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Making my own clothes transformed my body image – and my life

by Ace Damon
Making my own clothes transformed my body image – and my life

If you had told me when I was 29 that in 10 years I would have made my entire wardrobe, run a sewing company and finally found peace with my body, I would say this is impossible. But learning to sew a simple pillow began a journey that blossomed into a total transformation in life.

Since I was a kid in ballet class, being scolded for having a sticky belly, I've been on the bigger side. No matter how many diets I tried, or abdominals, I remained stubbornly chubby, even though I had brief forays into having a smaller size of clothing. When I was a teenager, I was resigned to this: not only did I feel an unattractive failure to be 16 at 16 (as I now laughed at the idea that this is huge), but there was also no way I would be able to. dress as I pleased, although I like clothes, because there were simply no clothes I liked my size in stores.

Of course, my size wasn't the only thing that defined me. An enthusiastic hobbyist, I was creative from an early age, always starting a new art or craft. So when I was looking for a new challenge when I turned 30, I thought about learning to sew. I vividly remember the first lesson I did, making a "rustic" pillow – when I sewed the first seam, I picked up the bug. Before long, I spent every night and weekend learning new techniques; I was soon trying to make my own clothes because I had the exciting idea that maybe I could do things that fit.

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that just as many clothing stores ended in size 16, so did most sewing patterns. Also, they used to be made for a B-cup bra and I was much bigger than that. So I had to learn to change the patterns to fit, mastering the complex "full bust fit" and learning how to make a single piece of clothing with different sizes on the bust, waist and hips. It took a long time to refine my alteration skills, but once I did, I could create any piece of clothing, any fabric, any style – and that would suit me.

Learning this ability to change my clothes to suit my body, rather than changing my body to fit my clothes, was deeply liberating: from the constant internal narrative I had when I was in a locker room willing to wear size 14; of having to use what other people have decided is appropriate for someone my size; to receive a number that should dictate my value as a person. I realized that I was tormenting myself to fit an "average" that never existed. It has become evident that, contrary to what I have always believed, anyone can use anything as long as it is appropriate. There is no magic rule that when women are 16, they no longer want to wear silk dresses, biker jackets, swimwear or tops. All you need is enough fabric, enough sewing and fitting skills – anything is possible. I learned that there was nothing inherently wrong with my body, and trying only clothes tailored for me was a total happiness.

Still, I was frustrated that I made so many changes to all the sewing patterns – and I knew I wasn't alone, because the average British woman is a size 16 it is a DD Cup Size. Then one night, about four years after I learned to sew, I had an idea that would change my life again: I would help other curvaceous women experience the transformation of the body positivity I had by creating sewing patterns that were designed for the our body size and shape – no adjustments are required.

A year later, I launched Cashmerette Patterns with the Appleton dress, a non-gaping dress that comes in sizes 16 to 32 and cup sizes C to H. It turned out I was right: so many other women felt alienated by the sewing patterns, and being able to Preparing a dress “straight from the package” was not only convenient but also liberating. Since then, I left my job to run Cashmerette full time. We have more than 20 prints, from simple t-shirts and a swimsuit with a full bra inside, to a button-down shirt. They are sold worldwide.

My 29-year-old self would be surprised to see what my life is like now, but I know she would be proud and maybe a little overwhelmed to learn how much I changed and how I could help other women like me. Learning to sew has changed almost every facet of my life, and I will always be grateful for the little cushion that opened my mind to what was possible.

. (tagsToTranslate) Body Image (t) Health (t) Society (t) Health and Wellness (t) Life and Style (t) Sewing (t) Crafts

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