Curvy Sewing, One Year Later: Where Are We Now?

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!

A model wears a Grainline Studio Reed skirt, which is made in a woven, striped fabric that is gray and white. The two front pockets of the skirt are cut on the cross-grain of the fabric, so that their stripes run parallel to the hem of the skirt; the body of the skirt features vertical stripes. The model also wears a rust-colored knit top knotted at her midriff. The model is curvy, and is modelling the newly-expanded size range of the new release from Grainline Studio.

Link.

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.

A model wears a Closet Case Patterns Sienna Maker Jacket in their newly-expanded size range. The jacket is a tobacco color, and features exterior pockets (upper and lower) and a d-ring belt to close. The model also wears blue jeans, a white and navy-striped top, and a red bandana neckerchief. Her left hand is placed in the lower jacket pocket, and she smiles at the camera.
Link.

Cashmerette Patterns–a perennial curvy sewing favourite!–has started expanding their sizes up to a 32 in some products, including the Turner dress and the Montrose top.

A model wears the Cashmerette Turner dress in a navy and white multi-grid print fabric. She is styled with a statement pendant necklace and tobacco-colored leather heeled sandals. She stands with her hands on her hips, smiling confidently directly into the camera.
Link.

Helen’s Closet patterns just released two previous designs with new sizes: the Elliot sweater/tee now goes up to a 30, and the Avery leggings to a 32.

A model wears a pair of Helen's Closet Avery leggings in an aubergine knit. She wears a taupe knit top with a surplice back neckline and a pair of sneaker shoes. She is in profile to the camera, showing the no-side-seam design of the leggings.

Link.

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.

View this post on Instagram

An Open Letter to Thin Bodies Listen – we are going to need you to step it up this year. How can you be a better ally? I am SO GLAD you asked ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Next time that friend says they're feeling fat, remind them that fat isn't a feeling – the word they're searching for is insecure, and size has nothing to do with that. If you're inviting a friend shopping, make sure the stores you are hitting actually carry their size. Stop equating eating with cheating / rewarding yourself / a sin you'll have to "work off" later. Learn that #bodypositive is a movement forged by BIPOC and infini fat bodies, learn that fatphobia is rooted in racism. Stop glorifying diets. Ask brands to make more sizes even if you don't need them, ask them why their marketing is so bent towards thinness, ask them why gender is integral to their online shop – and then stop supporting them if their answers fail us. Have a friend dreading bathing suit shopping, offer to go with them, cheerlead for their body, in a way that assures them you only see beauty and admiration towards their body. Realize we need to stop astrixing all fat bodies are valid, but only if they're also healthy, because fuck that ableist culture. Remind your spin instructors that not everyone in the class is there to change their bodies and to stop shouting about weightloss and start cheerleading movement for enjoyment. Call out the casual fatphobia that we are drowning in, each and every day biting our tongues because we can't constantly be doing it alone. We need you pushing back, shoulder to shoulder against this toxic weight obsessed culture we live in. Reminding this multibillion dollar industry that we aren't buying their bias and shame anymore ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Because what if this was the decade we ended body shaming?! Can you just imagine it, all bodies being treated equally, with respect and dignity. If the pursuit of self love felt effortless, because that's the world we carved out – where we only knew how to admire the skin we are in Show. The. Fuck. Up. . . . . #plussizeblogger #psblogger #allbodiesaregood #goldenconfidence #bigandblunt #theeverygirl #loveyourbody #celebratemysize #honormycurves #bodyposi #plusisequal

A post shared by Marielle Elizabeth (@marielle.elizabeth) on

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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