Precious Fabrics and Being Worthy of The Damn Silk

August 3, 2021

TW: Body image, weight loss

Recently one of my favorite sewing instagramers, Buried Diamond, started a conversation on precious fabric and what made any given fabric precious to you. Why you might be reluctant to cut into a given fabric, and what would make it worth it. It made me examine what cuts in my stash I’ve deemed “precious” and why I’ve had reluctance to cut them. Some, like my “Reclining Nude Viscose Crepe” fabric, are waiting for the right pattern to inspire me. Others, I have a pattern in mind, but am nervous to tackle it *cough* jumpsuits *cough*. And the final main category: I’ve deemed the fabric too precious to cut for my body as it is.

Luxurious silks, drapey viscose crepes, neon suitings, deadstock galore. All of it I had, either consciously or subconsciously, decided to hold off on cutting into it for fear that my body would change and I wouldn’t be able to wear the garment anymore. Or, the idea I had in mind for the garment was meant for a skinnier version of me. I shouldn’t cut into it until I reach a size X. It’ll be my treat for losing X lbs or working out consistently, or any number of absurd bargaining chips.

Can you believe I almost didn’t make this because I wanted to save the fabric ~just in case~?

In reality, this was just a way to distance my current self from who I actually want to be.

Please know: I am actively working incredibly hard to shift from this thinking. My body is fab as it is. It’s kept me safe during a global pandemic where doctors may not have deemed me worth saving. I’ve traveled across continents in this body; I’ve held both my nephews in my big fat arms. This body I was taught to hate has been a lovely vessel for all of my favorite moments in life, and I am learning to appreciate it for all its done for me.

But one place I haven’t quite done the work?

Cutting into the gorgeous fabric I purchased with projects in mind. All because I don’t want to “waste” it on my body. And the irony is I really started getting into sewing because I couldn’t find the clothes I want to wear in my size. How absurd to deny myself the ability to casually wear a silk slip dress to my WFH job just because I didn’t deem by body, my badass body, worthy of it. The fun, neon graphic deadstock is just sitting on my shelf, rather than living its best life! AKA a life where it’s sewn up and worn!

I desperately wanted to make a specific coat pattern with this fabric, but that coat pattern doesn’t go up to my size. Rather than waiting for my body to change, I found another pattern that I loved and sewed it up for my winter coat!

This isn’t at all helped by the fact that so many pattern companies don’t grade up to my size (or larger). Even though more pattern companies are becoming size inclusive, there is TONS of room to improve. The Big 4 don’t come in my size, and a significant amount of indies don’t either. So there are times when I do find a pattern I’d love to sew up, only to check the size chart and learn that I fall outside of it. It can be incredibly discouraging to have a fully formed image of the garment in my mind, only to realize I’ll have to figure out how to get to my size on my own.

A silver lining

Luckily there are fab companies like Muna & Broad (whose Grainger coat pattern I used above) who will grade up their patterns!! Friday Pattern Company goes up to a 7X as part of their standard size chart; some patterns need to be updated. The Saltwater Slip is the dress in 2/3 pictures above! Seamwork* goes up to a size 26 and has tons of classes on how to make their patterns!

Listen, I’ve spent at least half my life actively hating my body. That’s not going to magically go away overnight. But I can actively combat it, and in a lot of ways, I have. That’s not going to erase the fact that there’s still more I can do for myself.

Part of that is just cutting the damn fabric.

*The link is a referral link, I’ll get a free month if you sign up through it, and you get $3 off!


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Hello There!


I’m Chelsea, half human, half disco ball, total joyful disaster. When I’m not thinking Thoughts or sewing some fun clothes you can find me listening to records, exploring my city and doing my best to bring joy to my every day.