I love you Gertie! I have boobs!

Hello there, I’m back from a little vacation, freshly baked and tan-line enriched in spite of wearing SPF 60 THE WHOLE TIME. Yes, we were camping in THAT heatwave. We were camping in a tent. It was effin hot! But pretty!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese days I seem to be playing catch-up, with almost everything in my life. To keep with this tradition, let me fill you in on this major revelation that I had maybe 2 months ago. You see, I bought Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I will not be reviewing it, since everyone else has already reviewed it backwards and forwards. Let me just tell you that I loved it, sooooooo so much, in so many different ways! And the patterns! Gasp! Immediately I decided to start with the Portrait Blouse. Ugh. Why does it look so good on her, and so bad on me? Then I decided that it must have been the “sleeves”, they were just too sticky-outy on me. So I decided to cut the sleeve a bit shorter, with an intention of making a few copies of the blouse, eventually turning it into a tank. Also, I did not bother with the tucks on the front and back, since I wanted a bit more room in the waist. Version #1 turned out like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomething was off. Those folds just above my boobs? Yeeeeees, that’s it! But I did a nice job with the self-made bias binding around the sleeves and neckline.

Version #2 turned out like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore tank-y, and I took care of the folds by pinching out the excess fabric above my bust and making darts. It helped. This print struck  me as being very feminine, so I kicked it up a notch by adding a lace trim to the hem:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Isn’t it pretty? I love this print…

Version #3 went like this:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made it out of a beach cover-up that my mother-in-law brought me from Thailand or Bangladesh or something like that, gazillion years ago. I was quite convinced that I washed it before, after all there must have been a beach excursion that I wore it to? So I did not  pre-wash it. It turned out nice, same bias tape technique around neck and armholes. More of a tank. I wore it, I washed it. And…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It shrunk! So much! Awwwwwwwww…

So what’s my point here? Sure, pre-wash no matter what, bla, bla, bla… My point is that I need a full-bust adjustment! I had to put myself through the whole “reinventing the wheel” (aka pinching out the folds above my bust and making darts nonsense), just so I could be faced with a hard reality that I have boobs. Above average, whether I like it or not. There is no way around it, no use pretending that I’m a B cup. Now that I’ve settled and accepted this fact (as I mentioned before, this happened about 2 months ago), I pondered why it is that those who have them, try to ignore and deny them, or simply hate them. Those who don’t have so much of them covet the extra flesh, and often will pay big fat bucks to have the appearance of having bigger boobs. Human nature is truly boggling. It finally dawned on me that I needed to accept my body the way it is. If I want to sew fitting clothes, I need to sew for  my body the way it is, not the way I pretend it is… This realization of self-acceptance feels good: I am not angry at my body, just like I was angry when I realized I needed a swayback adjustment. I’m finding it amazing that I’m learning self-acceptance through sewing. Amazing!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Or maybe I should just suck it in, and look confident, like it was meant to be so tight?

Care to share what sewing taught you?

PS. Off I go back to portrait blouse pattern to do the FBA, just to discover that the bust apex is not marked on the pattern… Bleh!

Inspired and ranty

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Toronto Fashion Sewers

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

600_230212962
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lovely Alicia and Catja

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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,

139_0513_B_listing
Tablecloth with a bow

a tent with a hood,

A tent with a hood
A tent with a hood

a sail with kimono sleeves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Why???

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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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…