Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! Are you putting the finishing touches on that sequined party dress? Are black-eyed peas already cooking away on your stovetop? Tonight, with fanfare and champagne, we usher in another year. Welcome 2016!
Well, almost. Perhaps it’s my own penchant for nostalgia, or simply that I can’t believe it’s already December 31st, but a look back seems in order. This year was a sensational one for plus size sewing, after all. New pattern companies launched, the industry trend towards more inclusive size ranges continued, and plus size fashion made national news again and again. There is quite a lot to celebrate about dear, old 2015! Before we scurry headlong into the exciting new year, let’s pause to revel in our victories. This year was very, very good to curvy sewers.
Once again, some of the most obvious gains for plus sizes came from independent patterns. Several established brands permanently and broadly expanded their size ranges, allowing a much larger population of sewers to access their designs without the tedium of grading and resizing. Colette Patterns, longtime indie darling, now runs to a size US26 (bust: 54″) on all new patterns from their house brand and spin-off, Seamwork Magazine. The gorgeous Dutch sewing magazine, KnipMode, discontinued their plus size capsule collections and now offers all designs in a full size range, up to a size EU54 (bust: 54″). We also saw incremental sizing improvements from a number of popular indies, including Closet Case Files (up to US20), Named Clothing (up to US18, on select patterns), and Sewaholic Patterns (up to US20).
Additionally, a few brands with already inclusive size ranges became more readily available to sewers everywhere. StyleArc, a recent favorite of the CSC, is now available in the Northern Hemisphere via Amazon and launched a PDF pattern store through Etsy. With their rapid fire release of designs and large size range (up to AU30), this expansion puts edgier designs in the hands of plus size sewers. This year also saw a larger growth for Lekala, the European custom pattern company, which provides hundreds of designs tailored to exactly your measurements. Lekala launched their own social network, Sewist, and built the popularity of their weekly customer contests and monthly design polls.
Then, of course, came Cashmerette Patterns. Launched by our very own Jenny Rushmore, Cashmerette designs chic, wearable pieces specifically for plus size women. Both of their first offerings, the Appleton and Washington Dresses, are available in sizes 12 – 28 and cup sizes C – H. Talk about wonderfully expansive, kittens. No FBAs! Designs meant for curvy hips! Many of us rejoiced that–Finally!–we could sew garments straight-from-the-envelope. Personally, I’m really looking forward to the next designs from Cashmerette, which are sure to be equally fabulous.
Further afield, the plus size fashion industry as a whole really came into its own this year. The gorgeous Tess Holliday, of #effyourbodystandards fame, landed a major modeling contract with Milk Modeling, making her the largest sized model signed to a traditional contract. Ashley Nell Tipton, a plus size designer herself, handily won this season’s Project Runway with a plus size collection that hearkened back to Mexico City in the 1950’s. Additionally, both Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy launched hugely successful plus size fashion lines of their own, bringing mainstream media coverage to the curvy fashion world.
Here at the CSC, we’ve had quite a few strides of our own. Thanks to the diligent work of our contributors and editorial board, the Curvy Sewing Collective has seen remarkable growth this year. Our community on Facebook grew to over 4700 members, who actively share their creativity, opinions, and knowledge with other curvy sewers around the globe. Our Flickr group became a daily resource for curvy inspiration and our blogroll of curvy bloggers doubled in the last year, alone! We also welcomed three talented, fantastic new editors, Michelle, Gillian, and Meg, who have made this site a more vibrant, helpful community for us all.
Wow! Do you feel dizzy with all that good news? Honestly, y’all, I have a giant smile on my face right now. Just writing this post has warmed my heart, thinking of how far we’ve come in the last few years, both as the sewing community and the larger plus size industry. I can only imagine what great heights we’ll see in 2016! Before we move on, however, I want to hear from you. What was your favorite plus size victory in 2015? Did you meet a personal sewing goal or stand up and cheer when Modcloth stopped isolating plus sizes? Let’s dance and twirl a bit, friends, as we kick off the grand new year!