Origin Story, or How Sewing Makes Me Feel Good About Myself

I have struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. I have tried every single diet out there. I have undereaten and overexercised. While some women become voluptuous when they gain some weight, I believe I turn into a big square. I have broad shoulders, narrow hips, and my torso ballons when I gain weight. Because my figure does not conform to the imposed standards of the clothing industry, I have spent a good part of my life looking for clothes that might fit me.

If not having an “average” figure was not enough, I have always had a very distinct taste in clothing. I have always liked black everything—as a child, my favorite garment was a long black dress that I wore with my orthopedic boots (baby goth, as I like to call). In my teens, I was a metalhead, so I lived in black band T-shirts, jeans, and boots. As an adult, I was introduced to the goth aesthetic, and this has been the driving force behind my fashion choices ever since.

For a long time, shopping was torture. Every time I went shopping, I felt bad. When I was able to find something I liked, it fit so poorly it made me want to cry. And when I really, REALLY liked something, it came in a print or color that made me want to grab a bottle of black dye. Before I started sewing, I felt that I was the problem. My proportions are “wrong.” My taste in clothes is too “young.” “Lose weight,” that skirt was saying; “dress like a grown-up,” that store was suggesting.

When I discovered sewing—and the power to fit clothes to my body and style—I realized that I am not the problem. I became my own solution. I can adjust patterns to my current body shape, no matter what that looks like. I can fill my closet with as many black dresses (or lately, cat prints or any other crazy print I find) as I please. My body determines what I wear—not the other way around. I see a community of sewists of all shapes, colors, sizes, and styles; they all look beautiful, self-confident, powerful, and this has been so inspiring to me.

I cannot say that I feel good about my body all the time. There are many days when I still fall prey to the voice in my head that says that I am fat, therefore not good enough. But I have many more days when I feel strong, powerful, and ready to take the world. I am healthy, I am happy, and I love the clothes I wear because they are exactly what I want to wear.

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