28 oktober 2018

Bikinis And Equal Rights

So, I made a new bikini. Because I wanted one.

And I also read this post, which got me thinking for a bit. I definitely identify as a feminist, but on the surface the act of sewing your own clothes and then posing in them for a blog doesn't really seem to match with that. OR DOES IT.

I am privileged enough to have the means to make my own clothes. This means that I have a lot more control over what I wear than most women. I'll still be a bit limited by the fabrics and patterns available, but sewing gives me the chance to completely ignore what the media/fashion designers/anyone want me to wear and just do my own thing. (Of course I'll often be inspired by what's around, but if I want sparkly dungaree shorts I can just make that happen). I also have the privilege of being a very average shape and size: buying clothes that fit me is not really a challenge. I just choose not to.

To me, sewing my own clothes no longer has anything to do with what the housewives from the past did: instead of a necessity and a chore it is now a luxury and a choice. In a way, for me at least, oppression has turned into empowerment.

Because sewing does make me feel empowered. Take this bikini for instance: swimwear can be quite expensive, and the things within my budget often don't fit right at all. I want to actually swim instead of lie down next to a pool and not move, so I need something that will stay on my body and allow me to move without boobs falling out all over the place. Sewing my own has given me that, for a price I can afford. Win!

And yes, taking photographs of what I make helps me too. I actually started this blog to document the things that I made because I'm proud of them and the process of making them. Writing about it to an audience gave me a reason to take some decent pictures, just like I will scan and save my drawings if I like them. I have to admit that this is the part that I struggle with the most, since I do have some issues with body image (as a lot of people do) but again, I have full control over what pictures appear online and how (or at least, initially. Once they're out there you kind of give up on that control). Anyway, I chose to take pictures of myself in a bikini and post them on the internet, as I've done before. Because it's not about my body and looking attractive or sexy to an audience, it's about me sewing a bikini that I like to swim in and talking about it. So let's do that:

Yes, I did take these pictures today. It was about 7° celcius with a cold wind. My mother suggested I wear some nude pantyhose, but it wasn't too bad! I can feel my toes again.

This is the Sophie swimsuit, which I've made before, and... I didn't really change anything. The previous one is still perfectly fine but I had this fabric in my stash for so long and I thought it would be fun to have a bit more choice in my swimwear! Hanne actually made me a bathing suit in this fabric for her lingerie sewing class but it doesn't get as much wear as I'd like: it looks great when I'm standing up or just lounging (perfect fit!) but when I stretch out whilst swimming the underwires slide down a bit and press into my ribcage, making it a bit uncomfortable. See what I mean when I say I want to be able to move in my clothes (not just swimwear!)?

(To be clear: this is not at all a dig at Hanne, she just had to make this exact swimsuit for her class! She's amazing and talented and you should all check her out if you haven't already.)

I used a different foam for the padding in these cups, and it's a lot stiffer than the foam I used before, which means these keep their shape a lot better! I still fully lined the cups with bra lining for a bit of extra support, and while this probably wasn't necessary it does look good on the inside!

Those tiny people in the background were clapping at some point
Tha biggest change I made was to only topstitch the outer edge of the underwire channeling down. The instructions have you topstitch once close to the seamline of the cup and then again a bit further to anchor the channeling, but I remembered how tricky it was to keep these two lines parallel (and how my channeling got a bit too narrow for the underwire in places, due to wonky stitching) so instead I stitched the channeling to the seam allowance and topstitched it in place. Which was a very lengthy explanation for something very simple.

Again, I did not use the bikini bottom from the pattern. I made it the first time I made this swimsuit, but I just don't like how those low cut legs look on me, so I used the pattern I had rubbed off from a well-fitting bottom the last time. I did copy the paneled look of the original!

I already swam in this once and it didn't fall off of me, so I guess that's a winner! That, and I feel like a speedy fish now.

So, what do you readers think about my new swimwear? Or about my rambling on sewing and feminism?

12 oktober 2018

How To Disappear Completely

Here is the second garment I made for our roadtrip, and also the least practical! I took one backpack for three weeks of travel and didn't want to do laundry all the time, so I packed a sort of capsule wardrobe with mostly basic tops and bottoms that would easily mix and match. And one exception: a cheery tropical print dungaree dress! Can you even see me in this beautiful palm tree beach background?

I've made this exact same dress before, in black velvet. It's really just the Grainline Moss skirt with my usual side closure adaptation and an added bib and straps! I only had 1 m of this fabric (from Stoff & Stil) because I had bought it with shorts on my mind, so there was some creative pattern cutting to make this happen (this really seems to be a trend in my sewing, it would save me a tremendous amount of stress if I either bought more fabric or didn't change my mind about what to make with it all the time).

One of the things I did not have enough fabric for was cutting the strap piece twice, so the bottom of those has been cut from some white cotton (I used the same fabric to line the bib and for the inside waistband pieces). This works well, but in hindsight the cotton was a bit too lightweight and it makes the straps a bit too thin for the buckles to stay in place. I resorted to keeping them at the same length with a pin while on holiday and will probably add a few stitches now I'm back.

There was absolutely no way I was going to pattern match this print with that amount of fabric, but it doesn't bother me for once. I like the print a lot, it's a bit more colourful than what I usually wear these days (almost feels like a throwback to cuter times!) and it's perfect for walking around by the beach in California. Not that that's going to happen again anytime soon.

I also added about ten cm of length to this skirt and hemmed it with the narrowest bias tape hem I could muster, by the way. The Moss skirt as drafted is VERY SHORT.

I think I'm done with dungaree dresses for now, but am considering turning this skirt pattern into a button-front skirt. Maybe in velvet.

05 oktober 2018

Monumental Shorts

I'm back!We spent an amazing three weeks in the USA. It was crazy and a little bit hectic, but we saw so much and had a blast! I did a little bit of sewing before the trip, and managed to photograph two new garments. This is the first one, a very boring basic pair of shorts against a not-so-basic background:

Welcome to my blog, man on the right.
This is the shorts version of the Named Alexandria peg trousers, with a few modifications. I had a small piece of this textured linen in my stash and wanted something breezy with an elastic waist to take on this trip, since I knew it was going to get really warm (and there was going to be FOOD).

This is a very simple pattern that reminds me of those sporty shorts with the curved hem, but with a few special details. There are a few pleats in the front, one of which sort of hides the pocket openings (it's hard to explain but it looks interesting).

I made a few changes to the length and shape of these. When I tried them on before hemming the high-low hem was so pronounced it looked ridiculous on me, with the back almost reaching my knees (not a good length!). I shortened the entire thing and made the difference between the front and back a bit less obvious. This is not a garment that can be considered 'flattering' with all the extra fabric around my butt, but it was exactly what I needed for this occasion!

The waist is finished with elastic inserted into a channel and an added drawstring. I later used this to tie a rock to my towel to try and fish my hat out of a ravine. It has since been reinserted.

The pattern has you finish the hem with facings and I did cut them out, but after changing up the hemline (and eyeballing it) I opted to finish it with a bias tape facing.

I'm not sure if I'd make the long version of these, I think there is room for a looser-fitting pair of lightweight trousers in my life, but I'm not sure if I like the shape of these enough... I might make the shorts again in jersey to replace some pyjama shorts that have gotten too big/worn out!

These will be packed away until next summer now, sadly enough. I have one more really summery garment coming up!