[cw: body image/weight]
Over the last 2 days i designed, draped, and sewed a dress. I really like it. It’s deep red shot cotton and I eked it out of just two yards of 44″ wide fabric, which I’m really proud of. It’s the first dress I’ve made in over two years, and I just feel good about it.
But I had a lot of Thoughts about Bodies and Clothes while making it.
See, I started seriously garment sewing when I was 19 and deeply, troublingly insecure about my body. I’ll be upfront here: I wear a 30GG. I have a lot of boob, extremely narrow shoulders and ribcage, a short waist and a lot of hip, and just generally a lot going on for 5′3″. I started garment sewing because I wasn’t happy with the fit of off the rack clothes. I didn’t fully realize, then, just how detailed my knowledge of my own shapes would have to be to do this thing right.
So where am I going with this? I drafted a bodice. I draped a bodice. The fit isn’t perfect, because I’m really rusty, but it’s plenty good enough.
(you can see in the above photo that I didn’t get the bust dart placement quite right)
The point is that I started sewing at 19 because I was scared of my body. What I have learned in the intervening years is just how empowering knowing about your own body can be. It’s one thing to know that your shoulders are narrow and your bust is huge; I think most cis women know those sorts of things about their bodies and that’s part of the insecurity.
But what is empowering is knowing how to make clothes that actually fit those shapes. You know: instead of a dress that is baggy in the shoulders and bursting across the chest, I can have a dress that hits my collarbone right and is a little blousy. I don’t even have WORDS for how much this has meant to me over the last few years.
I’m mainly a knitter these days, but this applies here too. Choosing a sweater pattern? I can go one size down for the yoke and one size up for the chest. See how the raglan lines on this sweater hit my collarbones but the chest isn’t tight?
GO MAKE STUFF. FIGHT THE PATRIARCHY. TRUST YOURSELF. It helps. It really does.
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