Hello! I’m Tanya, otherwise known as Mrs. Hughes.
I’m a thirty-something retro sewist who lives on a cattle ranch in Northern California near Yosemite National Park. At the moment I’m a wannabe homesteader and I’m pretty happy living a rural lifestyle with my husband and our menagerie of animals. As we live on my family’s working ranch, there is always something that needs to be done around here and it seems like I’m often the one to do it! In addition to being a rancher, I am a commissioner on a local government committee and volunteer at a nearby air museum as well as have some community side projects I’m involved with.
In a past life, I was an academic, working on post grad work in anthro-archaeology. Unfortunately, I found after a couple years of fieldwork that archaeology was less Indiana Jones and more over-educated ditch digger. I was headed for further studies at Oxford, but opted to take a break from academia and my field. Since then, I have found that I much prefer research and history and hope to combine my studies with historical fashion and curation when I eventually head back to the books and my PhD studies.
When I discovered sewing blogs in 2012, I don’t recall seeing too many plus size sewists and didn’t have much inspiration until I started my sewing blog a year later and found some other curvy gals who love to sew. I’ve had to learn a lot of things about fitting my figure on my own, which hasn’t been easy, and when the idea of the Curvy Sewing Collective came along, I felt it would be a great way to help other curvy sewers. I feel that sewing your own clothing is a confidence booster and the idea that you can make anything – no matter what your body type – is certainly amazing. Why not help other curvy gals sew gorgeous garments, too?
I’ve been sewing for most of life as my grandma and my mom taught me how to sew when I was about 5 or 6 and learned more through participation in 4-H and high school home ec. I started out sewing doll clothes and moved on into garments and costumes. I pretty much only made costumes and special occasion garments until 2011, when I decided that I wanted to sew my own vintage style clothing and make myself pretty dresses. It is so liberating to sew your own wardrobe and even though I’ve been sewing for nearly 30 years, there is always something new to learn and the more I sew, the better I get at sewing. You don’t need to have a degree in fashion design to sew beautiful garments. Reading sewing books, watching video tutorials and following sewing bloggers have helped take my skills up to a higher level.
There are many patterns that I’ve sewn with that I love, but these are the ones that I keep going back to, again and again.
- Simplicity 2444
- Colette Hawthorn
- Sewaholic Cambie
- Butterick 5982
- Colette Moneta
When I work with a pattern, I normally have to grade up nearly every pattern that I use. I am a pear-ish or “spoon” shape and my measurements are: 48-41-52, which puts me well beyond the average sizing of most sewing patterns. I sure am happy when I find a pattern that comes in my size that is not large and doudy. Learning to grade patterns made every pattern available to me, regardless of size. Other than pattern grading, I often have to do back adjustments and do some fitting on my chest. I usually make dresses and skirts and haven’t delved into pants/shorts making much, but there will definitely be some adjustments to be made in regards to my belly and bum areas when I start sewing anything with legs and a crotch….
As far as my sewing expertise, I really don’t think that anyone can be a sewing “expert” as it’s a craft that is evolving and there is always something new to learn. However, I have done a lot of sewing of the following and find that I can sew well with:
- Vintage and reproduction dress patterns
- Formal/bridal gowns
- Sheer fabrics (chiffon, georgette, organza)
- Silk (charmeuse, dupioni, crepe)
I definitely am excited to be a part of this group and look forward to sharing with you projects, tips and tricks and inspiration to sew for your own curvy figure.