If you haven't already seen it, there's a lovely video of Amy Poehler giving advice to a teen girl about how to love her body. In the video, which is making the rounds on the Internet, she suggests considering the parts of your body that are awesome (like 20-20 eyesight, for example), and giving thanks for those, rather than fixating on all the things you dislike. She also wisely suggests to compare your inner dialogue to what you might say to a future daughter or younger sister. "You would tell her she was beautiful — and you would not be lying. Because she is. And so are you," she says. Try not to tear up. Just try.
Meanwhile, in sewing, the adjustments we need to make for fit can go a long way to highlighting those things about ourselves we feel most crappy about — AND even give a bad name to the things we thought were pretty awesome.
For example, I previously would have called myself long-legged. But now I know I am just short-waisted. I was also pretty happy with what I'd call my skinny-back/round butt combo. But unfortunately in the sewing world, this is known as "swayback" — a term that sounds a little close to "hunchback" for my liking — and requires constant vigilance when it comes to adjusting patterns to prevent against fabric "pooling" on the lower back. It's enough to make you want to wear lycra every day.
And, as "imperfections" usually go, swayback seems more common than not, so there are a great many of us making those same adjustments every time we sew a new garment (Seriously, WHO are the people who don't have to make this adjustment?). And it's one fix not easily made when something is fully sewn, so we really have to makes muslins, adjust, check and correct. (If you also have this issue, bookmark this post at Pattern, Scissors, Cloth on adjusting for swayback.)
Anyway, for some reason, three-quarters of summer passed me by without a single new pair of shorts. And I just wasn't fitting into anything I already have (this past six months have been marked by a different kind of stress, I guess, in that instead of shrinking under the weight of anxiety, I self-medicated with ice-cream and iced coffee, alternately).
So to give myself something to wear during the last days of summer, I sewed two pairs of shorts from the Burdastyle.com Ruby pattern, which I totally love and recommend (I have a thing for sailor pants, after all). I managed to find two fabrics already in my stash that would work — a cool graphic black-and-white printed cotton, and a denim. I love making wearable garments from stuff I already have laying around. It makes me feel like I have cheated the system somehow. The buttons were also in my (dwindling) collection.
From the side:
I never know what size I will be in a Burda pattern. For these Ruby shorts, I initially cut a much larger size — based on the size chart and my hip measurement. But they were gigantic, so I sized down three sizes. Weird, right? I have quite wide hips, but actually fit the second smallest size. If you are narrow through the hips and waist, I don't know how these will fit you.
The only adjustment I had to make was for my swayback. I took out an inch at the center back seam and used my French curve to blend with the back center seam. That's not how Pattern Scissors Cloth recommends adjusting for swayback, but it worked for me. Here's a totally crude approximation of how I amended this pattern to fit my swayback (the pink line being my new center back seam):
Of course, I also had to take a corresponding inch out of the center back of the waistband so the shorts and waistband fit together properly.
And that's it for summer sewing this year.
So how do you maintain a good body image while sewing around all your supposed "imperfections"?