Yesterday was not a great sewing day. Nor was it a great day in general, but I suspect those two things are strongly related.
I started assembling my corset toile – in the beautiful blue drill you may have seen on my Instagram – in the hope of eventually making a wearable garment that will also serve as a template pattern for potentially a corset layer of my wedding gown. Big plans. I ordered the pattern as a custom, made to measure option from Corsets by Caroline, who was super lovely and incredibly quick at getting back to me in response to my queries.
The pattern itself was very simple to assemble and everything was going swimmingly. Until I got to a stage where I could hold the garment to my body (assembled but not boned, which I do know is key to good fit for a corset) and realised there was a rather large issue in the bust area. I have a moderately full bust but I would need serious augmentation to fill the pattern out and it was a major, sudden disappointment and knock to my confidence. (I am in no way blaming Caroline for this. The pattern she made for me was based on measurements I provided, but there’s no way to know where a person carries their size or the shape of a figure without seeing them in real-life and the corset made from this pattern will still likely fit better than any off the peg garment could, even if it’s not 100% in the first iteration.)
I find myself wishing for a different body, so that the clothes I want to wear would be readily available without having to adapt patterns that also don’t fit my shape and spend hours on both mathematical calculations and then on the subsequent sewing, fitting, altering processes just to get something I’m happy with. Realistically, I don’t want a different body, I want the world to be different – but that’s much too much to ask for. I have quite a clear image in my mind of the way I would like to dress, the aesthetic I want to cultivate, and I’m not there. I’m not even close. And that’s not about size or confidence, but the sheer practicality of not having the clothing available to me.
Which isn’t to say I don’t have anything – I’ve made some very successful garments over the last few years including my hot pink coat of twirly dreams – but I’m in a place of deep frustration today and I’m not prepared to let go of that quite yet even though I know tomorrow will be better. Jenny of Cashmerette patterns has a blog post entitled Sewing For The Body You Have which, when it was published early last year, really helped drive home the message to me that it’s okay to exist in a human form several sizes larger than average, and that that form still deserves nice clothing. (Cashmerette patterns are the only ones I find I can make straight out the packet, and let me tell you they are worth every penny for that ease of use.)
So, I have to continue working towards the retro-styled comfortable wardrobe of my dreams – because I absolutely can have the clothing I desire, and I have most of the skills required to build it – but for now I get to stop, have a cup of tea and completely ignore the little heap of corset toile until I feel better equipped to try again. Things don’t always work first time (they very rarely do, in fact), but it’ll work eventually.