Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sewing for The Curvy Closet

My daily wardrobe is pretty pathetic. I keep expecting those people from What Not To Wear to show up at my door and start smacking me around, but to my knowledge that hasn't happened yet. Most days I'm a tee-shirt and jeans kind of gal.

But I got to thinking... back in the day, I used to be kind of glamorous. Heck, I was a fashion designer for years, going on research trips to Paris and London. I had silk suits and heels, leather gloves, and Italian handbags. But as the years passed my life changed and my priorities. I worked at home and didn't need suits or uncomfortable shoes. I was busy doing other stuff, being a mom, driving to swim lessons, baking cupcakes and cleaning up cat barf.

Shopping got to be a maddening experience. Cool clothes are easy to find in smaller sizes and cheaper too.  Plus size clothing is for the most part frumpy looking, not flattering and hard to find.  Old Navy's website sells larger sizes "Exclusively Online!" with an exclamation mark, like it's some kind of bonus feature. I used to wear a lot of J. Jill but they too only sell larger sizes online. I want to try things on before I buy them, thank you very much.

So I decided that if I couldn't find cool clothes that fit me then I would punch fashion in the nose and make them myself.


Here's a list of what I don't have...

•  tons of money

•  a big closet

•  a tall and slender supermodel figure

•  a tolerance for uncomfortable clothes


Here's a list of what I do have....

•  feet that are practically square, like Barney Rubble after a bad night of bowling

•  a hobbit shaped middle-aged lady figure, like a trashbag filled with water balloons

•  the ability to put a product line together.

•   a fifteen-year-old sewing machine

•   time

•   manic optimism


So I put together a plus size clothing line for one person, me, and started sewing. Here is what I've made so far... Some pieces missed the mark, like the flannel pants... they are huge. I feel like Kipling's rhino when I wear them, and one of the pockets is backwards. Other pieces are wins. The kimono sweatshirt is amazing, simple, warm, yet much more flattering than a regular sweatshirt.



This is my "to make" page... One of the local JoAnn's is closing so I picked up a shoebox full of patterns, five for a dollar. I bought a bunch of fabric for 75% off. I am set!




I also want to try more tee-shirt hacks and do more tie-dye.

How about you? What would you make if you could make anything? What's your favorite creative activity?

Marilyn.

--

Imagination creates reality.

~ Richard Wagner


21 comments:

  1. I am so inspired by your choice to create what you want to wear! I love the styles and the comfort. My difficulty in shopping is due to my short stature. I can never find pants or skirts on the rack that fit. I suppose if I tried to learn how to hem, that would help. Even so, it would be better to customize clothing to my whole body and work with my shape. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I'm 5'3'' an could pretty much sew a jacket out of the amount of fabric that I have to cut off a pair of store bought pants. :-)

      Hemming is key!

      Marilyn

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  2. Oh my gosh, I wasn't a clothing designer, but I was a jet setting Engineer - suits, Burberry bags, Italian accessories, etc. And I even brought home hubby from Europe :) And I've gone through the metamorphosis you mentioned! Now soon to be out of my "stay-at-home mom" job; youngest daughter going off to college in the fall :( Anyway, I LOVE your clothing pics, especially the "knit" I actually already have a couple similar to it that I got at Anthropologie. I'm currently really into sewing quilts, but maybe I should try sewing up some outfits for myself - Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Lutka, you are most welcome. I hope you make lots of fun things!

      I wish I could afford/fit into the clothes at Anthropologie. They have a lot of cute things.

      If you can sew quilts, you can do clothes easy peasy! A quilted jacket perhaps?

      Marilyn

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  3. I never really got sewing down, but I have several friends who do and I keep meaning to make skirts with them. I also don't have a tolerance for uncomfortable clothes and lately skirts have been the answer to low-rise jeans that just don't do it for me OR "mom jeans." I have several ideas for jersey knit skirts floating around that I really should just bring to those friends already!

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    1. The skirt I made was so easy and so comfortable. When I wore it two of my son's friends told me I looked "Glamorous" :-)

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  4. I love this idea! I am always sewing for the kids, never myself, I think it may be time to make some fashionable clothes. Plus, I can adjust the patterns; since I'm tall and all my height is in my waist shirts are never long enough. And of course I have boxes of fabric waiting to be transformed!

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  5. Did you use patterns? what ones? I'm a seamstress and I'm dying to make a couple of those items for my plus-size, 4 kids later, sick of frumpy self!!

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    1. I"ll post pattern numbers tonight when I get a moment. I get them on sale at JoAnne's when they run their five for five dollar sales. :-)

      Sew On! Marilyn

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  6. Great post, and I loved learning that you were a jet-setting fashion designer! I have never been jet-setting or fashionable but I was skinnier once upon a time. I'm not plus-sized but I am mom-shaped now and it's disappointing how many clothes refuse to acknowledge the way your body shape changes when you've had a couple babies and gotten older. Skirts seem to be a lot more flattering than pants these days. But also, store-bought clothes are often boring or unattractive. I definitely have it as a goal to take a sewing class and begin making some simple gear in the next year or so.

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    1. Neato! A class would be a great way to start. I also learned a lot from watching a bunch of YouTube videos.

      Marilyn

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  7. I love that little buzz with the onset of excitement and hypomania.. :) You go girl, this is a great adventure! I used to sew all the time twenty years ago, and I loved it - don't do it nearly as much now the boys are older.. xx

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    1. I'm having a blast, Celia! Plus after I get done making something I get to wear it. Having new clothes is great fun! Hugs, Maz

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  8. I need to learn to sew -- I HATE SHOPPING. HATE IT. I would rather create.... must learn to sew.... Love your ideas! Was the sweatshirt hard to make??? It's cool!!

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    1. Laurie, hello! The sweatshirt was pretty simple. I bought a man's sweatshirt that fit, cut off the collar, cuffs and bottom ribbing. Then I turned the cuffs under and hemmed them. Finally i cut strips of grey knit and finished off the front and bottom. I'll post picts next time I make one.

      It is the comfiest piece of clothing I own.

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  9. I just love your post! You make me laugh! You sound like me! I can really relate! I haven't found a pattern that fits right. Did you ever make your own pattern? Maybe U tube could show me how? Thanks for your ideas. Actually the idea had been rumbling around in my head for awhile. You just make it seem very doable. I LOVE all your toys, even went and bought one of your books. Thanks for all you do.

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  10. Dear Marylin,
    I love your blog! It is so creative and inspiring! I am very creative myself, but of the kind that becomes too involved in the planning to achieve much. In any case, I learned how to use the Burda patterns as a child and don't like frumpy clothes at all. There is an adjustable dress form on its way already and I will be adjusting some clothes and making many more. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

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  11. I'm a little late to the party, but I do a lot of tie-dye and something I call "faux-batik", if you want any advice let me know!

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  12. Love your sense of humor! Especially the part where you told someone that if they could make a quilt, they could make clothes easily.....NOT!!!! Give yourself the credit you deserve! Have you ever seen a quilt with 44-36-48 measurements?? I don't think so!!!! I've never had a high profile job (unless you count PTA President) and I've only visited Paris, Illinois, but I DO LOVE to sew! My thing for the past year has been bags and purses. But the one time i tried to alter a pattern to make a pair of shorts fit my somewhat stout granddaughter, she ended up with a 7" low rise....only it was in the BACK!! So, take a bow! What you're doing is admirable! (I'm only Anonymous cause i can't figure out the other choices!....)

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