HelenPattern News8 Comments

Curvy Sewing Survey

This survey is now closed. You can view the results here. Thank you to all who contributed! 

I have something exciting to share with you all! I am thrilled to announce that in 2019, I will be extending the size range for Helen’s Closet Patterns. This has been on my mind since the very start of my pattern line and I can’t wait to bring you more sizes in the new year!

Why extend the size range?

Well, the answer is simple. Because I want to! Over the past three years, the sewing community has opened my eyes to the true beauty of people. Not beauty in a conventional sense, because conventional beauty is boring. It’s heartbreaking. It’s often impossible. I am talking about real beauty. Everyday gorgeousness from our varicose veins to our stubborn chin hairs. From our stretch marks to our laugh lines. From our small chests to our big booties! We are all so freaking beautiful and being a part of a community of passionate, creative people has taught me that. You have taught me that.

Through learning this very valuable lesson, my perception of the RTW fashion world started to shift. Wait a second. Am I really at the top end of the size range in stores? Am I really the end of the line for fashion? This was back in 2016 when I was a size 14, mind you. Now, as a proud size 18, shopping in 90% of stores isn’t even an option anymore. When I look in the mirror, I just see a person. A 30-year-old woman, who, for reasons baffling to me now, can’t go into a store and buy a pair of pants.

Thankfully I know how to sew, which is a blessing for any woman outside the RTW size range, but certainly not a common skill. Even if you are ready and willing to whip up your own garments, the options are still so limited! My pattern line has always gone to a 20/22, but that isn’t enough. Half the women in my family are at the top end of that or over it. Even my partner, Sam, would not fit into my range if he were a sewist. It’s just not good enough.

I have been doing a lot of reflection on my role in the community, and I see myself as a servant. I am so grateful that there is support enough for me to make this my living and to thrive in this industry, but ultimately, I want to serve you! I want to inspire through my blog and my sewing, I want to connect and teach through my podcast, and I want to provide a pattern line that reflects my values. Everybody is beautiful and fashion is for everybody.

I hope you agree!

When will it happen?

I am still working out the details and I don’t have firm dates for you, but I am really enjoying the process so far and I am going to make this happen.

Now, this is where you come in. I need your help! There are so many things to consider, and as a small business owner, I need to be sure I am basing my choices on real facts (and real measurements). I want to provide our beautiful community with sewing patterns that reflect what we want, not what RTW tells us we get or what is out there currently. Help me learn what works for you and how I can provide the best patterns possible by taking my curvy sewing survey (or cur-vay as I have been calling it)!

Who can take the survey?

  • Everybody! I am gathering information to inform an extension of my size range, but I am interested in hearing thoughts from everybody, regardless of your size.

I am curious to find out:

  • What size you are (optional)
  • What labels you prefer/dislike (eg: curvy, plus size, XXL, 2X, etc)
  • Which current Helen’s Closet Patterns you are interested in

The survey is completely anonymous and you can skip any questions you feel aren’t relevant to you. Size information is optional (although very much appreciated). There is even a link at the end where you can sign up to be a tester. Grab your measuring tape and take the survey and if you can, share it on social media! I would be so grateful.

The survey is now closed. You can view the results here. Thank you to all who took the time to contribute! 

About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

8 Comments on “Curvy Sewing Survey”

  1. Oh my gosh, Helen, that is just beautifully written from start to finish! I LOVE your approach to this, and I’m so excited for this next part of your business!!!

  2. This is such wonderful and exciting news and so well-put! Thank you so much for how much thought you put in your work and give to the sewing community 🙂 I am very excited by this!!

  3. I fit into you sizes but I wanted to take a second to say that I’m so glad you are extending.

  4. Hey Helen…..I submitted my response to your survey but forgot to add one comment, so am adding it here. For those of us who have purchased your patterns already, if you do end up adding extended sizes to them, will we get an updated copy or will we need to repurchase them. I’m fine with either, but thought I’d ask the question in case that’s something you haven’t considered yet. Keep up the awesome work! LOVE your patterns!

  5. I just read this great post. I fit into your patterns, but my sister is a couple of sizes outsie the range, so I grade patterns up for her. I’m very pleased that you”re going to go larger, and will be getting patterns of yours for her that I didn’t like for me. On a labelling note – personally I prefer numbers a la Designer Stitch, as the label XXXXL is a bit sour tasting…

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