My sewing machine has to be repaired, my latest muslin is built and I am not happy about the photos we took for the project I want to post about. This leaves me with time to think about things that are hard to explain. I have been happily ignoring the subject of Body Image in my blog so far but I think it is an important one. It is very easy to be very positive, advocate upgrading and embrace my curves but sometimes, things are more complicated.
Sewing has completely changed me. The way I dress, the way I see my body, the way I feel about my body. Have you ever taken a body image test ? Or given it a thought ? You can have a few type of issues. My 2 issues are as follow : I am unsatisfied with my body and I sometimes feel subjectively bigger than what I am. What's awesome about sewing is that it helped me enormously on both spectrums. Look at the drawing below :
Exercise 1 : evaluate which shape corresponds to yours : #8
Exercise 2 : evaluate which shape you would like to have : #6
Exercise 3 : ask a friend to evaluate which shape you are : #8
The difference between 1 and 2 can indicate your body dissatisfaction. This changed slightly in the last few months as I have been losing weight. Before starting sewing, I would have wanted to be a #4... Sewing taught me I could look good even if I am rounder. Of course, I am still not satisfied ! I would like to be a little bit smaller to be able to sew more fitted garments and more different shapes that simply do not suit me at the moment.
The difference between 1 and 3 indicates if you have a biased body image. Before I started sewing, I would have guessed that my shape was bigger than the #9. Making my own clothing and using accurate measurements made me understand better how my body is. Knowing my body better actually helped me accepting it for the time being.
Now, I know it may feel wrong when I say that accepting my body helped me losing weight. Oddly it did ! Shall we go through the body changes and influences of sewing and acceptation ?
I have always been rounder, already as a child. I was very aware of it. At that time, my grandma was sewing my clothing. She made beautiful things and they made me feel nice and special but I always felt too big. And I grew up that way. Adding kilos steadily. Food was my safe heaven.
During my studies, I took a leap year and I lost 30 kilos. The adventures and the stressfree life being an aupair abroad made me grow wings.
Of course, after I came back and a break up, I gained all the weight back on. I also met my husband and discovered the sewing world. I tried my first projects. At that point, I was going for ideas that were more special and quirky, bringing the attention to the details of my outfits and less to my size. Upgrading was simply a mean to an end, it never was a restriction to me.
Little by little, I learned new techniques and started to like my body more. I figured out what looked good on me. Of course, I would always keep some cookiness. But at that point, I pinpointed what worked better. Most of the time things went great but I still have the odd “fail” project. Upgrading is still a huge part of my sewing habits.
At this point, I knew my body. I objectively knew that I was (still am) obese. Some projects made me feel like I had to change something. This came gradually. For exemple, I made a dress for a “pre-wedding” event. I hate all of the pictures because you can see my arms. Later in the year, I could not hike as well as others when we were on vacation. Little details adding up month after month.
After a while, I just wanted to do something and started a diet last July. I lost 13 kilos in the first 4 month and I am still plateau-ing. Christmas did not help, neither did a miscarriage. But I am still very happy with the results and I am looking forward to the coming months and how my body will change. I am very active and I am sure that I will keep on getting healthier. In my last projects, my sewing has reinforced the happy feelings. I started working on more fitted garments. And they make me feel great!
In conclusion, I feel so grateful! Sewing was a plaster when I had body image issues and became a motivation booster after I changed for the better.
Does sewing do that for you?