Please Note: These FAQs are no longer being updated (except that out-of-date web sites, contact info, and so forth are removed when I am notified of them - for notification address, see below).

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 folks?
  • 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


    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 consistently.

    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 Project."

    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:

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

    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 (

    Copyright 1995-1999 by Stef Maruch (
    Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial, educational use only, provided that this copyright notice is not removed or altered. No portion of this work may be sold, either by itself or as part of a larger work, without the express written permission of the author. This restriction covers all publication media, including electronic media.