Sunday, August 19, 2007

Clothing rant

Don't get me wrong, I love to sew, have been sewing for the last 40 years. But the reason I learned to sew was because I wanted to have clothes that no one else had. I hate going places and seeing someone wearing the same blouse/top I have on. And the clothes I make are unique to me, since I can look at a piece of fabric and know which pattern to use (I had a friend who looked at some of the material I bought, thought it was fugly, and then when the top was made, loved it). But that was before I got fat. Now that I am fat, I either have to tailor the tops I buy or make my own patterns because I can't find anything that fits. Plus sizes in tops usually stop at a size 24/26, and if they go up to a 4X to 6X, they either look like crap, are shoddily made, cost an arm and a leg, or aren't designed for a fat woman.
When my son got married last summer, I needed an outfit to wear (I don't do dresses, ever). I couldn't find anything I liked that would fit, even if I could have afforded it. I did find a pattern I liked, and it actually came in my size (I thought). However, when I got the pattern ironed and cut out, I compared it with a top that fit me well. The pattern top was going to be about 2 sizes too small and the alterations would have been horrendous to attempt to make. So I ended up taking a similar top I owned (that did fit very well) apart to use as a pattern and adding the diagonal hem to it (the top has two layers to the front and back, each with a diagonal hem, one layer is longer from left to right, the other is longer from right to left). I used the flutter sleeve from the pattern . The top turned out great and I got lots of compliments on it (everyone thought I bought it and wanted to know where). The pants were another problem (and I have problems with purchased pants too, waistbands hit me under my bra band if I buy talls to get legs long enough). The pants fit, but I had to add 4 inches to the length of the legs and shorten the waist in front by about 4 inches (my waist is normal in the back, lower in the front).
Most of the tops I have I bought off the clearance rack at Catherine's, but even those don't all fit as well as they should. My shoulders, from sleeve seam to sleeve seam, are 24 inches, but I have a 62" bust at the fullest part. I can't buy button-front shirts because either the shoulders come halfway down to my elbows (and they aren't supposed to) or they gap when buttoned. When I buy knit tops, I have the same problem with the shoulders because my bust is so large (and my hips match), so I end up altering the tops to fit correctly.
It also pisses me off mightily that just because I am fat, I have to pay an outrageous price for clothing, bras especially. I'm sorry, it doesn't take that much more fabric and elastic to make a larger bra, so why should I have to pay $40 or more for one that fits me (if I can even find one) when a smaller woman can find a decent bra for $5? My bra takes twice the fabric and costs 8 times as much? Talk about penalizing the fat woman for being fat and having big breasts. I also hate that when I finally find a bra that fits, that style is only around for a couple of years and is then discontinued and I have to start the hunt all over again for another style that fits and is comfortable. And since the size I wear (52H) is not carried in stores, I have to look online and guess if what I order is going to fit.
I realize that women my size aren't the majority of the fat population. The majority of fat women seem to be between a size 14 and a size 24, while I wear a 28 to 32 in slacks, depending on the fabric and style, and a 4X to 5X in tops, also depending on fabric and style. Panties I can find to fit at Wal-Mart since they carry the stretch satin ones I like all the way up to a size 14 (and I wear a 13). But they have nothing else I can wear. They carry Just My Size t-shirts and sweats, but I won't buy them, even tho they would fit, because the tops usually stop at my waist and I like my tops a little longer than that. What does it take for clothing designers to realize that not all fat women are short? I don't consider myself all that tall, I'm only 5' 8". I must be built oddly for a woman, since I have a 32" inseam, a short crotch to waist length (don't have the obligatory fat stomach that sticks out in front of me) and am short waisted in front from shoulder to waist.
I know that even small women have problems with clothing fitting correctly, but at least they have a large variety from which to choose. If I want variety, I have to make it myself, and that takes the joy out of sewing. It's fun to make something because you want to, but to have to make it because that's the only way you're going to get it to fit correctly is not a joyous labor of love. Don't get me wrong, I take pride in everything I do, and I like knowing I've done a good job, but it would be nice not to have to alter or make most of my tops/slacks.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! I *just* wrote an article on my new blog about places to find clothes for people above size 28. My blog site is and you can just look for the one that says Fat Grrl Shopping: Sizes 12-44. Well, if you feel like stopping by. I understand your struggles all too well. I'm glad you are here posting! I think it is great! Thank you! :) kristin


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