January 1, 2019

Don’t wait! Sewing for the body you have right now.

For more years than I care to admit, my wardrobe remained neglected, due to my perpetual state of “any day now, my body will change…..”. Can you relate? It was always going to be the next month, the next year, the next diet, and *then* I would be worthy of the new clothes that I was dreaming of. Of course, there was a practical consideration that many of the clothes I wanted in stores weren’t actually available in my size – but I would deny myself even those that were, in the constant hope and expectation that my body would change any minute now.

Learning to sew clothes didn’t even help that much, because I also didn’t want to invest lots of time and energy making something when I was surely going to not fit it soon, and I was always looking at patterns that didn’t come in my size – in the belief that soon they would be.

But you know what? I’m so glad that I got past this (long) phase! And let me tell you: life is SO much better when you stop waiting, and sew it now. Realistically, most of us bounce around a fairly similar weight range, but even if you don’t, there are clever ways to sew that will let you make garments you’ll be able to continue wearing.

Here’s why I think you should SEW IT NOW!

You deserve to look nice, and feel happy and confident TODAY

I totally get it: accepting your body as it is can be incredibly difficult, and it’s been a long and ongoing process for me. But you know what? It really doesn’t matter if your ideas about your body and actual body don’t match up – you still deserve to look lovely, and to get the confidence that nice clothes bring, today. Not when you reach some theoretical goal: TODAY! If you don’t want to use your most expensive fabric when you know you’re in a temporary body fluctuation, that’s totally understandable – but I think we all know the mood-enhancing wonder that is making a Tried’n’True pattern in a fabby fabric, and why would you deny yourself that? You’re also working on your hobby, using your hands, being productive and relieving stress – getting on with sewing now has so many benefits!

In Cashmerette Ames Jeans

If you want to make changes in your life, you’ll be more likely to do it if you’re feeling good.

You know what never helped someone change? Feeling terrible and beating themselves up. If you’re aiming to make positive changes in your life, like taking up a new fun physical activity or starting a meditation habit, it’s so much easier to do if you’re already feeling positive. Too often I see plus size and curvy women spiralling into a cycle of self-criticism, but the irony is it’s highly unlikely to lead to any positive change! Let your “ideal” plans go, do some sewing, wear your new garment with a smile and you may well find you have a lot more energy to make the changes you want.

Cashmerette Rivermont Dress & Top

Any person of any size can look fantastic in any style

I can’t believe how long it took me to learn this one! I used to think that certain garments – say, motorcycle jackets or maxi skirts – were only for people with a certain body size or shape. Sewing has made me realize that this is total bunkum! Making a well-fitting garment, with proportions that work for your shape, is in the reach of absolutely any person of any dimensions. Don’t put off sewing something because you think you need to change your body to look good in it. It’s simply not true – yes, you need to make something in the right size, and need to get a good fit for it to look great, but those are absolutely achievable goals! And way more achievable than trying to fundamentally change how your body wants to be.

Cashmerette Ipswich Swimsuit

Finally, there’s always more fabric

I get it: it can feel very intimidating to use a fabric that feels special, and it’s very easy to fall into the mindset of thinking “I’ll use this at a later date when XYZ is different”. If you’re waiting to improve a certain sewing skill until you use that expensive cashmere? Totally understandable! And a goal you can work towards. But not allowing yourself to sew with and wear fabric until you change your body just isn’t the same, in my opinion. There is ALWAYS more fabric – and anyway, who wants to keep using the same stuff? If your body does end up changing, then there’s always something else fabulous around the corner! Of course, not everyone can afford to use any fabric at any time, but first, have a think about what you can make that will be flexible to your body even if it changes, and second, the point is less about expense, and more about the tendency to “hoard” special fabric. Put it this way: what will bring you more joy – your fave printed cotton sitting in a dark corner of your stash? Or wearing it out once a week and sneaking a peek in every store window as you walk by? I know which I prefer!

Cashmerette Montrose Top

What do you think? Do you have a tendency to put off sewing for a “it-will-maybe-never-happen” future? Or are you pushing forward, knowing that you deserve lovely garments right now, and you’ll have the most chance to change if you feel positive? I’d love to know!


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33 thoughts on “Don’t wait! Sewing for the body you have right now.

  1. Katherine Merkel says:

    Oh Jenny! You hit the nail on the head with this post about sewing for the body one has right now. For the last 15 years I ran my intense sewing/design business, and had only a small window of time to sew for myself. Now retired and working on getting healthy, I found myself reluctant to use the beautiful Wools, cashmere, silks, and batiks curated from travels all over the world. Why? Because I AM getting healthier with changes in shape and size! But just 2 weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and used a beautiful cream stretch silk to make a simple long sleeve blouse. I felt so beautiful wearing it on Christmas day! And just like that, I decided it was time for a beautiful wardrobe for me NOW! My next project is an elegant lined cape in a beautiful wool. And what fun it is to sew when it is cold and snowy outside knowing I will have a stylish, warm cape in only a few more days!
    Thank you for all you do to encourage all us curvy sewers to keep improving our skills, tackle new things, and accept ourselves for the intelligent, hardworking, beautiful people we are right now!

  2. Katy says:

    For about 15 years I did not sew for myself. It all changed when I discovered Cashmerette patterns! Beautiful, modern designs I can wear right now not after a 10 or 20lb weightloss. Thank you very much, Jenny Rushmore!

  3. jknath1 says:

    This is a perfect, positive, New Years post! I sew a lot of tops and loose shorts that fit no matter my waist size, but I have been putting off sewing closer fitting pants. While I was off work during this holiday break, I finally decided to clear out my closet of all the smaller size clothing I have been keeping in hopes that I would lose weight and fit into them again. Four very large trash bags of clothing went to Goodwill, including one full of jeans. I have been putting off trying to make jeans because I kept thinking I would wait until I lost some weight, but clearing my closet was the first psychological step in encouraging myself to sew for the now as far as pants go. My first major project this year will be a pair of jeans. Wish me luck:).

  4. Maggie Lewin says:

    Jenny you are SEW 😀 right! What a brilliant empowering post. I have been doing this for many years – I finally got the confidence to make something with my “save it for when I change” stash with your Pembroke and there will be more.

  5. Chris says:

    This resonated with me too. I am currently not “on a diet” but participating in a diabetes prevention program and am sssslllloooowwwwllllyy losing weight. But in the meantime, I have a job that requires better wardrobe. I keep waiting and waiting, rather than plunging in, sewing and knowing full well I could alter later. I always love reading your posts. They are so thoughtful. Thank you and happy new year to you!

  6. Thank you so much for this post! Like others, I spend so much time sewing for my clients that I don’t take the time to sew for myself. Add an aging body, menopause, and extra pounds . . . I always end up so discouraged! However, after creating my wedding gown this past year and looking back on the photos of how radient I looked and felt that day in my creation, I vow to do more me sewing this year! I agree, if you look good, you feel good, and you accomplish more! 2019 here I come . . .

  7. Janet McCully says:

    This has made me think. Being overweight I feel it’s not worth making things for myself. Prefer to make gorgeous dresses for my little granddaughters.

  8. I related to your very positive post today. I lost my job 3 years ago and was replaced with a temp. I am 58 years old. I looked and looked and couldn’t find a job. I gained weight 40 lbs. My husband told me sew; I have wanted to sew my own clothes for a long time. I did quilts and I had gorgeous fabric I was saving for garments. Until I found out you typically don’t use quilting cotton for garments. So I thought I would take some time to my self and lose weight and learn to sew. I have over 200 patterns and 2 spare bedrooms full of apparel fabric. I can’t cut a thing! I haven’t gained more weight but I haven’t lost either. I have a size 14 dress form and I am a size 18. I do not want to make her bigger so she really doesn’t work for me. I did try and make the Concord with some knit I really don’t like, I have changed the traced pattern so much I need to start over. I really liked your post and hopefully I can fit it into my life. Thank you, Barb Kuhlmann

  9. Anna Wisner says:

    Thank you, I needed this, Jenny, it is such an empowering statement. I am hereby declaring my intention to sew for myself, at whatever size, this year, as part of a self-care regimen.

  10. Judith Rickard says:

    I so admire you and so many of the younger members of the plus-size cohort for having figured this out. It is distinctly apparent to me that there is less self-fatism among your generation.

    Embarrassingly, I have to admit that I only figured out this important life lesson about 10 years ago, at the vintage age of 59! And, better late than never, it changed not only my sewing life, but my whole life.

    Hear, hear for self-acceptance and body positivity!!!

  11. Carol Varcoe says:

    Jenny…..you told my story ! Years of not using good fabric…or making an exquisite garment because I’d lost weight to have it become too small after the usual regain. Deciding that “I am what I am” was such freedom, having the “right” to use ONLY quality fabric and taking the time to do quality construction. Bravo to you for helping curvy women look and feel good. 💚

  12. Perfect! And so on point! I love your patterns and your inspiration. Happy New Year.

  13. Vicki says:

    I used to hold back and felt I didn’t want to waste my time sewing if my body was going to change. Now I make myself beautiful clothes because I deserve it. If my body changes I’ll make new clothes. Thank ypu for reminding me it is the most positive attitude to have.

  14. Bonnijean M MarleyB says:

    Thank you so much for writing this.

  15. So well said Jenny. As an eternal BIG girl, I’ve been conditioned. Reading your thoughts has made me realise I’ve been procrastinating, learning, waiting to be smaller! Now is the time to do it! In my generation, we never wasted anything. My wardrobe has s beautiful selection of quality garments that, even if I get to my lowest weight, will not fit my older shape. I intend to use the fabric for tops. Then I won’t feel bad about them looking back at me.

  16. Dawn says:

    For close to 20 years I denied myself nice clothes because it seemed practical not to ‘waste’ good money on clothes that would be too big ‘soon’. Many, many diets later I realized ‘soon’ was not very soon at all, and every day I wore clothes. Every. Single. Day. we wear clothes regardless of size, shape, health issues, and so WHY NOT wear clothes we like?! Bodies change, seasons change, and clothes are replaced anyway. There really is no practical reason not to wear clothes we like.

  17. Andrea Letourneau says:

    After discovering that the real reason I preferred wearing costumes over regular clothes was because they actually FIT me properly (having made the costumes myself), I started making my own clothing instead of purchasing ill-fitting clothes. One of the things that I kept in mind all this time is that if my figure changes, I have an excuse to make more garments or modify the ones that I already have. It doesn’t make sense to “wait for the body I want to have” because that’s not likely to appear any time soon. It took many years for me to wind up as I am now, and losing extra weight to get down to “ideal size for my height according to my Doctor’s charts” is going to take a long time to get there ( in a healthy way… I’m not going to starve myself down to that weight, nor do I wish to get some nasty disease that causes me to lose a lot of weight rapidly…). So, the garments I make can be considered “practice” for when I do get down to “ideal” weight. Then, when I am that size, I’ll be a much better seamstress and will still be able to wear couture clothing (designed and made by moi).

  18. Donna Makowski says:

    Thank you for this post. I need a swift kick to get me sewing for myself again. Will it be easy? No – I have many fitting issues to learn how to deal with, but if I don’t get started now, then when?? I deserve to have well fitting garments. Happy 2019 and happy sewing!!!

    1. Lia Scully says:

      I’m with you!! I used to sew YEARS ago, haven’t done anything with it in years except fix stuff my family or hem but after reading this instead of making things for others MAYBE I SHOULD just START with by making SOMETHING FOR MYSELF FOR ONCE!! IM 5’1″ & PLUS size , I live w/ a 6’8″ thin lovey and my little joy is a 7yr old 4’11” 93lb curvy Beautiful little stepdaughter so I am going to have to get back to work anyways, LOL!!
      Thank you for the insight n inspiration!!!

      1. Donna Makowski says:

        Somewhat the same here. Learned to sew in 8th grade and made everything except jeans for many many years. Have always been curvy. Got heavier and gave up trying to fit except for the occasional elastic waist skirt. Lost 80 lbs and am still curvy (and lumpy! LOL) but am tired of settling for RTW that never fits properly. Especially when I have the knowledge and tools at my fingertips to change that!!!

  19. chloe_deadlycraft says:

    Yes! A thousand times, yes! 😍

  20. Alison Beckett says:

    What words of wisdom! I am consistently waiting to shed a few pounds before I embark on using some of my stash and am never satisfied. It has got to the point of forgetting some of the lovely fabrics that I already own. I will take on board your words of encouragement. X

  21. Anneli from Helsinki, Finland says:

    These are the wisest and most inspirational words I’ve read about this topic. Thank you so much, Jenny! And this is the one thing I truly love about Cashmerette: I don’t only buy a product, i. e. a dress pattern, but I become a member of an inspiring community which promotes my self-esteem. I get much much more for my money than I expected. <3

  22. Kristina says:

    Thank you for this! What a perfect start to the new year. My husband bought me the Ginger Jeans pattern for Christmas and said “Don’t wait. Make a pair now. You have the pattern, you can always make more!” They are near the top of my to make list!

  23. Heidi Hochhausen says:

    This is such an inspiration!! I’m starting yet another diet today. I put the fancy shirt I was making for horse shows away, thinking I would need to alter it after I “lost weight” so I would just wait to finish it. I lost my job 2 days ago. I’ve already cried my tears and moved on to looking forward to future endeavors. I’m thinking I’m going to pull that shirt out and finish it! And I’ve always wanted to sew a whole wardrobe!!! Yipee!! I have time and a room full of patterns, and “special fabrics”!!

  24. Diane says:

    Jenny, all I can say is a huge THANK YOU for changing my life! When I came across Cashmerette and your wonderful patterns it did literally shake me up into realising i had to stop putting my life on hold, take the reigns and begin a new life. With the acceptance of my curvy body I began my journey (I already had the sewing skills which were redundant because of weight gain, body shape changes and fit problems), and my new world opened up. I faced up to the challenge of identifying my figure faults, read up on how to rectify them on paper, learned an incredible amount of information on pattern adjustments and started my collection of wonderful Cashmerette patterns. I am happily sewing again and building my gorgeous wardrobe, gradually reducing the rtw ‘doesn’t fit’ clothes and replacing them with my gorgeous hand made, perfectly fitting, unique collection. My confidence has rocketed with each piece I produce and the compliments keep coming, why? Not because I have lost weight but because I have accepted my body, it is who I am and I am happy and this really is reflected in the way I now live my life. Last year year my husband helped me convert a multi purpose dining/sewing room with great storage and a new extendable table so the I now have my very own space, it is indeed my happy place overlooking the garden where I retreat to draw and plan my next project. So thank you Jenny and all at Cashmerette, and thank you to all the lovely ladies who contribute to the f/b community with help and inspiration, comments and photos, it really is a part of my life now. Here’s to 2019 and some great sewing projects ahead!

  25. Sarah C says:

    Yassss! This is the way to start a new year. No, thinking about resolutions to lose weight. Just being happy and confident with who you are. This took me a while to get to myself. It involved a lot of real honest conversations with myself about what I saw in the mirror. Turns out, those sad old clothes that I wore to tide me over until I lost weight, were the problem. Once I started making clothes that fit my figure I started making progress towards loving my body as it is. Keep it coming and helping all plus size sewists feel good about their bodies.

  26. For me it’s not the fact that I am “waiting” for my body to change… it just always does! So this makes it even more difficult to muster up the motivation to sew, because 8 times out of 10, my body will change during the sewing process and eventually I won’t be able to wear what I painstakingly made because I gained/lost weight… The frustration of this fluctuation has recently (in the last year or so) put me off from sewing, but now I want to get back in the game! I just have to figure out which patterns can be adapted to the many changes my body will go through, or accept that some garments will be worn only when my body is in sync with it…

    1. Katherine Merkel says:

      Hi Rox, I am in the same boat as you are with Weight fluctuations! I have bins full of different sizes of clothing from size 26 up to 44! I’m presently on a downward swing, close to a 28. With that great a fluctuation it can be discouraging, but after this conversation open up, I decided to go for it. I made a beautiful silk chanteuse blouse and now working on a winter coat. I figured with the stash of fabric I have, it makes no sense to wait any more. I dont think I could use it up in 20 years of sewing!

  27. Jenny says:

    Absolutely! And generally speaking we sew because we enjoy it, right? So, sewing something to fit us now isn’t “time wasted” even if our body does change – if it does, we’ll sew something else and enjoy that too! And if it doesn’t, we’ll still sew something else and enjoy that as well.

  28. Nadean Spedding says:

    Wow! This really hit home. I keep doing this. Waiting for that change but it’s ridiculous. I feel amazing when in clothing I’ve made myself and so should just get on with it.
    Thank you for this amazing eye opening piece.

Let me know what you think!