Attended sewing retreat by TopStitchAtl – and it was divine! A great time – well organized, good pacing, lots of free time, and focused time. Staff were amazing.
Made a #pfScrappy dress but it needs some work. I used some nani iro double gauze and several types of linen and it hangs weird. It is a landscape dress from a photo of the place Jim and I got engaged.
Made a matching Ashton top to go with the resort wear shirt I made for Jim.
Made another Dragon Fruit dress in beautiful leaf printed cotton voile from Mood fabrics. – had a struggle with the serger, but it turned out ok.
Brittney https://www.instagram.com/brttnlsn/ talks about making still functional quilts into clothing as akin to gentrification and notes that many quilters still here say they’d be devastated to see their quilts cut up for clothing. Once a quilt no longer functions as a blanket, she likens its use as fabric to a collaboration with the original artist.
Mary Fons (Fons&Porter?) posted a viral video that said quilts into clothing is never ok – and likened it to cultural appropriation. Eek. The language used & tone of the vid got a lot of grief from BIOOC quilters especially.
Is there an intersection with fat here? A quilt is a good-sized bit of fabric from one perspective. 😂
Tiny pricks project – IG – I submitted some artwork for this project. The formal project is over now, but the account is still a great one to follow. Diana Weymar created the project – stitching a material record. Lots of quotes by Trump and responses to him. She started it using thrifted and other vintage housewares.
I’ve done some sewing!!! This week I made a slightly more A-line Ashton top using Pierre Cardin floral fabric from Mood Fabrics. I added an inch to the hem and made a straight line. It came out really nice!
Next I made a Caramiya Dragonfruit! Also from Mood. I love it! The fabric is the same that I sent to Jenny. Did you get it yet? If not, I won’t talk about it. I totally did!!
Finally I made an Ashton dress! I did it just like you said – cut at cropped top length, and add a gathered skirt. My fabric was about 52 inches after removing selvedge, so I used 2x that width and gathered it. So many compliments! Yesterday at work a woman asked me, “Where on earth do you shop? You’ve got the best clothes!”
Itch to Stitch Sentosa Tank: I don’t usually go for things like this, but I like it. It is a loose-fitting tank with an asymmetrical pleated neckline. It is designed for knit fabric but several examples appeared to be woven. Lots of examples on the website.
So what’s our topic this month? We’re taking a cue from our listeners, and this month we’re looking at all things scrappy. The hashtag is #pfScrappy. We asked you all to give us ideas for this year’s episodes and MargieMakes, FatThighsAndMermaidPants, and Sara.Fornia all suggested scrap busting, using up what you have, or color blocking – and that’s great for this month’s theme.
Frugal challenge, like use what you have? Or a pattern you’ve been putting of?
Scrap buster, but with ideas for fat sewists
Examples might include:
Underwear: it’s easy to use up knit scraps here; before I realized I just like my Cacique ready to wear undies, I used my knit scraps to cut fronts, backs, and linings so I’d be ready to make u dies any time. Fav pattern is the Muna & broad Kapunda undies. Up to a 71.5” hip
Isabelle_sews – and if you don’t follow her, you SHOULD!- has posted a few dresses with pieced bodices and I am so inspired. She mentions in her posts that she was inspired by mabelmade and pettypopcornmakes. I went to their Instagram pages and OMG! So much good stuff for this challenge.
Make your own fabric: here you can piece together a quilt pattern & use it to cut out a garment, or strip piece fabrics together to the same end. I have several plans along these lines already.
Pants: Tauko Panel pants are designed for color blocking. Max 53” waist (finished fitted measurement).
Let’s do a deep dive in to one of our favorite fibers: Linen. Right of the bat, let’s be clear that we’re not experts. We’re linen-lovers, but that doesn’t mean we’re where you should come for you eduction about linen. For that, please go to Love to Sews episode about linen & their podcast all about different fabrics.
Is your linen scratchy? Whitney suggests soaking in 50% coke, 50% water. She thinks the acid does the trick. Perhaps a citric acid wash would do well too. Ooo! So you could try Mountain Dew, too!
So why do we love linen?
I have Beverly to thank for my love of linen. This is a fiber I just thought of as too expensive for me to sew with – even though, most of the linen I buy is about the same price as high quality quilting cotton (but wider!) & nice rayons (same width). While I do mostly source from Fabric-store.com, here are some other great places to get linens:
Where to buy:
Mulberry Silks: Sign up for their newsletter, call them and ask for help with their linens, or if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, go visit them in NC. Everything about this varies wildly – price, width, texture.
Mood Fabrics: I want to call out specifically their Mood exclusive Linen & Rayon blend fabrics. These are 53” wide, and 55% linen/45% viscose rayon. They wash up and feel like a silk noil to me – and I’m here for it. I love the drape, the hand, the smell, everything about these. About $18/yard.
Domesticity: This is the Baltimore shop we met podcast listeners at a in February. They carry the Merchant & Mills linens which are as delightful as their very high price tag would imply. I’ve got one on my cutting table now for the new Jennifer Lauren Handmade Isla wrap dress.
This sweet dress or top features a cut-out scoop neckline, pockets, and shirring in the back for an easy, comfortable fit. Choose from two lengths (dress or top), scoop or cutout neckline, and sleeveless or cap sleeves to create a number of different styles. No zippers or closures are needed, making this a wonderful project for the confident beginner or intermediate sewist!
Ruby is a great, basic beginner’s dress or top for woven fabrics!
Ruby features a contrast yoke and gathers for a comfortable and flattering fit without the need for bust darts, zippers, or closures. Armholes and neckline are bias-bound for an easy finish. Two lengths, dress (above the knee) and top (hip length) are included.
Boho is in full bloom with the Alton Blouse! The Alton features striking pleated sleeves with elastic cuffs or straight long sleeves and a faced keyhole neckline that can be worn open or tied. Sew yours up in a silk or voile for an ethereal blouse you’ll love to wear, or mix and match the Alton with the Montrose Top’s necklines, yoke, and sleeves for even more options!
This timeless pattern features two variations: View A is a scoop neck blouse with short sleeves and curved back yoke, while View B shows off lace fabrics with a jewel neck, elbow length sleeves, and keyhole back.
View A – Easy fitting, fit and flare dress with long gathered sleeves and an A-line, lantern shaped skirt. There are self-fabric ties at the waist, a back-zip closure and the v-neckline is finished with a facing.
View B – Easy fitting, fit and flare shirt style dress with grown on sleeves, ruffle cuff and an A-line lantern shaped skirt. There are self-fabric ties at the waist, button front closure and the neckline is finished with a facing.
And I accidentally shared a bit about how sizeism makes me feel in a YouTube pattern haul video here. The video started as a celebration of the patterns I’d bought on sale, but by the end was really a commentary on how the “big four” pattern companies don’t really see my body at all.
Let’s dive in: what do I mean when I say “sizeism”? Well, there’s a default setting in sewing communities for a smaller body size – so when things are drafted, they’re generally drafted for that smaller body. Bigger bodies end up as an afterthought (leaving the design challenges to the sewist instead of the designer) regularly. This leaves bigger bodies in a marginalized space within the sewing community.
Why do I talk about size extension instead of size inclusion? Because it is impossible to include everyone in any sizing chart – so what I’m asking for is that pattern companies extend their sizing charts to include a more significant number of sewists. I also recognize that it is unlikely that sizing charts will include all sewists (true inclusivity). There are several designers who will draft their patterns to include your measurements (Muna & Broad, SizeMe, RubyNZ) which can make their designs very inclusive – but even then there can be a barrier to getting this done as the measurements required may be intimidating or hard to come by if you’re a sewist without someone to assist you in taking those measurements.
You’ve likely seen this at one time or another when you check out a pattern and find you aren’t able to fit it due to some measurement or another. For me, it’s almost always hip size, but sometimes it’s also my waist size. If you fit easily in the standard size patterns, you may have become aware of this issue when you recommended a pattern to a larger friend … only to have them report back that it doesn’t come up to their size. This was Beverly’s experience when she looked for a pattern for her daughter to sew.
In addition, the topic comes up regularly on discussion forums & Instagram posts when a designer is called out for their lack of size extension, usually with bad results.
Want some context? Check out these discussions that have occurred elsewhere:
A discussion on size extension, inclusivity, & Gertie’s Charm Patterns here.
Before Tilly & the Buttons announced they’d be extending their sizing, they first said they weren’t going to make it a focus. @threadyforit started a conversation on size extension on Instagram in December 2021. That discussion also occurred on Reddit here.
Designer Tessuti Fabrics committed to extended sizing, but then released a very simple pleated skirt without including larger sizes. The fallout can be seen here (Tessuti turned off the comments on the post launching the new pattern in Jan 2020, so you have to read between the lines a bit on this post from Leila Sews with a tutorial for self-drafting a similar style skirt). I did a quick review of their current offerings, and it appears extending their size range never became a priority.
So what can designers do to make a difference?
Starting today, plan to create patterns in sizes up to 70” hips minimum for all future patterns
Create a plan to extend previous designs
Make sure expansion prioritizes popular designs
Make sure expansion includes updating the images on the website
Your models should reflect your size range
Your Instagram feed should reflect your size range
Update images of size charts (if I have to dig around to see if something fits me, I get the message that you don’t care about me)
Talk about what’s needed to make extending the size range feasible
New pattern block
Paper printing reimbursed
Additional training on grading for larger figures
Commit to transparency regarding your plans, your barriers to extended sizing
The fat sewing community is a significant underserved community. Designers who get it right have access to $ that other designers – those who can’t picture bigger bodies in their designs – are missing out on.
We should also recognize the damage done to fat sewists when patterns aren’t designed for our bodies. We’re all a part of the community until the latest pattern that’s all the rage goes around … and it turns out your body isn’t one that can participate due to a lack of size range. This happens to me all the time… I rarely get to go all-in on the latest pattern you see on every sewist’s “must make” list because it’s all too uncommon for these to come up to a 61” hip. Recently a favorite sewist shared yet another one of her amazing Wiksten Shift dresses – and I finally decided that I’d buy the pattern and make it … but of course, it isn’t sized for me. This hip stops 9” before my hips do. This is one of those blind spots I have. I am so used to being excluded, that I hardly get disappointed about it when it happens now.
Linked here are three conversations I had with members of our community about this topic. I hope you take the time to listen to each one. Share with us your thoughts here and on Instagram by tagging us #pfSizeExtension
First up, my conversation with Marianne (Instagram: @therotund)
Next up, my conversation with Leila (Instagram: @leila_sews)
Finally, my conversation with Aaronica (Instagram: @theneedleandthebelle)
In addition to actions designers can take, here are some things especially straight-sized sewists can do to make a difference (big thanks for Beverly for the suggestions here for straight-sized sewists):
Refuse to purchase patterns that don’t come in decent size ranges. You can draw the line where you please, but a good recommendation might be to avoid pattern companies that don’t have a larger block for plus-sized sewists. Typically, if a pattern company isn’t designing for a 60” hip, they’re not reaching a significant number of fat sewists.
If that’s too big an ask for you right now, you could choose not to advertise for those companies – either not posting those makes or not tagging the designer/pattern when you do make something from a non-extended pattern.
And if that’s too big an ask, you could post the maximum size of patterns that you make. This is especially important for patterns with limited size ranges. It’s not nice for plus-sized sewists to get excited to make a pattern only to go try to get it and find the largest size is much too small for them.
If you aren’t ready to try 1, 2, or 3 above, I understand. It’s really hard to look at the world of possibility and realize you can’t participate because you decided to be an ally to fat sewists … that inability to participate is a fat sewists reality every day.
What do you think should change? Where do you see problems? How are you going to help?