Colette

Weekend Reading: Craftivism, Hashtags + Is “plus size” meaningless?

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Clifford Coffin, photographing for Vogue

Clifford Coffin, photographing for Vogue

Sometimes weekend reading is heavy, and other times it’s silly, a nice break from the work week. That’s why I’m now including a discussion section for the meatier pieces of weekend reading, along with the usual vintage inspiration picture and list of lighter reads to keep you occupied on lazy weekend mornings. Is there anything else you’d like from these link posts? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Weekend Reading Discussion:

  • Dorothy’s dementia diary: Lucy Stride’s Craftivist project explores the experience of living with dementia, inspired by her Grandmother. She hopes her craft will educate and inspire compassion for dementia patients. Have you ever used crafts to help with an illness or a loss in life?
  • “Plus size” is a meaningless term, and brands should start to do away with it: Some find the term outdated and exclusionary. Others find it helpful to identify a broader size range. Do you think “plus size” is becoming a meaningless term, or do you find it helpful when sourcing where to shop?

And here are a few more reads:

For more links every week, you can follow us on Twitter, where we’re always posting interesting tidbits and discussions.

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 16

eimear theupsew.wordpress.com

I think crafts can be so therapeutic – after my father died my concentration was shot and I was a bit lost, and by co-incidence I met up with a friend some weeks after and she mentioned she crocheted…. and I asked her to show me. It was exactly what I needed. All I needed to think on was the next stitch. if my mind wandered, it didn’t matter as crochet is also fast enough to frog back and restart.

Carol

I find the conversation around “plus” sizing very interesting. I am right on the cusp of the “normal” to “plus” ranges, so shopping can be very disappointing. I can almost fit the size 16 piece, but the next size up is much looser – as if the size 18 woman didn’t really want to wear the same style. Designers need to know that women of all sizes want to look great and design to that. That a large part of why I’m interested in learning to sew and adjust patterns.

Claudia

Im right with you, Carol!

Tammy

I like the variety of links that you offer and the thought provoking articles that you share. I always look forward to this weekly post! On a completely different note, would you ever consider interviewing Megan Nielsen for a Seamwork podcast? .

Katey

I’ve always been plus sized. For YEARS I could only get clothing from Lane Bryant with any consistency in my ability to try things on in-store.

My disdain for the fashion world’s refusal to make clothing that I love available in my size led me to rekindling my love of sewing. I don’t want to walk around in clothing that screams “grandma” at age 42 any more than I wanted too in junior high. This quote summed it up for me: “After years of being snubbed and shoved aside by mainstream retailers, many women have come to believe that fashion companies simply don’t want to serve them.”

I’m making my own clothing and I’m happy about that. There are designers who now that they offer “plus” sizes I won’t buy, (I’m looking at you, Tommy Hilfiger), because of awful things they were quoted saying about plus size people and anyone different than their slim, white, models.

I’m grateful to Colette for expanding their size range and as a result, I purchased all the patterns available in my size that were something I would wear directly from you. Thanks for expanding. I don’t want to redraft an entire pattern every time I want to make something new.

As to the label “plus” I can see the point of keeping it simply to identify that a seller carried my size, but I’m tired of being relegated to the basement of department stores and into distant corners behind the lingerie or children’s departments just because my body doesn’t have a pleasing (as arbitrarily defined by people whose industry is full of exaggerated figures in the opposite direction) shape.

Fashion should be fun. It should make people feel good. It shouldn’t be yet another way to divide people.

Yvette Chilcott

I am not a “plus” size, but having spent most of my adult life teaching people to sew has shown me that for the longest time larger sizes were “grandma” styles. I really like what you are doing, and really enjoyed this post.

Francesca wouldiwearitinparis.wordpress.com

If “plus” is a label we should do away with, what about “petite”? Of course, there is no stigma around being shorter than 5’4″ (or whatever the cut off is) so we don’t fuss about it. But there is a lot of stigma around being plus/curvy/chubby etc so every time the industry tries to come up with a kinder word, it gets warped into something troublesome by society’s stigmas. Until that stigma is eradicated whatever word we chose will have to go away sooner or later.

Marie livingamystery.com

The question of using crafts to cope with illness is so timely for me right now. My husband is ill, at times critically, and has been for the last 5 years. I have used sewing as my way to cope with the stress of caring for him, now full time. It has been my outlet and my sanity. I don’t know what I would do without it.

Clare

For the last few years especially, with 3 young children, I find my peace whilst sewing. The daydreaming, the idle browsing and Pinteresting whilst breast feeding, and now the reward of fitting clothes to my changed shape, and providing a unique wardrobe for my kids. I get great joy in it all.
6 weeks ago I miscarried and I couldn’t believe the tremendous pull towards my sewing room, and especially towards knitting, a craft which had lapsed for a while for me. I spent quite a time in bed, and every inch of me yearned to be amongst wool. The meditative nature of using my hands watching autumn’s colours, and often the solitude provided during these times let me work through my grief at a gentle pace, and in a style that suited me perfectly. I’m casting off on my second project right now, a much better knitter than I was before :-)

Kate

This is such a beautiful post for describing such an awful experience. I completely agree about the therapeutic qualities of wool (or thread, fabric, beads, paper…). I hope knitting continues to bring you peace.

Robin

Thanks you for sharing your story. I have been thinking a lot about the material world, and how to relate to it. Your post has added a new, positive dimension for me. Because it is a material world, I think we have to take joy and accept the gifts it can give us, with the kind of grace you have shared, free of the “grabby-ness” that can become a burden and a veil between us and the world of things.

Sandy magpiestitcher.wordpress.com

Some form of designators are useful to help you find your most-probable-fit in a department store; I guess “plus” isn’t too bad as a word. I cringe when I see things like “chubbette” for girls in old catalogs. Large boys’ sizes were called “husky,” and large women’s sizes used to be called “stout” – words which can convey meanings of strength and sturdiness, *IF* you take them that way, which most of the “fashion industry” doesn’t.

When I was in high school and college, I hovered between the top of the “normal” and the bottom of the “plus” size ranges . . . nothing fit. 30 years on, I’m slimmer but still hourglass-shaped . . . blouses still don’t fit.

ANGELA

Oh I would LOVE to see that green blouse in a pattern, it is beautiful.

Kate

I’m not plus size, but I am very curvy. I find the term useful for patterns when it means different cup sizes are drafted or there’s more shaping for legs. When plus size means “here’s a poncho with the sides sewn together” I just roll my eyes and move on.

Suzan

I loathe the label Plus, but I also appreciate it, because I know that there might be something I can wear. The larger problem is that manufacturers in the lower price ranges seem to think it’s their mission in business to punish fat girls for being both fat and poor. Horizontal rugby stripes, big prints badly placed, sleazy polyester, nothing but crop pants – the list goes on and on. It’s a damned good thing that I sew!

Dodi

I suffer from depression and my crafts are my way to calm down, get out of my head and change my mood. Doing it (quilting, mostly, dabbling in other fiber arts, working up the courage to sew garments again) makes me happy. I love watching things take shape and see the end result!
For the plus size debate, I am in those sizes and I say keep the term. How else would they be distinguished? Plus sizes are cut differently. There are tall, large-framed women who are not at all plus sized. They need their clothing not plus sized, but cut to fit them. I bet there are quite a few people in that category who make their own clothes, too!

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