Through pregnancy and post-partum our bodies go through massive changes in size and shape, unfamiliar redistributions of weight, and are constantly changing. These changes can be disorienting and can cause even the most self-confident of women to feel alien in her body.
Today on the Maternity Sewing blog we have Rebecca from Sew Pomona to talk about how she used sewing to find self-confidence in her body after pregnancy.
When I was younger I always joked around that what I really wanted to be was a 50’s housewife. The always elegant mother who kept a spotless, well decorated home, dressed beautifully and cared for her family with ease. Totally unrealistic – but cooking, crafting and babies (and even sometimes cleaning now) are some of my favorite things. All that said, becoming a mother was not an easy life transition.
What I missed most after having children was expressing myself creatively. My favorite forms of art were printmaking (mainly etching and lithography) and oil painting which both involve lots of toxic chemicals. As a newly crunchy mom that was just not feasible. Trying to find a new outlet to express myself led to crafting and then sewing.
I had done a bit of historical costuming, knitting and hand embroidery before kids but had never really used a sewing machine. Pinterest and DIY Craft blogs came to the rescue! I made some simple hats, baby slings and car seat covers and from there the world opened up. I became so excited with my newly learned skills and wanted to learn to make everything! I threw myself into craft.
After my second child’s birth I got obsessed with sewing. I finally had a little girl to dress! I quickly learned how to make baby clothes. Because I breastfed for so long (8 years) nursing friendly clothing was a necessity too. It was what started me sewing clothing for myself. I couldn’t find anything I would wear normally that was breastfeeding friendly. Nursing clothing was somehow even uglier than maternity wear.
I remember vividly the first dress I made – a black and white leaf print linen/cotton with a bodice I modified for breastfeeding. It had a cross wrap tie that went around the bust and a fuller skirt that covered my belly. I was so proud of myself. It gave me the confidence I needed to keep trying more complicated patterns. That same dress got refashioned later, after my sewing improved, into a pinafore for Amelie.
Being able to sew and alter clothing is such a blessing when your body is in a state of transition. I gained 45 lbs with my first pregnancy and it took forever to get back to my pre-pregnancy size. I remember how shocked I was after giving birth that I still looked pregnant. I somehow imagined I would look like myself again as soon as the baby was born.
18 months later I was pregnant again and gaining it all back, and much more quickly this time around. I lost the baby weight more quickly, mainly because I was tandem nursing, but still felt awkward in my postpartum body. All these rapid body changes can make wearing clothing just uncomfortable. Even now that I’m back to my pre-baby weight my body shape has changed quite a bit. Age and gravity affect us all and learning to embrace those changes takes time.
I’ve always had a healthy body image and been quite confident in my sense of self, but I still had a hard time feeling confident with my changing size. Loving the body you have now is so important. Seeing myself through my children’s eyes always helps me find balance- they think I’m beautiful no matter what I look like!
Being able to alter and make my own post maternity clothing was so vital. The best part about sewing for yourself is that you can adjust everything based off your personal measurements. No matter what size you are having, clothes fit properly makes all the difference. You can design your pieces to have wider seam allowances to accommodate size changes. Creativity can lead to wonderful ideas to make your clothing both functional and beautiful. I wish I had started earlier. Knowing that my clothes fit ME is amazing!