I usually try to keep things fairly positive on this blog, but sometimes you just need a good rant to blow off some steam. I've been so stressed out that I've found seven things to vent about. Why seven? Because I couldn't narrow the list down to six, and I didn't really have ten.
Pet Peeve 1: Patterns whose largest size is a 41" bust and 44" hip.
I know that some pattern designers have defended themselves saying that they need a different pattern block at a certain size, but having such a narrow size range just reeks of body snobbery to me. It reminds me of the Project Runway designer who vocally whined during a "real woman" challenge about his client having 43" hips.
|Size chart from an unnamed indie pattern company|
Look, it doesn't take a lot of sewing experience when you're plus sized to figure out that the patterns that fit you best are the ones where the designer either uses a separate block for plus sizes or uses a larger size as their sample/prototype (for example, HotPatterns starts at a size 16 and grades up and down from their). But, when your patterns stop at a 41" bust, would it really kill you to add one or two more sizes? Do you really need a second block for that?
And before you tell me that I should just "grade up" a pattern if I like it, do I really want to spend those extra hours of work on grading unless the pattern was a cheapo that I picked up at a Hancock sale or traced out of a magazine?
Pet Peeve 2: Being told that a certain figure type "can't" wear certain styles or that certain figure types "have to" stick to certain styles.
For example, horizontal stripes, skinny jeans/pants, raglan sleeves, dropped shoulders, kimono sleeves are all supposed "no-no's" on a curvy figure. Try being short on top of this--I'm not supposed to wear maxi-length anything, either.
Most of these "rules" don't take proportion or styling into account, anyway. If you wear a shaped jacket over a shapeless, boxy top, you no longer have a shapeless silhouette. Scarves and jewelry can draw the eye up and break up a "too high" neckline.
I truly think that if you have self confidence and know a few styling tricks, you can pull off most garments that you're comfortable with.
Pet Peeve 3: Thinking that every single piece of clothing you own had to make you look 10 pounds thinner.
For example, "Dress in all one color to create a lengthening vertical column", or "Stay away from boxy tops if you have a defined waist." Sometimes something can be worth wearing because it's comfortable and a good color on you. Like the pet peeve before it, this one irks me because it's imposing needless limitations on us, and don't we have enough limitations already?
If I always want to look 10lbs thinner, I should probably really focus and work my ass off to lose 10lbs. Monochromatic dressing is boring.
Pet Peeve 4: Pattern cup sizes that stop at a "D" and act like they're doing curvy women a favor.
I especially love this when the pattern copy includes a blurb along the line of "Includes multiple cup sizes so that you don't have to do an FBA!" or something like that.
Really? Some studies indicate that the average cup size in the US is a "D", which means that half of the women in this country need a cup size larger than a D.
I do get it on some level; I'm always thankful when I only have to do an FBA of, say, 2 inches instead of 4. (Granted, I start using "fudging it" FBA methods when I need more room than that, anyway.) However, I can count the pattern designers out there that have designs for a DD+ cup on one hand. That bites.
Pet Peeve 5: Shapeless sacks and shapeless sacks with belts around them masquerading as plus sized designs.
|Sack dress from BurdaStyle|
Who wants to look like this? This isn't going to look good on hardly anyone. Just because I'm a larger woman doesn't mean that I want to hide from the world.
Pet Peeve 6: Someone who wears size 36 in Burda saying, "Ooh, I like the Burda Plus designs better than the regular designs--you're so lucky!"
I see this one nearly every month on PatternReview when someone starts the thread for the new BurdaStyle preview that's just been posted. I think this one bothers me because I find it really condescending.
Really, you're telling us that we're lucky when we're limited (outside of grading) to five or so patterns every issue? And nearly every issue, at least one of those patterns is one of the shapeless sacks mentioned in Pet Peeve 5? You get practically the whole magazine, if you're a size 36-44. Don't tell me I'm lucky because I get one decent knit top pattern, a dress, a shapeless sack, a basic trouser pattern, and some weird rectangle thing every issue.
Okay, I feel a little better now.
Is it just me, or are my fellow curvy and plus sized seamstresses irritated by some of these same things? Or are you irritated by different things?
A final word...
And on that note, I'll leave you with this brilliant scene from last week's episode of Louis CK: