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Featured Buyer: What’s the Skinny? Toward a more Size-Friendly Etsy with emilyaugust

Feb 20, 2008

by emilyaugust

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods


This week’s Featured Buyer is also a seller here on Etsy. emilyaugust specializes in plus size fashion and wants to spread the word to both people who sell L and XL clothes and to the lovely ladies who wear them. Check out her favorite finds below and learn more about how to shop for and how to market to the buxom and curvacious!


I came to Etsy in a roundabout way.  I started off being curious about the kinds of things for sale on Etsy, and being drawn here by other people’s success stories.  However, what really drew me in was when I started searching for Plus Size clothing on Etsy and finding amazing things.  At 5’10,” I have always found it difficult to find clothing that fits me well, and the prospect of finding larger sizes is enough to make my knees weak.  A handful of really cool, unique designers were offering their designs in any size that you might need, and I was blown away by their offerings.  I immediately knew I wanted to take part, and that Etsy would be a great place for me to feature plus sized vintage clothing.

Whether you are a buyer who happens to be big-boned, or if you are especially tiny, there are specific steps that buyers and sellers can take to make Etsy a more size-friendly place. I’ll share some of my favorites and give some tips along the way!

PLUS SIZED BUYERS:  SPEAK UP!
Never before has there been such an open forum for communicating your needs as a consumer of clothing.  Etsy allows you to converse with sellers directly, asking them for a garment to be made in your size, or just to double-check the size of something vintage or one of a kind.  As long as body measurements are taken properly, buyers can request custom versions of the adorable items they find on Etsy.


[The Clyde Top by missbrache]

Don’t be shy. Sellers love to make more sales and get positive feedback. Why hold back?  There are plenty of designers on Etsy just itching to create something for you.  This “custom” relationship is your key to finding pieces that cinch you in at the waist, give you a pop of color, and allow you to finally be who you are.  Don’t be afraid to ask for longer hem lengths, shorter sleeves, or whatever it takes to fit your body.  Also, don’t forget that vintage sizes are usually smaller than modern day sizes, and sewing patterns even more so.

Once you get a piece that you like, put yourself out there on forums and web sites to tell other shoppers what a great designer you’ve found.  Join a group like wardrobe_remix on flickr, find a blog community, or even boast about your designer clothing in Etsy forums.  Your new fashion cohorts will be totally grateful that you let them in on the secret that is Etsy.

[Plus Size Tan Twill Wrap Dress by ladydove]

TIPS FOR SELLERS:  REACH OUT!
Are you scared to start sewing outside your comfort zone?  Did you realize there was an entire set of buyers you may have been ignoring?  The truth is, none of the sellers on Etsy are “manufacturers” with huge lots of standard clothing.  Sure, if you buy wholesale t-shirts, you may have stock in the average Small, Medium, and Large sizes, but did you know that more and more companies like American Apparel are offering sizes like XXL and XXXL?  If you are a maker, there is potential for you to fit a broader spectrum of body types.  You may be ignoring a large group of buyers who would love to purchase your designs.

[Monsters Scoop XL by luchaworkshop]

There are plenty of resources to help you start to think big when it comes to clothing design.  The plus size category is made up of specific size measurements, but like the rest of the garment industry, these numbers vary between manufacturers.  Check out web sites of major retailers for an idea of different “plus” measurement offerings.  Always list measurements for bust, waist, hips, and even things like neck and shoulder openings.  If you are willing to open your shop to the plus size customer, you may find that you are pleasantly surprised with more hearts, sales, and future buyers.

[Plus Size A-Line Skirt by sixgunsally]

I also suggest that you make the first move.  Create a garment or two in a bigger size, without having to have someone ask you to do so. This will show that your shop is open to the idea of working with a customer who may not be willing to contact you otherwise with their body measurements.  A plus sized person may feel much put off if he or she has to tell you his or her chest size is three times bigger than anything else you are showing.  Remember also that sizing issues also exist with items like rings, bracelets, and belts.

Think of it this way:  if you are one of only a handful of clothing or jewelry designers on Etsy providing larger sizes, plus size shoppers are going to hone in on your shop and potentially give you more views, hearts, and sales!

Measure for measure, Etsy rocks for great fitting fashion!  Let’s make it even more so.

FURTHER RESOURCES
Awesome Plus Sized Inspiration:
My Aim is True (Fat Fashion Thursdays) Blog
Fatshionista on flickr
wardrobe_remix on flickr

Too Fat For Fashion Blog

Web Sites Offering Advice on Plus Sized Sewing:
BurdaStyle
Cut Out and Keep
CraftZine
Craftster.org

For more in emilyaugust goodness, check out her shop and her blog at www.gogodistro.com.

Below you’ll find some more of her picks. Give a shout-out if you offer plus sizes in the comments below!

Mod Jumper Dress
Mod Jumper Dress
Sold
Crafty Tattoo Style Tshirt  Sizes Small Thru 4XL
Crafty Tattoo Style Tshirt Sizes Small Thru 4XL
Sold
SALE wrap dress- tan twill- plus size
SALE wrap dress- tan twill- plus size
Sold
Sailor Retro Flared Knee Length Skirt with Tabs and Buttons Custom Made
Sailor Retro Flared Knee Length Skirt with Tabs and Buttons Custom Made
Sold
The Clyde Top
The Clyde Top
Sold
Sandmaiden Kitschn lacy tap pant - full size range
Sandmaiden Kitschn lacy tap pant - full size range
Sold
1960s Plus Size Skirt and Blouse Pattern Simplicity 5610
1960s Plus Size Skirt and Blouse Pattern Simplicity 5610
Sold

51 comments

  • TrashedClothing

    TrashedClothing said 9 years ago

    This is great! My best friend wears an XXl and it is just so hard to find gifts for her. Thanks for sharing!

  • delectabledenim

    delectabledenim said 9 years ago

    hi, great article- i also make gorgeous (biased!) plus size skirts in my shop :D

  • magickalrealism

    magickalrealism said 9 years ago

    Thank you for this. I run an Etsy friendly plus size blog you can find here: http://fatchic.net There's a few sellers in this article that I haven't spotted before, so I'm going to dig a bit!

  • exoskeletoncabaret

    exoskeletoncabaret said 9 years ago

    Many thanks for running this article! I think most people are really difficult to fit, regardless of whether they're petite, average, or plus sized, and it's wonderful that Etsy is home to so many sellers who are willing to make sure our clothing fits right and makes us feel good. Bravo! I hope more sellers feel excited about offering wider size ranges or custom options after reading this.

  • jamieribisi

    jamieribisi said 9 years ago

    Hooray for this article!!! Sellers/designers please take note...we want to wear your clothes!! Also, please offer XL and XXL in honest sizes-- don't get my hopes up just to find it's way too tiny to be a real XL :(

  • tinyisland

    tinyisland said 9 years ago

    what exactly is the minimum size to qualify as an XL??

  • SalmonStreetStudio

    SalmonStreetStudio said 9 years ago

    Yes! (as a seller and a buyer) We carry lots of Men's/Unisex Plus and a few of AA's "Women's" (actually Juniors sizing not Women's). We are still looking for quality, super soft actual Women's Plus Sized (up to 3X at least) blank t-shirts (prefer USA made) for screenprinting. If anyone makes those, to resell as a supply, feel free to convo us! This article is a good start, thanks!

  • selahestelle

    selahestelle said 9 years ago

    I am a fancy giantess. Kudos and thank you!

  • divabat

    divabat said 9 years ago

    Thank you thank you thank you!!

  • ponyboypress

    ponyboypress said 9 years ago

    Great article, thanks! I hope to find lots more plus size and custom clothes on Etsy!

  • SoCaliGirl

    SoCaliGirl said 9 years ago

    I just want to point out that XL and XXL aren't really plus sizes. Plus sizes are 1x, 2x and 3x. Sizes 18-30 for most women. As a plus sized woman, I find that people labeling XL as plus sized have no real idea what plus sized is.

  • soleilrouge

    soleilrouge said 9 years ago

    Great article! I'm a designer/seller and buyer of plus sized clothing. Bravo Etsy for featuring a under represented segment of indie fashion. We want cool, quality clothing too!

  • mermeydele

    mermeydele said 9 years ago

    thanks for writing this and making the issue more public at etsy, but i agree with SoCaliGirl as well - it's great when shops offer xl and xxl, but i am closer to a 5x or 6x, so it'd be wonderful to have more options available as well.

  • fiveorsixgirls

    fiveorsixgirls said 9 years ago

    thanks so much for my feature on this! i offer sizes 1-7x. deb <3

  • Euryale

    Euryale said 9 years ago

    IT'S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE TALKED ABOUT THIS!!! I sometimes feel that Etsy comes in 2 sizes- small and extra small. I don't consider myself "obese", but as someone who's definitely top-heavy, I can't fit into most of what I see posted. PS-American Apparel XL (for women) IS very small and shrinks down to nothing in the wash- a bad choice for you t-shirt artists out there.

  • petapledger

    petapledger said 9 years ago

    American Apparel XL is TINY - I had to learn that the hard way! I make many Plus Size garments for my private order work and make things in Plus Size to sell on Etsy when I get some free sewing time, check out my store...I welcome all queries! :-)

  • dogstarproductions

    dogstarproductions said 9 years ago

    Thank you emilyaugust for this article! I've noticed a lot of inappropriate items are tagged plus size. Sorry, but a 36" bustline top marked XL just doesn't make it! I shop by actual garment measurements rather than by the designated size, so sellers please list them. Makes life much easier. Apparently clothing manufacturers disagree violently on sizing. If anyone's interested, here's a link to about.com that links to various size charts: http://fashion.about.com/od/stylebasics/a/MissesSizes.htm Please keep those plus sizes coming. I love indy clothing in 2X - 3X (hint,hint!).

  • spaceoddities

    spaceoddities said 9 years ago

    Yay!! Great article and lots of new shops for me to check out! I also offer plus size tees in my shop...but never seem to have enough - they are always the first to go!

  • ThriftyGoodness

    ThriftyGoodness said 9 years ago

    This is terrific! I can't tell you how excited I am. I don't even think of myself as that large... but I'll never be a size XS. So much of what I see on etsy, while really lovely, is aimed at a very different body than mine. So, thank you for this article.

  • mysparkletree

    mysparkletree said 9 years ago

    Fantastic article!!!

  • FrandiTaynch

    FrandiTaynch said 9 years ago

    You know what's sad, is the article talks about plus sized people but the tag at the top talks about spreading the word to "size L and XL" Yeah... I haven't been a size L since about fourth grade. Still, the article was good. (I'm a plus size jewelry maker...)

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 9 years ago

    "but did you know that more and more companies like American Apparel are offering sizes like XXL and XXXL?" yes but unfortunately an XXL by American Apparel = a medium by any normal brand. I am always sad when I see the super cute T-shirt designs on Etsy and they print on American Apparel. I know it won't fit so I pass it by. I do understand it is not always practical for small-scale sellers to buy a case of every size in every color, that is a lot of overhead not to mention storage space. I'd love to see some of the screen printers offer a listing for printing their design on a blank shirt sent by the buyer. That way they don't have to invest in a bunch of XL shirts that may not sell.

  • suus52

    suus52 said 9 years ago

    during the menopauze I moved from size L to size XL. Now I make a lot of my clothes myself out of frustration. I honestly admire woman with XXL or XXXL who manage to look funky. It's tough. And it's an ever enlarging market because people get older and sadly larger. so Etsy-sellers think about us. :)

  • myaimistrue

    myaimistrue said 9 years ago

    Awesome article! Thanks for the link :)

  • lovestreams

    lovestreams said 9 years ago

    Thanks for the article ! Apart from the question of sizes which is by no way a "small" issue, I truly think Etsy is the place for establishing a close relationship between buyer and sellers, a place to ask for custom orders. I haven't done that yet, but I wouldn't be afraid to ask for something specific in my size...

  • abibansaldesign

    abibansaldesign said 9 years ago

    I love this.. beautiful work!. Im so glad there are people out there who cater for plus sizing- I make things to measure because i would hate to think someone would be put off by only offering smaller sizes. I make what i would like to buy.

  • DirtyDogStudios

    DirtyDogStudios said 9 years ago

    Thank god! I've been actively hunting through the 'plus sized' clothing & I've been very surprised by the lack of suppliers and stylish pieces out there. I need style too! This article has helped a lot. I can't wait to start spending!

  • honey100

    honey100 said 9 years ago

    Great piece. I wear a size 12-14 in store bought items and I am happy that someone addresses this issue with sizing! I love to wear feminine dresses, skirts, and tops, and it is not at all simple to find these items! Thank you,

  • tjstein

    tjstein said 9 years ago

    I agree that it's always a good idea to convo with a seller to see if they can offer a larger size. I was looking for a ring to give my husband and AnneHolman was able to create one of her designs in a size 15 ring!

  • decmeadow

    decmeadow said 9 years ago

    Being a large, I am so glad that this was done! I've constantly seen beautiful dresses that are much too small for me, and would ultimately look horrible if up-sized. Thank you for showing off the great world of plus size :)

  • Redressnyc

    Redressnyc said 9 years ago

    Wow what a great article, thanks! It's super hard to find decent plus size fun fashion out there. I'm opening up a vintage, re-sale, re-fashion focused boutique in Brooklyn specializing in sizes 14 and up. I'm hoping to be able to showcase new or remix designers who work in plus sizes starting in the fall. If this is you, feel free to contact me if you want to get involved. check us out - www.redressnyc.com

  • hans1247

    hans1247 said 9 years ago

    Woot! I agree with the comment above about sizing- a "large" in store sizes is not going to cut it for me most of the time. I hope more and more fashion people get this message. As a lady with an ample bosom, I find shopping for daring pieces very difficult. I need some more room but I do have money, I do buy clothes, and I do desire style!

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 9 years ago

    It's kind of warped that size 14 is being called a "plus size". In the USA, that is the average size of women. Which means that half of American women are even bigger than 14. What other industry deliberately marginalizes and ignores HALF the market? Hey designers, I got money too! I didn't spend it *all* on cupcakes. ;)

  • annettemusick

    annettemusick said 9 years ago

    I work for etsy and I'm plus size. =) I have ordered many custom items from sellers represented here, and I thank etsy sellers for offering their super sweet styles in clothes that fit me! =) And I must agree with you folks, American Apparel XL and XXL are not for plus size folks. It's pretty much a joke. Such cool screenprints that I can't rock. :/

  • Seattlejo

    Seattlejo said 9 years ago

    Seriously L as a "plus size" Show me some XXL and XXL and I'm with you. Janebonbon is a great example of someone doing real plus size and taking custom orders.

  • iragrant

    iragrant said 9 years ago

    Hm, I know one European sellers with original Plus Size Clothes in her shop. is it oke to put her shop here? http://PetronellaFashion.etsy.com good luck!

  • SecretLentil

    SecretLentil said 9 years ago

    hi! great article. i make lots of plus stuff. say - the link to fatshionista goes somewhere else. thought you would want to know.

  • iheartnorwegianwood

    iheartnorwegianwood said 9 years ago

    Wonderful article! Although people may not agree with all the points stated, at least it brings the issue to the forefront. When I opened my shop I felt it was really important for me to offer custom versions of everything i do, because people come in ALL sorts of shapes and sizes. Plus size girls have a hard time finding things, and so do really petite girls, and so do girls with tiny waists and big chests, or girls with tiny chests and big hips. I recently made a dress for the big chest/small wait kind of girl (my friend has this issue, so hard for her to find dresses!) unfortunately the pics turned out blurry, so I have to retake them, but she was so happy I was doing it! Hopefully more people will see the joys of custom clothing. You really do get what you want!

  • luneluxe

    luneluxe said 9 years ago

    Thanks for this excellent article. I’ve bought one or two plus-sized things on Etsy, but my searches for “24″ or “3x” on the site often come up short. I can only encourage sellers to remember the big girls, and I appreciate the advice to ask for custom sizes of cute things I see.

  • jeannesjewels

    jeannesjewels said 9 years ago

    I'm a "plus size" girl myself, and have started using myself to design some things in my jewelry section for plus sizes.I have a turq bracelet there now that is designed more for "plus sizes"...and a few more that I just have to upload...We've been overlooked so long...but also, don't "add on" for the few inches extra you have to include in the design..we don't always take insults well, either!! just my humble opinion!!!

  • Deodand

    Deodand said 9 years ago

    I'm a professional apparel buyer, Etsy addict and plus-sized lady. I buy for a screenprinting and embroidery company, so I know it can be tough to find women's plus-sized imprintable garments. Here is one good place to go: http://www.kavio.com Check out their Women's range, which is larger than the junior line. They even list their size specs online.

  • BlackStarDesigns

    BlackStarDesigns said 9 years ago

    This was a great article. We definately want to start making more plus sized clothing and after reading this article it only makes me want to do that even more so.

  • Innisfree

    Innisfree said 9 years ago

    I agree with some of the earlier comments-L and XL is not plus size. The average woman in the US is size 14. Please offer more than XL.

  • SparklieSunShine

    SparklieSunShine said 9 years ago

    Yes!

  • 2gorditas

    2gorditas said 9 years ago

    My favorite plus-size seller here on etsy is Janebonbon! She has the most beautiful clothes!

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 9 years ago

    yayyyyyy! Amazing stuff!

  • KarensMonsters

    KarensMonsters said 8 years ago

    Several people have mentioned that the average women's size in the US is a 14. I believe you (though I've never really thought about), but wondering where this information came from? Anyone have any links? Did anyone see the treasury recently made with actual plus sized items in it? That's what brought me to come looking for the article that prompted it.

  • valentinevixen

    valentinevixen said 8 years ago

    I am offering some awesome clothing in plus sizes.Please visit my site wwwv.alentinevixen.etsy.com and www.thevictorianvanity.etsy.com

  • stitchgirl52

    stitchgirl52 said 8 years ago

    I am working on a Plus Size Line as we type. Check out my blog for updates. http://stitchgirl52.blogspot.com 30% off first item - when my shop is ready with the plus size listings.

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