I often want to talk about body confidence, weight & size and how it relates to handmade clothes but I resist because I’ve always been an average size, and feel a bit silly bringing it up.

But, if the media is anything to go by, I’m too short, my bust too small (and these days too low), my hips not curvy and feminine, my waist thick, and my skin prone to spots. Throughout my life, I’ve dealt with (and continue to deal with ) plenty of body confidence hiccups.

Almost everyone (everyone?!) has body hang-ups and guess what, no one thinks your hang-ups are as bad as you do. Usually, they’re too busy thinking about their own.

VOICES IN OUR HEADS

Someone once told me that the only thing holding her back from making her own clothes was her”hang up over size”.

She said, “part of me wonders if it’s worth putting all the time and effort into knitting a cardigan for myself when I hope to be slimmer eventually and then it wouldn’t fit”.

My immediate reaction was, yep I hear ya. I’ve thought that. Some days I still think that.

But then I remember the times that I ignored all the nasty voices in my head and made something for myself anyway. And how good it feels to do something for me and wear something that fits, and doesn’t have a size label.

POWERFUL THOUGHTS

I grew up with women discontent with their bodies.

I saw diets start and fail, watched exercise regimes begin and end, and read & heard comments about round tummies, chins that wouldn’t disappear, and full thighs. It was the late 70’s and 80’s and fitness videos and power dressing were in, and cuddly bodies were very much out.

So I learned from an early age what a “good body” was supposed to look like, I saw that mine was different, and for a long time I didn’t know how to deal with that.

These days, with four children and nearly 49 years behind me, I’m slowly growing used to a new kind of body, and it’s one that isn’t represented in the media.

Most days I’m better at feeling ok with how I look than I was in my 20’s. I tell myself that this body works and it has actually worked pretty hard for me. Some of the bits that I’m not terribly thrilled about are there precisely because of my four gorgeous kids and my forty-something years.

And the other bits? Well, I think it’s likely to be something I work at forever, like most women I talk to, it’s not always an easy thing for me to feel completely comfortable in my own skin.

DON’T MISS OUT

Do you put off making things for yourself because you’re waiting to be “the right size”?

Through my baby-making “decade” my weight fluctuated enormously and often I resisted spending too much time or money on my clothes. There were long periods when I didn’t knit or sew for myself because I was “going to lose weight”. But, sometimes I didn’t/couldn’t wait and I remember making several cardigans and a bunch of skirts for myself during those years, and they made me feel great because they were new, they fitted, and I’d taken the time to do something for me.

I understand the practical considerations about spending time making clothes and then the clothes not fitting when you lose weight, but in my experience, bodies don’t change that fast, even when you’re trying to make it happen.

Plus, how long do you wait? I don’t want to put off making things for myself, especially for a day that might never come – and I don’t want you to either.

I’ve heard many women say that they find it difficult to make things for themselves because they feel fat or they are wary of putting time and money into something that might not be flattering. But is this true? Is it impossible to look great in clothes just because you’re bigger than you’d like to be?

Of course not. It’s the clothes that are wrong, not you. And we can do something about that.

GUESS WHAT

  • Almost everyone wrestles with body issues. You’re actually pretty normal.;
  • There’s no such thing as a perfect size and it’s normal not to be a single numerical “size”. My bust, waist, and hips usually fall into three different sizes.
  • Learning to adjust patterns to fit you is hugely empowering. As well as gaining new skills, your clothes will fit better than anything you could buy.

TAKE A REALISTIC STEP

If you’re anything like me, you might be drawn to baggy smocks, and loose-fitted, neutral-coloured clothes when you’re not feeling great.

I know that clothes with shape suit me better, but you know what? Who cares? Sometimes it’s better to start with something you’re comfortable wearing.

Once you’ve made a few things, you might decide to learn what shapes and colours really make you feel great.

Your confidence in knitting and sewing will be better and those first attempts could work as a springboard into projects that take you out of your comfort zone.

Imagine where you could end up!

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