Skip to content

The grass is always greener or…

2012 October 1
by elizabeth_admin

How I could make a career out of body dysmorphia.  

Ok, ok, this isn’t truly about body dysmorphia or a body image disorder.  I know I’m not making much sense here, so I will try to explain.  You know how people with straight hair sometimes wish that they had curly hair and vice versa?  I wonder if there are people out there with slim and non-curvy bodies wishing for a curvy figure.  Because I know I have always wished for a slim, non-curvy body myself since adolescence.  Even before Jack’s birth and when I was at my thinnest, I always had curves.  But post-Jack and the subsequent weight gain (or  rather lack of a weight-loss since his birth), my curves have really gained traction.  I yearn to be able to wear the clothes that only a slim, non-curvy body can rock, like tunics, shift dresses, Asian inspired clothing.  But someone with curves and a bust that looks like she’s still breastfeeding can’t really wear those clothes successfully.  Remember my post about shift dresses from last year?  The proofs of the pudding were the picture examples in that post.

The sewing patterns I’m most drawn to are always for the slim, non-curvy body type.  I rarely like or am drawn to patterns that are appropriate for my body and d-cup girls.  I have even sewn some of them up knowing they wouldn’t be the most flattering thing to wear – I loved them (and still do) that much.  These for example:

1.  My altered Burda top is extremely comfy to wear.  I wear it at least once a week.  Is it flattering?  NO!  But I love it.


2.  New Look 6022 is also very comfy, but, as I pointed out in the shift post, it hangs from the D cups.  Again, not very flattering.  I still love it though.  In fact, I made it twice I liked it that much.  My original review here.



3.  My beloved linen pants I made last year should also be included on the probably not the most flattering look list.  But I want to make them again and I wear them all the time.


Contrary to the evidence above, I have made some flattering clothes appropriate for my body type though.  I am not a complete idiot.  One of my current faves is the Butterick 5454 wrap dress.  I could wear these every day.



And let’s not forget the New Look 6067 dress with its defined waist and gorgeous fabric.  I feel like a beautiful queen whenever I wear this dress.  It truly is worth $3300.


So what about you?  Do you pine away for clothes that aren’t a good match for your body type?  Do you feel like you have a different body on the inside than what actually is showing on the outside?  Is there a cure for this dysmorphia???  Please let me know!

25 Responses leave one →
  1. October 1, 2012

    Hmmmm… I have to say that, in general, I am actually the opposite – I tend to dislike certain styles of clothes because I know they won’t look good on me. I don’t know… maybe that is odd or a bit narcissistic, but that is the way it seems to go for me. Though I do think it is normal for everyone to see some part of themselves that they want to fix or change. For me it is my legs – their tree-stump-like appearance is rather annoying. Honestly, I just want a little ankle definition. I dislike wearing skinny jeans/fitted trousers because of this (despite actually liking these style of pants), and I have avoided skirts and dresses for years. I am slowly working out of my anti-legs funk (I have worn a skirt in public this year!), but it is a long process to be comfortable with yourself when you see problems or challenges to looking the way you want to look.

    As for your love of flowy drapiness – I say you should wear what makes you happy. If you want to look fabulous and make a statement, wear one of your more fitted dresses, but if you want to wear something comfortable that you love, wear one of your tunics. I think it just depends on where you are going and what you want to look like. If you love the clothes you have made, you should wear them, and not worry about how it looks to everyone else.

  2. October 1, 2012

    This is an interesting post. Here’s the thing. I am very “curvy”. I neither love it or loathe it. It’s the body I have so I have to work with it. In a perfect world, I would like it to be easy for me to eat everything I want and look like Halle Berry. Or even not to eat everything, but look like Halle Berry. Ain’t gonna happen. What I’ll say is that I don’t dislike my breasts. Sure, I wish they were perkier (I’ve had a kid and I’m 42 so gravity is taking hold). Good bras keep them pert and I don’t mind showing them off in fitted clothing. I wish for you that you could come to enjoy the gorgeous body you have right now and dress to enhance it (as you have with your lovely wrap dresses) all the time. You have talent and you are so pretty. No point in dysmorphia. How about using that skill to cast a glamour? 🙂

  3. October 1, 2012

    A couple of other thoughts: If you want to look “thinner”, you’d be best to dress in a way to highlight the distinction between your breasts and waist (as I’m sure you know). And you DO NOT look like you are still breastfeeding. You could, however, use a bra that does more to flatter your lovely bust (and I say this with love). I’m doing a whole post series on that this week. Join in!

  4. October 1, 2012

    I think it is so funny that we sewing bloggers get so cavalier about our bodies and have no qualms about putting pictures of ourselves. ha ha even funnier when you lead with “here is an unflattering one” and “here is another one”.

    I’ve had a post in the back of my head about the measurement that helps me get my upper back properly fitted. From one bust point up and around my neck to my other bust point is 30 inches long. So, right, There is my topic sentence, just how do I fill out those paragraphs – and what kinds of pictures to post? But this shows the inner workings of the mind of a sewing blogger.

    Back on topic, I never pined for curly hair, but I would like to be at least 3 inches shorter. Every time I meet someone in person for the first time, they say, “oh! you’re so tall!”.
    Yep. I noticed it, too.
    he hehe

  5. October 1, 2012

    Honestly I must be missing something because I think you looked good in all of those outfits. The relaxed clothing (shifts, linen pants) are a different kind of look than say your sheath dresses with the darts and the wrap dresses. One emphasizes your body and one emphasizes the look. But please feel free to ignore me because we each have ideas about how we want to look and no one can really tell you how you should feel about your own body in different outfits.

  6. October 1, 2012

    I can understand how you feel. But really, I think you have to work with what you’ve got. You have nothing if not a GORGEOUS body. I would kill for a rack like yours (mine sometimes feels non-existent) and your hipline gives you such killer curve. You have fabulous legs and your arms look great too. At the end of the day, its not fair to yourself to judge your body on what it used to look like – our body is so much like our brain and our soul/heart. They take journeys and during the journey we change. There is nothing wrong with that. Embrace it girl!

  7. October 1, 2012

    I have that straight, curveless body you speak of. I was mistaken for a young boy once when I went to get the mail in a loose t-shirt and shorts. I pine for the beautiful bras K-Line features, and so many tops seem to be just empty on my chest. Yet, the two times I did have some va va voom, when I was nursing my daughters, I felt so unlike myself and like I was living in someone else’s body. So I guess I’m mostly comfortable with my body, but a little more than my A– bust would be nice.

    The pluses: finding pants that fit is not a problem. The minuses: tops, jackets, dresses, you name it. I’m realizing I should have enlisted a good tailor to alter my clothing for the last decade or so. Now I’m trying to learn to do it myself, but time is an issue. I’m learning very, very, slowly.

    I think you look fabulous and your curves are perfect. You especially rocked those swim suits and your wrap dresses!

  8. Wendy Hillhouse permalink
    October 1, 2012

    Like Sunni, I think you look fabulous. I want to look like you! 😉

    (another opera singer, moi…)

  9. October 2, 2012

    I used to buy patterns because I wanted to look like the model on the envelope. That meant a pile of patterns for giantess sylphs. Over time, I’ve learned what looks good on me and it tends to follow Charla Krupp’s suggestions in her book, How to Never Look Fat Again.

    Unfortunately, that means looking the same day after day and I can’t live that way. I need more variety. That means wearing clothes that she categorizes as “fattening” just to get more variety in my sartorial diet. I can live with that better than I can live with variations of the same outfit day after day.

  10. October 2, 2012

    Interesting topic. I think you’re much too hard on your less fitted clothes, they look great to me! Your linen trousers are one of my favourites out of your projects. I think most of us have things we’d like to change about our bodies. I’d love to be shorter. I’m 5’10”. The good news is that I’m drawn to styles that work with height. That’s got a lot better since I started sewing; I used to want to be able to wear cute styles that look daft on a big girl. Now I have much more choice in styles that suit me, the urge to be cute has gone away.

  11. October 2, 2012

    I think I am your body opposite. I am a chubby pear who yearns for wrap dresses and surplice tops. They always look bad on me. My chest just shrinks away to nothing!

  12. October 2, 2012

    The secret to looking great is not so much about size rather than knowing how to dress yourself and you look fabulous in each of the dresses you made and re-posted!
    At 5’2″ every pound makes a difference one way or another…… I wish I was taller…….thinner…..with curly hair………richer…… at the beach…….. Let’s just not go there and make the best of who we are. You do that beautifully!

    Thanks too for bringing the last NL pattern to my attention. 🙂

  13. October 2, 2012

    I do but got over it years ago because I figured out what works for me once I embraced who I am (short with a big peasant butt, beefy legs, a scoliosis twisted spine, extremely narrow shouldered and very un-photogenic) and I realized that list of very real flaws is not what people see when they look at me, they see the person I’ve consciously made myself into with fashion and sewing, a women in her 50’s who looks at least 10 years younger, fashionably dressed but not a fashion victim with a lot of personal style dressed in well made, well fitted clothes that I like to wear. I think it takes couple years to figure out what it all means and how to decide what to make and wear on one’s body. Fashion combined with sewing is a journey and it’s like playing an instrument, it takes practice, dedication, technique and time.

  14. October 2, 2012

    You are too hard on yourself – you look lovely, in every outfit. However, I do know what you mean, since I have those same D-cup betties plaguing every dressing decision I make. I was once moaning to a friend about feeling ungainly in my clothes, feeling large and frumpy and she said, “I think your problem is you can’t see past your boobs.” I laughed as I looked down because I literally couldn’t. Which wasn’t what she meant, of course. She meant that focusing on the one aspect of my body that I felt was difficult meant I lost sight of the things that weren’t. I’ve stopped making clothes for myself these last couple of years since the last couple of things I made looked so dreadful, but maybe I should get that Burda wrap dress. I love it every time I see your latest incarnation. (I also love those linen pants & think they look great on you, fwiw.)

    I often think that I should sew more with Joan from Mad Men in mind, though this wouldn’t be terribly practical on the school run.

  15. Judidarling permalink
    October 2, 2012

    You may believe that the dramatic orange print does not sync with your body type, but I love the way you look in it. The fabric carries the day–the pattern carries the eye up and down, which is quite attractive. Do you remember the source for this gorgeous material?

  16. Burke permalink
    October 2, 2012

    I personally think you’re one of the prettiest bloggers I follow – you make gorgeous garments that are high quality and you’re a great model for us other proportionally curvy gals. Part of what I love about sewing is that you can make things you love, which I think supercedes the flattering part. I love shift dresses despite my ample bossom and I wear them with pride (and a bit shorter to show off my legs!) I’ve found that I’ve become less self-conscious since starting to sew, and even embrace my “flaws” – otherwise, sewing is less fun.

  17. October 2, 2012

    I only feel that I hate my body when I’m dressing in 1920s inspired things, but when I was in my modern phase I was drawn to all kinds of things I couldn’t wear — tunic tops, rectangular dresses. It seriously made me look like I was wearing a sack. But there’s nothing wrong with your figure (or your projects)!

    I personally like my figure now, since I’ve learned what works with it, but this hasn’t come without a lot of work! I train in martial arts and I’ve taken up running as a side hobby, and Mon-Fri I eat mostly vegetables and protein. I also walk to and from work on top of everything else.

  18. Sue permalink
    October 2, 2012

    Wow! You look gorgeous in all those garments. I don’t see anything to complain about. No you are not a stick (Twiggy in my day) but enjoy those curves – just think Sophia Loren, Gina Lollabrigida (sp?) again my era but many of the new stars have curves. Maybe revisiting what you like and why would give you new insight and peace.
    Plus you have done amazing things with that body – You, with a little help, created Jack!
    That last dress really is gorgeous – check out the difference different colors make on how you look. Did it really cost $3300?

    Take care,

  19. Helen permalink
    October 2, 2012

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I’ve been following your blog a while now and I have to say that I love your style! I am nearly the same shape as you but with a bit more lower tummy. Totally agree with what you’ve said regarding shift and sheath dresses but you look great in all the photos you post! I have found that dresses with princess line bodices coupled with A line skirts are wonderful for me, like Chloe from Victory Patterns or Bleuet from Deer and Doe.
    Of course the grass is greener…. but what I’d give for a few more cms in height and less tummy and wavy hair and etc….!!!! Just kidding! It took a few years of experimenting and accepting that shifts are a no-no for me and I just can’t suck in my stomach all day long so now all my dresses are basically the same style -very boring but at least there’s much less disappointment when I complete a garment.

  20. October 2, 2012

    Everyone is different, but the two things that really changed my attitude toward my body were learning to sew and running. Sewing to flatter my curves and how that’s translated into understanding how to flatter my curves with RTW has been huge. Even more so – and unexpectedly – running has changed my relationship with myself. It’s hard to explain the change, but running makes me feel good about myself – strong, able, confident – in a way that runs deep. I can’t even really hate my legs anymore. They are what they are aesthetically, and they’ve carried me through a half marathon. Truce.

  21. October 2, 2012

    I feel like if I could have gathered my thoughts well enough I could have written this post myself. I totally understand how you feel about the ‘comfy’ clothes. My eye is constantly drawn to styles that are loose and flowy. I actually really like the photo’s you’ve got above, and think they look great on you, but in my case, it’s not that the loose and flowy clothes don’t look somewhat nice, it’s that on me they don’t look anything like the inspiration. So annoying.

    I often go on the hunt for inspiration pictures of people who do have boobs and hips, but it’s actually very difficult to find. I think it’s actually really lazy of designers to only design for one uncomplicated body type. I would love to see designers challenge themselves to create designs that are optimal on curves. That’s not likely to happen any time soon, so I’ll have to rely on wonderful bloggers like you for my inspiration.

  22. October 3, 2012

    It’s funny isn’t it? Because I don’t think these are unflattering projects at all. I think the scoop neck on the Burda top really works for you, I love how the orange fabric of the New Look dress skims over the body so it is not fitted but not shapeless either. And, well you know I love your linen trousers because I just totally copied you by making my own!

    When I was younger I used to really want to be skinnier (and have curly hair – my hair is so thick it won’t hold a curl for even a night out!). I think part of the “skinny thing” was because I didn’t fit into RTW clothes exactly how I wanted. Now I can sew, I can try to make little tweaks to my garments that will make a style work better for me. Like someone else has commented, I try to think about what works for my body type but I’m not going to live my life following a strict set of clothing rules because I would get so bored!!

  23. Carol S. permalink
    October 3, 2012

    I think your being hard on yourself, but you’re certainly not along. 2 things to share; first check out this blog for the a full bust adjustment on a wrap dress where both sides are adjusted.

    Makes sense to me and you might be able to get away without the cami.
    Also simarly shaped I made a shift dress this year, but mine has vertical darts. I’ve got a curvy figure too and it is quite flattering.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Rebuttal and Pattern Giveaway | SEWN

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Baby Lock Imagine
    Brother 2340CV
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
    RIP: Brother 1034D
  • Translation

  • I’m a proud member of

  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along