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Clothing for Big Folks: U.S. (FAQ) Part 3/3

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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Clothing for Big Folks:
                                U.S., Part 3

This is part 3 of the document about clothing for fat people in the U.S.
It contains information about manufacturers of clothing/shoes/glasses,
wedding attire, patterns for making your own clothing, U.S./European
size conversion info, and clothing for big kids.

If you don't find what you're looking for here, try one of the related
FAQs (see question B1 for a complete list).


Updated March 2001


A1)     What manufacturers make clothes/shoes/spectacles for large
A2)     Where can I find a wedding dress?
A3)     Where can I find sewing/knitting patterns?
A4)     How do I convert between sizes?
A5)     How can I find clothing for big kids?
SECTION B: Information about this FAQ
B1)     Are there other related FAQs?
B2)     Posting information
B3)     Contributors



A1) What manufacturers make clothes/shoes/spectacles for large folks?


You can find these clothing lines in various retail stores and catalogs.

	Complaint of cheap manufacture.

Carole Little II
	Carol Little's large-size collection. Beautiful fabric, flowing
	cuts, nice colors. A little pricey. Well-made, and the dresses
	are quite long.

	Makes plus-size sportswear to a smallish 4X. High praise for
	their extra support sports bra. 

	Fancy "garden party" dresses up to 4X (sizes run large).

	Phone: (800) 87-DANSKIN
	Exercise clothing in sizes 1X-4X. Their clothes are well made
	and pretty and they use large-size models.

	Liz Claiborne's plus sizes line. Expensive, but good quality.
	Sizes 14-22. Also has some petites.

	Jeans that fit wonderfully and consistently across many styles
	up to size 44.

Fruit of the Loom
	100% cotton panties up to size 12. Also bras with large band
	and cup sizes.

Gilda Marx
	Phone: (800) 825-BODY
	Exercise clothing in sizes 1X-3X.

Goddess Bras
	Phone: (213) 629-2905 or (617) 569-3000
	Well-made, large-size bras. They have cotton bras without
	underwires up to about size 52DD. Good push-up bras, comfortable
	merrywidows. They've been actively soliciting NAAFA to find out
	what large women want in bras. They also make nursing bras
	(particularly recommended is Model 510).

Hanes Her Way
	Large size sweatpants and sweatshirts.  

	Good quality, heavy T-shirts up to size 6X.

Jockey for Her
	All-cotton underwear in three styles up to at least size 11.

Jones New York Woman
	Career wear.

Just My Size
	Underwear, socks, and pantyhose. Affiliated with L'Eggs. They
	also have their own catalog (see above). 

Kathy Lee Plus
	Carried at WalMart.

Lee Jeans 
	Tend to work well on figures with smaller waistlines, large
	hips. Sizes up to 28 or 30.

Marina Bridal
	Wedding dresses, priced reasonably ($350-$900 or so). Their
	headquarters is in NYC. You should be able to get a copy of
	their catalog (about 20 styles) by calling local bridal shops. 

No Nonsense
	Women like their plus-size pantyhose, which goes up to 4X, feels
	soft against the skin, and doesn't bag because of lycra in the
	fabric blend. They are getting harder to find.

Onyx Night
	Evening wear. Carried at boutiques.

Princess Knitwear
	14 Bruckner Blvd.
	Bronx, NY 10454
	Phone: 718-402-1000
	Fax: 718-402-0131
	Web site:
	One-size knitwear. Fits to size 26. Found in specialty shops and

Richard Simmons
	Carried at WalMart.

Sharon Anthony

Two Potato


You can find these clothing lines in various retail stores and catalogs.

Dockers khakis 
	Available in 56x32.  

Dolphin Swimwear

Levi's Jeans and Action Slacks
	The Action Slacks apparently wear like iron, wash well, and
	never need to be ironed. The largest size in Levi's brand
	products is a 50x32.

Karl Kani
	Classic jeans up to 60" waist
Discus Athletic 
	T-shirts and sweatshirts up to 6XL
	Swimming trunks up to 4XL
	Shoes up to 18
Fruit of the Loom 
	Briefs and boxers up to 6XL


Luxottica makes large-size frames for men. They make metal frames in XXL
sizes, and have 170mm custom temples. Also look for Zyloware frames.
Most companies do carry large-size frames; have the optical tech look in
the Frames book for listings of large frames.


Easy Spirit (reported very long lasting even for supersize people)
Ecco (made in Denmark)
Hush Puppies "Bounce"
Nordstrom's store brand
Soft Spots


Cuddler's (available at K-Mart)
New Balance
Red Wings
SAS (hiking boots)
Sorel's (winter boots -- proper mountaineering boots)
Wolverine (hiking boots)


A2) Where can I find a wedding dress?
Big, Beautiful Bride Online Plus-Size Gown Resource is a comprehensive
listing of wedding gown designers who make plus sizes,  includes their
size range, average prices, size charts (when available), and contact
information. The URL is:
One reader recommended the following book: *Bridal Gown Guide: Discover
the Dress of Your Dreams at a Price You Can Afford*, by Denise and Alan
Fields (Windsor Peak Press; ISBN: 1889392030)

Many regular bridal stores carry large sizes, and almost all stores can
order them. They may have only a limited selection of sizes in stock for
you to try on, so you may have to use your imagination to figure out how
the dress would look on you in particular. Sometimes just putting your
arms through the dress and holding it in front of you will give you an
idea of what it would be like. 

Note that wedding dress designers do not size their dresses

It's very common to have dresses tailored once they arrive. (This is
common even for women who wear smaller sizes.) If the dress turns out to
be too small, they can split the side seam of the bodice and sew in a
few inches of extra fabric. This is hardly noticeable, even when you are
looking for it. They may be able to get lace trim that matches the rest
of the dress and use that to make it even less obvious.

Nearly all bridesmaid's dresses go to at least size 24, and some go
larger. Many of these dresses are fairly formal and can be ordered in
white or off-white, so may work as a wedding dress.

Many advertisers in bridal magazines list what sizes they make.  Also
look through bridal books. *Bridal Bargains* and *The Bridal Gown Guide*
by Denise and Alan Fields print the size charts of major designers along
with style numbers and suggested retail prices.

Another way to buy a wedding dress is through Discount Bridal Service
(Phone 800-874-8794; web site
They can save you 20-40% on the cost of your gown. You must know the
gown you want and your measurements. You call their 800 number, and they
give you the number of their local rep.  The rep takes your info and you
order the gown thru her, and it is sent to your home. It is important
that you measure correctly because you are stuck with the gown you
order. No returns. DBS can order from any bridal manufacturer, and they
are good at tracking down dresses even if you don't know the
manufacturer or style number: a dress description or advertisement page
number (like Brides Magazine for example) may be all you need to get a
price quote. The local rep can offer seamstress referrals. They've got
manufacturer sizing charts to help you. Bridal manufacturers *do* size
differently from regular dress sizes, so don't be surprised if you need
a size larger than you thought to fit it you correctly. Order via your
measurements...not dress size!

Search for "[wedding]" in section A1, the big list of clothing stores,
to find stores and catalogs that carry wedding dresses. 

Here are some manufacturers who make large-size wedding dresses: 

Alfred Angelo 
	Phone: (800) 528-3589 or (215) 659-8700
	Makes 18-20 and 38-44. Both cost extra but their gowns are
	relatively cheap.  

Ange D' Amour 
	Phone: (800) 288-3888.
	230 Grand St, 2nd floor
	New York, NY 10013
	Bridal gowns from size 4 Misses to size 64 Womens' (Like a 96"
	chest at least). Gowns range $400-$1200. all sorts of styles and
	shapes too. Traditional beaded lace, trained ballgown-type dress
	was $640 (polyester satin -- silks start in the $800s). You
	cannot order the gown thru them but you can ask questions and
	get a catalog.

	Phone: (800) 669-2346.
	Through size 20.  
	Phone: (714) 961-8884 
	Makes a line called "Essence by Esther," gowns to size 44 (costs

Bridal Originals 
	Phone: (800) 876-GOWN or (312) 467-6140
	To size 30 (encourages stores to carry large size samples!)  

Carmi Couture 
	Phone: (212) 921-7658
	Through size 20 (extra charge).  

	Large-size "garden-party" dresses that can double as wedding

Diamond Collection 
	Phone: (212) 302-0210
	Through size 20 ($100 extra).  

Designer at Heart, Inc. 
	Megan Moser Rosenhart 
	Phone: (800) 462-4889
	Custom-designs bridal gowns -- "traditional and non-traditional
	styles, from lace to leather, all sizes." 

	Phone: (818) 441-8715  
	Petites through 20-32 (extra charge). Bridal Bargains gave these
	guys 4 stars!

Eve of Milady 
	Phone: (212) 302-0050
	Through size 20. $100 extra for 18-20.

	Phone: (212) 921-5683
	Through size 20.  Extra 10% for 18-20.  

	Phone: (212) 564-1020
	Through 20, extra charge for 18-20.

Ginza Collection/Private Label by G 
	Phone: (800) 654-7375
	Through 42 (extra charge of $100). Will custom make larger size
	dress to bridal shop's measurements for $50 fee.

	Phone: (212) 967-5222
	Through 20, 18-20 are $60 extra.  

	Phone: (800) BRIDAL-1
	Through size 30. 16-20 cost $30 extra. 22-30 are $70 extra.  

	Phone: (708) 519-7778
	To size 44 (extra charge).  

Jessica McClintock 
	Phone: (800) 333-5301 or (415) 495-3030
	A few gowns through size 24.  

Jim Hjelm 
	Phone: (212) 764-6960
	Through size 20. 18-20 are $150 extra.   

	Phone: (800) 258-7944 or (818) 282-4326
	Through 26. $70 extra for 22-26.  

	Through 20. $160 extra for 18-20.

	Phone: (713) 933-9678
	Through size 30.  

Mon Cherie 
	Phone: (609) 530-1900
	Has sizes 18-20 and 38-44, $20 or $40 extra.  

	Phone: (708) 884-7199
	Sizes through 44 (extra charge).  

Mori Lee 
	Phone: (212) 947-3490
	Some designs available through size 42 for extra charge.

San Martin 
	Phone: (213) 257-5333
	Some styles available through 44.  

St. Pucchi 
	Phone: (214) 631-4039
	Through 20, 18-20 extra 20%.  

	Phone: (212) 868-7536
	Through 44 (and keeps all sizes in stock).  

Wallentin Collection
	Phone: (800) 925-5954
	Silk wedding gowns. Can custom make any gown to fit any size
	woman. Ask for Catherine.


A3) Where can I find sewing/knitting patterns?

Ana's Accoutremonts
	Custom fitted patterns of period costumes. See the listing in
	the US Clothing FAQ part 1.

Beautiful Babes
	Laura Woodruff
	6705 N. Seneca
	Portland, OR  97203
	Phone: (503) 286-1119
	Catalog $2.
	Easy-to-sew collection of patterns for casual dresses, blouses, blazers,
	pants, ponchos, jackets, swimwear, lingerie, and more. Sizes 38-72.
	"Laura, the owner, is real nice and we discussed fitting problems
	etc etc and the dress I made from her pattern is wonderful."

*Big Knits*, *Great Big Knits*
	Big Knits ISBN: 0-7126-5097-0. Vermont: Trafalgar Square Publishing
	Two books by Dawn French and Sylvie Soudan containing knitting
	patterns for large-size women. Patterns go from very simple,
	classic designs, to very complex intarsias. Proper large-size

	The rec.crafts.textiles.sewing newsgroup has a fantastic FAQ
	about underwire and regular bras. If you're interested in
	making your own bras and lingerie, check it out:

The Busy Woman's Fitting Book
	Nancy Zieman and Robbie Fanning
	Nancy's Notions/Open Chain Publishing ISBN: 0-932086-10-1, $9.95
	Provides instructions on how to alter patterns to fit you.

	GLP International
	PO Box 9868
	Englewood, NJ  07631-1123
	Phone: (212) 736-7455 or (201) 871-1010
	Large size patterns. Their magazine, *Burda Fashions for the
	Fuller Figure* (or Burda Plus?), has patterns up to size 34W.
	"Burda is very true to their sizing, and they make patterns for
	up to size Euro60. The have all sorts of interesting patterns,
	with unusual (nifty cool) detailing. I find that I have to do
	mucho fewer adjustments to make these patterns fit my narrow
	chest, big boobs, sloping shoulders, bottom-heavy apple-pear
	"I had stayed away from them because of the added seam and hem
	allowances, but now they are adding them in for you. They have
	some really nice, classic styles." 
	"Burda especially cuts well for plus sizes, (with DARTS! long
	before everyone else) and has great styles that avoid many of
	the common plus size errors like oversized armholes etc."

	Some patterns in sizes up to 32. Now carrying new Delta Burke
	line -- some pretty styles in larger than 22's.

D'ates D'signs
	3430 Robin Lane, Suite B
	Cameron Park, CA  95682
	Great wearable art patterns for coats, dusters, and shirts.

Dressmaker's dummies
	Dressmaker's dummies are available in plus sizes. Your local
	fabric shop may carry them or should be able to order them.

Dress Shop
	PO Box 819, 40 South Lassen Street, Susanville, CA 96130
	Phone: 800-626-1262, 530-257-1100  
	Fax: 530-257-1111
	Sewing software for Windows and Macintosh automatically drafts
	custom fitted patterns for sewing. Input body measurements,
	start with one of 34 basic patterns, add from menus for sleeves,
	necklines, collars. 

Fairchild Books and Videos
	7 West 34th St
	New York, NY  10001
	Fashion designs for the plus size.

Fashion Patterns by Coni
	2370 west hwy 89-A
	suite 11  box 128
	Sedona, Az  86336
	Fax 520-204-9241
	Catalog is $4.  
	Her patterns go to a 66" bust and 70" hip. Will custom make
	patterns outside this range for a minimal cost. She drafted them
	on a size 28 model. This means they were designed for real fat
	bodies. Coni Crawford has 30 years experience in patternmaking
	and has recently retired from teaching in this field in college.
	She has just started the business and is very willing to help
	with special fitting problems.

Fitting Finesse
	Nancy Zieman
	Book that explains how to alter patterns so that you can make
	clothes that fit you right from patterns made for small people. 

Fittingly Sew
	Sewing software available for IBM

Great Fit Patterns
	Reported out of business Jan 98.

Hattie Chanon
	Design Center of Charlotte
	1235-E East Blvd, #222
	Charlotte, NC  28203

Large-size patterns
	List of commercially available sewing patterns for big men
	(chest size 48" to 52", 56" or 68"). 

	Some of their patterns go up to size 50.

My Own Pattern
	PO Box 30084 
	Clarksville, TN 37040-0002. 
	Phone: (931 ) 645-1652 
	Resizes any pattern to any specification, even underwear. Email
	to request measurement sheet. Send your measurements and the
	pattern. Also tailor-made clothing.

PAW Prints Pattern Company
Purrfection Artistic Wearables
	19618 Canyon Drive
	Granite Falls Washington 98252
	Phone: 800 691 4293 
	Web site:
	11 patterns that go up to a 3XL (bust 54 hip 56) and there are 2
	new patterns that go up to a 5XL (bust 62 hip 64). Reports:
	"I've made a kimono type jacket from one of their patterns in a
	4X (I generally wear a size 30-32) and the only alteration I did
	was to lengthen it." "These patterns are more 'fun' than
	conventional but there are some fairly unique things that I've
	never found elsewhere." "Their pattern 'Layers' fits well and is
	really easy to sew."

Pijin-Hole Patterns
	804 Forest Park Blvd.
	Fort Worth, TX  76102-5805
	Phone: (817) 338-0025

	1160 Yew Ave. Bin 21
	Blaine WA  98231-8019 
	Phone: (604) 274-3276 
	Web page:
	Easy to sew patterns to size 26. They are reported to be "working on"
	supersizes. Good for beginning sewers. Fit reported good.
	Web page:
	Their patterns go up to size 32W in two lines -- BBW and HOAX.
	HOAX is meant to be for different body types. Their sizing guide
	may run too large. They also have a multi-sized (1X-6X) pattern
	for men for a shirt and a pair of pants. Clothes made from their
	patterns are attractive and come out beautifully. New Look is
	also part of Simplicity.

Stretch and Sew
	Web page:
	One person reports "Stretch and Sew is good for those who are
	not one size all over." They are featuring a new line of plus
	size patterns, one of which is called Rita's Wardrobe (see Rita
	Farrow's *Life Is Not a Dress Size* in the Publications FAQ).
	The patterns include sizes 1X-3X (46-56 bust, 48-58 hip) in each
	design. Besides the wardrobe, there are eight separate designs
	in the collection, including pants, dresses, and a jacket. 

	Some large-size patterns

Unique Patterns
	Phone: (800) 543-4739
	Web site:
	Over 150 personalized patterns from easy to advanced. Patterns
	cost $9-$22. Membership costs $39.95, comes with pattern
	catalog, measuring instructions, support line, newsletter. Will
	put you in touch with seamstresses.

Vogue Woman
	Dowdy, boring, waistless patterns.


A4) How do I convert between sizes?

Here are some conversions between European, U.K., and U.S. sizes:

Women's dresses and suits
	For U.S. size, subtract 2 from U.K. size.
	For U.S. size, subtract 30 from European size.
	(UK 28 = US 26 = Euro 56)

Women's shoes
	For U.S. size, add 1.5 to U.K. size.
	(UK 8 = US 9.5)

Men's suits and coats
	U.K. and U.S. sizes are the same.
	For U.S. size, subtract 10 from European size.
	(UK 56 = US 56 = Euro 66)

Men's shirts
	U.K. and U.S sizes are the same.

Men's socks
	U.K. and U.S. sizes are the same.
Men's shoes
	For U.S. size, add 1 to U.K. size. 
	(UK 10.5 = US 11.5)

A5) How can I find clothing for big kids?
Radiance Magazine sponsors a Kids Project. The Radiance Magazine web
site at
has articles, essays, and resources for children, teens, and young
adults, as well as for parents, teachers, counselors, health
professionals, and those who love and work with kids. Click on "Kids
Petite stores such as 5-7-9 and Petite Sophisticate sometimes have items
that will fit BBgirls. Search on "[petite]" in the Clothing FAQs.
There are some companies that will make clothing to custom sizes for a
reasonable fee. Search on "[custom]" in the Clothing FAQs.
Some wedding gown manufacturers make bridesmaid's and flower girl's
dresses in girl's size 12 1/2 to size 20 1/2, with prices in the
$75-$150 range. Search on "[wedding]" in the Clothing FAQs and see the
section "Where can I find a wedding dress?".
Extra Hip is a small 'zine for fat preteen and teen girls. Their web site ( has a page
of links to stores that offer teen fashion in plus sizes.
Here are some specific manufacturers that offer clothing for BBkids:
Blessings in Dresses
	Phone: 805.272.1568  
	Southern California
	I hear they have a good selection for girls and teens.

Big Dogs
	Web site:
	(They also have retail stores and a print catalog -- see their
	web site for more info.) Many items in their line of sportswear
	come in kids' and adults' sizes. Boxers, t-shirts, jackets,
	sleepwear, shorts, pants & other. High quality & relatively good

Custom Design
	Phone: 218.233.9583   
	Any size. Any age. Teens & Kids Clothes. Bridal, Prom, and
	Wedding, too. 

	teen girls' clothing. Some items to sizes 19/20. 
        Web site: 
        Children's school uniforms in sizes up to 20. May 99

girlfriends LA
        Box 8687 Northridge, CA 91327
        Phone: (800) 617-GFLA (open 24/7)
        Fax: (800) 720-4352
        Web site: http://www.girlfriendsl 
	Teeny-bopper clothes. Almost all go up to 25 (junior plus
	sizing). Sizes reported liberal. Inexpensive prices. 

Hot Topic
	Mall store and Internet catalog. Torrid line for girls size
	14-26. Extended men's line to 3X.

JC Penney's 
	PO Box 2021
	Milwaukee, WI  53201-2021
	Phone: (800) 222-6161
	Web site:
	They offer a Big Kids Catalog twice a year (spring and fall),
	with girl's Plus and Extra Plus sizes and boy's husky and
	shorter husky sizes. Carries Levi's Dockers, Union Bay, Bugle
	Boy, snow pants, wind suits, denim and flannel shirts, the
	works. Fairly thin models. Some folks have had problems ordering
	from this catalogs (many items reported sold out before the
	catalog even arrives). 

Lebow's Brothers
	178 Linden Street, 
	Diehl's Plaza, 
	Wellesley, MA 02181 
	Phone: (781) 431-7194 or 800-814-2229  
	Web site:
	Specializes in clothing for "hard to fit" men and boys. Free
	tailoring, special orders welcome. Primarily a retail store, but
	will ship internationally.

	Out of business as of July 00

New Mode
	Mall store, one incarnation is in the Plaza Camino Real Mall in
	Carlsbad CA. Hip, trendy teenage-girl clothing to size 22. 

	Phone: 800-948-8800 (catalog ordering)
	Web site:
	I hear that Sears opened a Mainframe for You junior plus
	department in fall 99. Check it out. Let me know if they are
	indeed a good resource.
	Sears also has some clothing for younger BBkids. They have a
	specialty leather catalog with many items in all sizes.

	Mall store and Internet catalog. Clothing for teenage and
	pre-teen girls sizes 14-26.

Unlimited Options               
	131 N. Beaumont Avenue
	Burlington, NC 27217 
	Phone: (800) 922-0480
	Retail & Mail Order - Custom made clothing for men, women &
	children of all sizes - anything you want from casual to career
	to bridal. Send $5 (refundable with first order) for their video

	Sometimes they have half size jeans and a few other things. 
SECTION B: Information about this FAQ

B1)     Are there other related FAQs?

There is some overlap in the topics covered by the FAQs. If you don't
find what you're looking for here, try the other FAQs. 

The latest version of the following FAQs can be found at: newsgroup FAQ newsgroup FAQ newsgroup FAQ
      	Clothing for Big Folks in Canada 
      	Clothing for Big Folks in the U.S. (parts 1-3)
      	Organizations for Big Folks 
      	Online Resources for Big Folks 
      	Other Resources for Big Folks 
      	Publications for Big Folks 
      	Resources for Dealing With the Physical Aspects of Being Fat 

The following FAQs can be found at:

      	Big Folks and Fitness 
      	Big Folks and Health 
      	Big Folks and Sports 
      	Research on Big Folks 

The latest versions of following FAQs can be found at the following

      	Clothing for Big Folks in the U.K. at
	Clothing for Big Folks in Europe at

	Plus-Size Pregnancy Website at

You can also find (sometimes slightly older versions of) the above FAQs
(except the plus-size pregnancy FAQs) at the following locations:

(Note: The big-folks FAQ is listed separately at these locations.)

You can also get FAQs from via anonymous FTP or via the mail
archive server. For information about the mail server, send email to 
with the word "help" (without the quotes) in the body of the message. 

B2)     Posting information

This document is posted bi-weekly to,, and

Stef Maruch ( maintains this FAQ.


B3)	Contributors

These are the people who contributed significant chunks to the FAQ:
Sasha Wood              (
Eleanor Brown		(

Also, lots and lots of other people (too many to credit) contributed
information that appears herein, some via email and some on s.s.f-a
and a.s.b-f.  Thanks to them all.

Suggestions for additions/improvements are always welcome.
Send suggestions to Stef Maruch ( 


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