Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

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Outside the Fatosphere – Wake Up Call #812

For once the plea for help and justice may have been heard. I have been reading that plus size clothing made the runway at NYFW this year. This is very positive news, but more would be welcome.

I make clothes for one basic reason. Because I can’t find anything in the marketplace, excluding jeans and some bras, that doesn’t look horrific on my plus-sized frame. Usually the plus-sized clothes I see are made of incredibly cheap material, in patterns no one would want to wear and cut on the idea that a big dump of square cloth will fit someone who obviously doesn’t care about herself at all because she’s fat. None of these clothes take anything near style into consideration. Nor the fact that I clean up well, as my Dad used to say.

Fat is a word that has no good connotations at all. It either means stuff you eat which clogs up your heart causing you to die young, or it means that you are the opposite of the worshipped body of the eons, the thins. But there is a whole population of non-svelte women dying to find a great place to buy clothing. And the marketplace is keeping them out. Why would this be? Isn’t there just one or two or maybe even three companies that would like to make a lot of money with a built in repeat business? All it would take is clothing with exquisite construction and fit and that added ingredient of style.

This fat-thin complex has been going on in America for as long as I’ve been alive. There has never been a time in the roughly 55 years that I can recall where buying clothing made me feel good. Except for when I worked out at Nautilus and got my fleshiness into shape. I was still large by model standards at a size 12, but I was a compact size 12 and I certainly looked good. This wasn’t sustainable because eventually we moved, there was no Nautilus near me and I quit pumping iron and kept cooking.

The problem that I now face – and why I sew – is not only the incredible cost of decent, long wearing clothes, but the sheer impossibility of finding them. I don’t require much, but I do want to look stylish. And I do want the clothes to be made well. Designer made well, as in when you put it on, you feel fantastic.

When we first came back to the US, I did some in-the-mall shopping. I had to go up to the second floor of Macy’s (where it’s hidden away) to find the plus-size department.  I shuddered. The clothes were shapeless, made from polyester in bright colors. I could see someone who was in her 80s or 90s wearing these. I could not see myself in them.

To give you a general idea – look at this picture

Photo credit

Photo credit

Goodness. Square, no shape, gathers everywhere and guaranteed to make you look like a circus tent. And to top it all off? These blouses probably cost a fortune. I don’t know. I wouldn’t go look at these. The fabric is horrible. The colors are garish and I can’t imagine that the construction is worthwhile.

Similar tacky-looking clothes are out there on offer anywhere you want to look. I call it the Walmartization of plus size clothing. We’re letting someone in China make clothes for women with curves and they look bad. Although I will agree that even thin people can have a rough time buying clothing that fits their budget AND them at the same time.

Some of the companies complain that it’s just too expensive to make plus-size clothing because their patterns can only be sized up a certain amount before they need to draft new patterns and plus-size women don’t buy that many clothes. Ha. If you take a look at the above picture, you will see why. Why would anyone consent to wear something like that? And something like that can be found in almost any place that sells plus-sized clothing. It doesn’t have to be this way. We only need a few enthusiastic people to change course –

And it’s not just in the RTW sector of fashion that thin prevails either. Take a look someday at sewing patterns available for plus size women. They’re not a pretty sight. We could use some decent, complimentary patterns too ………….

If there are any clothing companies out there that want to design fantastic, flattering clothes for a real women with curves to match, let me know. I have a lot of good ideas –


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Updates on Vogue 1247

Okay I’ve got most of this cut out for the muslin. I’m using a pretty vintage fabric which I will add pictures because it is too hard to explain. It is only 36″ wide and I’ve had it for about 16 years. I guess I can use it now.

It is cotton rather than silk, which will be my fiber for the finished top. It has nice body and is chintz-like so it will drape well.

I spent some time cutting it out the wrong way as it is a directional fabric. Luckily I had enough to re-cut the front. Why am I always not paying attention? It didn’t dawn on me until I cut the back that I had adjusted the front piece so that the design would appear sideways, not up and down. Got it now.

The shirt appears to be an easy construction after the hardest part of adjusting the pattern to fit me. I think I’d better get some stock in a tape company because I have used a ton of it piecing this pattern together. At least it will be good for many other tops and I don’t need to adjust it again.

I like doing this sort of adaptation of a pattern I see but cannot wear. This means that I’m free to purchase any pattern and make it work for me. I dislike “plus” size patterns as much as I dislike plus-size ready to wear clothing. They are all frumpy and old-looking or else something that no one of any size would wear. Like the Burdastyle patterns for plus sizes. Most of these are out of the question for anyone over a size 14. Which is not plus-sized but rather the average size of women.

So until I start that major overhaul known as a healthy diet in order to lose some weight, it’s good to know I can adapt anything to work for me.

And the healthy diet? It won’t be a diet per se, it will be a lifestyle change. I’m working on it now, trying to get the nasty eating habits I’ve formed until control. I’m going to change not only how I eat, but when I eat and under what conditions. No more eating with one hand and surfing with another.

I have a pitta/kapha dosha – which is a constitution explained in Ayurveda. I find myself eating foods that imbalance kapha more than the pitta-imbalancing foods. So I will first concentrate on getting the kapha foods right and adding bits of pitta foods that will not imbalance either or both of them.

Dieting is self-defeating for me. Not being able to follow strict rules in any part of my life, I surely can’t with food. I can cook anything so that it is tempting and tasty. And I’m going back to a strict vegetarian diet as that diet makes me feel better.  And I’m leaving off the butter addiction. Please I can’t believe I can’t live without butter. I’m going to start using the Mediterranean tradition of using olive oil with which to cook and not smearing fat all over a piece of bread – we’ll see how this works!