View Full Version : sewing clothes when your body sucks

Zoe Girl
4-9-13, 12:34am
I used to sew a lot of clothing for me and my kids. I really liked it, however I seem to have constant issues with bobbin tension on my sewing machine. That is another post.

I am thinking about sewing more of my own clothes right now because my body is going through weird changes (perimenopause) and I just want to get dressed darn it! I have days when I am so bloated I am basically wearing my dressiest sweat pants that look like dress pants. I have 3 pairs of pants and one skirt with waists that will accomodate even the worst days, and then a dress that is very comfortable but more winter style than summer. Dresses rarely work at work since I carry 2 cell phones at all times.

So my grand idea from this weekend is to get or make a basic skirt pattern and a basic pant pattern to make my own skirts and pants with elastic waists. I have a hard time finding any pants or skirts with elastic waists that are A) not made for a 70 year old woman B) dressy enough fabric to wear to work but flexible enough to work with kids C) not too long for my petite body. I really like making my own clothes actually, and a simple pattern can be done in a day, it just seems that all the clothes these days have strict waists, even dresses, or are waaay too short or waaay too long. Anyone else frustrated enough to start sewing?

4-9-13, 1:04am
I feel frustrated too for the same reasons as you even down to the bobbin problem, but I cannot sew as fast as you.

Sewing something nice and comfortable sounds like a great idea. With an elastic waist you can always wear a longer shirt to hide it. I saw in Eddie Bauer that there were many tunics in their online catalogue.

Well keep me up to date. I would love to hear about what you make and what brand of pattern you used. Christine:)

4-9-13, 1:22am
I have a hard time finding any pants or skirts with elastic waists that are A) not made for a 70 year old woman

Really, all of the 70 year old women and up I know are very stylish... Maybe you meant a 99 year old woman. ;)

When I was going through perimenopause - on severe bloating days I had some clothes that were the next size up to wear, although they were very fitted, so as to not be sloppy looking. I wore them on the worst days. On other days not so bad, but a little bloated, I just wore looser style pants and long tops in my regular size. I just made sure I had some comfortable, yet flattering and stylish clothes to wear on all of the bloated days, so that I still looked good. Helped my mental outlook immensely. :) I personally, don't like to sew.

4-9-13, 1:37am
Zoe, what about a drawstring waist on one or two?

Zoe Girl
4-9-13, 11:10am
I know many 70 year old women who look nice, I just don't want to dress like them (my mom is 70 now), I cut the rest of my dyed hair off which is good but my brother noted I looked exaclty like mom,oops. So i will be growing it to a slightly more stylish version of salt and pepper hair ya know. I do get compliments but my chosen style is more a retro style of dark colors and crisp fabrics. My mom wears a lot of tan, ironed jeans and practical shoes. I never see her wear skirts, she looks like her and always very nice but not my style.

I like the drawstring idea but I will probably put at least some light elastic in (especially with pants) since I am very active in my job with kids, there is a risk of the drawstring untying when you are up and down all the time. The nice idea about the drawstring is that you can get much smaller if needed. I have a SNOW DAY, so I may post some ideas of things to sew. I can focus on tops that go over the waist and do not draw attention to the elastic like wildflower said.

4-9-13, 12:08pm
When doing drawstring pants, use the drawstring pulls clips for coats on the strings and there will be no untying. Joanns has them with the buttons.

Sometimes it is just nice to have elastic in the back or on the sides where it is less "visible" and just enough for a changing shape.

4-9-13, 1:18pm
I think that's a great idea. It's grounding and artistically rewarding to make your own clothes. I've been knitting sweaters and socks, and am really happy with the results. Right now I'm wearing an alpaca sweater and cashmere scarf that I made over the winter. It's healing and uplifting to use your talents. When you're finished, you'll have a skirt!

4-9-13, 5:06pm
I do make a couple of my own skirts and often alter the clothes I do buy. It's difficult for me to find clothes that fit so I'm glad I did learn sewing skills as a kid :)

Recently discovered a couple of knit styles that are complementary to my shape so now I want an overlock machine!

Zoe Girl
4-9-13, 5:13pm
oooh an overlock/serger machine. I want soo much, meanwhile sticking to woven materials.

4-9-13, 5:19pm
When I worked I made a lot of my clothes and I think it's the way to go if you have trouble purchasing things you like. There are tons of great patterns out there and the sewing stores put them on sale all the time. If your size varies, I would suggest trying a knitwear pattern for a "travel wardrobe" because they include a nice collection of pieces that are knit but don't look like sweats. And of course once you find a pattern you like, you can make it look totally different with different types of fabrics and by varying the pattern even slightly.

Personally I love elastic-waist pants, but whether I make them or buy them they must meet 3 criteria: 1) it has to be the right size and style pant so there isn't a bunch of extra fabric to look all bunchy around the waist - the fabric should lie flat and smooth when I put them on; 2) they must be of a weight of fabric that is just heavy enough to hide any little cellulite bulges but not heavy enough to look thick and chunky like sweatpants; and 3) they must have wide elastic, like about 2 inches wide or even wider and be sized it so it just fits around my waist in its non-stretched state - it should not be so tight it bites in and causes bulges or rolls.

Some elastic waist pants look matronly (I think of lavender double-knit polyester), but others are soft, flowy, elegant, and gorgeous.

4-9-13, 5:22pm
oooh an overlock/serger machine. I want soo much, meanwhile sticking to woven materials.

You can do knits on a regular machine- you just need the ball-tipped sewing machine needle. A walking foot helps too if you have one but isn't necessary. The Built-By-Wendy Home Stretch book is a good place to start if you want to try - it has a lot of info about handling knits, etc. The book is aimed at the younger set but with the instructions on how to alter patterns, it's easy to turn Wendy's patterns into something that will suit you.

Float On
4-12-13, 11:04am

Zoe Girl, maybe take a look at this skirt. Looks super comfy and there are endless possibilities for the hem (ruffle shown, but could go straight or contrasting block, etc.)

4-14-13, 9:24am
Hey Zoe,

I made this skirt for my niece a while back and it turned out quite nice. Very simple and cute with an elasticated waist and pockets!

4-14-13, 1:54pm
For the past couple of dozen years I have been using my old clothes as the pattern for making new ones. Same old black pants and tops. :D