Inspired and ranty

The Toronto Fashion Sewers

Last Sunday, I met for a lovely brunch and swap with a bunch of ladies known as Toronto Fashion Sewers.

General fuzzy goofiness in a babushka

I’m still giddy and buzzing with creative vibe and inspiration. Ladies present were Alicia of thelittleironpress, Catja of Gjeometry, Sandra of Justsew,  Debbie who does not blog but is an incredible sewist, and I.

Lovely Alicia and Catja

We ate, drunk, took fuzzy pictures, goofed around, talked, and talked, and talked. And also we talked about sewing.

Fabulous Debbie and Sandra

It was fun! We oogled many Burda magazines, which were part of the swap, and then we went into a magazine store where many of us purchased more Burdas. One thing led to another, and a group challenge was issued: we’re all going to make the same shirt, from May 2013 issue. And those of us who don’t want to make the blouse can make something different from Burda.

That’s the shirt. Cute, no?

I love that top, but here is where the annoyed part starts… Burda “regular” sizing (for those who never used B. mag for patterns before, like yours truly) goes to size 44, which is 39″ (100cm) in bust, 32″ (82 cm) in waist, and 41″ (106 cm) in hips. So if I want to make that shirt, I have to add some seeeeeeeeeeeerious yardage to all of the measurements (OK, in hips I only have to add 3″). So let’s take a look at the “plus” measurements, shall we? Oh lookey, size 52, the biggest size on the chart, that’s pretty close to my measurements. So what does Burda propose for “plus” ladies then? Oh, a tablecloth with a bow,

Tablecloth with a bow

a tent with a hood,

A tent with a hood
A tent with a hood

a sail with kimono sleeves.


So my question is this: why do the publishers of Burda assume that most of the plus-sized women ( I really hate the term plus-sized, BTW) want to hide, want to drown themselves in yards of fabric? Why do they think that putting on something lose fitting and waaaaaaay oversized would help anybody “camouflage” the tummy, hips, or the bust? In my experience, if you wear a variation on a moo-moo theme, you’re going to look like a big woman in a moo-moo. And the bow or pretty pastel colour will not save this atrocity of an outfit. But it’s not fair to judge the wholesomeness of a magazine by just seeing one issue, no? So I flipped through another Burda which was on hand, a Polish-language edition. Here’s what I saw:

At first glimpse, not totally atrocious, but look a little closer…

Later on, when I showed this to my mother-in-law, she burst out laughing. Every single outfit was a variation on a sleeping gown, with shirring under the bust. Last time I wanted to wear garments with shirring was when I was… 8 years old. Ridiculous. But, in all fairness, nobody is forcing me to wear Burda’s plus-size designs. And it’s a good thing, since I’m intending to celebrate my body the way it is. Not the way it will be when/if I lose 10 or 50 lbs, not the way it will be when I adhere to my weightlifting 3x/week, but the way it is NOW. This body is my vehicle, it’s been with me through thick and thin (hahaha!), and is as relevant as any other body out there. So forgive me when I won’t choose to “camouflage my large bust” as I read somewhere in the Polish Burda (I know that there are completely sane and mature women out there who would pay big fat bucks to have boobs like mine), or if I shock the world with a glimpse of a thigh. I choose to treat my body with dignity and will not be shamed into wearing concealing and apologetic items because some magazine publisher thinks that’s what plus-size women should do. We all have beautiful attributes we should let the world admire, than hide it all because we are too heavy/fat/skinny/curvy/flat/short/tall/boyish/altered by childbearing/hairy/balding/busy/tired/droopy/muscular/flabby/pimply/hyper-pigmented/apple/pear/banana/strawberry. I’m going to make me a smoothie now! And tomorrow, I’ll try to enlarge that “regular” pattern. And I will wear what makes ME happy!

PS. I’ll try not to rant too often. Also, I know that there are some totally va va voom patterns on Burda Style website, but this rant dealt with the magazine only. I won’t start with the website right now…


9 thoughts on “Inspired and ranty

  1. Hahaha – so true! I was just ranting the other day about sleeveless plus-size tops having armholes so big you could shoot a basketball through them. I don’t really want to show the world the sides of my bra, thanks, and I don’t want to wear a camisole underneath either because that defeats the purpose of the sleeveless top (staying cool!) You should check out, they collect pix of especially hideous plus-size “designs.”

    Love this:

  2. Ha haha, Meredith! How did you ever come up with such an analogy? Armholesketball, my new favourite game! Who would have thunk that ranting would lead to so much hilarity, that WTFplus blog is amazing, thanks for posting this!

  3. Yay you! I had such a great time at that meeting as well, so nice to see you again! I think this top would look fantastic on you and people who have your shape. I have no idea why Burda didn’t think to make it in a larger size. On me, I think this top will not look good at all, so I’m choosing something else to make for me. To be honest, I don’t even think it looks that good on the model, I think it’s tailor made for somebody with lots of curves. I actually kinda like that ‘tent with hood’ jacket but have NO idea why she’s wearing it 5 sizes too big for her. Picture it actually fitting her. The “butt warmer” back and the 3/4 length sleeves, and it has a hood, I think it’s cute! I saw it at the beginning of the magazine and wanted to make it, but then realized all the sizes were too big for me. And, for the model, apparently, lol.

    • Catja, you would look great in that jacket! But in my opinion, you would look great in ANYTHING. I do not agree with you about you not looking well in that shirt we’re all making, but that’s my opinion. I firmly believe that if you don’t feel good in something, you don’t look good in it, period. I still have not started on enlarging that pattern, but I want to make something else really badly! I even bought some neon-green poly chiffon. I know, right!

  4. Neon green!!!!!!! What are you going to make?

    Yes, it’s true, if you don’t feel good, you don’t look good. And, for me, the main reason, I don’t like that shirt for me, is that I have a very bony front, so don’t like anything that is low-cut and also has extreme detail right below the bust. I just feel it highlights parts I don’t want highlighted and I will ALWAYS have to wear something underneath that style of shirt. I figure if I’m going to ALWAYS have to wear something underneath what I sew, it should at least be a jacket!

    I wish knew how to downsize that plus-size ‘tent’ jacket. But, it would have to be down-sized about 35 sizes, since even the one she is wearing is WAY too big for her!

    • Dear Catja!
      Ack, I found the pattern in the Polish Burda, couldn’t find it anywhere else… But maybe I’ll post the photo of the top in my next post. I really wanna make it!!!!!
      As per suitable/unsuitable debate, here’s the thing: big boobs: no good. Small boobs: no good. Fatty chest: no good. Bony chest: no good. It’s just human nature to never be completely happy with what we got. But we got what we got, and we gotta make the best out of it! Every time i see you I marvel at how lovely you are, the way you dress and combine colours, how well it all works with your skintone and hair (which is also amazing). You’re such a gem, Catja!

  5. I stumbled on your blog via the mad men sewing challenge, and was just having a bit of an explore and found this post. Your rant made me grin. Always good to come across women who are not prepared to eat the junk about body-image that the media tries to feed us all.

    On a less ranty note, I bought the Xmas 2012 edition of Burda Style and was gutted that the best dress pattern was only in the plus section (I am about as curvaceous as a 12-year-old boy, which has its own set of fitting issues, like ‘what do I do with all this extra fabric where I should have some Actual Boobs and Hips?!’) – you might want to get hold of a copy of that. Can’t find a picture of the pattern itself, but it’s a pencil dress with a sweetheart neckline and sleeves – quite Mad Men/vintagey and really sexy in a classy sort of way, definitely not stinking of body-shame. The magazine’s here

    Anyway, I’ve written you an essay by mistake – sorry! Take care, and keep sewing (and ranting)

    Amy x

    • Hey Amy, thank you for your “accidental essay”, I’m so glad that you wrote it! The dress that you pointed out is the EXACT dress that I though of as an exception to my rant, it is beauuuuuuuuuuuuutiful and very va-va voom! I want…. But dresses aside, I raise my morning bucket of coffee to you, you lovely woman, it takes all of us to make this world go round. Boobs or no boobs, we are who we are. And we are fine!

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