Wednesday, 20 April 2016

a new sewing adventure

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my last post, it is nice to read your opinions. I have answered questions and also added further thoughts by replying to some of your comments. Today's post lighter reading, I promise. Light and fluffy.



I started a new sewing adventure yesterday. It was the first session of a fitting masterclass at the Stitchery. I was quite anxious to go actually - I received an email with instructions, one being a request to take tights and a vest to the class for a body shape analysis and measurements. I have a strange relationship to my body. Some bits I love, others not so much. I am a nice shape I think but I am really heavily overweight (I make it into the obese BMI scale). I am mostly confidently round, don't hide under baggy clothes and wear what I like. But - and it is a big but - having my photo taken from all sides, wearing tights and a vest top, with a loose elastic wrapped around the middle to indicate my true waistline? I tell you, it was not easy to do that. Not at all. I haven't seen the photos yet and I am not looking forward to the next class, when we will be talking about body shapes and how to make clothes that fit our own personal shape. I guess the whole point of a fitting masterclass is to work with our own bodies, to get to know it when we sometimes try to ignore it and to fall in love with who we are, tummy rolls, flat bums, hollow chests, droopy boobs and all. All the women in the class have such different shapes, all beautiful in their own way, and not a single one is happy with her body, or parts of it. This transpired when we introduced ourselves. Isn't it sad? It upsets to think that we try to morph our bodies into something that they are most likely not meant to be, a shape that in all probability only exists on the pattern blocks of the mass garment industry. I guess learning to sew your own well fitting wardrobe is a big step towards accepting and embracing our own special bodies. 

We are working with a fitting pattern designed by Cassandra, the founder of the Stitchery. It is a dress and can of course be sewn up as a dress to wear but foremost, it is a fitting pattern to practice a variety of adjustments. It is designed to be a close fitting garment with a little ease for comfort.  

I discovered a couple of surprising facts about my body. I learned that in couture I am a B cup, with the difference between my upper bust and full bust less than 2 inches. Apparently fashion bra sizes are fairly random. I also learned that cup sizes are not necessarily all that informative, but a good starting point. I am of average height, have a broad and shortish back (neck to waistline) and narrowish shoulders, relatively slim arms and a bum two dress sizes bigger than the my top. Ok, I knew that last one already. The broad back can maybe explain the surprising B cup. I have made quite a few clothes now and I am quite successful with tops but I do struggle with dresses and skirts and I haven't even attempted trousers. I am always in a hurry when I really should take the time to make a toile. I forego pattern adjustments, ignore measurements and reality for the sake of a quick result. I make adjustments on the go. Sometimes they are ok. I have wasted fabric and time and donated plenty to charity. Why for example I never bothered with a length adjustment to accommodate my short back I can not explain. Anyway, I hope I'll enjoy my new sewing adventure. I don't think I am confident enough to model my ongoing learning but I'll be back with an update and hopefully a well fitting dress soon. In the meantime, have a lovely Wednesday evening. The skies are blue and it is balmy for once. I am going to sit on the front steps for a bit and watch the world go by. xx

15 comments:

  1. What an interesting sounding class, because of course none of us is a standard size. I was very thin as a young woman weighing barely 90 lbs. when I got married. Then in my 30's I quit smoking and through the years I've gotten rounder and rounder. It would be interesting to know how to sew to fit me, none some ideal me.

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  2. Sounds like a great class. I am only 4' 11" tall so even petite clothes are too long. I was always skinny until I hit my late 40s and boom the weight just piled on I too am obese on the BMI scale.

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  3. What an interesting post, I have accepted my body warts and all now and give it very little thought, I got myself a Golden Rule set for dressmaking so I can make things to suit me not tried it yet but its on the list for this year, look forward to seeing your dress come together

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  4. It sounds like a really good class, I'd love to attend something similar one day. I came to terms with my body shape a long time ago. Not that I was bothered about it much anyway. Not a lot you can do being 5ft 1". Though having found a photograph of my 15 year old self I would like to know where my nice smooth neck has dissapered to! Hope you have lots of fun with your new sewing adventure xx

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  5. This class sounds like such a good idea if you want to make more of your own clothes. It always amazes me that we ever find clothes to buy that actually fit as none of have "normal" body shapes... Thank goodness! What is sad is that I look back on my younger self, when I always hated my body and I can now see that is was actually just fine. I'm more accepting of lumps and bumps now!

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  6. This sounds like just the sort of class I should go to. I would love to make clothes for myself but just haven't been able to take that plunge.

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  7. Sounds like a brilliant idea, clothes that are perfectly tailored to your own form are such a luxury. I shall look forward to seeing your dress, and I hope you have a lovely time and learn lots at the class. CJ xx

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  8. I will be watching your progress with interest, I would love to make my own clothes but sadly lack time patience and skill. I started a dress a few weeks ago but it's all gone a bit Pete Tong and was shoved away in a drawer, you have inspired me to get it out and have another go :)

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  9. Oh my goodness, I'd never have gone to that class even though it sounds brilliant if you want to sew your own clothes. I hate having my photo taken any time but in tights and a vest top, no way. Well done you, you say it wasn't easy and I can see that, but as you say, there aren't many women who are happy with their own body so good for you. I'm looking forward to seeing you make some super fitted clothes now.

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  10. I admire your determination to get the fit of your clothes just right, Christina. I barely qualify as a sewer, having just started making some of my own clothes. But I can already tell I am a lazy seamstress. I can't be bothered to take the time to resize things.

    I had your last post open on my iPad for two days, fully intending to make a comment, then time got away from me. With my three adopted children there was no avoiding the topic of adoption (not that we wanted to). Two of them are Asian and one is Gypsy, and one of them is a quadruple amputee. Questions and stares were common place. The best thing my adopted children had going for them is when they were younger we lived in a community that had many adopted children. In our neighbourhood alone there were three other families that had adopted. Amongst the young children it was actually more common to be adopted than to be a birth child. One of the funniest things that happened back then was when one of the small neighbour girls, one who wasn't adopted, went home and asked her mom what plane she arrived on. Her mom had to break the news to her that she hadn't arrived on a plane from some foreign location.

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  11. I think it would be quite daunting to be photographed in so little, measured and remeasure. I applaud you for doing it. I am tall, thinish legs and arms, essentially very little chest and now a rounded bottom, well since I turned fifty anyway. I am excited to see how this master class works out.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  12. Brave wise woman! I wonder what you saw of the world from your front steps as the world whirled by :)
    Sewing clothing is one of the many skills I have not consistently pursued, but I applaud your efforts, Christina! As a young woman my mom took tailoring classes and sewed most of the clothing my always obese body needed. Body image...self-esteem are weighty topics for many, and most definitely for me, but they are topics that I explore through my relationship with God and in spite of my negative experiences with how my body looks and functions in the world, I am glad and excited to be alive at the age of 65 and I enjoy the amazing beauty around me and the opportunity to grow into a more loving, caring human being.......who one day might follow your inspiring example and learn to sew! xx

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  13. I think I would probably curl up and die if I had to appear in vest and tights, but having said that it sounds like everyone feels the same in your class. I have come to regard clothes as a form of disguise over the years, and always strive to hide my tummy, and de-emphasise my bosom (an impossible task). I am sure tour class will be really rewarding and you will end up with beautiful well made clothes X

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  14. I have the pieces laid out to make a dress but maybe I'll just take a few measurements first instead of having to alter it on the hoof. I have a master pattern that I did from Betty Jackson's book but 30 years and 4 children later, it seems I'm now a rather different shape. I must re-do it.
    My daughter asked me to pose for photos in similar garb for her A-level art, which I imagine caused a few sniggers in the art class.

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  15. It's a skill I'd love to learn and I'm sure it works so much better if you're using the correct measurements for your shape. I've made a couple of badly fitted garments in my time which has put me off! I imagine the tights and vest experience was quite a bonding moment with your fellow classmates :-) I look forward to seeing your dress. Sam x

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx