I’ve been thinking a lot about this, long before Seamwork published their Body Issue, but that certainly brought these thoughts back to the forefront of my mind.
I find sewing empowering because I can customize patterns to fit me better than the average RTW garment. I’ve been complimented many times on the fit of my handmade garments, and most of the time the compliment-giver doesn’t know the piece is handmade. Overall I am much less self conscious about perceived “flaws”, and in fact I don’t call them flaws anymore. I have a deeper appreciation for my shape and the unique elements of myself. Even when I try on RTW clothes, I no longer blame my hips & waist for being the wrong ratio, but make note of alterations I would need to make to the garment fit. And then I make mental calculations about the cost of the RTW piece and the alteration labor in relation to making something from scratch. 🙂
I am also always keenly aware of my body’s fluctuations, particularly the increases, and this causes hesitation in my sewing. I have been holding off on making my Ginger Jeans because my weight has been increasing with a new medication. I haven’t yet figured out if this is going to be my “new normal” or if it will drop back down with more exercise and fewer donuts on the way to work. I don’t want to invest the time and money into making a fitted garment only to gain more weight or lose weight and have it not fit. I know I could be healthier. I don’t exercise and if I want to live a long life and be able to climb mountains with my husband, I need to change many daily habits.
I am writing this because I just can’t silence the inner voice that tells me “I shouldn’t be thinking this much about my body.” It feels like I am going against my feminist ideals. It feels like I am betraying the sewing community that is so supportive and inclusive and positive. But maybe it is the WAY in which we think about our bodies that is crucial, not the amount of time we spend doing so. Maybe it is the REASONS we seek to change that matters.
I didn’t really have an end result for this post. I wanted to get the thoughts out of my head. I wanted to acknowledge the conflicts I feel and move forward. (One of my goals in therapy is to silence this inner roommate who is so afraid of mistakes and blunders, who is very cautious and anticipates problems rather than experiences life.)
Has anyone else experienced this bell curve of body-acceptance in their sewing (or knitting) of clothes? Has sewing inspired anyone to change their fitness and dietary habits (in healthy or less healthy ways)? Has the sewing community ever tried a fitness challenge together, or is that beyond the scope of what connects us?
The Fabric Alchemist