This post is for all my Renaissance-bodied women out there who’ve got curves for days and have a hard time finding clothes made for their beautiful bodies. Let’s take a simple button down shirt as an example, something pretty versatile, but doesn’t always fit and gaps at the chest if you have a large bust. The solution is called tacking, and this blog post is going to show you how to do it, so you can wear a button down that doesn’t gap at the chest.
When I first started talking to women about their style struggles, I quickly learned about many different road blocks we all run into because no two women are the same. We come in various shades, shapes, and sizes — all beautiful, all powerful. When I heard the frustration in one woman’s voice talking about how she felt like she needed to look a certain way to wear pretty clothes, I wanted to do something about it. Initially, I felt like I should stay small because I didn’t share the same exact struggles, but that didn’t stop me from trying. I come from a family of women who have a Renaissance body shape: rounded bodies, full hips and large breasts. So, I shared this woman’s frustration with my family, and asked them if they had a solution.
One of my aunts said she tacks her shirts. I said, what’s that, Auntie?! She explained that some button down shirts gap at the front when you move your arms or some plus sizes make the whole shirt bigger when she just needs more material in a certain area, so the shirt gaps in the chest. This is one of the problems with plus sizes, their not designed for a woman with a large bust but normal sized shoulders. They simply make shirts bigger everywhere, which works fine if that’s what you need, but bigger also means cut much lower in the chest. That’s what this woman was talking about. She wanted to wear a button down shirt, but when it’s cut too low it sends a message that she doesn’t want to send. Let’s fix that in 3 simple steps that cost under $5.00, shall we?
Step 1: Thread your needle. Pick the color thread that matches the color of your blouse, so the thread blends in. You want to double thread your needle (this means sliding the thread through the top of needle twice so you have a double string instead of a single) and make sure there’s a double knot at the end. See the photo to the left.
Step 2: Find the other seam. You want to tack the shirt on the opposite side of the seam, which means you can’t unbutton the blouse where it hangs too low because it’s tacked, aka sewn shut, from one button to the next, so it won’t gap when you move your arms and want to make elbow room. You’re basically sewing the seam that opens shut, at the area of the shirt that opens when you move. This is called tacking. See the photo to the right.
Step 3: Start tacking on the inside of the shirt on the seam. If the shirt doesn’t have a seam line where you are sewing, use the other side as a guide and try to get your thread to match the seam on the other side. When you’re done sewing from button to button, make your last loop and end on the inside. Cut the thread to about two inches longer than needed and use the extra two inches of thread to tie 1-3 knots that go all the way down to the blouse. Then, cut the extra thread past the knot that you don’t need and you’re good to go.
Now, you have a button down shirt that fits your bust, can be washed multiple times without coming undone, and will not gap at the chest every time you wear it. I know it would be a lot easier if shirts were just made to fit, but this is a super frugal, simple option that will work for you right now, while the fashion industry continues to embrace body diversity more and more, so clothes are made for all women.
Try this next time you’re out shopping and see a blouse you love. If you try it on, and it gaps at the chest, simply get yourself a needle and thread combo from Amazon, like this one here, or head into a fabric and craft store like Joann’s, AC Moore, or Michael’s. Make sure you pick one up that has the color thread that you like to wear. You can also take the sewing kit on a trip with you just in case. Now, you have a button down shirt that you can wear 18 different ways — with that leather jacket, under your poncho sweater, for work or for home wearing nothing on the bottom but your favorite pair of heels. Sounds like the perfect Sunday brunch to me.