Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Plus size pattern part 2

The most popular post on my blog has been my list of plus size patterns, so in that vein, I decided to do a part two. Please note some links are my affiliate links, which help me fund fashion school and buy fabric. Thanks!


Burda has a bunch of gorgeous patterns, many of them in plus sizes. I love that they show plus size models in actual garments and not just line drawings. There are patterns for coats, dresses, tops, bottoms, separates and suits. Many styles are very fashion forward and based on European trends. *Please note that Burda patterns do NOT include seam allowance so you will have to trace the patterns onto paper and then add (usually 5/8" for garments) your desired seam allowance). But this is actually easier for fitting corrections to be made.

Kwik Sew

Kwik Sew has a limited number of plus size patterns available, but from the patterns of theirs I've sewn they are drafted well. They really excel in stretch knit garments. If you're bust is 45" or less and hip 47" or less you can fit into the XL of their straight sized patterns, which opens up a lot more choices. Or if you're open to going the extra step to grade patterns up of course. But their sizing seems to be much more true to life than the other big name brands in my experience. They also have some excellent sewing books that include patterns. I have the Kwik Sew Lingerie Book, and Swim and Action Wear book. The Easy Sewing book is a great primer on sewing knits and stretch fabrics especially.


Jalie is a Canadian pattern company that gets great reviews at Pattern Review. I've yet to sew with them, but it is a goal for the new year! They have a lot of dancewear, yoga, workout type clothing. So think knits:) They have a very generous size range from size US 4-22 on the same envelope. There's a whole section on their website for underwear patterns:)

Have any other favorite plus size pattern designers or companies? I'd love to hear. Leave a comment below. Next I think I'll start compiling lingerie patterns, not necessarily plus size because that would be a very short list. What do you think?

Plus size lingerie patterns

One of my most popular posts is my list of plus size patterns sewing here. I'm going to be doing a follow up part 2 post soon. But I came across a great resource that I had to share. I couldn't wait for a full post.

Barbara Deckert Designs has some great plus size lingerie designs. She has written a book Sewing for Plus Sizes: Creating Clothes That Fit & Flatter (Amazon affiliate link). Barbara specializes in patternmaking and fitting for plus sizes. She has several lingerie patterns on Craftsy that are sized 1X-6X and include a full slip or cami, 2 styles of half slips, and a panty girdle. Images below are not mine, I believe the are Ms. Deckert's but they come via Craftsy's site. If you click on any of the links of pictures you will go directly to her pattern page on Craftsy to see all of her offerings (Craftsy affiliate link). I'm super excited about her individual cup sized cami/full slip pattern. Let me know if you sew it up first!

Goddess of Glam Cami Source

Hippy Slippy Half Slip Source

New website!

Still under development but the new site is up at marlenaboutique.com. I'm in the process of transferring the blog posts over there. I'm still debating on whether to keep this blog updated or move everything over there. What do you think?

Making a swim suit with Folding For Stretch Fabric process

Good tips for working with knits that apply to lingerie design and construction.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sizély Plus - Desfile para 8ª Edição do FWPS - Verão 2014

Curvy Couture runway presentation at FFFWeek 2013

Curvy Couture runway presentation at FFFWeek 2013

Apparently embedded video isn't allowed for this one, but it is worth the click to check out the beautiful designs!

Moda Plus Size Cachopa Brasil Verão 2013 @ FWPS YouTube

Simone Perele & BGM Models "Curvy Couture" Competition 2013

Lingerie Promo Inspiration

So 2013 is drawing to a close, I have big goals for 2014 so stay tuned! Getting all my ducks in a row to quote my Mom:) I came across this great lingerie line called Curvy Kate via The Lingerie Journal, that specializes in D+ cup sizes. They are UK based but seem to be carried in the US as well. I just love their philosophy, styling and beautiful, curvy models. What inspiration!!!

Without further ado, here's a couple of their promo videos so that you can see these gorgeous pieces in motion!



Bra Fitting 101

Can you tell I have a thing for infographics? Well as long as they are useful! Apparently 80% of American women wear the wrong size bra! Well never fear here is a handy infographic to simply the measuring process for you. Then you will be off the hard part of finding a comfortable one that is supportive and doesn't look like matronly!

Bra Fitting - Infographic
Find your best fitting bras at Herroom.

Dress for your shape part 2

This is a beautiful infographic to follow up my post about finding your body shape. If you want more information about how to dress for your particular body shape and you're a curvy lady I highly recommend Hoax Fashion Formula by Mary Duffy (using my Amazon affliate link helps me buy more fabric). Sure it's a dated book, but you can't beat the wealth of information tailored for full figured women.

Shape Stylist Infographic

Created by IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel

Accessorize your curvy style

Accessorize Your Curvy Style: Hot Trends for 2013

Created by IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel

Curvy Girls show

Has anyone seen this show? What is this channel, I need to find it!

Curvy Girls, Season 2 on NUVOtv

Created by IGIGI by Yuliya Raquel

Monday, December 23, 2013

Plus size stylists

I'm starting a resource list of personal/fashion stylists that cater to curvy/plus size clientele. If you would like to be added to my list please me an email to rosa @ tortilladesigns.com [no spaces] with the subject line "Plus size stylist"

Friday, December 13, 2013

Closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?


Today's post is a little bit different topic than usual. As much as I love to share about lingerie, I understand that sometimes you actually have to wear clothes over your dainties. Below is an email excerpt from one of my style icons Diana Pemberton-Sikes. I've personally bought almost everything she has put out because it is that good! She knows style and how to teach it! Wardrobe Magic is one the first fashion or style courses I purchased and it has been worth it's virtual weight in gold. I'd really appreciate it you chose to purchase this awesome program using my affiliate link.


“I want to look good without spending a lot of
money.  What's the best way to use my clothing

This question - or variations thereof - regularly
hits my inbox from readers all over the world.
While we may not all speak the same language,
there are a few things upon which we can all
agree that make us take leave of our senses: rich
chocolate, handsome men, and clothes that are too
cute to leave behind at the store.

So what's a gal to do, particularly when she's
been saddled with champagne tastes on a beer

First, set down those glossy fashion magazines
and back away from them slowly.  They can be
dangerous, particularly if you don't know how to
use them.  $700 pants?  $500 shoes?  Who can
afford to buy these things?  Not many!  Look at
what's popular, swipe some styling ideas, then go
replicate the looks in prices that you can

Secondly, start viewing any “must have” list with
healthy skepticism.  These are the latest trends
that the designers are showing that will be dated
by this time next year.  Some will be cute, true,
but others will only be cute on the models that
show them.  Once you learn what looks good on you
and what doesn't, you'll be a lot less
susceptible to buying what others say you “must
have” each season.

Finally, invest in classic pieces that work well
on your body.  It's the single best way to get
the most mileage out of your clothing budget,
because you can wear classic styles for several
years without ever looking dated.  Top a classic
base with a trendy accessory, and you'll look “au
courant” without going in the red.

So what exactly ARE classic styles, and how do
you know one when you see it?

Classics are styles that have been popular for
years because of their clean lines and
utilitarian features.  While trends are instantly
recognizable by length, pattern, or decoration,
classics transcend time with their cut, style,
and fabric.  They can be worn alone, layered,
dressed up or dressed down, and can be made to
look current by adding something trendy.

Examples of classics include:





    Sleeveless Sheath

    Tailored Jacket

    Crisp shirt

    Trench Coat

    Kelly bag

    Penny loafer

There are some years when these styles are more
popular and some years when they're less, but
they continue to sell well because they fit a
variety of body types and offer a simple, unfussy
silhouette.  Get them in basic, solid colors, and
you can wear them for years to come.

But won't you get bored with the “same old

Only if you have no imagination. 

The neat thing about classics is that they not
only look great all by themselves, they serve as
a wonderful backdrop to flashier pieces.  Add a
snazzy jacket, funky hosiery, or a great pair of
shoes, and you'll be able to brilliantly showcase
the new piece using your classic staples as a

Your friends, family, and coworkers will think
you spend a fortune on your clothes, when in
reality you're merely adding a few “to die for”
pieces each year.  It's a clever way to expand
your wardrobe choices without overspending your
budget or over-cramming your closet.

So the next time you're in a quandary as to what
to add to your wardrobe, opt for classics.
They're clean, versatile, easy-to-wear, and make
the most of your budget.  Dressing well just
doesn't get any easier than this!


Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image
consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook
that shows women how to transform their unruly closets
into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online at: Wardrobe Magic

Monday, December 9, 2013

Supporting Independent Designers

In the past week or so I've come across 2 great articles about supporting independent designers. One was specifically about the price of handmade garments aka answering "why does this cost so much" question. The other article is specifically 5 key points on why handmade lingerie so special. I'll share the links in a minute. First I'll give you my $0.02.

Of course I'm a bit biased since I'm an independent business owner myself. But I also walk the walk. I try to support local businesses, shop at the farmer's market and make informed choices. I'm not perfect and yes you will see me in big box stores on occasion. As an independent designer I am very aware of the blood, sweat and tears that go into creating your passion. Making something from nothing. Starting with a concept and seeing that thing through to the end, a finished work of art. I know from experience how hard it can be to part with that thing of beauty, you have dreamt about for months hoping it is going to a good home that will appreciate it. I also know about mean customers, crazy show organizers, wondering if you have a hobby or a business when someone tries to talk you down on price. But I know personally, I feel at my personal best when I'm making something with my hands. I love the creative process. I love the feeling of fine fabrics and trimmings in my hands. I love thinking through construction processes. I love the smile on a customer's face when they see my piece. And that my friend, makes it all worth it.

On pricing

On handmade lingerie

Friday, December 6, 2013

Lingerie Sewing Bookshelf

I'm developing quite the little collection of lingerie themed books. Some are coffee table books, most sewing or pattern making (hard to find I tell you) and other that suit my fancy. Here's some of my favorites. I will either add to this list or add a new post as I add to my collection. Most of these are available on Amazon, and if you purchase through my link I'll get a few bucks to help launch my collections so it's a win, win.

5 Key Plus Size Fashion Tips Every Woman Needs to Know

No matter your size, shape or weight there are some universal tips for every plus size woman to know. Here's 5 to get you started on your way to a more fashionable you.

1-Wear clothes that fit. Your size will likely vary from designer to designer, store to store and even from style to style (ie you may wear a 18 in the bootcut pants but a 22 in the skinnies). Don't stress or worry about the little label in your clothes, do one sees it but you and remember it doesn't matter. What matters is that it fits well and you look good. It's best to get good, accurate measurements of yourself.

2-Invest in good quality clothing. For some reason, most of the plus size clothing is cheaply made and expensively priced. Designers seem to think curvy women should spend their hard earned money on sack cloths that will fall apart as soon as you put it in the wash, pu-leez. A good quality garment might cost a bit more up front but will last you way longer and will cost less per wearing and look better.

3-Tailoring is your best friend. A little nip and tuck here, an inch or two off the hem can take a ho-hum garment from basic to fabulous. This is especially important for curvy women, who's designers seem to think that sack cloths are attractive (refer to #2). If you don't know how to do this yourself find someone who can.

4-Wear the right undergarments! Pretty please and thank you. The way your clothes look on the outside starts with the right foundation, just like building a house. Think of your bra and panties as the foundation (in the "olden days" that is what they were referred as) or structure of your house and your clothes as the exterior. Your makeup, jewelry and accessories are are the embellishments like photos, furniture and home decor. Good quality undergarments are not cheap especially if you're busty. However don't go overboard and try to squeeze all of your beautiful curves away by doubling up on Spanx just to fit into a certain dress (see #1).

5-Don't be afraid of color. There are millions of other colors besides black. If you are afraid of wearing other colors start with baby steps. Try adding a colorful accessory like a scarf, necklace, handbag or shoes. There are a lot of internet resources and books at the library to help you find out what colors look good for your skin/eye/hair composition (look for color analysis).

Be bold and daring, you have nothing to lose! Just try mixing it up and see if you like it!