There’s a picture of me in 6th grade with my 2 best friends. I’m bending my knees at about a 45 degree angle so I can be as short as them! At my 8th grade graduation, I was the tallest girl in the class, so got to walk down the aisle first. And so it continued…the tallest woman (and many times the tallest person) everywhere I go! At 6 feet tall, sewing has been a lifesaver for me.
Regular off-the-rack clothes are made for the average woman’s height of almost 5’4” which means they are 8” too short for me. Not to mention broad shoulders, long arms and a 36” inseam! The cost of RTW (ready to wear) specialty clothing for tall women is prohibitive for me. Plus many of the regular clothing companies that offer a tall size begin at a size or 2 larger than I wear. Many people enjoy thrift shopping for clothes, but that option is out for me too because there is no other woman as tall as me in the town I live in. So sewing has been a lifesaver for me!
If regular clothing options for tall women are very, very limited, maternity and nursing clothing for tall women are nonexistent! I’m not even sure what other tall mothers who don’t know how to sew do? So I’m very, very happy to know how to sew, basically I can custom tailor any pattern to fit my frame. With my body yo-yo-ing through 9 pregnancies and nursings over the past 20 years, I have been able to remain clothed and somewhat stylish if I do say so myself!
There are not any maternity or nursing patterns specifically for tall women, but once you begin to sew, and know your own body and fit adjustments well, you can create your own wardrobe especially for maternity and nursing. One of my favorite patterns for nursing is the Tallinn Sweater by Hey June Patterns. While it’s not designed specifically for nursing, the cross front design allows for that perfectly!
If you’re interested, I usually add 1” width to the shoulders, 2” to the sleeve length, and 1.5” to the body length. These are my standard adjustments for knit top patterns from this pattern company. However, I just made the sleeves elbow length for this version so I can wear it into summer. These adjustments change a garment from annoying to pure joy for me! The adjustments I make to bottom patterns are much more comical as my legs just go on and on…
The beautiful micro rib knit in rust is absolute soft-as-a-cloud perfection for this Tallinn top. It drapes beautifully and with the rayon spandex blend will layer under a sweater for cooler days but stand alone by itself all summer long. (I got on a roll and made a sweater to go with this Tallinn nursing top for a brand new postpartum outfit…you can see it on my Skirt Fixation blog.)
Perhaps because I’m a pattern designer myself, I understand the unique challenges presented in taking a concept from your mind and making it fit a 3D object like a body! And perhaps because I live in a body that is very unique and difficult to clothe, I understand the challenges presented in making a pattern fit a body. Whatever the case, I’m extremely proud of ALL pattern designers out there who attempt to design clothing to fit any body at all.