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fatshion

sewing

A Mimosa and A Flamingo.

4 March, 2015

A while ago some friends sent me this adorable flamingo fabric and I held onto it for so long because I didn’t want to use it on a wadder (i.e. something so crap I’d wad up and throw in the bin for non-sewist readers!) Since I’ve been making a bunch of half circle skirts I felt very strongly that this fabric was destined to become a cute little skirt but was always bummed out by the narrow width.

When you’re a fat sewer you tend to pass over the 115cm wide bolts of fabric in favour of the 150cm statuesque beauties because, well, ya need more damn width. In this case I would have completely ignored an amazing flamingo print because of my “narrow width blindness”, so I’m really really grateful Caroline and Molly picked it out for me and sent it to me from Arizona! It just meant I had to solve a few problems.

Gored circle skirt layout

Gored circle skirt layout (Source)

I decided to split the skirt into 6 gores, and if I was using a solid colour or even a multi directional print I’d be fine to lay each gore out as shown in the above layout diagram and have leftover fabric for a waistband. My print only went one way. So I just managed to eke out the pieces but didn’t have enough for a waistband. NEVER FEAR! I asked social media to advise me. We went with cubes.

The waistband is a three dimensional cube affair which coordinates nicely with the retro 'mingos and odd swiss cheese holed button!

The waistband is a three dimensional cube affair which coordinates nicely with the retro ‘mingos and odd swiss cheese holed button!

Here I am, with my carefully engineered 6 gore half circle skirt! I'm also wearing a white blouse made with SBCC's Mimosa pattern.

Here I am, with my carefully engineered 6 gore half circle skirt! I’m also wearing a white blouse made with SBCC’s Mimosa pattern.

It turned out pretty well! A good approximation of a skirt, if I say so myself. I wore it on the weekend with a black broderie anglaise top made with the same SBCC pattern used for this white blouse, but I tucked it in so you could see the waistband. Half of a very breezy Coolangatta saw my whole arse about three times. You’re welcome, Coolie.

Check out my gams... I mean flamingos. (I always feel the need to point out my dented shin bone from my childhood swimming pool exiting technique which consisted of smashing my leg into the rim of the pool as I pulled myself out.)

Check out my gams… I mean flamingos. (I always feel the need to point out my dented shin bone from my childhood swimming pool exiting technique which consisted of smashing my leg into the rim of the pool as I pulled myself out.)

The back of the raglan sleeved Mimosa.

The back of the raglan sleeved Mimosa.

Looking pretty chuffed with myself.

Looking pretty chuffed with myself.

The white SBCC Mimosa is actually my fourth. I’m loving this blouse for summer, but surprisingly I haven’t actually blogged about it despite it being my work staple. I have made this top in a white and black broderie as well as the same coral eyelet used in yesterday’s crop top.

This fabric from my work is a woven cotton elastane with a raised squiggly texture. It’s VERY stretchy and the weird thing about it is that the stretch direction is lengthways instead of widthways, from selvage to selvage. I snapped up the very last of the bolt, or what I like to call “adopting” the end of the fabric. I have to be very careful, working at a fabric store, because I could very easily “adopt” a lot of fabric!

sewing

Coral and Scallops, my Jacaranda separates.

3 March, 2015
My as yet unnamed dress form (a gift from my mother in law!) modelling the coral eyelet crop top with black scallop hemmed half circle skirt.

My as yet unnamed dress form (a gift from my mother in law!) modelling the coral eyelet crop top with black scallop hemmed half circle skirt.

After sewing up my first Jacaranda I figured it’d look awesome split in two. That way I can make up a bunch of tops and bottoms and mix and match! So I threw myself into a frenzy finishing the first of these separates to wear to the beach with Tess Holliday when she was in town.

Tess Holliday and I at the height of bikini season on the Gold Coast!

Tess Holliday and I at the height of bikini season on the Gold Coast!

Pics or it didn’t happen? I actually spent more time in the water than I spent wearing my new ensemble!

Feeling fancy in my coral and scallop separates, based on Tenterhook Patterns' Jacaranda Dress!

Feeling fancy in my coral and scallop separates, based on Tenterhook Patterns’ Jacaranda Dress!

I’ve made three tops this summer in broderie anglaise/ eyelet cotton. I’m a little bit in love with how cool it is to wear; the built in ventilation system has gotten me through many work shifts in our un-air-conditioned fabric shop! Of course, these fabrics are from my work. The coral fabric is actually a remnant from another top I made that I will have to find time to photograph eventually! I lined the top with a sherbert coloured cotton voile which is so soft and cool on the skin.

Pockets! Well, just one. But still! Also note the scalloped hem, a last minute addition.

Pockets! Well, just one. But still! Also note the scalloped hem, a last minute addition.

From this angle you can see the arm hole gaping, I’ll figure out how to tighten that up in the next iteration of this top. I did a side zip on the skirt which meant I had to lose a pocket but I was ok with that because back skirt zippers are difficult for me to use. The skirt is made out of mechanical stretch: cheap, great to sew with, and easy to care for!

I love this coral colour. It's one of my favourites!

I love this coral colour. It’s one of my favourites!

An exposed zipper using a chunky metal tooth from my grandmother's stash.

An exposed zipper using a chunky metal tooth from my grandmother’s stash.

Of course the zipper is too short to allow me to put the top on and take it off without squashing my boobs and asking Nick for help. Of course. A more picky seamstress would match the zip better and install it better and so on and so forth but I’m perpetually in pursuit of instant gratification and this one was amongst my grandmother’s old zippers and I liked its brassy teeth.

The coral colour of this eyelet fabric sold out very quickly but it also came in an amazing turquoise and tennis ball yellow. I can’t see myself in the latter, but I have my eye on that turquoise!

sewing

Everyday Elegance.

29 October, 2014

I recently got a job in my favourite local fabric store which has driven me into a frenzy of inspiration but, lacking the time, I haven’t actually sewn much. This week I’m in enforced isolation due to having radioactive iodine therapy for my Graves disease, and what better time than to indulge in a bit of sewing?

Almost sensing the imminent storm of activity, my Pfaff decided to make a lot of noise so I had to put it in for a service (conveniently, my work can send machines away for service and repairs!) I almost threw a tantrum my niece would be proud of, but my mum stepped in to loan me her machine!

I’ve certainly been working it hard over the last few days running up muslins for a couple of blouse patterns bought from indie designers. The first two are from SBCC and I’m still working on them, however I can show off the third blouse, the Everyday Elegance Top, from Patterns For Pirates.

A comfortably fitting top with 3/4 sleeves and button tab, v neck and rounded collar.

A comfortably fitting top with 3/4 sleeves and button tab, v neck and rounded collar.

The xxxl size was actually two sizes too small for me, but I bought the pattern anyway and after printing and piecing it together I graded it up two sizes and did a full bust adjustment. The first version of this blouse I made in a vivid pink polyester print I bought years ago. I eked the back piece out of what was left by not cutting on the fold; fortunately the print is the same  left to right and up and down!

Front view.

My pink floral polyester Everyday Elegance blouse.

Back view.

I noted immediately upon putting it on that polyester is slightly gross to wear in Brisbane’s humidity. So this top will be worn in winter – the two week period we get here in this town to wear our long sleeves! The elbow room was also a bit mean considering the button tab restricts some movement so I added a little width to my pattern for the next version. I also planned to construct the collar and v neck a little differently to hide the messy bit of overlocking that pokes out when the collar is attached over the v neck binding.  Speaking of.. my v neck binding is terrible.

I model this white cotton Everyday Elegance shirt competently with hand on hip!

From the back. The fold above my butt probably signifies a fit issue… I will consult my copy of Fit for Real People!

Close up of my atrocious v neck binding. The collar was a beast!

For this version of the pattern I used a cotton shirting with a self stripe from the fabric stash my late grandmother gave me. She probably bought it intending to make a shirt for my grandfather! I top-stitched every seam because it just felt like I should. The cotton is beautiful to wear, and I will be test driving it at work on Saturday. There’s no air conditioning in the shop and if the current weather keeps up we’ll have a fair challenge for this here blouse.

I completely stuffed up the collar construction by sewing in the interfacing in the wrong order, and I only realised after I’d clipped the seam allowance. Halfway through unpicking it I realised it’d be easier to just cut a new collar. When I got to the sleeves I realised I’d cut two right sleeves due to laying out the pieces to avoid a flaw in the fabric. The self stripe looks different either side and I wanted to make sure the whole garment was made with the same stripe so I went back and cut a new left sleeve because growing an extra right arm is slightly beyond my capabilities…

Front view of the white cotton blouse as modelled by my brick wall.

Back view.

Despite my slightly wonky collar and annoyingly wrinkled hem I’m proud of this shirt! I haven’t made one in a very long time, and I wanted to make sure I finished it nicely enough to wear to work. Even though it has some flaws, it’s nice to be able to wear things I’ve made at my job in a fabric store!

 

My handmade ice cream shoes!

OH! I wanted to show off my nearly finished self made ice cream shoes! I just have to varnish them to protect the acrylic paint. I bought a pair of cheap wide fitting flats from Yours Clothing that were a patent cream vinyl; after spraying with adhesive I just painted straight on to them and chucked some bugle beads on the toes for sprinkles! I have no idea if they’ll hold up to even casual wearing but they’re cute as heck.

 

Patterns for Pirates “Everyday Elegance Top” – in a nutshell.

 

Changes made to pattern:

  • Graded up two sizes.
  • Full bust adjustment.
  • Deepened v neck.
  • Added width to sleeve at elbow length.
  • Dropped armscye front and back, didn’t alter sleeve as it has gathers.
  • Turned and top-stitched v neck binding after collar was attached.

Cons

  • Sizing doesn’t go up high enough.
  • The collar is a bit fiddly.
  • Instructions could be clearer.

Pros

  • Nice casual shirt that transforms based on fabric choice.
  • Will be making it again.
sewing

Sweetheart floral dress.

1 April, 2013

I pose fresh as a country daisy in my hand made dress with a pointy pitchfork in one hand and an evil/ sassy glint in my eye.

I pose fresh as a country daisy in my hand made dress with a pointy pitchfork in one hand and an evil/ sassy glint in my eye.


Welcome to my sheet dress! Mum gave me this old floral sheet the other week and I was surprised at how heavy it was; I’ve never had the pleasure of sleeping on sheets of such quality! I pretty much never wear light coloured clothing so I’m baffled as to why I was so enthusiastic about using this sheet for the second of my self drafted day dresses, but I’m actually quite pleased with it.

Modeling my cream floral dress with sweetheart neckline, scalloped sleeves, french curved darts, scalloped pockets and a-line skirt.

Modeling my cream floral dress with sweetheart neckline, scalloped sleeves, french curved darts, scalloped pockets and a-line skirt.


Cute scallop sleeve!

Cute scallop sleeve!


I'm professionally modeling this pocket with a scalloped detail.

I’m professionally modeling this pocket with a scalloped detail.

I used the same skirt pattern as the spotty dress and added a few cute scalloped details on the sleeve and pocket. Pop over here to this tutorial on scalloped hems and you’ll get the gist of it. Once you can do scallops you can do a few different shapes and you’ll never have a boring hem again.

The back neckline closure features a heart button and loop.

The back neckline closure features a heart button and loop.

I had been wearing this dress all day when these photos were taken, so do excuse the creases. Next time I need to be sure to reduce the neckline gaping because I always forget about it until it’s too late. Nonetheless, it’s a very comfortable dress to wear around the house and I’m pretty chuffed.

Fashion, sewing

Self-drafted spotty-dotty-stripy-pocket dress.

27 March, 2013

The rough sketch for the dress featuring wide gathered straps and wrap around pockets; and the front and back bodice as well as sleeve slopers on my patterned rug.

The rough sketch for the dress featuring wide gathered straps and wrap around pockets; and the front and back bodice as well as sleeve slopers on my patterned rug.


I’ve wanted to draft my own properly fitting sloper for a long time, and over the last five years I had a couple of good attempts but was always foiled by formulas that completely collapsed when you used larger measurements. Lots of people seem to use this bodice block method by gedwoods on BurdaStyle but I’ve tried it and a number of others like it and it always ended with a mighty weird looking block. My fat body seemed to explode every damn sloper method it came across.

Upon tracking down this front and back sloper method on madalynne.com I knew within ten minutes that I was on a winner! It took me a couple of hours to plot out all my measurements, then a further few days sewing up about five different muslins in order to tweak the fit (using Fit For Real People); but when I tried on that last muslin I broke out into fits of Elaine Benes-grade joyful dancing!

Inspired by this Modcloth dress, I came up with a design to suit me. The neckline and the wide straps could stay, but the gathered waist was banished in favour of an a-line skirt. I wanted to include pockets but felt like I could do better than simple patch pockets for this dress. One morning a copy of Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear mysteriously turned up at my place (thank YOU Poliana!) and after ecstatically thumbing the pages I came across some rad side pockets that wrapped around to the back skirt. Yep! Let’s do that!

Modelling my new handmade dress in navy polka dots with striped pocket lining at the hips.

Modelling my new handmade dress in navy polka dots with striped pocket lining at the hips.

The back of my polka dot dress.

The back of my polka dot dress.


For those who’ve experienced the joys and frustrations of the design process, we know that design outcomes very rarely turn out just exactly as they are conceived. It’s not actually a terrible thing, and often you can trip across beautiful solutions to the little problems that are posed across the process. It turned out that I didn’t have enough polka dot fabric to execute the pockets as planned, but I did find a navy striped material that would provide a smashing contrast at the hips.

I will be tweaking this pattern slightly – I will narrow the width of the neckline because the straps are set just a little too wide. I also need to remove a little fabric from the back bodice height because of my sway back. I could stand to bring in the waist a little but I’d rather be comfortable – this is a day dress just for wearing at home and doing little errands. It’s fully cotton and the bodice is lined (with the striped fabric!) so after a few washes I expect it to be soft and very easy to wear.

Hands on hips, looking very pleased with myself!

Hands on hips, looking very pleased with myself!


Pattern drafting is a skill I’ve long been mystified and entranced by. Taking the human body, a very complex set of bumps and curves, and mapping it in two dimensions is very cool to me. I love drawing, bringing lines and shapes together to make meaning, and pattern drafting is an extension of that. That I can take lines and shapes, transfer them to flat bits of fabric, then transform that flat fabric to garments that envelop my body and accompany me through periods of my life… it’s just a very profound thing to me.

And that’s the story of my spotty-dotty-stripy-pocket dress.
The End.

Body Image

An Unedited Rant About Looking Into Fatshion’s Navel.

11 November, 2012

Remember when I used to blog regularly? I had a lot to tell the world, a desire to be heard and seen. Writing to an audience was a novelty, a gentle fluffing of my ego after writing to no one in particular for most of my life. Hardly anyone was blogging in Australia, people wanted to talk to me, and I got opportunities to do exciting things even though I’m not the most fashionable or the most tactful or well spoken.

After being ignored by fashion all of my life, it felt empowering to be able to source and critique what little fashion was available to me. I spent what money I could on clothes and accessories, never wanting to fall behind other bloggers. As well as being fat, there were other things for me to deal with like mental illness and resultant joblessness. Maybe buying clothes wasn’t the best priority, but it made me feel good. I finally felt like I was part of a clique that lead, instead of followed (or got lost).

I never considered myself a 100% fatshion blogger, because I used too many words and got angry frequently, never fully being palatable enough for brands to consider sponsoring me. I was snubbed on many occasions, and this became more and more apparent as the number of Australian fatshion bloggers swelled. Newer, more congenial personalities were favoured, and I wasn’t surprised. I was categorised as too political, and fell back, feeling miffed but knowing that ultimately it was great that more fat people were speaking up.

Other things worked against me – ongoing mental health issues and hospitalisation kept me from blogging success. Blogging became about networking, personality and (frustratingly) looks. All the things I was terrible at. All the reasons why I felt so at home on the internet right from the beginning in the 90s. Due to my inability to form “relationships” with brands, I had to buy all the new clothes instead of being sent them. I couldn’t financially keep up with that, I didn’t make money out of my blog so it wasn’t worth that kind of investment. Even the advertising network I was part of stopped sending me opportunities and sponsorship offers, and the ones I did take up actually didn’t benefit me financially at all!

Clearly, many things about blogging were turning out to be much like the regular world I struggled to fit in with. Popular bloggers were white, less fat than me, certainly more conventionally attractive, and bought/ were gifted clothes frequently. Events in Australia for plus size fashion started occurring and were in “major” fashion hubs like Sydney or Melbourne, far away from Brisbane and the original Axis of Fat (a group of my friends and I based in Brisbane, among the first fat activist bloggers in Australia). Even when there were events closer to home, I could rarely bring myself to go due to now crippling social phobia.

The focus of fatshion blogs was fashion and consumption thereof, with rarely a critical lens applied. I began thinking more and more about capitalism and how it had tried to reject fat & fashionable people, but now shaped how people were seeing this emerging group of fatshion bloggers. The media requests that came into my email inbox were largely about fashion, and not about medical malpractice and neglect of fat people (which, I propose, is the actual killer in the so called “obesity epidemic”). The mainstream media had cottoned on to the fat activist movement in the blogosphere but only wanted to see us talk about fluffy topics, rather than bullying, harassment, abuse of human rights and denial of health care.

I don’t know why I seem to be talking in the past tense, because this is now. This is why I struggle to chit chat about whichever plus size brand is releasing poorly made, questionably fashionable, dubiously manufactured garments this season. I am angry at capitalist systems that not only abuse fat people for not looking good in clothes, or not providing fashionable clothes, but also make us feel some kind of imperative to spend above and beyond what we have to make up for our fat bodies. I’m angry that blogging is now just a new funnel for PR and marketing people, and most bloggers rarely get paid what mainstream media workers do for providing the same service. Being paid in clothing is NOT being paid in cash money.

I’m disillusioned with this whole fat blogging game. If I blog about clothes, readers will come. If I blog about politics, I am rarely engaged. Mostly, I struggle to put words together these days. I am on a lot of medication to function as neurotypically as possible (for me), and my ability to write and read has deteriorated. Remember when I was a blogger? Am I still a blogger if no one reads this stuff? If I don’t get free clothes? If I challenge dominant ideas? If I can’t afford to keep up? If I am sick, fat, and unattractive?

For Sale

Raid my wardrobe!

8 September, 2012

Garments from my wardrobe.
“Wardrobe clear out – sizes 20-26 – if you love black you’ll love this!”


It’s spring and time for my annual wardrobe clear out! Please come check out my shop and see if there’s anything that takes your fancy.

Don’t forget you can take home a print (or two) or a necklace!

sewing

The eventual bull’s eye: Burda Style Dart Dress.

18 August, 2012

This has certainly turned into a sewing blog of late, and shall continue to be one for at least this post because I want to show you the fruits of my labour on the Burda Style Dart Dress. Firstly I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kate for sharing this pattern with me, mwah mwah! Secondly, this is a pretty good pattern but I strongly advise sewing a muslin first because I had to grade the largest size up four sizes to EU 60 instead of my regular 56. I probably could have done with the 58 but more ease in garments is a bunch comfier!

Instagram collage of pattern pieces undergoing grading and the dart dress made in polka dot fabric.


Burda made this in a polka dot fabric which is so cute, but I couldn’t find anything besides rough-as digital print cotton at Lincraft (yeh I bought some what of it?) and I’d rather have something a bit nicer with more weight. The original pattern has 18 darts, so yes it is aptly named, but I eliminated the darts at the hem because on my muslins they restricted my ability to walk comfortably. That’s the beauty of a muslin too, you can edit the pattern to suit your body as well as the way you move.

I made two dresses from this pattern, the first was a wearable muslin made out of some brown gabardine I had metres and metres and metres of, and the second was made out of purple ponte. The ponte is super soft and easy to wear, probably not the best choice for the structure in the design but whatever!

Full length photo of me (fat, white, with short blonde hair) wearing a brown knee-length dress with a V neckline, cap sleeves and darts at the shoulder, neck and waist.


The back view of my brown dress, with darts on upper bodice and top of skirt meeting at the waist.


The purple dress, staring Miffy.


The back view of the purple dress. Miffy glares at the camera.


Miffy jumping up on my knees in a blur of cute.


I have a feeling this pattern will be used quite a bit because the darts can be sewn the other way around for a less ~darty~ dress, and the neckline darts can be taken out with a bit of nifty pattern altering. I’m very glad I ended up making three muslins (including the brown dress) in order to figure out the right size for me, because it’s a good basic pattern with scope for flexibility and adaptation.

Fashion, sewing

Another Fatina dress.

6 August, 2012

I’ve been sewing like a woman possessed by the ghost of a sewing machine lately! My Granma gave me her overlocker, machine and sewing cabinet along with a bunch of fabric so I haven’t really come up for air in the last fortnight. My initial priority was to sew EVERY stretch fabric into booty shorts and leggings but I’ve discovered how ridiculously expensive stretch fabric is so that project has been shelved.

The dress pattern pieces laid out, showing the side panels that are slashed diagonally at the waist.

Lincraft had a 50% off fabric sale so I scraped together some money to buy black ponte (and then went back to get some purple!) and made this dress based on the Burda Style Fatina plus pattern. I’d already cut a pair of leggings that were too small and got turned into short shorts, a second pair of leggings that were a little better (ugh I need to perfect the leggings pattern!) so there wasn’t much fabric left to work with. I decided to alter the pattern and converted the bust darts to princess seams, thus leaving me with three front panels that were much easier to accommodate on the fabric I had available. I also dropped the shoulder length for a little self-sleeve. Thanks to my home ec sewing classes and the internet for helping me out with the pattern adaptation skills!

The dress on a hanger turned inside out to show the seams overlocked in grey thread. The skirt is a lot less a-line shaped than this!

An outfit photo of me (fat and white with white hair) wearing a black sheath style dress with a sheer animal print button up blouse underneath, black tights, Docs and a human tooth necklace.


Some of the seams pucker a bit, I’m yet to figure out the best way to sew using an overlocker, but considering many off the rack clothes often have worse construction I’ll deal with it just fine. (I know people who are super picky about puckering seams but I’ve got more pressing things to worry about in my life, such as hastily sewing new clothes before my old ones fall apart.)

The back of my dress.


Ineffectually modeling my fake human teeth necklace. (Made out of paper clay and the dental records of my foes.)


The teeth necklace laid on a table. I’m thinking of selling these?


Another front view, with hands on hips.

Fashion

Instaootd: I’ve been cheating on my blog.

2 August, 2012

Instagram is my new convenient vehicle of choice for my day to day outfit photos, ever since life started going wonky and pulling out the big camera became too much of an effort. Also, these are some of the outfits I wear daily – nothing fancy – but I feel as if they still contribute to deathfatshion visibility and representation all the same.

But really, I started doing these Instaootds because of the full length mirror in my studio. I was going to remove the sliding mirrors to make way for a storage system but now my vanity has consumed me and I’m okay with it. Since I’m not posting here very often these days due to a pretty significant depression relapse and other events, I figured I’d cross platforms for those who don’t have Instagram.

An instagrammed mirror shot of my outfit, I wear a red maxi skirt with a paisley print, a black top with a green wrap cardigan over it.


I wear a black tee and black cardigan with a lime green apples and pears printed skirt. I carry a green bag full of parcels to post.


I’m wearing a purple print knee length dress with 3/4 sleeves, and black Docs.


My legs clad in pale mint stockings and my feet clad in Docs.


I wear a black tee with coral jeans/ leggings and a denim shirt. And Docs.


I wear my green scallop collar dress and Docs with a black tee and leggings underneath. Two images are mirrored in a ~creative~ way.


A pair of black ponte leggings just minutes after being completed by yours truly.


I wear a cream lacy dress with a pink cardigan, black leggings and Docs.


I wear a black slip, black tee, pink cardigan, turquoise leggings, navy socks and Docs. Also a teeth necklace I made.


You can follow me on Instagram if you wish! My username is, predictably, definatalie.

Don’t forget there are prints and necklaces and patches and fun things in stock on Fancy Lady Industries! They are waiting to make your life fancier!