Inbetweenies sizes are near and dear to my heart. Before I ‘grew-up’ another size into plus I spent many frustrating shopping trips feeling like my size just wasn’t available in the clothes I wanted to buy. So making dresses to fit girls that fall in between regular sizes and plus sizes is very important to me and my brand. So if you’re bigger than some regular size brands but not quite a plus size this post is for you. If you’re plus size you might be interested in how we make plus sizes different from regular sizes.
You might not know that for each new style of dress we make two completely separate patterns. The main difference is the pattern is specifically designed to fit each separate body group.
Aside from the basic measurements being different, Plus size patterns differ from their smaller counterparts in the following ways:
1. The bust point (the widest part of the bust) is lower on the body.
2. The bicep (upper arm) is wider around, and the armhole of the dress has to be bigger as well.
3. Larger darts are needed at the bust and back, to accommodate for extra curves.
4. The waistband area is higher and proportionately wider than on a “regular” size dress. This makes room for rounder midsections.
5. In a straight skirt, multiple larger darts are needed to fit curvier hips and butts
Despite all our efforts to fit regular and plus size women alike, sometimes there still could be people that don’t fit our dresses perfectly. (Yikes!) This would most likely be a person that had very small waist in proportion to her bust. I’m pleased to say that only once did I have a woman not find her perfect fit. I wrote this post for her, (you know who you are!) because I’ve never forgot the moment.
The best solution I can offer is to try a dress like the Elly that has stretch fabric. The extra stretch can mean a roomier fit, and a more forgiving shape, and then choose the smaller size.
XOX Cherry Velvet
P.S. If you’re plus size and found our dresses are a little bit short in the upper body or you’re not too crazy about our empire waistlines my next post is going to explain why we make our waists higher on our dresses.
Occasionally we get comments and notes from our customers voicing the opinion that our prices are too high. Sometimes these people list other companies that sell cheaper retro dresses, and wonder why ours cost more. We want to respond to these comments to hopefully give you a better understanding.
Here’s why our dresses cost a bit more…
At Cherry Velvet, we take pride in producing high-quality, great-fitting, regular and plus dresses. To make this happen, we employ Canadians in our office, on our design and pattern-making team, and in the local (we’re talking 10 minutes away) factories that sew our dresses. We make multiple patterns and samples and fit them on both regular and plus size women to make sure the fit is perfect. It does cost more to make 2 patterns and multiple samples for each style of dress.
In recent news, it’s been made common knowledge that human rights violations are rampant in developing countries where many other brands get their garments sewn. We employ local Canadian factories, visit our factories on a regular basis and work very closely with them. Canadian standards, labor laws and minimum wages are high compared to other countries including the US. We can see the working conditions in person, know how well their employees are treated and rest easy knowing that our factories aren’t collapsing or catching fire. Our dresses are not LITERALLY to die for, after all.
Another reason our regular and plus size dresses are a bit more pricey is our premium cotton prints. They do not shrink or fade. The prints are the CUTEST (you know it’s true), and we do limited runs of each fabric. These babies are not mass-produced! We usually only have several in each size.
If we really want to get serious, there are 5 ways we can make these dresses cheaper:
1. Use less fabric (shorter skirts, no room for a fluffy crinoline, no sleeves)
2. Simpler styles and therefore cheaper labor (take the VA-VA away from the VOOM)
3. Cheaper fabric (Boring prints that you’ve seen everywhere else, a million times before)
4. Make tinier plus sizes that don’t fit bigger sizes (we’re not mentioning the names of other companies that do this but you might know who they are)
5. Manufacture off shore. Take away more Canadian jobs, and send them over-seas to factories where we cannot make sure people are being treated well or paid fairly.
Since we are not willing to make these concessions, we’re just going to continue making the best quality, best fitting dresses that we can. Also, don’t forget that we have a lovely sale section, and a few more affordable styles so that EVERYONE can be a Cherry Velvet girl. Regular size Sale section here. Plus Sale section here
Thank you for your continuing support of our little Vancouver-based business.
We love our customers more than words can say!
xox Cherry Velvet
A new customer came shopping for Cherry Velvet dresses the other day and asked what size she would be. She told us a story about shopping recently at a well-known brand’s store and that she was a 4X in that store. Going by our size chart she thought she might be a 0X but was really surprised and unsure whether that would be the case after her previous experience. I took one look at her and was pretty sure that she would fit the 0X. But it does beg the question why would she be a 4x in ‘that brand’ and a 0X in Cherry Velvet?
There really is no standardization in women’s sizing. Brands come up with their own idea of what sizes should be. Many of the ‘retro’ brands will have sizing that follows like this….XL, 2XL, 3XL 4XL. This is a tip off that they have taken a regular size pattern and graded up from a small size. When a pattern is graded up many sizes and is therefore very much bigger than the original size, I can tell you the pattern and therefore the fit gets distorted!
So just what is a true plus size? The answer is: a garment that comes from a pattern that has been fitted on a real PLUS SIZE WOMAN and then graded (sized to the other sizes) from that point. It is ideal that the grading of the other sizes does not exceed more than 3 sizes in either direction. Special attention must still be given to exactly how much the pattern changes (and where) between each size.
At Cherry Velvet we make two patterns for every style of dress that we design. One pattern that fits regular sizes and another that fits plus sizes. Each different pattern is then fitted on a real person in each size range.
To check out our SIZE CHART.
It is double the work, yes. But it’s the only possible way to fit such a large range of women’s bodies. While we really are a true plus size dress brand, we are committed to treating all sizes of women the same. Plus size women want all the same cute styles that smaller women wear right? Fit is so important! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had customers try on our dresses and tell us that they fit just like they were custom made for them. And that is exactly why I love what I do so much….
XOX CHERRY VELVET
…..written by ‘me’, Diane Kennedy; owner, designer, chief patternmaker, fit technician and grader for Cherry Velvet
P.S. Stay tuned for our next post which will give a special explanation for those very few of you that fall into the space between our regular and plus sizes. So far I’ve only met one inbetweenie in person that didn’t fit our dresses……this next post is for you!
It’s a question we get asked a lot by shoppers in our studio. “Is it smaller than a size XL? The answer is, it’s actually one size bigger than an XL. It’s a very important size for our brand to fit those ‘inbetweenies”
I first started designing my brands because when shopping and was so frustrated to find clothes that I wanted to buy but that weren’t available in my size. The stores all seemed to only carry up to a size extra large. I remember asking the sales clerk… “Can’t it just come in one more size?”
Before I ever started Cherry Velvet (and my other brand Diane Kennedy), I had been working as a designer/ patternmaker/ grader professionally for many years. I was the first patternmaker at the beginning of what was then a ‘little brand’ called LuluLemon. I remember asking Chip Wilson why he didn’t make a bigger sizes. His answer was….let’s just say…. less than satisfactory.
So at that moment in time, I was extremely frustrated with the absolute lack of my size in the clothes that I wanted to buy. If you follow the series of dress sizes, brands often go from XL to 2XL and then 3XL. But this really doesn’t represent plus sizes accurately. That’s why size 0X is so important; it fills the hole between true regular sizes and true plus sizes. To fit the most people possible it was really important to include this size.
We’ve been doing a lot of checking lately into the sizes that we’re selling online to make sure that were offering enough dresses in the right sizes. When we started to really look at it I have to tell you I was extremely surprised that 0X was not a more popular size. It’s my size and it fits me perfectly!! Ha!
Another way to look at it: 0X is 2 inches bigger than a size XL and 2- 3 inches smaller than a 1X.
So we’re hoping to have cleared up exactly what the heck size 0X really is. If you leave that size out, there’s an enormous gap between regular sizes, up to 5″ and that is why size 0X was born!
XOX Cherry Velvet
We want to thank everyone that completed our survey, for sharing so many of their thoughts and very encouraging words!….
For us there were some surprises and whole bunch of comments and questions that we’d like to answer:
“We’d like to see more 3/4 length sleeves!“
We usually do long sleeve styles in the Fall so we have 3 new long sleeve styles coming out shortly in many new pretty prints! Look for the brand new ‘Shelly‘ dress that just arrived this week!
Also, Daphne comes back soon in an awesome assortment of colours, dots and (later) prints too. Then (in October), Priscilla -a brand new 3/4 sleeve style that has an adorable retro dice print…Viva Las Vegas!
“How can I become a Cherry Velvet model?“
This is a question we get asked a lot! Right now we use models exclusively in the Vancouver area.
To be considered, please submit some (face and body) photos to us (email@example.com) along with your height, bust, waist, hip and shoe size for consideration. If we think you have potential to model for us we will contact you and ask you to come in for a fitting.
“Can you make a longer version of the Brigitte dress?“
Actually this is a really great suggestion! Perhaps we’ll make a version that is both longer and with 3/4 sleeves… What do you think?
“Could you use fabrics other than 100% cotton -add more stretch?“
For Fall/Holiday we’ve added a bunch of new fabrics like Stretch Taffeta, Lace, and even a metallic and a pretty Brocade. We try to use fabrics with stretch, but most (or all) of the novelty fabrics that are available come in non-stretch. So, to bring you an exciting variety of prints, we’ll always use 100% cotton for many of our dresses.
“Need some work appropriate styles/higher necklines for the office“
Check out some of our new fall styles like the Shelly and Rachel for work appropriate dresses. The Kate is another great office appropriate style. Think about wearing Brigitte or Natalie with a cardi, tights and boots for work!
“Where do your dress names come from?“
We name our dresses after models and actresses from the 40′s and 50′s, our own models, friends and generally choose names that are retro-inspired. If you have suggestions for names, we’d love to hear them please!
“Below the dress, could you show pictures of customers in them?“
This was another great suggestion! For now, we’ve started to share an album of customer photos. Because we do add a lot of new styles every season, it takes a while to have photos to share. Feel free to send us yours -email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Will you offer size 4X?“
This is something recently brought to our attention directly from fans, as well as on our survey. We’re giving some serious consideration to the idea of expanding our size range. However, to do it properly, we would need a 4X fit model in the Vancouver area. If this could be you, please send us a note!
Personal Shopping Appointments
A few of you have mentioned that you’re uncomfortable with the idea of making an appointment to shop in the studio. For now, we’re an office with office hours, so really we just need to know that someone wants to come and shop. The atmosphere is very informal and there is no obligation to buy. Plus, you’ll most likely get to meet me -the designer- and I’d love to help you find your perfect dress!
“What is a size 0X?“
Short answer: it’s one size bigger than an XL
We were so surprised by this question that we wrote a whole blog post on it…..coming next week!
Thanks again for all of your feedback; we’re happily still reading your responses!
We’ve reached our third anniversary of Cherry Velvet this month; it’s been an exciting and crazy three years!
I remember, in the very beginning, going to a car show and looking at gorgeous models wearing beautiful dresses and I really wanted to go buy something just like them. But, when I went shopping, there was really nothing available in my size. That had planted a little seed in my mind… that I knew I needed to act on.
Soon after, Cherry Velvet Plus was born in sizes XL through 3X. My idea was to make dresses for the in between sizes, including plus sizes, for all the girls like myself -that couldn’t find the kind of pretty dresses I knew I wanted to wear.
Like my original brand (Diane Kennedy), we soon had requests for smaller sizes which we did decide to add later. But, still, Cherry Velvet dresses are always designed firstly with curvy girls in mind!
Our very first original dress was called ‘Charlotte‘. It was cut in 10 different prints and each print had its own trim to match around the neckline. Some trims used were different colors of ric rac and others were braid or bobble fringe. But all were really unique trims picked up at our local fabric supply shop – hand picked to match each different print exactly.
This season we’re bringing back a version of this original dress -Charlotte in Plum Brocade (see inset) and another version in Black Taffeta with lace trim!
We’ve just returned from launching our new Fall/Holiday collection in Vegas, with lots of pretty new styles, prints and fabrics; can’t wait to show you!
“The sweetest of all the colors. Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe. It is the color of happiness and of femininity” Christian Dior
The colour Pink invokes many memories for most women, from Barbie Dolls, to playing dress up to bubblegum and cotton candy.
Pink is synonymous with femalehood -with everything sweet, soft and girly. It’s used in almost all instances to colour-code the gender of a person as being female. How many times have we heard someone say “Pink is a GIRLS’ colour!”? Some of us feel like we own it. Some may even resent it?
If we look back on the last century of fashion and entertainment, it’s easy to see that the colour pink holds great significance:
Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” gown was bubble gum pink.
Barbie’s clothing, packaging, accessories, cars and houses were pink!
Gwen Stefani wore a pink wedding gown.
So many iconic actresses and models -Audrey Hepburn, Shirley MacLaine, Lucille Ball, January Jones, Suzy Parker and, of course, Molly Ringwald have all looked “Pretty in Pink.”
Pink appears in an infinite number of nuances -from the palest of blush, through rose and shocking, to magenta. Pink has multiple facets, whether subtle or electric; it’s the color of a woman who’s playful and a dreamer -insouciant and charming.
We’re absolutely crushing on the colour PINK right now! We think every girl should have a girly pink dress in her closet. How about you, are you ready to rock a rosy shade?
Here at Cherry Velvet, we’re always working hard to make our dresses fit YOUR curves in the best way possible.
We know many of you have questions, so we’ve made this brand new easy to use “How To Measure Yourself” guide, as well as added dress measurements that are specific to the cut of each type of skirt. No more guessing!
While our fit hasn’t changed, hopefully this added info will make it easier for you to pick your perfect size.
We now have separate size charts for our:
-100% cotton dresses (non stretch)
-97% cotton/3% Spandex (Stretch) dresses
Even though the cut of the dresses are the same regardless of fabric, the added stretch can mean up to ½ a size of added room. If you like your dresses tight you may be able to go down a whole size.
As always, if you need any extra help picking a size or you have any other questions, please send us an email or give us a call. We’re standing by to help you look fabulous!