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?

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