Plus-Size Sewing: Is it a mindset or a size range?

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.

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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.

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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!) 

Coral skirt front

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!


47 thoughts on “Plus-Size Sewing: Is it a mindset or a size range?

  1. This is so interesting and timely to me; l lost 30 pounds over the past 3 yrs to get healthy and keep up with my life and kids, and had about 15 to go when I gained 10 pounds this past month and everything in my body feels wrong again. (Not that it ever felt especially right, but less wrong than now). Strangely I was more at peace with my body when I was bigger. I am still trying to suss out why ( in a lot of agonized navel-gazing blog posts and convos with friends) but I am not there yet. I always appreciate your posts—I always have something to mull over!!

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    1. I think there is something about a change in body size that is particularly disturbing! I’ve just gain a steady 1″ per year, for a decade, so I’ve never found it upsetting.. but I have to admit, the times I’ve tried to diet or exercise weight away, I’ve been far for prone to being harsh on myself! Hope you reach a happy balance soon! 🙂

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  2. Your article points to exactly the core frustration of curvy women everywhere. That is: Even when our Body Mass Index (BMI) is in the medically defined healthy range, our figures are considered “unacceptable”. A pear is always a pear; an apple always an apple. We do not fit in most patterns and styles no matter what size we are. Fashion should be more diverse overall. Women of all shapes and sizes should be attractively adorned and celebrated in our media. By the way, why does it seem that only plus-sized women struggle to find good clothing options? What about plus-sized men? Our cultures have some serious bias issues that need to be addressed.

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    1. Let me tell you, as the wife of a larger man, it is REALLY hard for him to find clothes! We live in a medium sized city, and there is one store where he can buy one style of pants – but if he doesn’t want to wear pleated khakis, he is out of luck! Finding mens plus size patterns is even harder than finding women’s … but I think that’s because the women’s scene has changed radically in the past few years. The mens side of things hasn’t caught up yet!That doesn’t make it ok that women are still struggling too – everyone deserves good clothes!

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  3. I imagine it’s a combination of mind set, actual size and how the world interacts with you. I have an hour glass/pear shape and am quite tall. I’m on the end of the size range for some stores and some trendy stores I’m outside the range entirely. My body shape does not look “plus sized” in the way it is usually represented and I’m not treated as plus sized by others. Women working in shops are often surprised that I’m outside the range. I’m currently 5 months post partum so am heavier than usual and am probably viewed more plus sized right now. I feel fine where I am but only as a temporary thing. I feel better 20lbs lighter. I have also been very thin and disordered and never felt good at that size. I don’t identify as plus sized but wonder if it’s the ability not to and the stigma associated that prevents it. That seems like unfair privilege. I wish we could reach a point where we didn’t have camps at all.

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    1. Interesting point about height! I’m 5’2″, so all my curves are more dramatic because they are squished into very little vertical height! I agree that it’s a real shame there is so much stigma around being plus-sized… i don’t really feel it in my own life or sewing, but I know from the comments here that its a major issue for others!

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  4. My weight varies over about 40 pounds (size 10-12 to size 18-20) due to health issues – I’m at the high end right now, but it’s expected it will drop over the next few months. I find I feel plus sized no matter what my weight is. I still need to do the same types of pattern alterations (FBA, thick middle) no matter my weight, and losing or gaining weight doesn’t change the garment shapes that are most flattering on me. I do notice that I’m less willing to sew complex garments when my weight is higher though – I’d love a nice blazer, but I don’t want to commit to making one if I’m going to be swimming in it by the middle of winter.

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    1. I can imagine that your fluctuating weight is actually a bigger challenge that what exact size you are at any given moment! Health is certainly such a huge factor – I’ve gained more weight than normal in the last year, which just might relate to going on anti-anxiety meds… but luckily the meds are working well so I’m too happy to give a damn about my size! 😉

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  5. It’s a lot harder once you are bigger than a RTW size 18ish. Many patterns, even by companies who include sizes beyond S-M-L-XL, stop at about a 46-48 bust. I don’t define myself as “plus size” so much as “outside the norm”. I’m also tall and have huge feet and am VERY apple shaped, my waist is only a couple inches smaller than my hips. In the US a size 14-16 *is* the norm. The further away from that you are, the more you are judged and the harder it is to find suitable clothes or patterns. In the end I’d say it is a mindset, but it’s society’s mindset, not mine.TBH the clash of the two causes a lot of mental strife.) Sewing has made me appreciate clothes that suit me and fit well, instead of me trying to fit into the shape society thinks I should be.

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    1. This is dead-on. I run into so many more fitting issues when I’m above a size 16-ish (US RTW) that go beyond just trying to find a pattern that goes up to my measurements. And going above a 46″ bust/48″ hip really starts to put you in no-man’s-land territory with sewing patterns for most pattern companies.

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    2. That’s well said! I”m happy and proud to embrace the term-plus size myself, but it’s a world of difference to have people judge and underestimate me because of my size! When I lived in Japan I was a size 14, and I couldn’t buy pants at all! I could kinda fit tops if it was a boxy style! Here, a 14 would be on the slim side!

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  6. I really like this article, Gillian! It’s a great question. Being on the cusp between plus and straight sizing, I’ve felt, too like, am I not plus-sized enough to be part of the plus-sized community? By the numbers I’m in-between and TBH I haven’t though much about whether I strongly identify as plus sized or not. Regardless, I’m often frustrated by being beyond or at the top of size ranges and wishing more patterns came with cup sizing and curve-friendly designs.

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    1. For what it’s worth, I think the majority of Curvy Sewing Collective followers are cusp-sized too 🙂 I keep waiting for more pattern companies to copy the Cashmerette model, but it doesn’t seem to have happened!

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  7. I wonder how women felt/thought about their bodies when sewing for themselves was the norm. (like Laura Ingalls era) It would be interesting to be able to track the way we think about ourselves with the growth of RTW from it’s origins. To me it says a lot about how we have jeopardized our own well being for the ease of moderation. Too deep? Something I think about often.

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    1. Thats’s interesting! My dad’s mom was about 6′ tall and on the larger side, and I know she has clothes made for her because she didn’t know how to sew but needed to look nice for work and as a minister’s wife. I think for her daughters who are of similar proportions, it’s much easier now to buy clothes that suit them.

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    2. This is a really interesting comment! I felt much fatter before I gave up on RTW and started making almost all of my own clothes. I’m at or near the top of the size range of the big four (usually 16 – 20 depending on style) but I’m short. That size can look like larger on a vertically challenged person. I don’t even know what size I would be in RTW. I finally gave up when I couldn’t find ANYthing that fit me on all (or even most!) parts of my body. Didn’t matter whether I tried the top of the range in a “normal” store or tried to find something in plus-size stores.

      But with sewing my own clothes I can alter, choose fabrics, and restyle to make clothes that fit and flatter. As a result I often get complements on what I’m wearing. And it’s hard to feel fat when people tell you how nice you look!

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  8. I think there’s some hesitancy to identify as “plus size” for a lot of women, frankly, because there’s still a lot of stigma attached to the term. Personally, I identify as “plus size” because I grew up in a household where I was made to feel that being fat was the worst possible thing I could be, so as a personal act of rebellion, I have kind of an “eff you” attitude towards anything in the media that pushes the idea that as women, we need to appear as small as possible at all times.

    However, what even defines “plus size”? I know that when we did our sizing survey at the CSC, the vast majority of women fell into that no-man’s-land between Misses’ and Plus sizes where sometimes things overlap and sometimes they don’t. You know–that fun range where you don’t know if you should be shopping for jeans in a Misses’ 16 or a 14W and have to do extra research to figure out what brands might even carry a size that might work for you.

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    1. UGH – you are making me so grateful that my family was never concerned about weight! I think it’s really interesting that the CSC survey showed that most people were cusp-sized, but that several people here have commented that they feel too small to be a real part of the curvy sewing community. I’d love to see a CSC post on the challenges and oddities of being cusp-sized and in that no-mans-land!

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  9. I’m just a little fatty. At my slimmest, I’m stout lol. The confusing thing about that ‘small fat’ article to me, was having to add 2 sizes to the ones quoted to make sense of them at all. Meh. It’s all just numbers, who cares? I don’t think of myself as ‘plus size’ because I think that’s a very American way of thinking, I’m just a fatty. Then again, I don’t buy any RTW so I dodge that bullet!
    My me-made wardrobe has no sizes, but most are made from patterns labelled 16-18, with some alarmingly veering into the 20+ to fit my bust. I consider it’s more about shape than size- we’re actually almost exactly the same measurements, bar bum, as I don’t have one. My ‘hips’ still come out at 44″ though- must be all the lady lunch at the front!

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    1. 🙂 I’m really fascinated between the UK/north american perspectives on size and diversity in general… I tend to think that my side of the pond is a little more obsessed with the topic? When i look at some UK sewing events, I think, “Where the heck are the fat/over50/different ethnicity sewists?”But then again, there’s something to be said for just rolling with it all and not being upset!

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      1. I’m a member of several sewing groups on facebook specifically for fatties lol [although I always leave ones which become dominated by the US as I get twitchy with all the OVER sweet and saccharine compliments and gushing praise for…well, muumuus rather than helping people find better ways to dress! I’m sick of hearing about bloody Patterns for pirates/mermaids or other saggy Tshirt patterns too. Grrr. I’m feeling mean today lol

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        1. Just jumping in here to say I like this comment. lol. Girl, if I find it on Zulily/QVC/TV shopping, I don’t wanna sew it! “saggy t-shirts” is my new favorite phrase. Gillian, you know what I’m talking about. 😉

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  10. I only think I’m “plus-sized” when I’m clothes shopping because that is the label that I am familiar with using to find clothes to fit me. In some stores I’m not “plus-sized” but clothes to fit me are in the “women’s section.” I understand that I’m carrying around a “few” extra pounds but I don’t go around labeling myself as “plus-sized.” I’m just me. Since I started sewing my own clothes, I don’t think of it as much any more. Now I just look at the size chart to make sure the pattern includes my measurements. That’s one of the things I like better about the Indie pattern companies–all sizes are in one pattern. The big three companies still divide the patterns into two size ranges–this reminds me that I’m a plus-size even if they don’t label it as such.

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  11. I only feel “fat” and “plus sized” and all the other negative words to describe curivier people when I’m buying RTW and walking in and out of stores in frustration or disgust. I feel “like me” when I’m sewing my own clothes and the numbers on the pattern and the measuring tapes are just….numbers. I’m an accountant so I ‘get” numbers. But I hate the numbers in the stores because they are pre-set, I can’t change them, and the rules about them are stacked against me. But in my sewing room, the numbers are just part of a calculation that results in a great fit and a fabulous look. They can be manipulated, reapplied, and learned from.

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  12. Why does size matter so much? Doesn’t it matter more to love ourselves. I don’t understand why we need to have the “plus-sized” delineation, so I suppose I think it’s a mindset.
    I’ve noticed that the interwebs seems clique-ish when it’s trying to include everyone at the same time. For example, I often feel ostracized by the curvy community; I’m not “plus-sized”, but I’m not a small person (in my opinion or several other people’s). I find the curvy community to be invaluable because I don’t fit into patterns straight out of the envelope; the curvy community helps me navigate a lot of fit issues as well as embracing body positivity. Having a family that is OBSESSED with weight (and not health), the curvy community has helped me to embrace trying to find a version of me that is comfortable and healthy, not the right size/weight. Also, it seems as though the curvy sewing community is more willing to give an honest (sometimes brutal) review of a pattern. This has helped me so much as it’s rare to see someone with my body-type represented in the tester pool.
    That being said, I feel like I am not “allowed” to have a voice in the curvy community because I’m not fat/big enough. Those who aren’t super skinny or curvy are left out, even though I think pretty much everyone has some body image issues (End of sulk, thank you)

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    1. Please don’t feel ostracized by the curvy community! Like any online community, there are people who accept me (you) at face value and do not judge. There are others who are very critical, rude (and sometimes down right snotty). I feel sorry for them. It must be hard to live with themselves being so critical of themselves.

      Many of us come from weight obsessed families. It crosses all lines. I have a choice as an adult to move beyond that. And so do you! I try not to make assumptions about what other people think about me. It’s an energy drain. And, it accomplishes nothing.

      The wonderful thing about this community is that we cover the world! Women from the USA, Canada, Denmark, UK, India, black women, white women, women of so many different ethic groups and skin color. We are learning from each other and sharing WITH each other. How great is that? We are changing the world. And if you look at the political situation in the world right now, WOMEN of all shapes and sizes are standing up and changing the world. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

      We give each other confidence, support and energy. So please, jump in and add to the celebration of who we are.

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  13. It’s both / and. I am not plus size in RTW, but in the sewing community I would align myself with curvy and plus size sewists. I have a thin frame with comically large breasts and a stomach pooch, but no hips and thin arms. I’m 5’8”, 148lbs, 41-34-39. I’m an intermediate sewist but I’m not very skilled at grading and adjusting patterns, so I rely on inspiration pics, samples, and detailed reviews from other curvy women. I haven’t found anyone with my body type, but I have much more luck following plus size ladies than I do women who can sew a straight size 4-6-8.

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  14. I hate plus sized as a description. When I shopped for RTW they ask “Are you looking for Plus Sized??” And I thought why can’t I just say “I’m shopping for size 20.” Why am I separated? Back then the stores carried “mens extended sizes” in the same area as the regular mens sizes. Of course extended sounds stupid too! :o) But a bit more dignified than “plus” sizes.

    Growing up I gained weight instantly at puberty. It was a shock to everyone except me. Wasn’t I still me? I was 13 and I felt the same even with 20 extra pounds. ugh. I also was diagnosed with PCOS.

    Due to fat shaming I developed anorexia. Everyone loved how thin I was. :o( Then I got pregnant at 18 and had to eat for my baby. Sadly after she was born I developed bulimia to “try” to be the size everyone wanted me to be. It just made me fatter.

    When my oldest was 12 I asked her if I was bigger or smaller than a lady I saw wearing an outfit I liked. I was thinking if we were close in size I’d buy that look. My daughter said “Don’t you know how big you are?” oh well, 12 year olds. :o) But truly do we really know how big or small we are? Thin people say they are fat or gained too much weight. And larger women might think they are enormous when they truly aren’t. No one’s happy.

    I just like being a size. What do we have numbered sizes for if we need to add “Plus”? So what if my size number is bigger than 12. I also like the measurements on sewing envelopes. They don’t make me think I’m out of the ordinary. Just pick your number! Thank goodness they don’t write “Plus” size on the pattern front!!
    Thank goodness I can sew, I’m a 20 top and a 22 bottom. What Plus Sized RTW fits that! :o) None. I tried to make my body fit in them already! No more!!

    Off my soapbox!
    Another great post Gillian! Thank You!

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  15. Wow another great, thought inspiring post, Gillian! You’re just on point lately, even more than your usual high standard 😉
    I’m in camp “plus is a mindset”, but I think that is also my privilege talking. While I’m bigger than my friends and coworkers (and certainly much bigger than models and actors), I don’t really have to deal with all the constant ” well-meaning “comments and outright discrimination many fat women have to face (trying to use fat here as a fairly neutral descriptor and how it’s been reclaimed, but I know that can come off weird if done from the outside). For me, the plus size communities, both in fashion and especially for sewing, are wonderful save havens of body positivity and diversity and just all around niceness. The CSC is so great because I see this diversity represented and I’m facing many of the same alterations, so exact measurements matter far less than FBA, sloping shoulders or general body shape.
    However, I’m also often aware that while seeing body diversity is great for everyone, for very fat or plus sized women, these communities are their only safe spaces, so putting myself forward there and asking for more visibility for cusp sized or in-betweeners feels… like intruding, like usurping something that was needed and private. Just like women still need their safe spaces without make gaze, and ethnic communities need safe spaces without whites coming in, safe spaces are needed for many discriminated groups. I’d love for that to become unnecessary, and sometimes think whether all these labels and cliques are not adding to the separation – but I think many people desperately need those special online communities where they’re welcomed, valued, and feel safe expressing themselves. As someone who is privileged in so many ways (white, cusp…), can I barge in there?
    Sorry, very long thought. Its been my first cup of tea in the morning and I had too much time to think. Love to see this discussion and would also love to see it go over to the CSC and the sewcialists as well.
    Love, Isi
    PS (because this really wasn’t long enough): I feel the other perspective when reading plus size referred to as “curvy”. I feel very frustrated because that’s been my word, that I learned as a specific term to finally describe my body, to describe how my body shapes fairly dramatically in and out, and to see it used as a “more positive” label for plus or fat or big (when many who use it are fairly straight up and down) is sooooo frustrating. I get that there isn’t yet a term for plus sized that everyone feels good with – but curvy is more specific, and there’s no other synonym to describe this specific meaning! That makes finding patterns or clothes so much harder. Rant over…

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  16. That article really resonated.

    I was a skinny thing with super curvy/shapely legs, but skinny, until after I had my second kid at 20. I remember SO vividly, walking into a WW meeting because “OhEmGee, I weigh 155 lbs! I need a size 10!! Double digits!!!”. Well, my body type is pretty muscular/stocky and 155lb me could easily “look” as if I weighed maybe 135 ish based on my 5’5″ height. That WW meeting was not a positive experience. I left mid-meeting because people were clearly pissed that I was there. It was eye opening.

    That was in 2000. By 2003 I weighed just over 200lbs. A pretty consistent 20lbs/year. I didn’t really realize I was “fat” by society’s standards. I was only ~24 and even though I was bigger, I still had a more youthful figure. But I was too big for the ‘young people’ stores (Express, Limited) that I’d shopped before…but I was too small for “plus” clothes. I seriously spent 2 years in the most dowdiest garments ever! I just felt stuck.

    At some point, I realized I was/accepted that I was “fat”. And let me tell you…25 year old me at 200lbs had W.A.Y. more body confidence than 19 year old me at 125 lbs.

    I weigh ~180 lbs now and have spent the last few years at closer to 190-195. I’ve had someone ask to feature me as a “plus” blogger and I declined. Not because I see anything “wrong” with the designation, but because I feel like it’s sort of a slap in the face to true plus sewing bloggers. Women that have to work extra hard to find/get patterns that will fit their body while also being stylish/fashionable/current non-tent like garments.

    I’ve never even tried to join the CSC because I feel like I don’t fit. It’s weird!!!

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  17. This (and the comments) was a fascinating read! I’m incredibly privileged in terms of size—even when I was thinner, my build was such that I didn’t get told to eat a sandwich, and I’m still well within the “slim” side of normal even if all I can see is the rolls where there didn’t used to be rolls. I’ve never run into a pattern (except specifically plus-size patterns) that didn’t include my size. Teaching classes has really opened my eyes to the difficulty of pattern sizes—for the last class I taught, i had four students. Two were at the top or above the pattern size range and one was below the smallest size. And this was a pattern I had picked because it had a fairly broad range. 😂 And the women who were sized out of the pattern did not strike me as unduly large. That was a Burda pattern and I suspect there’s a similar style somewhere in their plus range if I look for it, so I may have to do that… anyway, just rambling as an outsider. Sometimes I’m surprised, when I read the CSC, how “slim” some of the contributors are—but it’s not my position to make that call and I certainly don’t comment on it. I’ll just have to see where this creeping mid-life weight gain takes me! 😂

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    1. I never think of you as an outsider in the Curvy Community. You teach other Curvy sewers so you get it. I love your blog because I sew for all sizes. I see things I wouldn’t consider for my thinner adult daughters on your blog and that’s a great help to me.
      After all we ALL just love to sew and create! (((HUG)))

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    2. CSC Editor here… FWIW, we allow women to self-identify as “curvy” because we want to be as inclusive as possible. A women who, while slim, wears a 34G bra is going to have just as many fitting issues as a woman who wears a size 18 but is more traditionally proportional (by most pattern company standards).

      For anyone who is interested, this post explains our philosophy on how we named ourselves and what the original mission was for the CSC:

      http://curvysewingcollective.com/how-we-talk-about-size/

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      1. I do like Curvy. I don’t mind telling my quite thin friends and family I get my inspiration from The Curvy Sewing Community. :o) Even tho I prefer no label. Curvy feels positive to me.

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  18. An excellent post and some great comments.

    Like Renee I am tall (6’0″) and I find that it adds a new perspective to sizing. My measurements are something like 39-31-43, which on a shorter person might easily fall into ‘cusp’ territory. As it is, my BMI is about 22 and people make comments about how thin I am – but my hip measurement still qualifies me for a size 18 and I still can’t physically fit into many of the clothes in ‘young person’ shops.

    Like Isi, I define myself as curvy – that’s a 12 inch difference between my waist and hips! – and fitting is a nightmare as a result. I find the CSC very useful for discussions of FBAs etc. but would not feel comfortable posting there because I am not plus size, even though a lot of the same adjustments apply.

    It’s a funny one.

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    1. I just did a double-take when I read your comment, Lucy – we have the same measurements (although I’m only 5’10” so I don’t get the ‘thin’ comments!) and it sounds as though we have similar difficulties with fitting and RTW clothes. So I thought I’d say hello!

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  19. I believe it’s a mindset.

    I despise what the inclusivity movement has become. All it does is divide us into little groups and cause us to focus on and magnify our differences. Once the focus is on our differences, it usually becomes a competition: “I’m more _____ than you are!” and “you aren’t _____ enough to be included!”

    It is just human nature to want to be included yet the paradoxical goal is to somehow be unique & different at the same time. We all have our own personal struggles and insecurities. We actually have lots in common once you get past the surface things and consider the human experience in general.

    Labels can be useful when organizing things like clothing in a store – it simply makes it easier and faster to find what you’re looking for. Labels when attempting to categorize actual people are less helpful.

    I say all this as someone who can count on one hand the groups that I truly feel I belong in and identify with. If there’s a checklist for any aspect of life, I will be the exception to the boxes and no one knows what to do with me. I’m used to being on the fringe and I’m not really bothered by it. I don’t expect special treatment and I will not ask for it. Nor will I apologize for being who I am.

    I love the online sewing community because it allows us to focus on how much we’re all alike despite our own personal issues (including fitting!) when it comes to fashion & clothing. When we sew, size labels don’t exist and creativity abounds – which is simply inspiring.

    I choose not to focus on Missing Tiles.

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    1. Brooke, I like how you say that you are used to being on the fringe. I, too, have a need, desire, want to be different in some way to others around me. I have confused coworkers because I don’t join in on things that I don’t find interesting. They will ask me, “Don’t you want to be like everyone else?” NO!!! They have a need to “be like everyone else” and I have a need to be different and it is difficult for some people to understand the other viewpoint. I remember being younger and not understanding how someone could just be like everyone else. Now I understand that people are different and have different needs. I will continue to be “different” and have fun being different! I also enjoy seeing how someone is “different” from the current status quo and applaud them for being brave enough to be different.

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      1. Rhonda –
        I’m not sure I try or even need to be different – I just am. Sometimes it can be a little frustrating (especially when filling out forms), but it doesn’t bother me overall. Peer pressure never works on me. And I don’t feel the need to force people to accept me into groups just because I feel excluded occasionally. That is probably the one aspect of the inclusivity movement that baffles me – the forced effort to include everyone in everything. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make something “all things to all people”. When attempting to do so, it sadly becomes a competition for who is thought of as the most important, which actually results in excluding more people. I wish we as a society would stop trying to categorize and sub-categorize everyone with the focus being on our differences.

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  20. I think its both — mindset and size range. I am not particularly unhappy that RTW separates the sizes. Don’t much like to shop and it helps that I don’t have to look through racks of 1-2-3-10-12 etc. I have curvy friends who love spending hours going through racks of clothes. Me, find it, buy it and get out. I would rather being doing something (anything) more interesting! MIndset you can easily change. Size you cannot, at least not without a lot of physical work. I went from being a fat kid to being a curvy woman. I like that. I am no longer a prisoner of those women who kept shoving food at me even while telling me that I was too fat. Although I will say, I was still shamed as an adult when a very old auntie said “my, you have gotten SO FAT” So just how is it her eyesight suddenly got better in the nursing home? When they did this to me as a kid, I cried and went into a shell. Today, I might cry on the inside, but I can hold my head high and not let it destroy me. I get a lot of fashion compliments when I hold my head high, even if I have worn that same outfit 100 times. A size is just a size. A number just a number. My friends enjoy spending time with me and that’s all that matters at this point in life.

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  21. I’m so late to the comment party because I am SO BEHIND in blog reading, but I just wanted to say that this really resonated. I pretty clearly don’t objectively fall into the Plus Size sewing community – I’m a cusper, but between the typical “small size” envelopes and “big size envelopes” or on Burda I can pull from the regular sizes for the top half and either regular or plus for the bottom half. I have no issue finding patterns, and I’m not afraid to self grade because at most I have to adjust only about 1-2 sizes. However, I totally understand having a Plus-Size mindset. Growing up in a sport like skating, which obviously favors smaller, thinner girls, really messes with your self-perception. I loved skating, so I put up with it, but it really has colored my mindset quite a bit. It was always disheartening when people made me costumes – they’d always comment that I was so much smaller than I looked. So for me it’s always been a perception thing – I always assume people *think* I look huge. I was always the tallest/biggest kid in my class in elementary school, so I just felt huge. And with my autoimmune issues my weight has jumped around quite a bit in my adulthood (over 50lbs of variability), but I always *felt* fat. I think I’m finally reaching a point where I’m starting to accept how my body looks (in no small part to my foray into understanding Kibbe types), though I don’t know if I will ever really be able to get over the mindset. I think it’s something where I objectively know this conversation isn’t really about me, but I still feel invested in it because I can identify with a lot of the issues that are discussed by the plus sized sewing community.

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