Happy New Year, Curvy Sewing Collective!
Along with sewing a party dress and carefully choosing a bottle of bubbly, writing this post is one of my favorite end-of-year tasks. Nothing ushers in excitement for the upcoming year quite like basking in the successes of the previous one. Even better, 2016 was a banner year for curvy sewing! New pattern companies launched with highly inclusive size ranges, old favorites expanded their offerings to include plus size sewists, and the body positivity movement was all over the news. Closer to home, we hosted some fantastic theme months here at the CSC and welcomed a slew of new sewists to the community.
Grab a cup of cheer and let’s revel a bit, shall we?
When we first started the Curvy Sewing Collective, quality plus size patterns were difficult to find. Size ranges often ended at a US 16, if they even made it that far, and designs trended toward the tent-like and dowdy. Every year, I marvel at our progress. In such a short time, plus size sewists have gained access to heaps of fashionable, well designed patterns. This year, we saw even more gains, from both independent and major pattern companies.
While fewer pattern companies debuted in 2016, most newcomers offered noticeably more inclusive size ranges. The Dreamstress, a beloved historical costumer and blogger, launched Scroop Patterns, a vintage-inspired pattern company that currently sells three patterns, each up to a 50-inch bust size. Another popular blogger taking the plunge into patterns was Helen’s Closet, who released the wildly successful Winslow Culottes, which cover up to Size 20 (38″ waist). For lovers of wardrobe staples, Ann from Designer Stitch launched a line of patterns which covers up to a Size 26 (52″ bust) and features pants, dresses, and tops. Finally, New Vintage Lady hosted a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch a line of reproduction vintage patterns for bust sizes up to 60-inches. Watch for those in 2017!
Quite a few well-established pattern companies also expanded their plus size options, this year. Most notably, Simplicity Patterns launched a line of new plus size patterns and upped many of their existing lines to cover a Size 28W. Whether you love reproduction vintage designs or more fashion-forward styles, Simplicity now offers plus size patterns for your style. We also saw major sizing improvements from a number of popular indies, including Blank Slate Patterns (up to a Size 3X), Orange Lingerie (up to a Size 40J), Jennifer Lauren Vintage (continuing to expand her backlist to Size 24), and Schnittchen Patterns (up to a Size 56). Megan Nielsen has also begun work on expanding her line’s sizing, which we should see sometime in the new year.
Our own Jenny, of Cashmerette Patterns, has also continued to offer a gorgeous range of plus size only patterns. This year, she released five new patterns with multiple cup sizes–the Concord T-Shirt, the Upton Dress, the Springfield Top, the Harrison Shirt, and the Turner Dress–as well as a plus size shirtmaking workshop. We can’t wait to see what she has in store for 2017!
In the ever-growing plus size fashion industry, it was also a year to be proud of. At the beginning of 2016, Ashley Graham became the first plus size model to land the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, giving mainstream attention to the body positivity movement. Christian Siriano, winner of Project Runway and arguably the show’s most successful contestant, continued to advocate for fashion at every size and cast five plus size models in his NYFW show, this September. Plus, several high profile curvy brands opened their doors, including Beth Ditto’s long-awaited line, Ashley Nell Tipton’s collaboration with JCPenney, River Island’s uber trendy plus size site, and even a plus size men’s shop from ASOS.
Here at the Curvy Sewing Collective, we had a year filled with great posts, gorgeous garments, and a ton of new readers and contributors. We hosted our first theme months on the blog, Lingerie Month in February, Swimwear Month in June, and Shirtmaking Month in November, which provided a chance to learn new skills and find support for tricky patterns. Tanya launched the Sewing Spaces series, giving us a peek into the sewing caves of our favorite bloggers, and Michelle kicked off a monthly round-up of new plus size patterns, curated with both humor and style. Meg revived two of our readers’ favorite series, Sewing for My Curves and Same Pattern, Different Bodies, which give us a personal look at patterns and fitting adjustments. Gillian, meanwhile, initiated hundreds of insightful discussions with her brilliant opinion pieces on accepting sewing compliments and making fewer muslins.
In 2016, we also opened a Facebook Group, just for the Curvy Sewing Collective, which continues to grow and become a thriving community in its own right. Whether you want to show off your latest project or ask quick questions about a weird pattern instruction, it’s such a great resource! We absolutely can’t thank our team of moderators enough for helping that arm of the CSC thrive, this year. If Facebook isn’t quite your bag, though, our Flickr Group is still going strong as a positive place to share your sewing. It’s my favorite site to find endless inspiration for curvy sewing and I always look forward to curating our Flickr round-ups, each month.
Wow! Y’all, I swear this post gets longer every year. There are so many other curvy sewing highlights of 2016, which I could’ve included here, but now we’d love to hear from you. What was your favorite sewing event of this year? Did you discover a new curvy-friendly pattern company or make a garment you’ve always wanted? Before we head into the new year, let’s take a moment to celebrate all we accomplished in 2016!
Note: The images in this post are from the vintage “Hilda” pin-up series by Duane Bryers.