Well after your fantastic response to the announcement of this new monthly series, it is time to get going with it! I should say first that we are compiling all of your excellent suggestions for articles and will try and do as many as we can. One great suggestion has already spawned a new mini series: Sewing For My Size. If you are interested in writing about how you fit clothes to your body shape, or on any other the other ideas mentioned in the original Peculiarities post, do get n touch! We really are a collective and want your input!
But right now, let’s get gossiping….
First up: FABRIC
You may wonder why on earth this is something that is different for us curvy girls. After all, the one thing that unites the sewing world is our
obsessive keen love of all things textile.
Sewists LOVE fabric. We covet it, over-buy it, hoard it, hide it, stroke it, swap it, google it, talk about it, dream about it. It’s wonderful. There are so many beautiful fabrics out there in the world, and we want them all, even if we have no idea what we would make with it.
Plus sized sewists need more fabric than others. It makes sense right? Our clothes are bigger, so we need to buy more of that beautiful fabric we love. What’s the harm in that?
There are a few reasons why I get annoyed at having to buy more fabric than non-curvy sewist.
1: MONEY. As I’m sure you know, fabric can be very expensive. And we don’t want to buy lots of the same fabric, we want to buy loads of different fabrics. Buying one extra metre of one fabric means one less metre of something else even prettier.
2: READY TO WEAR. This is a ridiculous reason. I don’t have to pay more for larger sizes in high street shops, so I don’t want to spend more money on fabric to cover my body when I make my own clothes. I know this is silly, and all it goes to show is how much fast fashion has removed us from understanding the means of production. I know there is an argument to say that larger people shouldn’t have to pay more for the ‘privilege’ of being fat, but we do need more fabric, and someone has to make that and should be paid for doing so. I should not get annoyed at this.
3: STORAGE. More fabric requires more storage. I know, I know, I should just buy fabric for specific projects and use it up and not hoard any. BUT WHO ACTUALLY DOES THAT? I have a ridiculous amount of fabric, and always buy a bit extra than I need in order to cover any grading up that I inevitably have to do. That takes room, and I have had to spend a lot of money in Ikea to deal with storing such large pieces. This is a particular problem with big ole winter fabrics which seem to require a whole room to store. It’s also massively unwieldy. Pre-washing, drying, handling and cutting out massive lengths of fabric often requires gymnastic contortions and reeaaaallllyyy long arms.
4: IT’S AVOIDABLE: This is what bugs me the most. Because most patterns are designed for a ‘standard size 12’ they make sure that the ‘regular’ sizes can fit on, say, 2 metres of 44inch wide fabric. But how many times have I seen that a pattern layout for larger sizes doesn’t require a few extra centimetres of fabric, but a whole extra metre? If plus sizes were designed first, surely the original design would be adapted to fit on a suitably sized piece of fabric? So many times it seems that plus sizes are an afterthought, and that as the pattern gets graded up the designer realises the larger sizes don’t fit so neatly, and so a whole new layout is needed, and an extra metre or so of fabric. If patterns were designed specifically with plus sizes in mind from the start, I feel this could be avoided.
HOWEVER, it’s not all bad. Because we are clever and resourceful folk, I have found that I am often able to squeeze my pattern pieces on to the same sized fabric as a non-plus sized sewist. As I have inevitably panicked and bought the extra metre (plus a bit more for grading) I then have enough to make a top, or a contrast panel for a dress or to chop up and make into pieces for quilting. I do sometimes wonder if larger sewists are more likely to make quilts…?!
What do you think? Is it a pain having to buy more fabric? Or do you just want to have lots on lots and lots of the lovely stuff?