Previous Screen  Go to Home Page

Patternmaking & Sewing Notes
by Don McCunn

Sway Back Posture

One of the fitting issues that came up in my class on How to Make a Lower Torso Sloper is the sway back posture which some refer to as a "tilted waist." If a body has this posture, it can affect the fit of any pair of pants or skirt you buy or make. These garments "hang" when the hips are larger than the waist. If the waist is larger than the hips, then the skirt or pants have nothing to hold them up--except suspenders.

The tummy affects the fit of the front and can be larger than the hips. It is the shaping of the back pattern from side seam to center back that the sway back fit addresses. It is a common posture configuration for many women. If the fit of the back and sides is correct for a particular body, this portion of the garment may also hold up the front even if there is a tummy. Only creating an accurate fit for a specific body will you know whether this will work.

If you look at the picture below you will see how this person's sway back is flat from the natural waist to about 2" down toward the hips. If the top of the waistband is low enough, the sway back will not affect the fit. But if the waistband is within the range of this flat area of the back and the dart is not shaped accordingly, the garment will tend to slide down and hang unevenly. This shaping is also important for the Contoured Waistband which I describe in another note.

Dart Shaping for Sway Back Postures

It is my experience that the best way to create a sloper that fits accurately is to align the grain of the fabric to the contours of the body keeping the horizontal grain parallel to the floor and the vertical grain at right angles to the floor. For a sway back posture this means that the top of the hip dart will be parallel or almost parallel where the back is flat, then angle out to the fullest part of the hip at the bottom of the sway back contour.

This posture will also affect the fit of any dress, coat, or jacket that is shaped to fit the back.

Copyright © 2015 by Donald H. McCunn