Simplicity 7203 sewing pattern // Closet Case Patterns

Some thoughts on gaining weight & sewing

I just finished reading a great article in Elle about your body’s “natural” weight and how hard it can be to keep weight off if you lose more than 10% in a short period of time. I hit my heaviest of 165 about 3 years ago from a combination of quitting smoking, eating poorly, stress and general lethargy. I’ve slowly been trying to hit my happy body weight of around 145 ever since. I think if I eat well and get some exercise this is more or less where my body wants to be, which is fine by me. I like a little meat on the bone and stylistically gravitate towards a vintage silhouette – T, A and H(ips) have always been a boon to my style and my relationship with my body. The man in my life seems to agree.

In the spring of last year, I was having some health issues and quit wheat, sugar and alcohol and quickly shrunk to the smallest I’ve been since I was a teenager working midnights in a factory popping over the counter uppers to get through the shifts. At 135 pounds, I wore a 27/28″ waist and a size 8 dress. All of a sudden it was easy to find vintage at thrift stores since everything fit. I looked good in pictures and I got a LOT of attention from people since the weight loss was pretty dramatic. But…. my boobs were deflated, my bum was flatter, and I didn’t feel half as bodacious as I felt at my heaviest.

Obviously it didn’t last. I quit smoking (again, sigh), got back into the carb/sugar/booze nest, started a new relationship, and entered the long vortex of hell we call Montreal winter, all of which added up to a lot of time cuddling on the couch eating big bowls of pasta followed by big bowls of ice cream. Had a bit of a shock the other day when I realized I gained back 20 pounds. IN FOUR MONTHS. No wonder my skinny jeans didn’t fit and I had to let out the measurements of my dressmaking dummy. DENIAL IS REAL PEOPLE.

ALL this to say…. I am about 10 pounds over my “happy weight” and I’m scared to sew!  A few of the projects I finished in the fall are too tight to wear. And anything I make now may be too loose after I start riding my bike and taking it easy on the Daaz. It was much easier to have fluctuating weight when you could just go run and buy a pair of fat or skinny jeans, but now that I’m trying to greatly reduce the clothes shopping I do, the weight issue is more, well, weighty. If I labour for 3 days making a wiggle dress am I going to be able to wiggle into it in a few months or is it going to be less wiggle more sack? My next project was supposed to be this dress and I think it will probably be my masterpiece judging from the notions and fabric I’ve chosen. But I don’t want to be swimming in it a few months from now….

My solution? Tent dress. In particular, this guy (the guy in the middle, to be more precise):

Simplicity 7203 sewing pattern // Closet Case Patterns
Mod, 60’s, adorable. I have a beautiful cornflower blue crepe and a buttload of vintage buttons to choose from. This will fit me in 4 months or 4 years.

While I try not to buy into our society’s obsession with the uber-thin ideal and try to keep a level head about body issues, it’s impossible not to be hyper aware of your body when you make clothes for yourself.

So sewists: how do you handle sewing for a changing body? Are you careful about staying in a narrow range so it’s not an issue or do you make clothes that will fit you at various times without agonizing as much about it as I appear to be? How do you maintain a healthy body image when you are much more intimately aware of your size than the average lady?