This question is a compelling one that opens up many other avenues of discussion. It's interesting to think about how arbitrary sizing really is. Does "plus-size" really have any effective meaning any more?
Gertie, thanks for this post! Now, if I can ask my fellow blog readers for advice...in my small etsy shop (which exists mainly to justify my pattern addiction), I'd like to be able to mark plus-size patterns as such, but am not sure where the "plus-size line" is. I don't subscribe to the "anyone above a size 4 is plus size" way of thinking...so do you think bust 42 and above is appropriate to mark as "plus-size"? Bust 44 and above?
In the modeling world, all the women featured in the photo above are considered plus size, and these models are generally a U.S. ready-to-wear size 8 or 10. The retail world is another story altogether. Lane Bryant, the popular plus-size clothing chain, starts its sizes at 14. (Interestingly, that's the size of the average American woman.) The vintage pattern world has its own rules: we generally don't think about number sizes, because they vary so much from decade to decade. The bust measurement is everything, and it never lies. But our perceptions can still become skewed, I think. Because so many of the patterns you see out there are very small, I've seen bust size 36" labeled as plus-size or extra large.
But all that aside, perhaps the real question is this: Is there truly a need to indicate plus-size patterns as such? I think I would argue that yes, there is. If Pattern Junkie tags certain items as plus-size, then someone can easily find them through a Google search for "plus size vintage patterns." Vintage sewing is definitely not known for being plus-size friendly, so perhaps easier access would change that.
On the other hand, is this categorization simply creating an unnecessary - and potentially damaging - ghettoizing of larger women in the pattern world? I mean, it's kind of like having a "gay fiction" section in a bookstore. It's nice that one can find them all in one section, but really . . . aren't they novels just like any other novels? Perhaps I'm getting a little carried away here, though.
Anyway, what do you think? Do you think vintage pattern sellers should denote certain sizes as plus? And if so, where does that range start? Please note that this question isn't meant to "call out" certain sizes or body types. I'm thinking of this as an overarching issue that can help vintage sellers and the women who want to find awesome patterns in larger sizes.
P.S. Thanks to Pattern Junkie for posing the question! The adorable pattern below is available in her shop in a size 44" bust for the excellent price of $6.25. Make it yours today!