If you ever want a project to challenge your sewing skills just make a swimsuit (or four) on a deadline!
I was lucky enough to be able to be a tester for Patterns for Pirates new Take The Plunge one-piece suit which means for the last couple of weeks swim suits are ALL I have been sewing. The whole process of being a tester was an absolute blast though, and while it was stressful at times trying to make something perfect to photograph while sewing with swimwear fabric for literally the first time ever, I now have three new suits (one was a total lost cause) that are comfortable, fit me really well, and that I am very proud of.
I will readily admit that I am terrible at making muslins when I sew clothing. Most of the time when I am sewing clothing I am sewing with stretchy knits which makes wearable muslins are a little less necessary than if I was sewing with wovens (although my Appleton Dress took more than a couple of muslins to get right) so I just skip the step altogether. I really do understand how important they can be for getting the fit of a garment just right but I am impatient and still a toddler at heart so I cant get myself to take the time to make something that wont even see the light of day and waste my precious fabric.
When I recently made a “wearable muslin” of a pattern I had been coveting for a long time, the LoneTree Jacket by Allie Olson, I got first hand look at just how important making a muslin is. Although I ended up with a decently wearable garment (and I have worn it many times!) there are so many small changes I would make to this jacket to make it fit just right that I could have already done if I just would have taken the time to make a muslin…
Fit is everything when it comes to clothes. Even the most expensive clothes can look incredibly cheap when they are ill fitting. I have said it before and I stand by it, making your own clothes is the best way to make sure you get the perfect fit for you and your body. Utilizing a good tailor can help too though 😉 Style, however, can be just as important and can be even more challenging than finding the perfect fit.
Knowing your “body shape” is the first step in trying to determine what clothing styles are going to work for you. We all know bodies that come in a wide ranges of sizes, heights, and proportions of course and that, no matter what, those bodies are all beautiful but knowing which basic “shape” your body is can take a lot out of the frustration out of picking what to wear. There are a lot of different websites that already explain how to determine your body shape, including this one and this one, so I won’t go into the procedure or the math of determining body shape here but I will caveat this with saying these are very vague categories and, even within the categories, there can be a wide range of body types. For example, I consider myself a “full hourglass” meaning I have the general proportions of an hourglass figure but I still want to, and need to, include the fact that I have a large chest and a big booty. Those are all important things to consider when I look at style lines in clothing and proportions of garments and just saying ” I am an hour glass” would give me the guidance I really need.
One of the best things about sewing your own clothing is being able to make clothes that are tailored exactly to your own body, fit the way you like, and are in the fabrics that you like. The challenge for those of us that are well blessed in the chest department, however, can be finding patterns that are designed to even come close to fitting us from the start. Most conventional pattern companies and designers are sized for a woman that has a B-cup which is especially amusing to me considering the average chest size in America is a 34DD…
That means even the “average” woman would have challenges fitting into patterns right form the initial draft and those of us that exceed that average really shouldn’t even try to fit in a traditional pattern designed to be made of woven fabrics (the stretch of knit can make it much more forgiving!) without expecting a lot of frustration and wasted time and fabric.
Today I wanted to talk quickly about one of the big things that brought me to the idea of utilizing a capsule wardrobe in the first place. This topic is a bit different than the projects that I usually share but to me it is important and I am going to try to keep it brief!
I have mentioned before on my blog that I love a good documentary. They are one of my favorite things to listen to while I am sewing and I will watch a documentary on just about any topic really, I’m not picky. Vegetarianism, the Hoover Dam, weird animals of the world, an island that operates completely off of clean, self made energy (highly recommend by the way!), are all topics I have learned more about through a documentary because, seriously, I will watch anything.
A couple of months ago I stumbled across a documentary on the fast fashion industry called The True Cost. The caption intrigued me and I hadn’t found anything else to watch yet so I put it on as simple background noise. Ten minutes into the documentary I was no longer sewing, I was completely engrossed in the documentary. In a tiny little nutshell, the movie explains the changes in the fashion industry over the last couple of decades, the reasons behind the change, and how it has affected people across the world and it resonated with me on a personal level. It is heartbreaking, upsetting, disturbing and eyeopening all at the same time. (If you dont know about how bad fast fashion can be I highly recommend you read this as soon as humanly possible!)
I had started the documentary and began to sew not more than two hours after getting home from the mall where I had purchased clothing items from Forever 21, Francesca’s, and other stores that advertise getting new stock everyday as a great thing. None of the items I bought that day were things I loved but they were trendy and cheap so I brought them home anyway. The items were also terrible quality. I knew even when I was buying them that I wouldn’t have them more than a couple of months. They were the exact pieces of clothing that the movie talks about. The exact cause of all of the pain and suffering I had just watched.
I have been on a journey lately that I honestly thought that I never would be on. I have seen YouTube videos on minimalism, heard how AMAZING the Life Changing Magic Tidying Up is, and listened to friends rave all about how their life is so much more amazing now that they threw away all of their things but I honestly thought it was a load of crap, and part of me still does really, but I am coming around just the tiniest little bit. I am by no means a minimalist, and never intend to be, but I have been making a conscious effort to be much more intentional and frankly conscious about what I am allowing into my life and my home.
For me this journey started with letting go of certain people and relationships and removing a lot of the negativity in my life that way. This felt slightly isolating at first, I will admit, and at times it can still be hard but I think it is the best thing that I have ever done for my own health.