Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's a plus.

Okay, first of all something fun: I sewed two great tops for myself. The first one was a test version made from some inexpensive brown cotton jersey I got from the bargain bin at Karstadt a while ago. I added a small piece of lime green cotton jersey to add a little pop - just in case it should turn out wearable. What shall I say? It's not only wearable, it became my favorite shirt right away. So I felt pretty comfortable cutting into some more expensive turquoise and white chevron cotton jersey. I found it a little harder to pick a fabric for the waistband, but finally settled on some red and pink striped jersey I had in my stash. Add in an hour of pressing and cutting, and a few hours of switching between the walking foot and the overlock foot on my sewing machine, and tadaa:

I love, love, LOOOVE this shirt! The fabric
feels wonderfully soft and cool (and it was over 30°C when I first wore it!), the colors are perfect, and it fits fabulously. I've always hated fitting patterns because it usually takes up so much time that I'd rather spend at my sewing machine and often requires one or more muslins (test versions). So I've rarely made any clothing items for myself. But then I found www.lekala.co, a platform that offers made-to-measure patterns (no, I'm not getting paid for this or any of the other links ;-)). Sounds crazy - just select your favorite pattern (from nearly 3,000!), enter your individual measurements into the form, pay less than 2€, and have your individual pattern mailed to you within minutes (they say within 24 hours, but I got the mail about 2 minutes after placing the order). I was skeptical, to say the least, but at this price, it wouldn't hurt to try, right?

After these two successes, I'm ready to dive into making my own wardrobe. Okay, that might be a little over the top, but some new clothes would be nice. I really, really, really want to get rid of that "mommy look" - jeans plus plain, boring shirt that I don't worry about getting dirty. I want a tiny little bit more fashion. So, where's the problem? Why don't I just go shopping? Because clothes shopping is the most frustrating activity I can think of. Always has been. I wear a size 48, and that's about 1 or 2 (with some brands even more) sizes outside the "normal" range (ha! normal! yeah, right) of nearly all of the brands/ styles that I'd like to wear. There are plus size shops, but I really find that most of the clothes there aren't very flattering at all. Most of the items you'll find there are boxy, baggy, tenty. Is that a word? It should be. Have a look at this random item or this "designer" dress if you want to know what I'm talking about. I couldn't even quite explain what exactly bothered me about those plus size shops, until I found an excellent article explaining the maths behind this phenomenon over at Already Pretty.

And the problem isn't just ready-to-wear clothes. The same often applies to sewing patterns. There are some patterns that are stylish AND available in plus sizes (for example in Ottobre Woman magazine, or in Burda plus), but more often than not have I found a pattern I like just to discover that it's only available up to a size 44 or less. Or it'll cover a wider range of sizes - but only for short women. And to me, there's nothing worse than a shirt or dress that's too short. So buying patterns that are tailored to my very own measurements is a good start.

To find my own style, I've started collecting looks that I like on my Plus size style Pinterest board. If you think curvy women can't dress fashionably, hop on over to have a look. Oh, and I might as well start using the tag #PlusSizePlease (read about it on the Gwynnie Bee blog). I think it's a fantastic project, and much needed.

So now, probably for the first time in my life, I'm starting to feel okay with what I look like rather than striving to be someone that I've never been and quite likely never will be - a slimmer, better-looking version of myself. After uncountable attempts to lose weight, worrying about anything and everything I'd eat all of the time, I've decided to focus on accepting myself as I am instead. For most of my life, I've had to deal with less than respectful comments from complete strangers as well as my own friends and family (my father's exclamation "You have an ass like a horse!" when I was about 15 years old is still ringing in my ears, as is my mother's recurring observation that I've unfortunately inherited her huge belly as well as the fat legs that seem to be running in my father's line of the family). I'm not putting up with this any more.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." (Oscar Wilde)

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