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Category Archives: feminism

Isn’t that just like a man?*

Have I mentioned that I’m partners with the loveliest of men….a man who sews?

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Tell me, dear readers, how many of you are blessed with this kind of partner?

It all started one cold winter day, eight years ago. Mister, my very tall thin fella, had another pair of cheap, too-short pajama bottoms fall apart on him. And he’d had enough.

He thought, “what if I made my own pajamas?” And, being newly armed with a vintage industrial sewing machine of German manufacture (oh, how he loves all things German and vintage, does my Mister), he got himself a pattern and some crazily patterned flannel (“I’m done with plaid I tell you… done!”) he got himself hence to the sewing machine.

After a few false starts (attaching the leg backwards, and then putting it on inside out…but we’ve all made the same mistake, haven’t we?) he proudly produced a pair of blue-upon-blue paisley pajama bottoms. They were voluminous, they were long enough, they were comfortable… he was hooked!

Over the years, my Mister has made many a pair of pajama bottoms — his favorite has just worn out over many years of faithful service…they were hot pink with baby pink & lime green crabs! — and he’s getting out the machine to make some new pairs. He’s ventured into robe territory, and made one of a vivid hot pink flannel which he is very proud of.

I think he’s even flirting with the idea of making shirts, as he bought himself a Colette Negroni the other day at Common Thread. He has a retired-Navy brother who knits, so perhaps it runs in the family?

Whereever it came from, I’m so proud of his sewing accomplishments!

And really, it’s only a man who sews who would ever dream of saying, “Honey, let’s go to the sewing machine store… it will be so romantic!”

Oh yes, I am a lucky girl.

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*quote from Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery. I’m reliving my childhood by listening to all the Anne books on audiobook.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in creations, fashion, feminism

 

Piecing things together

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I mentioned yesterday that I had started watching Project Runway this season.

Pardon me while I provide some back story through a minor segue…

For those of you who may not know me in real life, I don’t actually own a TV or spend much time watching one. I’m on my 9th year without a TV, and I can honestly say I’m a happier and healthier person because of it. I only rarely seek out video entertainment, preferring my hubby, house, and hobbies to commercial fare. I do have a weakness for PBS shows, especially now that they’re available for streaming, and I do love nonfiction that teaches me something.

The two biggest reasons we stopped watching TV were:

  1. The advertising and treatment of women on TV was messing with my self-esteem in numerous detrimental ways
  2. The food advertising was having a negative impact on our efforts to eat healthily and live healthy lives

So when I decide to watch a show, I take these two things into account — is my watching of it negatively impacting my own body-image and self-love? — and is it causing me to obsess about processed and otherwise unhealthy foods, to the detriment of my natural food eating commitment.

Now, with that in mind, Project Runway was being watched on a trial basis.

As of last week, I think the trial is over and Project Runway? You’re out.

This might have seemed obvious, but there’s some really negative body talk that goes on in the workroom. I especially disliked Oliver’s tirade (two weeks in a row!) about people who didn’t look like mannequins. Really, it just made me want to smack him. The first few weeks, I actually picked up some really great ideas and tips….but those weren’t enough to overcome the crappy body-speak. Even without Oliver on the show (maybe there is a god?) it’s just not worth it.

Today, I was reading back through some of Gertie’s old posts on her Blog for Better Sewing, and I came across this lovely interview with the blogger from Diary of a Sewing Fantatic (who I also love to read). Since I’m fairly new to the sewing game, both these posts were new to me…but after seeing Oliver screech about “plus size” “models” (he was outfitting the lead singer in a band who was a big burly guy) and about the trials and tribulations of fitting for “boobs,” Carolyn’s comments in the interview by Gertie really struck home:

Then there is that whole issue about plus size women being fashionable. How many times has a pattern been drafted only up to a size 18 (McCalls) when it is a style that clearly can be drafted for larger sizes? How often do you look at patterns either online or in the books at the store and the plus size patterns are just huge rectangles with a lot of gathering and a drapey neck? How often have you pulled out a pattern where the pattern company has enlarged the shoulders along with the bust and waistline – like plus size women are just huge, fat rectangles? What about this process makes you feel stylish and beautiful!?

I mean, really people! We have shapes! Just because we aren’t planks doesn’t mean that we aren’t attractive, and can’t be attractively attired. It is not impossible! All the plus size sewists out there are proving it every day — by making modifications to the crap that most designers put out there for us. Go team! We have the same need for respect… and the way we choose to attire ourselves is definitely a source of respect –or shame, depending on where you come from.

I started sewing clothing with an eye to 40s and 50s fashions simply because those fashions were so friendly and flattering to larger figures — all while remaining chic and tailored. I got the nicest compliment from a co-worker the other day who said that everything I wore was always so elegant. Thank you, M…that is what I strive for!

I’m tired of slouchy, saggy, droopy, polyester potato sacks that they call *clothing*. I’m tired of depending on knit clothing exclusively because clothing manufacturer’s can’t figure out how to deal with tits and ass in any other way. Sadly, the pattern world is not free from these same prejudices. Plus size seamstresses have to work harder than any other sewists just because designers can’t be bothered to do their job properly or with any effort at all to make a shape around someone who looks more like a pear/apple/hourglass than someone who’s shaped like a stick. This is one of the reasons I love Sarai’s designs over at Colette. Not only does she use a more realistic sizing chart, but she’s acknowledged that it’s easier to take something in than to let it out… she sizes everything for a D cup (which I still have to modify, being a 38 G). It’s easier to work with more fabric and then take it in. She also sizes up to an 18 (Colette size, which is different from either RTW or Big3PatternCo sizing).

I’d love to see more pattern designers step up to the plate and design tailored looks for larger sizes… tackle the challenge and make us look as awesome as we feel without resorting to lycra! There are some great opportunities for glamour and beauty on a plus size lady that are impossible with a waif. Why designers haven’t realized this yet is totally beyond me.

Enough ranting…now back to turning off the tube (or laptop in my case) and back to the sewing-board!

I’ll leave you with this awesome screen capture of Oliver trying to cope with boobs. Doesn’t he look pissed? Ha!

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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in feminism, musings