Last November, I wrote a post that has since become the most visited on Idle Fancy, by a mile. It wasn’t a floral dress, nor a fabric giveaway, but a manifesto of sorts. Sewing the Curve was twelve-hundred words of imploring the sewing community to do better, to do right by plus-sized sewists. From where I was standing, we were an overlooked, undeserved portion of the sewing community. Independent pattern companies were excluding us from their size ranges and there was a shocking lack of body diversity amongst well-publicized sewing initiatives. I was terrified that sewing was going the way of ready-to-wear fashion, separating its plus size clients into a special interest category, away from the mainstream consumer base. That not only saddened me, but enraged me. Were plus-sized women to forever be excluded from interesting designs and beautiful clothing?
Obviously, other women felt the same way. 2014 was a fantastic year for plus size sewing. We’ve made marked headway into indie pattern sizing, boosted the visibility of plus size sewing all over the internet, and–most exciting for those of us at the CSC–formed a community of like-minded, like-sized sewists at this very website. On this last day of 2014, I thought it might be heartening to take a look at some of these changes. There is still so far to go, but it’s fun to revel in our victories for a moment, don’t you think?
One of the most gratifying areas of progress this year was definitely in independent sewing patterns. My whole tirade was sparked by exclusionary size ranges in modern patterns. Well, some designers certainly heard our complaints! Earlier this year, both Colette Patterns and BlueGingerDoll Patterns dramatically increased their size ranges, moving to 54” and 50” bust measurements respectively. A few smaller companies that have launched recently, also offered slightly more expansive size ranges, like Jennifer Lauren Vintage (Bust: 45”) and Closet Case Patterns (Hip: 46”). Sure, that’s only a US18 in both cases, but it totally beats the US12 cut-off of many of their predecessors. Even better, 2014 saw the launch of a plus-size specific pattern company, Tenterhook Patterns out of Australia. Tenterhook currently has two patterns, the very cute Jacaranda Dress and Snapdragon Skirt, both of which go up to measurements of 57”-46.5”-56.25”! Now, that’s progress. Here’s hoping that next year brings more companies like these, offering chic and interesting designs for plus-sized women.
A big part of these sizing changes comes from the increased visibility of plus-sized sewists in 2014. This year, we proved that we’re not just a niche market, but a significant, vital part of the sewing community. There were plus-size blog tours, including our own Curvy Colette tour, plus-sized competitors on Project Sewn, and curvy picks in BurdaStyle’s Top 50 Sewing Bloggers poll. There are, at last count, forty-eight brilliant plus-sized blogs on our own blog roll. More and more, curvy women are setting up shop on the internet, sharing their inspiration, creativity, and talent.
My favorite plus-sized happening of 2014, however, is the launch of this very website. Over the past five months, The Curvy Sewing Collective has surpassed even our wildest expectations. Whether it’s in the forums or in blog posts, hundreds of curvy women have banded together and inspired each other, week after week. We’ve reviewed patterns, we’ve shared personal body image journeys, and we’ve proved that “plus-sized” is a vital, important part of modern sewing. We not only have a place at the table, but we are actively shaping the future of sewing. As a longtime curvy blogger, this initiative has been profoundly moving for me. Over and over, we’ve heard from women who stumble across this website and are inspired to pursue not only sewing, but body positivity. It’s my hope that 2015 will not only be a great year for plus-sized sewing, but for self-acceptance, in general. This is the website I wish had existed, when I began sewing. You are the women I wish I’d known were out there, sharing these same challenges and love of gorgeous clothes. I’m so glad we’ve all found each other here.
Happy New Year, my dear ones! How do you feel about the successes in plus-size sewing this year? Do you have any sewing or personal goals for 2015? Let’s celebrate the changes, past and future!