We’re back with more submissions from plus-size sewists!
Hi Sewcialists. My name is Buffy and I’m a curvy, cup-sized sewist. I have to be completely honest with you all. When I read Tanya’s article on being not included it really resonated with me. It resonated enough that I offered to share my opinion on the matter, but then when it came down to it I had the worst time sharing my thoughts about myself in such a public way. It finally came down to the fact that this sewing community has been such a blessing to me. Even though I don’t post a ton of pictures on Instagram I still find so much inspiration from everyone else and I thought maybe I could do the same for someone else.
Here’s a little information about me. I live in Pennsylvania, close enough to Philadelphia and Manhattan to go there for a day if I wanted to. I live on a large plot of land surrounded by other similarly sized properties. I always joke that I’m 25 minutes from anywhere but I really enjoy the privacy that comes from living where I live. I’m a sewer, a knitter, and a crocheter. I’m also a wife, a mom to three teenage boys (16, 13, 13) and a semi-homesteader. I cook, I can, I have an enormous vegetable garden, I grind my own wheat to bake bread, I have a large flock of chickens, and I try hard to eat mostly local, oh, and I homeschool. I work hard and try to always do the right thing, and that also includes not buying anything new for me and/or making most of my clothes.
Growing up I was never skinny but I was never the biggest girl either. I was never completely satisfied with my body and solved that problem by hiding behind baggy clothes (I loved those babydoll dresses in the 90’s). Even when I first started sewing I made everything too big and only recently started following my actual measurements when I create something new. Maybe not being able to fit into certain patterns helped to perpetuate the myth that no one wants to see my body so I better hide it. I bought and made items that were too big, trying to hide my curves and really hide myself. I’ve just recently decided that it’s better to wear well fitting clothes, that I’m not offending (most) people, and if they are offended by my body I really don’t care. My body is strong and it can do so many things and I am allowed to love it.
I am not, however, planning on buying patterns that do not have my size. I do find it frustrating that I can buy some indie patterns but others are so outside my size range that I find it almost laughable. I never get mad if I can’t fit I into something that someone else created; to me that would be like getting mad if I didn’t like a food that someone didn’t make specifically for me. I don’t think that someone should have to make a pattern to fit all sizes but I certainly will not buy it if it won’t fit me.
Looking back, I realise now that I never felt good enough. When I was younger I was slim, but “too tall”. Then I hit puberty and was slim, but with (too) “big boobs” and was still “too tall”. Then I gained weight and was “too heavy” with “big boobs” and STILL “too tall”! I am also clever and outspoken and wear glasses. *Facepalm*.
Then something changed, gradually. I had kids and revelled in my huge pregnant stomach and being set free from whether my waist was thin enough. Then I started sewing clothes for me and realised, “too tall” wasn’t really a thing anymore (thanks to lengthen/shorten here lines!!!). I discovered patterns that went up to my size, and FBAs, and being in control of how I looked in clothes and, ultimately, more in control of how I felt.
The thing that really cemented the change in how I view my body is the supportive culture that has become more prominent in sewing. It’s no coincidence that Project Runway used different sizes of models in their latest season — they see what Colette, Jenny from Cashmerette, the Curvy Sewing Collective and many others have been doing for some years and they see it makes sense. As a result, my daughter walks past me watching a runway show, or sees a pattern with a cover model picture, and they are somewhat diverse (if rather lovely) people. That makes me happy.
Every day I catch myself in some negative thought, and almost every time I now stop that thought and focus instead on feeling good. I have so much power because I can sew a thing for my body, that fits me, that I can counter the idea that I am not good enough. I am more than good enough AND I am still clever and outspoken and wear glasses. And I rock.
Just try and tell me I am not good enough. I dare you 🙂
How could we come up with a better ending than that? Please share your experiences with size, sewing, and self-confidence below!