CHAPTER XII
FITTING THE VERY LARGE WOMAN

THE corset can relieve tiredness due to weight of flesh–The pendulous abdomen -The slim hip and thigh problem Dealing with back flesh–Fitting the bust–Lacing garments give flexible control–Heavy corsets not always necessary.

FEW women are more grateful than the O.S. figure for the comfort and improvement in appearance that a good corset can provide, and contrary to what many beginners imagine, the big woman is often very easy to fit. Her flesh is usually soft, and may be moulded to a good shape. Equally, if she wears a badly fitting foundation, her figure is readily distorted and ugly bumps of fat appear to spoil her appearance and create discomfort.

The fitter should realize that most heavy women find their fat a real physical burden to carry. It makes them tired; they are constantly aware of their weight, from which they cannot get away. The first thing they ask of a foundation garment is that it shall literally lift and hold the weight, taking the strain off the over-burdened spine.

So, in fitting an O.S. customer, we look first for a garment that has been designed to lift back the excess weight and give this so much desired relief from the "drag" of dropped and heavy flesh. Where it is possible to fit a one-piece garment, there are certain considerable advantages. The customer will have a tidier line all over, and a smooth foundation for her dresses.

Particular O.S. Problems

The principal problems the fitter has to meet in these fittings are the following–

1. The Pendulous Abdomen. There is a roll of flesh in the groin, a condition caused when, for any of a number of reasons, overstrained muscles fail to regain their normal firm tension following a loss of weight from the abdomen. Lack of care after childbirth may cause this, or the weakening of muscle tone following an abdominal operation.

The gradual accumulation of excess at in cases of obesity will also produce an obvious tendency to a pendulous condition of the abdomen. The fitter will notice the forward-dropping tendency of the abdomen an will have to treat this as i the abdomen were already pendulous in order to prevent the deterioration of the condition.

Where the customer as a pendulous abdomen or a marked tendency to develop one, the fitter must, without fail, insist on fitting a garment that contains a separate inner belt, an where an abdomen is very pendulous indeed, the inner belt should be of soft elasticized material, designed in a curve fashion to form a sling, rather than a straight, boned inner belt. Many large corselettes contain inner belts, and many back-lacing and busk front wrap-ons are designed with this feature.

The fitter should set the garment on the customer's body in the usual way an while fastening the inner belt, which is usually side hooking, should invite the customer to, or should herself, lift the dropped abdominal flesh at both sides so that it is literally held up and back inside the belt. Where the inner belt is of the straight, well boned type, the fitter should see that the customer does not pull the belt down at the front, but that it is quite straight across the figure, before settling down to fasten up the rest of the garment. I the inner belt is tugged down at the front, two things will show it. The outer part of the garment will come up at the back and will fail to respond to the fitter's attempts to pull it down; and in the case of a corselette fitting, there will be a deep, ugly crease at both sides of the waist when the garment is finally fastened up.

2. The Slim Hip an Thigh Problem. Many very heavy customers have remarkably little flesh accumulation over the buttocks and thighs, and some of the well known corset manufacturers design garments specially to accommodate a very full bust and yet fit neatly over a small hip and thigh. Where this condition is very marked, the customer is usually also remarkably short between waist and buttocks and a garment made or this type of figure and containing this feature in its design is essential. Altered O. S. garments are seldom any good.

3. Back Flesh. An accumulation of fat in the back of the waist and on the shoulder blades is a frequent problem. The fitter must be ready to notice this at her first glance and to find a garment that will accommodate the at an not push it up into the bulges og over-hanging flesh that may be seen on so many O. S. figures when viewed from the back.

In the case of corsets, the tendency is or such women to have overhanging flesh at either side of the centre back, and they will complain that the ones of their corsets hurt them here, as indeed they will. In such cases a corset should be chosen that comes slightly above the waist and is designed to allow this back waist flesh to fall into it rather than be pushed up and over it. A slight flare at the waist of the corset, sometimes with elastic gussets, is a design feature which tells the fitter that the garment is meant to deal with back waistline flesh

.

In fitting corselettes and brassieres, the first consideration will, of course, be to accommodate all the flesh with the garment so that when the customer stands or sits no flesh will escape from under the arms, around the top of the bust cups, or over the backof the garment. A sufficiently deep cup will naturally be sought first. The shoulder straps will need to be wide and, if necessary, lined with soft plush, so that they will not cut or rub the fleshy shoulders. For very big women the fitter will seek a built up shoulder, i.e. a garment in which the material merges into a strap. This is useful at the back when flesh tends to bulge over an ordinary sewn-on shoulder strap, and assists in confining the flesh on the top of the bust itself.

Where there is much flesh to be controlled at the back waist, the best brassiere will be one with a basque, curve to flatten out any bulges of flesh which rise over the corset at the back, and if the fitter has a brassiere with back suspenders, this is often the best method of back attachment for really heavy figures.

4. Lacing Garments. These are most frequently fitted to the very big customer, who appreciates their flexibility of control.   Many big women fluctuate considerably in size from day to day, and in such cases a laced corset has a particular advantage. Instructions on fitting laced garments are given elsewhere in this manual, but one point about their fitting in relation to very big women is this–they should not be too tightly laced where there is a lot of soft flesh. To ace up too tigtly will merely push up the soft flesh into the waist or cause it to come up at the diaphragm. Support is the first need of the O. S. customer, and the lacing corset should be use to give this with the exact degree of comfortable firmness that the customer likes.

The modern fitter of good corsetry will always remember, when fitting very large customers, that big figures do not necessarily require very heavy or very heavily boned garments.

No one is more delighted with a light weight garment than the big woman, and modern foundation garment designers are now achieving an amazing degree of big-figure control with new, light fabrics and elasticized materials. This is the modern trend and the corsetiere should watch developments.

CHAPTER XIII