Monday, 4 May 2015

Tweaking the Owl T-shirt. Also, how not to look fat.

The question 'Does this make my butt look fat?' is not as horrible a question as it first seems.  It is obviously loaded with a cultural judgement about size, but when you look at it objectively, the question is actually about the clothing. Instead of blaming the butt, it points the blame squarely at garment, where it belongs. Only sometimes we forget this, and mistake an unflattering garment for a personal fault.

Because I can sew, I've developed a view of my body in relation to clothing that a lot of people haven't had the opportunity to experience. 
The Before and the After. 0kg lost in between.
The upshot is, clothes that fit badly, make you look sloppy. Which is completely different to saying there is something wrong with your figure.

This is why I'm putting so many horrible pictures of myself on the internet, to try and illustrate this point and hopefully save some people from the trouble of hating on their body when it isn't warranted.
Before. If I ever go into politics, or accidentally become famous,
 this one will come back to bite me
I bought this shirt because it had a cute owl on it. Even though it gave me a lumpy figure.
But when I say 'it gave me' a lump figure, that is exactly what I mean. That is not what my body looks like. If I wore clothes that fit like this (as most off the rack stuff does*) then people would think I did have a lumpy figure. I would probably think that too.

Fortunately, I have enough experience with fitting to be able to put it on and think 'Dang, that fits like a sack' instead of 'Oh my goshness, I have really let myself go...'

If you've become convinced there is something wrong with your shape because all the clothes you wear make it look wrong, and because of the fact that nothing ever fits, that might just be baloney. 

There is no reason off the rack clothes are a 'better' shape than what you have. They're just a 'mass production' shape, which is arbitrary, and inevitably not right for most people. It is completely separate from health and fitness. Health and fitness are important goals, but if you're trying to change your figure to suit your clothing, you are putting the horse before the cart. Change the clothing instead.

Anyhoo, to do this mini makeover, I took the whole shirt apart. That isn't always necessary for an improved fit, but in this case a) I wanted to raise the owl, and b) the construction was shoddy to begin with. I mean, yuck...

Might just fall apart anyway...
So I took it completely apart, and re-cut the neckline at the front to reposition the owl. I had to be sure to change the back to correspond with this adjustment.

After I did this, I learned that the owl was never in the centre to begin with, which was most frustrating as I then had to go a bit tighter than I originally intended. This garment spent about a week in the naughty corner while I considered and resented the lopsided owl.

To create the side seam line, I referred to my tried and true t-shirt pattern and chalked in the new seam accordingly. I want the shirt to skim over my waistline, not add a puddle of bulk in the middle.

I cut that, and reconstructed the shirt.

There you have it. Much better. Tinsy bit tighter than intended but whatevs. That owl is cute.
A good fit can create a better result than dieting and self depreciating perspectives any day.
So learn to adjust your stuff. And if you're already doing this, point out to your friends that the faults they perceive with themselves, might actually just be faults with their clothing. Don't tell them their butt looks fat. Maybe just skip the word fat altogether, because it's loaded with judgment. If it really isn't great, tell them that dress doesn't do their awesome figure justice. 

(* This is why I sew).


  1. Definitely an improvement!
    and probably a quick fix (ignoring the off centre owl issue).

  2. Nice work! What was it that was at the front at the raglan sleeve area I just cant work it out? a button? was there also a edge trim thingy too. much nicer now I must say

    1. The shirt originally had a strip with raw edges and metal studs. I took them out and while I did consider putting studs back to retain the original look, I didn't much care for them so I just left them off in the end.