The Curvy Sewing Collective started with a simple question: why don’t we see more curvy women in the sewing blogosphere? Mary and I were bemoaning this fact when we realized that we should just do something about it ourselves! And so the CSC was born.
My latest project, the Cashmerette Curvy Sketchbooks, began in a similar way, when I realized that there was something else missing for curvy sewists.
Since I started sewing, I’ve been sketching ideas for garments. I often sketch before I start a project, to capture inspiration, or to brainstorm what to do with a new piece of fabric. Then I make notes on my drawings after sewing, to remind myself of alterations and what I want to do differently next time. However, I grew increasingly frustrated with the fashion sketchbooks available. Although there are many of them with faint body outlines (called “croquis”) to use as a template for your drawing, all the figures are incredibly, and unrealistically, thin. Frankly, they don’t look entirely human, and they certainly don’t look like me!
On a practical level, these sketchbooks proved of limited use, because you can’t really see any details of what you are going to sew when the waist of a croquis is only half an inch wide. Not to mention the fact that your drawing will bear very little resemblance to the actual proportions of the garment, or what it will look like on a curvy body.
On a deeper level, though, I wanted to address the lack of representation of curvy women in sewing materials. I think it’s increasingly accepted that diversity of representation is essential to help different groups of people feel normal and included, whether that’s in children’s books, movies or advertising. When you’re not shown, it inevitably makes you feel like an outsider, and the exception rather than the rule. But when this changes, the impact can be huge! This dynamic has affected me personally: when I switched from reading fashion magazines with thin models and clothes I couldn’t fit, to reading inspirational curvy fashion and sewing blogs, my self-perception underwent a huge shift. I suddenly felt normal, excited and empowered that I could wear awesome outfits that would make me look fabulous, just like all these women I was seeing every day.
So that’s why the ultra-thin croquis of the existing sketchbooks disappointed me so much. I didn’t want another product telling me once again that I was so different to the norm – the average women is a RTW 14, so clearly that’s ridiculous! I decided to do something about it, and after several months of development and testing, the Cashmerette Curvy Sketchbooks were born. They feature 100 plus size croquis so that you can see what a garment will actually look like on you, no scaling-up required. And because I know that my 5’6”, US RTW size 14/16 croquis doesn’t look exactly like every curvy woman, I’m also offering customized versions so that women can have a sketchbook that looks exactly like them.
There are three types of sketchbook in the line. The 8.5 x 11” version is made especially for your sewing room, with a spiral bound spine which lays flat, and in addition to the croquis there is a page to record multiple sets of measurements, space on each page to add a fabric swatch, a fabric and pattern inventory, and more. The second version if 6 x 9” and is made to keep in your handbag for when inspiration strikes! The third is the customized version (available in either size) which features a personalized croquis made just for you. If you’re interested, the sketchbooks are available to order today here, and for the first week of launch, they are 20% off. For the customized version, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
I hope that in a small way I can help contribute to the body image of others, as so many have already helped with mine. The more that we are represented in the world, the less we can be ignored! What else would you like to see tailor-made for curvy sewists?