Saturday, 14 January 2017

Sewing And Weightloss

As mentioned in my last post, I have been having a lot of thoughts about sewing and weightloss as I have lost some weight recently, and hope to lose another 3, 4 or 5 stone depending on how I feel further down the road (I cannot set a goal weight because I am unable to visualise what I will look like at an arbitrarily set number on a scale, I will know when I have lost enough for my own preferences - I'm always going to be a curvy lady!!).

I am not the largest member of the online sewing community, but I was/am not comfortable in my own skin. At risk of type 2 diabetes, and being easily out of breath, and struggling to paint my own damn toenails, I knew things had to change.

Left me, right my sister, taken in May 2016 but at roughly the same weight as when I started WW
So in the picture I am wearing a dress I made for an event in September 2015 (obviously unblogged because I am an incompetent blogger!). I made it from my own sundress pattern, from fabric I carefully selected, buttons in my choice of contrasting colour, and hemmed by hand using some pretty lace. The nature of the pattern placement of the hearts was forgotten about hence the weird bit in the middle, and the armscye could do with a 1/4" scooped out. In no way is this dress perfect. But it is mine.

The same feelings go for the rest of my imperfect, but specially curated wardrobe. It is small, I do not have provisions for all seasons, it consists of 75% black clothing, and the rest made up from navy, grey, and the rare pop of a gingham or olive green. My clothes have meaning, each has its own story, and the small amount of items mean I really do remember when it was made and why. The only way my clothes could be more personal is if I wove the cloth they are made from (which is unlikely to happen!).

So now I am two stone lighter, and they say I should feel healthier! They say I should really feel the difference! They say I should be "#so proud"! They say I should see the difference! Happy happy, joy joy! Well spoiler alert, I don't. I can't see the difference, I don't feel healthier, I can paint my toenails a bit easier though.

I know through the evidence of the scale, and through the fit of my clothes that it is happening for real. I see my clothes looking sad and baggy. I live in leggings and a sad baggy tonic tee if I am not leaving the house. My embroidered Ginger jeans are so far into droopy arseville that I can't even go there with them any more. My dearly loved polka dotted blouse is now a sad saggy sack. But I should be pleased by this so they say.

The reason I kept my wardrobe so small is because of my preference for a sustainable wardrobe. I hate waste, I hate throwaway clothes culture, and I love having only things I enjoy wearing. I understand my views are the minority here, no hating on those sewists who have a large bounty of handmade clothing in their closet, "To thine own self be true" after all. Growing out, or should that be shrinking out, of my clothes whilst they are not worn enough to be worn out and too worn for the charity shop is causing me anxiety. I feel wasteful.

The personal nature of my relationship with my clothing is making me miserable. I can't bring myself to make some new items to tide me over the next 2 stone loss to go through the feeling of waste again. I don't even feel like I can re-purpose the fabric from any of my existing clothes into only temporary garments. I get that this is not a normal way to think about ones clothing. Buying new in a size smaller is one of the thrills most women get to boost them on their often long and hard journey, I don't even know what size dress I would pick up off the rack it has been so long since I got anything but bras and those stretchy saviours keeping me from wandering round in just my knickers.

I'm sure that for many sewists this sound like the ramblings of a madwoman, and for those who do not sew it surely sounds madder still! Perhaps I am too sentimental, too obsessed, too neurotic...but I would never choose to again have that impersonal relationship with the things that are literally, albeit not figuratively, closest to me. Sewing has taught me patience, responsibility, mindfulness, confidence, and made me aware of all those little body quirks that you would never know if not for taking all those measurements.

There is more to life than clothes, no shadow of a doubt on that one, but clothes are the reflections of life, and I for one value them deeply.


  1. Awesome work with the weight loss hun, and I know what you mean I had loads of clothes that just don't fit me anymore, a lot of it became workout or sleep ware but it seems a shame that so much of my once decent wardrobe just doesn't fit anymore but it is worth it for the health implications even if you don't feel different.

  2. Weight change is one of the reasons I no longer sew my own clothes. It is so hard to have a garment that you put so much time and effort into not fit well anymore. I don't know the solution, but understand the frustration. I shop mainly at consignment stores for now and hope soon to be at a stable weight and then start sewing some wardrobe pieces again. Best wishes to you!

  3. I totally understand - I haven't lost the weight yet, but I'm working on it, so my struggle has been seeing at all for myself. I hate the idea of putting all that time in getting something just right and then shrinking out of it!

  4. I am a returned sewer (after an almost 40 yr hiatus!) and one of the first things I realized about sewing your own clothes is remaining the same size whether it's up or down! I noticed most garment sewers (rather miraculously and now I know NOT accidentally!) stay the same size! Frankly that's almost as challenging as sewing :) as we age our weight and measurements and how our weight is distributed has a tendency to alter rather dramatically. Once you hit menopause things go completely wonky. My heart goes out to you honestly. It would be absolutely heartbreaking to come to a realization I couldn't get into my me-mades (I'm now 62 but have only been sewing for 2.5 years) and have managed to create several things I really love.