Last January, a comprehensive and passionate discussion around size inclusion by pattern designers raged across the sewing Internet. That month we posted a “good news in sewing” piece that looked at some of the inclusion work that had already happened or was announced by designers.
We thought it was time to update you on some developments since last January, focusing on indie designers. Sadly, the Big Four pattern companies (McCall, Butterick, Vogue, and Simplicity) have not shown much progress in making the majority of their patterns size-inclusive, so we won’t look at their progress here.
Grainline Studio followed through with their promise to create a new block and released two new patterns up to size 28 or 30: the Thayer chore jacket and the Reed skirt. Look how cute their model is rocking that skirt!
Closet Case Patterns released the Sienna Maker jacket in a new size range, though the extended sizes (14-30) are only available for pdf download.
New to the scene is Muna and Broad, who have released three patterns so far: the Glebe pants, the Torrens box top, and a great pair of period or regular panties. The patterns have been so popular they’ve actually sized down for the “small fat” community. They’ve also offered to grade up their patterns for anyone beyond their size range for free. Big things are coming from this new team!
It’s not perfect, but it is progress. Probably more progress than we have seen with the Big Four, who provide the vast majority of patterns purchased by home sewists.
There’s a lot of anger from fat sewists (myself included) about size inclusivity in pattern making. We need thin sewists to show up and help us fight the battle. To help you find the words, I’m including this excellent piece by @marielle.elizabeth on Instagram. As she said in the story that she put out shortly after this post, thin privilege doesn’t mean thin people are bad. It just means they don’t have to worry about finding a chair at a restaurant that fits them, or having a doctor assume their health problems are all related to weight, and that they’ll be able to buy season and activity-appropriate clothing when they want it for a reasonable price and in or near where they live. Fat people don’t have that privilege.
If you’re mad, that’s great. Take action. But don’t just be mad at the small indie designers. Be mad at McCalls, Simplicity, Vogue and Burda. Be mad at the convenience-store-industrial-complex. Be mad at the fact that fast food is cheaper than cooking. Be mad that so many people live in food deserts where buying an apple is hard, and forget about the fancy ingredients in your healthy food. Be mad, and take action. But above all, support your fat friends.
What about you all? What are some of your favourite wins this year in body inclusivity? Who are you following now that you didn’t a year ago? What actions are you taking? Let us know and we’ll do a follow up post with responses highlighted from here and Instagram!
Kerry is a lifelong fat woman who is learning to tame her inner monologue so that she doesn’t assign value to food, her appearance, or that belly roll that doesn’t quite fit into pattern sizes.
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