I’ve been thinking about something lately… the idea of being plus-size.
Perhaps surprisingly, for much of the time I was an editor at the Curvy Sewing Collective, I wasn’t sure if I felt “plus-size” myself. At the time, I was 42-36-47, and usually sewed a size 14-16-or-18.
Wearing one of the first Cashmerette patterns in November 2015! The photo I used for my CSC bio was from this photoshoot, so it’s a good record of my size at the time. I still wear a fair number of clothes from this era.
Now I’m two inches larger everywhere, and ended up sewing a 16-18-or-20, so really, nothing much has changed tangibly… but at some point in the last year or two, being “plus-size” became part of my identity! I think what has changed for me is that I feel a kinship between myself and other sewists my size and larger… and at the same time, I’m angrier about ways curvy sewists are excluded.
Another blue dress on my current proportions, from June 2018.
Somehow, in 2018, we still face crappy size ranges, pattern releases showing photos only an smaller sizes, and endless sewing challenges and social media accounts that don’t feature people who look like us. I’m pissed, frankly, and not willing to wait for companies to change slowly. Like Tanya Maille said in her Sewcialists Who We Are post, the rise in inclusion that started 5 years ago seems to have stalled somewhat, and there are too many sewing businesses not bothering to include us.
(That’s not to say that average sewists are leaving out plus-size sewists or ignoring us… my blog roll and Instagram feed are full of amazing stylish sewists who are not defined by size, and who are fully supported by the community. You are all awesome!)
Just for contrast, here I am at the beginning of my garment sewing journey in May 2012, measuring 40-35-45! It’s crazy to think that I’d just spent 3 years in Japan being unable to buy clothes because I was too fat for a XL.
What makes me curious is that I know some sewists larger than me who don’t identify as plus. I’d love to ask them why, but it’s none of my business. Hell, I don’t even know what term my husband would identify with, and he wears 4x. It does beg the question though: Is being plus-size a mindset more than a size range? Does it only seem that way because I’ve got enough thin privilege to chose which camp I want to belong to?
I’d love to hear your thoughts! The same premise might apply to other groups in sewing, too, relating to age, ability, height and so much more. Are those measurable categories or a mindset/identity? Does it matter at all, or am I just overthinking this? Let’s have a chat!
P.S. I found this article about being a “small fat” interesting!
P.P.S. If you are size 16UK or higher, you might want to check out the @yoursizeyourstyle accounts on Instagram! Shannon from @rare.device pointed them out recently in her stories, and it’s a cool concept: you can either follow the general account showing stylish people size 16-30+, or you can follow a specific account that shows people your size. I’m following @size18style and finding it inspiring to see fashion-forward looks on bodies like mine!