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Topic: Help! Sun dress for a big, big girl.  (Read 5898 times)
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Parilla
« on: May 16, 2005 11:10:01 AM »

If people were fonts, I'd be Helvatica Bold.  I'm a great big girl.  I have big hips, a big bottom, and giant breasts.  I'm not saying that I'm ugly - I've got a nice waist and shapely legs - but everything about me is definitly built on a wider sort of scale.  I'm sort of a horizontally stretched hourglass.

This is all fine and dandy, until I go shopping.  I can find plenty of attractive long skirts, and pretty blouses, but finding a pretty sun dress is pure heck.  I've been looking for three years now, and apparantly, if you're above a size 18, you're supposed to dress like a kindergarden teacher.  I don't want to dress like a kindergarden teacher.  I want to dress like a spicy hot mamma who wears flowers in her hair, and I darn well deserve a dress that'll let me do that.  

Does anyone know where I can find a pattern like this for a size 20/22?  Preferably one that doesn't make me look like a bloated tart (I'm aiming for a sexy, but fully clothed look)  or a librarian? I'm not the best seamstress, but I can follow directions and I'm patient...especiall y if there's a chance of looking really good at the end of it.

And does anyone else have this kind of problem?  I know I'm big and fat, but that doesn't mean I should look like I'm trying to hide!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2005 11:16:04 AM by Parilla » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Dolores
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2005 11:50:55 AM »

Oh Honey, welcome to my world!
I'm a US size 16, with a few extra lumps, bumps & bulges, and if I look hard enough (and my patience doesn't wear me out) I can find the odd shirt or pants that look ok-ish....but dresses? no way!
And I don't want to look like an old frump either, i want to look like a goddess.....anyway, I'm hoping to overcome this lack-of-dresses with my new (and quite fabulous) pattern software, which doesn't help you at all, I know, but could you post a pic of yourself( so i can see your overall look) and I'm sure between us & everyone else on this board we can come up with some killer frocks.
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alicein518
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005 12:10:31 PM »

I did a little research and it looks like your best bet is to check out patterns by Butterick, Simplicity and McCall's.  I checked their sites and they have the best options overall.  Variety of size, shaping, and style.  Here's the links.

http://store.sewingtoday.com/cgi-bin/butterick/shop.cgi
http://www.simplicity.com/
http://www.mccallpattern.com/dresses/page-1
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Parilla
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2005 12:11:37 PM »

I have managed to find a few dresses that don't look like I should be huddling behind library stacks, but they're completely inappropriate for anything other than street walking!  How come there isn't a midddle ground between granny dresses and chartruese mini skirts? More to the point, what large woman would want to wrap her thighs in something that screams "Look! Look! Puffy!"?

Le sigh..

Thankyou for your words of encouragement!  I'll take and post a few photos of myself when I get home.  Yay, digital camera!

And yay, thankyou Alice!  I'll check those out right now.  I really appreciate it!
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2005 12:19:24 PM »

Don't lose hope...things are a-changin', slowly but surely.  For instance, have you seen the (readymade) clothes at Torrid?  They started out all punk and goth, but they have definitely expanded into more mainstream plus size fashion trends.  I have a light blue sundress from there that I love.  Looking through their website might give you a few ideas...

I also think Simplicity has a selection of "junior" plus patterns now, too.  They might be smaller through the bust than "standard" plus size patterns, but look a lot less like schoolteacher clothes.

One of the tricks I like to use is to look at a standard pattern and think of how I can change it.  Maybe a standard dress pattern could make a great sundress with a couple of alterations -- like leaving off the sleeves, or shortening the skirt.  Also, the right fabric makes a lot of difference.  Look at formalwear patterns, too.  Who says that they have to be floor length and made of satin?  Use a nice stretch cotton twill, leave out the boning, and voila: sundress.  Simplicity 5275 looks promising.  Imagine view C without sleeves in a nice retro print.  Sweet. Wink

Hope that helps!  (A lot of us have been through the same sort of thing...)
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2005 08:14:11 AM »

I saw an old post about plus size dress.
 First i'd like to say that there is no true god besides the creator. He is the one and only.
And secondly, I know it is hard to find pretty dresses but how about a making one to your own liking. Like a dress that has a full skirt and bodice attached. I heard that they flatter the body for big girls better than other shapes.
Or what about a strapless dress with a shrug.
I don't know just my thoughts.
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lilylee
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2005 08:22:38 AM »

I thought of this pattern right away when I read your post....
http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M4826.htm?tab=dresses&page=1
Nice full skirt, waist shaping etc.

I am sure it could be easily adjusted to what ever size you need.
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Inna
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2005 08:51:52 AM »

This is my world too - I am a size 22. I am making my own because i can't find anything either.
I want to make these http://www.modemerr.com/index.html - All of them!
A simple skirt with a bit of added flare at the bottom and a top to keep my boobs in place - what more can a girl ask for.
Let me know what you are looking for and maybe I can help you design a pattern for it - I am not an expert but I will share what I know.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2005 09:06:51 AM by Inna » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2005 09:15:52 AM »

I really like http://www.simplicity.com/index.cfm?cat=1&type=1&sec=8&id=16&startrow=1   dress 5110.  You could even take the whispy arm things and turn it into a strappy dress if you wish.. and the flowyness would be slimming. 

I'm a librarian, and I must say.. everyone I work with is pretty well dressed!  No buns, glasses, or anything! 
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2005 09:37:05 AM »

Yay for people who are comfy with their bodies!  And for librarians.   Grin  I don't know of any good patterns, because I never sew with them.  Have you ever made your own?  For example, if you have a cute top you like, make one based on it and then add a simple circle skirt or something like that.  Although not plus-sized, I have a tough time finding patterns that fit me right, and once you learn to work without them it's a lot freer.

Best of luck!   Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2005 09:50:27 AM »

This is my world too - I am a size 22. I am making my own because i can't find anything either.
I want to make these http://www.modemerr.com/index.html - All of them!
A simple skirt with a bit of added flare at the bottom and a top to keep my boobs in place - what more can a girl ask for.
Let me know what you are looking for and maybe I can help you design a pattern for it - I am not an expert but I will share what I know.

Aren't those clothes the cutest?  Angela (the owner/designer) is a friend of mine and super sweet.  I know it's not the same as making your own but she'll totally make clothes with custom sizing.  Wait til you see the new ones. 

As for patterns some of the Khalia Ali (sp?) I saw in either Butterick or Simplicity weren't bad.  I'm sure with some minor modification and cool fabric you can totally make something fun.
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Parilla
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2005 10:32:22 AM »

I think I'll try this pattern:

http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M4826.htm?tab=dresses&page=1

It's got that lovely cross-over look that's so flattering to a large chest, and it'd be a chance to show off my poor neglected waist.  I figure I should be able to size it up by looking at the difference in proportions between a Medium and a Large, and extrapolating how to change things from that - or is that a bad, bad idea? I'm going to need to alter the pattern for modesty's sake - some women should never leave home without wearing a bra.  Maybe I could put a panel across the back...would that need some tailoring?  I know I'll have to put a little piece across the front, behind the place where it crosses over the chest, but I don't think that'd require anything special, really. 

Now I just need to find the right fabric...and some practice fabric, since I don't think I want to leap right into the finished version right away!  Are there any pitfalls I should watch out for?  I was going to use a sturdy sort of cotton.  Does cotton shrink much...?

Help! I've only ever made doll clothes!
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2005 10:51:11 AM »

That's a lovely choice.  I don't know exactly how much cotton shrinks but you should be fine if you wash it first.  That way you won't have any nasty surprises.  The only thing that I can think of to watch out for is to make sure the halter parts are wide enough to cover what you want covered.  I usually cheat and resize by comparing my measurments to the pattern's measurments; figure out how much is added for each size; and then use a washable pencil to draw out the extra allowance. There's a more complicated way which I guess is the right way where you actually cut the pattern in the middle and add tissue paper to size.  Like I said, I cheat.  I think the short cut might only work if you're adding a few inches or so.  Making a test pattern would be a really good idea.  If you plan on making the real dress in cotton, muslin would be a good pattern fabric.  It's light so you can easily see markings and it's cheap.
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nellum
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2005 12:06:28 PM »

Definitely pre-wash your cotton!  A nice twill would be nice... it's sturdy, but not clingy, and really easy to sew (it doesn't slip about on itself).  I don't know what colours flatter you best, but red is sexy on everyone!  Good luck (and post pics when you're done)
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Parilla
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2005 11:48:15 AM »

It'll be at least a week before I have money to go get the fabric and pattern...so I guess I have to wait until then to start.  Sigh.

I think I'll get a nice peach-pink cotton twil.  My complexion is pink and peachy, and my hair is red, so that'll look really good on me - plus, I'll be able to wear my brown sandals with it.  Should I avoid patterned fabrics, since this is my first dressmaking experience?  I know that you have to match up stripes and plaids, but do you have to do the same for florals?  And what sort of price per yard should I be looking at...?

I feel so tense about this, but so excited!  The idea of having a pretty dress is really just great!
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2005 12:08:24 PM »

I wouldn't worry about matching florals unless they're in an obvious straight line.  I don't think you have to stay away from patterns, I would just choose one that is on the smaller scale (think rosebuds instead of bouquets) and not super busy.  Cotton prices vary.  Usually quilting stores sell them between $7-10 a yard and Joann's varies (look for coupons).  I would say make a test pattern first on cotton muslin which I think is $5 or less a yard and then you won't ruin your more expensive fabric if you make a mistake.
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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2005 03:01:18 PM »

I thought of this pattern right away when I read your post....
http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M4826.htm?tab=dresses&page=1
Nice full skirt, waist shaping etc.

I am sure it could be easily adjusted to what ever size you need.
OH MY LORD!  I NEED THAT DRESS! (I am not large around the waist, but around the breasts... this looks like a good dress to show off what God gave me!)
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moody1210
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2005 09:07:46 AM »

have u tried maternity dresses?Huh?
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Misa
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2005 09:15:04 AM »

I just want to say that this is the kind of thing that makes me FURIOUS. I'm a big girl, too. It frustrates me to no end that it is so hard to find decent clothing. There's simply no excuse for it. Why shouldn't we be able to wear nice clothes too?

I hope you're able to find what you're looking for. If you do, be sure to show us the finished dress!!
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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2005 09:58:33 AM »

Another big girl here.  Size 20.  I carry most of my weight in my belly, so fitted dresses really don't work for me.  My most flattering dresses are the ones with princess seams.
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Eibhinn
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2005 09:40:05 PM »

To alter the dress to be bra-wearable (in a DD-cup - I feel your pain) you might want to extend the halter straps to cross in the back. You might need to make the back a little higher to cover your bra as well. You could try to find a halter bra in your size, but if you're more than a b-cup, it'll be next to impossible and I wouldn't recommend it anyway. All of the weight of your breasts will be fulling down on the back of your neck and it's just a recipe for pain and pinched nerves and messing your self all up.

If you can't find a cross-back bra in your size (which is also possible if you're plus b-cup) do what I do:
Find a bra with lots of slack in the straps to extend it (you need a fair bit of length), unstitch both sides, cross over, and restitch. Ridiculous that I need to do this, but don't get me started on bra manufacturers!!

If you're good with drawing, you might want to consider trying what I'm doing to have decent clothes to fit your not-cookie cutter figure:
Get the book How to make sewing patterns by Donald McCunn (it's oldish - 1973 - but appears to still be in print and sold on Amazon.com). I've tried and tried to learn pattern drafting from tonnes of sources and this shows you how to make fitted, tailored clothes to your specific measurements, that you design yourself, in such an easy easy way.
It's probably the best written book I've read on any subject and I can't say enough good things about it. I'm so excited! I'm finally going to have clothes that fit me for the first time since my massive boobs grew in at 14! Hourra!
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2005 09:59:08 PM »

Simplicity 4826! The most flattering ever for an hourglass figure. Look at mine:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=35832.0

Down the page a bit.
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2005 10:03:19 PM »

Nevermind, it's McCalls, not Simplicity, and you already decided to use it! Yay for you!

For extra boob liftage, I skipped the hook and eyes on the back strap and hiked the girls up, pulled it tight and sewed it down that way.

Edit: Forgot to mention, to add a panel in the back just copy the widest part of the boob section in width and everything. You'll need a longer zipper though.
This dress does very well with altering after it's done due to the gathers in the skirt. I made it a size too big and then pinned it to be perfect and sewed down the sides of the bodice.
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2005 02:33:13 PM »

To alter the dress to be bra-wearable (in a DD-cup - I feel your pain) you might want to extend the halter straps to cross in the back. You might need to make the back a little higher to cover your bra as well. You could try to find a halter bra in your size, but if you're more than a b-cup, it'll be next to impossible and I wouldn't recommend it anyway. All of the weight of your breasts will be fulling down on the back of your neck and it's just a recipe for pain and pinched nerves and messing your self all up.

If you can't find a cross-back bra in your size (which is also possible if you're plus b-cup) do what I do:
Find a bra with lots of slack in the straps to extend it (you need a fair bit of length), unstitch both sides, cross over, and restitch. Ridiculous that I need to do this, but don't get me started on bra manufacturers!!

If you're good with drawing, you might want to consider trying what I'm doing to have decent clothes to fit your not-cookie cutter figure:
Get the book How to make sewing patterns by Donald McCunn (it's oldish - 1973 - but appears to still be in print and sold on Amazon.com). I've tried and tried to learn pattern drafting from tonnes of sources and this shows you how to make fitted, tailored clothes to your specific measurements, that you design yourself, in such an easy easy way.
It's probably the best written book I've read on any subject and I can't say enough good things about it. I'm so excited! I'm finally going to have clothes that fit me for the first time since my massive boobs grew in at 14! Hourra!
36 DDD right here, and I look NOTHING like Pamela Anderson Wink
I have found the best bra ever after searching, having custom made bras, buying from Europe, or spending upwards of 90,00$ on a bra....  It's at Addition-Elle, which is interesting because they generally do not have the smaller band sizes, but luckily they do in their CONVERTIBLE bra!!  It can be made into a halter, crossback, or regular bra, and it gives FULL coverage (so no embarassing quadri-boob that happens when they spill out of a demi-cup)!
http://www.addition-elle.ca/en/main.cfm It's the pink one
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2005 03:02:53 PM »

Thanks for the tip re the bra... A Canadian company too, yay!
My only question before driving a couple hundred kms to the nearest store (and yes, I will), do you know just how small the band sizes went? I'm a 34DD - a size that is next to impossible to find...
RE the Pam Anderson comment - I don't look like her either, but I didn't even realize I had large breasts until a friend and I were reading a magazine when I was 14 and we realized that I look a larger bra size than Pam Anderson. Only then did naive me realize what all the boys were staring at.
thanks!
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kate conspiracy
« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2005 06:39:26 PM »

I know this is getting a little off topic, but what a fabulous sundress needs is a fabulous bra!

I love this catalog - http://www.bravissimo.com/
I've never ordered from them but I've been saving up. Since I'm in the US I know the fitting might get a bit difficult and the shipping expensive, but their stuff is just so damn cute.
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Parilla
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2005 08:54:32 AM »

Moody, the only way I will ever wear maternity clothing is i I'm pregnant.  I realize that some large women wear it, and that it looks very flattering, and I know that the stuff at Target is very stylish and cute - but its still maternity clothing, and I'm not pregnant.

I mysteriously got money from my bank (which is really, really startling and a little scary, when you don't realize its coming to you), so I think I might be able to go this weekend and get the fabric and pattern.  Failing this weekend, I can go next weekend...sigh.  I get monthly paychecks.

I took some photos of me with my shirt pulled against me, so you can actually see my figure.  Then I promptly lost them.  Yay me.  However, I have this, which was taken around Christmas.




I'm modelling the hats I made for my friends Becky and Kevin.  Spiffy, no?  I wanted to keep the dragon hat..

And...yeah. Bras.  God, I hate shopping for bras.  I've seriously considered getting a bit tipsy before going out to buy them, because it gets *depressing*.  My Mom goes with me, and she's got a great sense of humor, thank heavens.  She keeps me laughing.

How come its so hard to find decoration?  I want something sexy, not something that looks designed for heavy duty restraint.  And when there is decoration, why do they put it on the most awkward spots?  People are going to notice my chest without my having flower-shaped lace impressions over my nipples.  There should be some attractive, sexy, and above all, *flat* decoration where the straps meet the cups, and maybe, maybe on the bottom of the cups, where a shirt touches loosely.  Not where it looks like I'm begging for attention and chafing!

/rant

Thankyou for the suggestion, Erindezeeu.  I miss wearing the cross-strap bras - I think they held things up and looked much more flattering in the first place. I never have that irritating bra-strap drift problem when they cross in the back.  And thankyou for the link to your dress thread!  I'm so glad that I won't be the first person to make the dress - it looks so pretty and flattering!

And thankyou everyone else, for the underwear sites! I'm at work right now, so I can't visit them without my boss spazzing out, but I will be sure to check them as soon as I get home.

Edit: Okay, I know that realistically, there's no way I'd be the first one to make this dress.  And with the flattering cut and spiffy style, there's no way I'd be the first heavy girl to make it.  But it's good to have pictoral evidence that someone else tried it first!
« Last Edit: May 24, 2005 08:58:33 AM by Parilla » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2005 09:54:34 AM »

Thanks for the tip re the bra... A Canadian company too, yay!
My only question before driving a couple hundred kms to the nearest store (and yes, I will), do you know just how small the band sizes went? I'm a 34DD - a size that is next to impossible to find...
RE the Pam Anderson comment - I don't look like her either, but I didn't even realize I had large breasts until a friend and I were reading a magazine when I was 14 and we realized that I look a larger bra size than Pam Anderson. Only then did naive me realize what all the boys were staring at.
thanks!
No, they don't have sizes smaller than a 36 (BOO!)  Another good thing to do, though, is to go to a place where they sell European bras.  For whatever reason, the Europeans seem to take into account us chesty girls and make stylish bras for us!  You generally need to be around a metropolitan centre, though.  Here's my favorite European bra company:  http://www.chantelle.com/

Parilla:  You would SO look good in that McCalls pattern!!! 
Quote
I want something sexy, not something that looks designed for heavy duty restraint.
  My siblings used to tease me and call it "lock and load".... those 50s -style "Torpedo" bras are the absolute best example!
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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2005 11:22:35 AM »

Wow, you're really really pretty. You look like someone but I can't figure out who. Either my friend Katie or someone in a movie.

PS- I agree that a peach color would look really good on you.
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« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2005 01:39:52 AM »

The 1st style I thought of when I read this post was the cool halter style dress ala Marilyn Monroe....and then someone posted a pattern just like it!! I think you would look darling in a dress like that! Make it from a cheap muslin 1st, so you can get it to fit just right over your trouble spots and emphasize the awesome parts!! I'm 5'7" and wear a size 18/20, so I hear ya on the issue of lack of in-between styles. I have been eyeing that very same pattern! And if you want to wear it in a more conservative setting, make or buy a sweater or little bolero-type jacket...something that falls no longer than your waistline. Anything longer will look too frumpy w/ that dress.
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Parilla
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2005 09:35:19 AM »

*hug*

You guys are so nice!  Thankyou Erin!  Its all the hair...I am *never* going back to my natural color again.  Ever.  Red hair just feels too good!  I love peach, so maybe I will go with that.  I wonder if you can get peach muslin?  It'd be sort of spiffy to be able to keep my practice dress, if it doesn't look too bad.  I remember a friend mentioning it was the color of wheat, so that could look nice...especially if I do some crewel embroidery at the bodice and hem.

I've been threatened with disinheritence if I ask my mother one more time if she can take me to Jo-Anne's when I get my paycheck. 

Thanks for the bolero suggestion, Sewlittletime!  I found some quick directions for crocheting a bolero, so I think I'll get some coordinating yarn and crochet myself one while I'm on the bus.  I need a project to do, so creepy old men don't talk to me - they leave you alone if you blast your headphones and don't ever make eye contact.  Plus, I've always wanted a bolero.  There's something very appealing about an item of clothing so stylish and completely ridiculous!

And...yes...bras.  What was with that torpedo look in the 1950s, and why would anyone ever want to bring it back?  Bosoms should not be able to put people's eyes out. 
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« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2005 05:22:08 PM »

<<<kinda wipes tears from eyes...

thanks for the awesome links, I had been lookin' for awhile, and these are just great!  <must learn to sew things other than pillow covers and lined zippered pouches!!!
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Shmooey
« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2005 11:07:20 PM »

Parilla you are so gorgeous! What a BEAUTIFUL hair colour!!
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athena404
« Reply #33 on: September 19, 2005 07:21:54 PM »

ooo, i see another group of craftsters has discovered the mccalls 4826 pattern!
i love it!!!!
the pattern was really easy for a sewing newbie like me, and so far its been really easy to semi-alter
so i totally recomend it to anyone
and sorry, this is kinda off topic but....
the boobless boyish-figure women of the world would kill to have boobs/actual hips like you guys!!
so consider yourself lucky
lol
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absentmindedfan
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« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2005 10:02:50 AM »

I thoroughly recommend Bravissimo-I buy *all* mine from there (I'm 32HH oh joy) and they're just *fab*. Definately worth trying to ship them to the US.
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