If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I love hacking sewing patterns and you also know that one of my favorite things to do is to it turn everything into a tunic or dress. So, when Adrianna of Hey June Handmade asked me to do a guest post for her I decided to pattern hack the Biscayne and turn it from a top into a tunic/dress. Surprise, surprise. I’m so predictable. I’m over on her blog sharing all the details for this effort (including how to create in-seam pockets while maintaining French seams). It’s fun stuff so definitely check it out over there.
But, before you wander away I thought I would share the back story because it really got me thinking. See, I initially wanted to create a mix of the Biscayne Top and the Sanibel Dress. I thought I could add an elastic waist to the Biscayne top and plop on the skirt of the Sanibel. Instead, when I put the two together I got a big heaping reminder that the elastic waisted silhouette is NEVER a good look on me. I need a cleaner, a-line or straight silhouette and I always have. Remember back when I made this Sanibel–the version I didn’t like— and then replaced it with this version that I do like? Yeah. I’ve been down this EXACT road before. That experience should have been the last time I had this conversation with myself and yet, somehow, it wasn’t.
I was so frustrated and thankful that Adrianna was really understanding about me being off the rails. (I was also thankful that I had made a muslin. That is most definitely a reminder, folks!) But, the whole incident got me wondering why I kept trying to make my body fit into a style that it doesn’t look good in. It’s a weird phenomenon; I see this look on others and can’t simply appreciate it and leave it at that. Instead, I feel the need to try to make it work for me. As if I have to own it to appreciate it or some mixed up logic like that.
I feel, at heart, it’s a lack of acceptance of my body. As if I need my body to be the shape of every body. The elastic waist really over-accentuates my hips and I look off balance while a straight line balances everything out. It’s just about proportion.
Sewing has opened my eyes to so many aspects of body acceptance but I still have a distance to go, obviously. And, recognizing that I had tried ONCE AGAIN to fit into a look not right for me and my body was eye opening. I don’t have to have every look and I don’t have to have all the styles, I GET to stick with what works for me. It feels good and it’s why I sew clothing for myself.
As soon as I recognized all of this, I actually felt such gratitude. I’m grateful that sewing reminds me of these things and takes me down these unexpected paths. This is what sewing clothing does for me. It forces these conversations with myself and these moments of reckoning. I love that I have the power to make the clothes that work for me.
If you are a garment sewer, have you had these moments too? What are your go-to clothing rules?
My guess is that it is moments like this that scare people away from sewing clothing. That moment when you make something and after all those hours you are looking down at meh. It’s frustrating. I totally can see that feeling or even the threat of that feeling being enough to keep people from attempting garments. But, each frustrating experience is accompanied by an equally important awareness of what does and doesn’t work and a slow embrace of your own shape and that’s pretty magical…once you get past the intense frustration. 🙂
This Biscayne dress fits the bill for me. I’m so thrilled I pushed through and made it. Be sure to gather all the details over on Hey June and give it a try!
Note: This post contain affiliate links for Hey June Handmade. When you buy a pattern from her, through my links, you are supporting both me and an indie pattern designer. Thanks so much!
Lovely dress! Sewing has helped me appreciate my body more because I am able to dress it in a flattering way that I couldn’t find in rtw since my waist/hips ratio is not standard. With sewing (or tailoring) the numbers don’t really matter! It is freeing to change a neckline or hemline to meet my preference and to be able to sew age appropriate clothes for my daughters. Of course there are some projects that just don’t work out but I have learned to muslin/practice first and I’ve never regretted it. Going to check out your other post! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Melissa Q. says
Yes! It’s so true. The numbers really don’t matter…or rather, the numbers become just numbers. They are helpful guides for making something fit you well. It’s very liberating. And, I agree, even the projects that don’t work out are actually worth it because of how much you learn.
My one hard-and-fast rule is no fit and flare; they fit my body fine, but not my personality. So far, everything else I’ve thought was off the table (racer backs, dresses without a waistline seam, volume volume everywhere, OVERALLS) has jumped right onto the table instead. But when you know your preferences, you know! Also, your new tunic looks so breezy and fresh! Very nice!
Melissa Q. says
Yes! fit and flare is terrible on me too and doesn’t suit my personality either. I’m tempted by overalls but scared. Ha!