by Rowena Howie July 11, 2021
Today is an exciting day. Today is the day we launch our first ever Revival Retro own range print. It's also the first time we will launch with sizing up to and including UK 28.
This blog, however, is about sizing. I want to share with you our thoughts and findings from our process, which will hopefully help you decide what sizes to order.
In recent weeks we have been sampling the new styles, perfecting patterns, adapting and altering as we go.
Today's launch will feature completely new styles as well as launching an extended size run for popular favourites.
Let's start with the brand new pieces. I'm excited!
The Sloane Shirt Dress
Everyone loves a classic 1940s style shirt dress! Or do they? When we asked women for feedback you told us about all kinds of issues with plus size fit, particularly with shirt dresses.
Here's what we heard and how we've tried to address it.
What you told us - You carry your weight differently. Hourglass shapes graded up from smaller sizes to bigger sizes make dresses for giant tall people and just don't work. Also arm openings was something that repeatedly came up as companies often seem to fail to adjust these in plus sizing.
What we did - we took an existing blouse pattern (Park Lane) that we know has a successful fit in up to size 20. With room across the shoulder and around the bust we knew this would create a functioning base that we could start from. We also paid particular attention to the arm openings in our mid size and plus size patterns.
The Park Lane blouse is not fitted through the waist which allowed us to develop an easy fit through the waist for the shirt dress. A belt will allow people to define the waist if they want.
Most popular skirt shape at Revival is A line as more often than not it flows over hips and bums more easily. It also fit with our 1940s fashion inspiration.
Early versions had tie belts sewn in to the sides but feedback from larger women taught us that this can cause the 'waist' to sit in the wrong place for some women, so we changed it to have an entirely separate tie belt and no belt loops so you can choose what works for you.
We then graded it up to a 24 and produced a sample in a 12 and a 24 for compare and contrast.
Our working bust measurements for the shirt dress are as follows (inches). This is the guideline you should go by when selecting your preferred size.
Our working hip measurements for the shirt dress are as follows (inches). This is a rough guideline only. There is no waist seam to measure downwards from on the dress.
The reason I'm writing a blog rather than a size chart is measurements are often entirely misleading. I would recommend choosing your size in this dress according to the bust measurement as the priority, where the skirt falls over the hip changes on different women's bodies. We are all different so the fit will be different.
The size 24 sample fit our model @melodymae with no gaping at the buttons on the upper or lower half. We hope you agree, this one is a triumph!
The Portobello Blouse
What you told us: Blouses seem to come with all sorts of problems in plus sizes but overwhelmingly what we kept hearing about was lack of choice. Poor options for smart casual choices in quality fabrics opposed to stretchy tops or oversized rectangles.
What we did: We chose one blouse from our collection that we would grade and toile in plus size to perfect the fit through the torso but also in the arm opening.
We chose a short sleeve style that is not darted through the waist (which our other Hampstead and Fitzroy styles are). We almost always work with a generous bust as a starting point and we've considered length as well.
No matter what size we are, sometimes us curvy women, we can't fasten the bottom button on a blouse but as this blouse is designed to be tucked in the feedback was that this isn't a deal breaker.
Having tried a size 24 toile on multiple women the overwhelming verdict was it was perfect. No further alterations needed. It's excellent. Woop woop!
The Fenchurch Dress
What you told us: In the UK very few vintage inspired brands offer genuine plus sizes. You want high a high quality offering. You want more choice. You want bigger sizes.
What we did: We were already working on our exclusive new print and choosing more sustainable quality fabrics. We were already working on a gorgeous new cowl neck style. So, it seemed obvious: We should launch our fabulous new dress with an extended size range, taking on board feedback and learnings from fit consultations.
From the above descriptions you've already seen that we take time to get things right. We've created several versions of both size 12 and 24 trying to perfect the pattern before we grade the different sizes.
As a completely new style, The Fenchurch dress has taken lot's more work, and at the time of writing this blog we've still got some final small amends to make.
When we asked Andi to come in and do the photo shoot we had a sample 24 ready waiting for her and we thought it was going to be the final one. BUT who can spot the problem?
Can you see that the dress is pulling across the bust? We can, and that's not right. Is it just because the model has a big bust and therefor this dress is not for her? I don't think so. However, as @MelodyMae suggested to us, the hard work was worth it - this is a great dress! Probably what we have created is a really good size 22. So we are going to test it on more women before we do the grade from the 22/24 pattern and decide.
At any rate, you are going to want to choose your size according to the waist measurement on this dress which is a stitched waistband with no stretch. That's actually going to be the most significant measurement.
Our working waist measurements for the shirt dress are as follows (inches). This is the guideline you should go by when selecting your preferred size.
Now, if that changes, don't worry, we're not gonna leave you stranded. We already have generous Terms and Conditions offering refund or exchange if you notify us up to 14 days after delivery. We also want to get this right so you love us and trust us and want to buy from us again. We want there to be enough demand for our plus size garments that this project is commercially viable and we can build and grow to serve you with fantastic choice and garments that you will wear again and again.
So those are the items released today in our new bramble flower print. We hope you love them. The whole team has been working hard to make this happen. Thanks guys!
Also released today are two popular pieces from our mix and match capsule collection, the Handy Pocket Skirt and the Holborn Trouser along with the same blouse but in a fresh white.
What you told us: much plus sizing quality out there is poor quality, cheap fabrics that don't hang well and badly designed items with terrible fit.
What we did: committed to extending the size range of the best sellers in our mix and match capsule collection. This collection features better quality fabrics and these styles are best sellers because we've worked so hard on size and fit.
The way Andi (@melodymae) put it was "thoughtful design" and i think that sums it up pretty well. At Revival we make considered choices about what we make, who makes and where it is made. It's impossible for a small company to commit to sustainable choices and ethically made and to do so cheaply. We truly believe that our plus size clothing and everything we do is worth the investment.
Andi is more of a skirt girl and finds it hard to find trousers that work for her. We will show you those another day. Meanwhile, I'm loving these smart separates on her.
There are other items in the core collection of mix and match separates that we hope to release with extended size ranges soon but we need further consultation first, particularly on the jackets which you can pair to make a matching womens suit.
If you would like to offer feedback, be a fit model, try stuff on, get your photo take, please get in touch. Meanwhile, go pre-order because you'll need to do that by the 31 July 2021 deadline if you want to guarantee your size in these items.
Lover of beautiful things and amazing people. Explorer and Entrepreneur. This is my independent shop, whether you visit our London boutique or browse our online offering it is my vision that our wonderful team is working hard to bring to life.
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The Revival Retro Boutique
30 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JL (Goodge Street, Tube)