In honor of #TBT, here’s a little story of how I went about discovering sewing, playing with techniques of sewing, learning techniques of sewing, finding my teacher of sewing and eventually getting totally, unmercifully and infinitely hooked on sewing.
It started with Barbie, because my Barbie went to all the glamorous parties about town (OK, I lived in a rural community, but Barbie’s world was the social hub-bub of the universe – I was a kid and I made it so!!!) Moving from Barbie to me, as I got my first date for the high school prom, I needed something to wear, and having done so many clothes for Barbie, when I couldn’t find anything in the stores for her, no better solution for me, cause I couldn’t find anything in the store for me.
I found this gorgeous pink acetate bengaline and this beautiful pink ribbon trim and as far as I was concerned I was set. There was also a place in my small village that dyed shoes, so once again I had the complete ensemble ready to go. The whole outfit turned out beautifully and I felt like the bell of the ball and it couldn’t have gone better.
Then came the drought period where I couldn’t sew anything right, and couldn’t find the knowledge anywhere (remember this is during the time when sewing or even admitting that you sewed was synonymous with being chained to a wood-powered stove in the kitchen!)
Finally I found my teacher and mentor and couldn’t have been happier. But an odd thing happened. I loved making formal wear and all my clothes, but didn’t have enough places to wear it all – even when I went to every ball held during the year. And the same thing was happening to my casual wear, sports wear, coordinates and all the other clothing I was making – I was making too many clothes.
What’s a poor girl to do? Well, how about making formal clothes for other people, that way I don’t have to worry if I’m wearing it or not!!! So I took the big plunge. I housed the business at home so I could take care of things at home too, and start earning some income. And to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure I was going to make any money, all I knew is that each job had to have a profit, or I couldn’t do it.
As I began to get one client after another, the first ones were not model-type figure. As I began to sew more and more for my brides and debs, I discovered, that just about all my clients didn’t think they had perfect figures – they all had something they wanted to mask or accentuate.
They were so elated that finally they were going to have
People used to say to me that I should market myself and get more ads out, and I said, I’m booking for a year in advance, why do I want to try and get more people? I was not only known for my beautiful designs, but also for the excellent quality of workmanship.
As I started booking more and more clients, my reputation began to soar. The main thing I discovered is that no matter the size, shape, style or appearance on the outside, almost all my brides and debs had figures irregularities that they wanted to hide or mask or work around. Not only that, but I could add personality and character to each dress so that they dress not only fit and looked good but became a reflection of that bride’s or deb’s style and personality.
No more having to do with 2 or 3 plus sized models in the store. My clients could have anything they wanted.
No more having to settle for an irregular fit. My clients’ dresses were beautifully fit and refreshingly comfortable.
No more having to work around a dress that was huge to pare it down to something that would do in a pinch. My clients’ dresses were a reflection of their own personal style. My clients could be creative, no matter what shape they were in.
Most of the time my girls would bring me a set of pictures and photos saying, “I want this top, with this bottom, and these sleeves, and I like this lace,” and then stop with an expectant shrug as if preparing for the bad news….
When I turned to them and said, “OMG, this looks gorgeous! Won’t this be a blast to create!” The mother and daughter were aghast and almost shocked. They began to finally see that this was not going to be like shopping – this was going to be fun. Not only did I know my clients could be fitted, no matter what shape, I had done it time and time again.
Fitting all sorts of shapes is not only fun and creative (I get the biggest blast watching my students create their own look and style), but it’s made perfectly clear to me that of all the shapes and sizes out there can be fit. Not only can these different figure types be fit, but they can look and feel good in their clothes and reflect their own personal style and flare in their clothes.
The last part is what I love the most, and it’s something that people with difficult-to-fit figure types forget. Not only can you be fit and feel good in your clothing, but you can have your own style – your clothes can as much reflect who you are as your hair color, your voice tone, your car, your home or any other aspect of your life.
No more being relegated to the RTW step-child department of plus sizes. No more having a limited number of styles and shapes available. It’s like the world truly is open to all figure types and reflecting your own style becomes as much a part of your life as the car you drive or the furniture and accessories you buy for your home.
Size no longer matters – well it does, but it’s not limiting you, like RTW does.
Shape doesn’t classify you any longer. You have so many choices now available when you sew, that it can get a little disorienting.
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