Folds Collins top is a big tent shape. I lengthened this one by 3-4 inches and even though it’s no longer cropped I had no problems with it fitting over my hips.

In the Folds Collins Top

Swingy Dresses

Dresses and jumpsuits are where many of us are going to have to make the most adjustments, so I have had a really good think about which dresses (I am not a jumpsuit gal – how do you pee?!) are the ones that needed the fewest adjustments for me. Obviously, if I have made a size straight out of the packet, that means I will have less ease in the hip than someone else who isn’t a few sizes bigger in the hip, that is a personal choice and one that is often widely discussed when talking about fatphobia in the sewing community. Why should those with bigger measurements have less ease than their smaller-sized counterparts? They shouldn’t. Simple as that. So if I have chosen to make something with less ease because I didn’t want to adjust the pattern I recognise that I have a ton of privilege to be able to make that choice!

My love for gathered smock/sack dresses knows no bounds, so I have a few different (but admittedly very similar) dress patterns if you like a gathered skirt and no fitting at the waist. For all of these dresses, I just chose the size that I measured at the bust – the ease at the waist and hips was enough for me to not bother grading. HOWEVER, if you want to make the skirt based on your true measurements and claim that ease that is rightfully yours, then bear in mind you could easily cut the bodice out in one size (say 14) and then cut the skirt pieces out in your hip size (say 18) and all it would need is some extra gathering to make it fit, easy peasy – no grading required!

The green dress is the Tessuti Lisa Dress

The two orange/ochre colour dresses are both Sew Liberated Hinterland Dresses

The denim one is the Merchant and Mills Ellis Dress

And the blue and white Ikat dress is the Sew Liberated Metamorphic Dress

Yeah, I live in gathered sack dresses. Sorry not sorry.

Grainline Studio Farrow Dress

Another excellent pattern for pear shaped people is the Grainline Studio Farrow Dress, I don’t think I’ve come across anyone that this doesn’t look fabulous on! I have made two and love wearing them – those pockets are simply excellent!

Finally, I also highly recommend the Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs, they have two views, a closer fitting one with a side zip that would certainly need grading for me, but they also have a looser fit view with no closures that cinches in at the waist using ties. It creates a kind of paperbag waist effect in the back (see pic above) and I made a pair in this view with no adjustments! Love them!

Wish List Patterns…

There are a few patterns that I have my eye on that I think would look excellent on pear shapes and would require likely no adjustments. The patterns I am particularly liking are:

Merchant and Mills Florence Top

In the Folds Rushcutter Dress

Wiksten Shift Dress

Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown

Have you made any of these? Would you recommend them for pear shapes? I’d love to know what your fave patterns for pears are, I love a fitted garment as much as the next person, but sometimes grading sizes and full seat adjustments need to take a seat and an easy win is needed for once!

12 thoughts on “Sewing Patterns for Pear-shapes

    1. Ooh I haven’t tried either of those but I do like Tilly patterns. The Francoise needed a LOT of adjustments because of the dart position being near the hips so I’ll be sure to give one of these a try!


  1. This is so cool – as a fellow pear, thank you!

    I have made the Wiksten Shift and I found it was weirdly a little challenging to fit. The pattern actually said to choose the size based on your bicep measurement, but if I did that there would have only been 1 inch of ease around the hips. (I was a size 12 bicep and a size 22 hip!) I’ve made a few versions to get the size right in the upper and lower bodies. I ended up making a sort of weird modification of cutting the lower back piece wider than the pattern and gathering it more (kind of the yoke-back equivalent of your suggestion for dresses with bodices where you can gather in a bigger sized skirt for more ease)

    I love sack dresses too and patterns that fit and look good on a wide range of bodies. Thanks again for this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Vicky, thanks for this post from a fellow pear! I love Anna Allen’s Demeter Dress. You might like some of Deer and Doe’s patterns as well, most work very well for pears. Also totally love your post on your wonderful Arenite pants hack – thank you so much for doing all that work, they look great! I may be brave enough to try this now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this post, from a fellow pear! I like a lot of Deer and Doe patterns, and am in love with Anna Allen’s Demeter Dress. Thanks as well for your great post on your lovely Arenite pants, I really wanted to make the hacked version and can now follow your steps to do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve only sewn one pattern from Afternoon Patterns, but I’ve sewn the Fern shorts at least 5 times and I love love love them so. They have front and back darts so they accommodate a waist/hip difference really well!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sewaholic Thurlow trousers! I’m new to sewing but these look promising. I’m in the process of sewing them in a cotton twill (I’m trying to make fitting adjustments with a muslin at the moment – very daunting, think I’m going to try lengthening crotch length first.) I have to press on though as it’s going to be so novel to eventually be able to make a pair of trousers that actually fit my pear shape!


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