I’ve never been a person who felt very confident about my body. All my life I’ve been a little…chubby. I have a sister who is almost exactly one year younger than me. She was always more petite. When we were 11 and 12 years old she barely even came up to my shoulder height wise. She was always super thin. My mother is naturally thin too.
Of course my parents wanted me to be healthy and because of that would remind me to eat a little less with cute little ditties like “A moment on your lips, forever on your hips!” I know they meant well and would never ever do anything to make me feel bad.
At the same time, my sister and I were eating the same things and she remained thin and I, less so.
So fast forward about 42 years from when that photo was taken and I am still not thin. I’ve tried all the things and have had some success at losing a little weight but never to the point of fitting the BMI charts.
As I’ve said before I have been sewing all my life but usually the clothes I made for myself were loose and flowing or not a great style for my body. I didn’t have a lot of good luck with it overall but I was very good at sewing for others so that’s what I did.
Last year I started to think about sewing again. I started wondering if I could make flattering clothing for my own body. I had always been drawn to late 40s and 50s style clothing with the fitted bodice and full skirt. I particularly like the ones with the waist line that sits at the natural waist or a bit higher so I started.
I made several dresses that were failures in fitting and also style but each got better than the last. I learned how to draft a full circle skirt and played with that a bit by changing where I wanted the waist band to sit and how wide I like it.
I found through this process that the styles I found most attractive were also the styles that looked best on me.
And here’s another surprising thing that happened. I began to be less embarrassed about my measurements. I realized that it is what it is and I can feel good and pretty and confident in well fitting clothing that is the right style for my own body.
Notice I’m not talking about whether the dresses and skirts are slimming or make me look thin. I’m talking about how I feel in them. I think that that feeling of confidence is the most important thing. I’m not going to lie, of course I would love that saggy belly bit to be gone and I would like for my waist to be a bit slimmer and my arms to be…smaller. The thing is, I feel pretty good when I see myself in the mirror in something I made for myself that fits.
As this process has been happening I’ve been keeping my eyes open for ready to wear clothes that are similar to the ones I want to wear. So far, not so good. Unless you are going into higher end clothes, all of the fitted clothing is made of knit or stretch fabric – except jeans of course. Clothing made from woven fabrics are mostly somewhat oversized and drapey. And now I can see why I was crabby when I would shop. The clothes that are the most flattering for me aren’t really available at prices I can afford to fill my closet.
I feel good! there is still some work to do to get the wardrobe I want and I know there will be some makes that don’t turn out like the picture in my head but this realization I had is just inspiring me to keep going and keep getting better.