Thursday, February 19, 2015

No Bulk No Button Less Belly

Twice in the past week, I've been asked where "all this" is going in reference to creativity coaching and to journal writing. Up until this year, I'd only thought about working with a coach. I'd read about other people's experiences but I personally didn't know anyone who had a coach. It was an experience that I thought could be useful but I wasn't sure. I've been journalling off and on for almost thirty years and every day for the past three years. This is not common but it's also not as unusual as it sounds.

Both creativity coaching and journal writing are about self-development, about being the best me possible and then sharing that knowledge in whatever way I can to support and encourage others to their best. For the past six years, life has had back-to-back tough - tremendously overwhelming - I'd really rather not deal with this - events. I haven't felt like myself for the longest time and I certainly haven't felt like the you'll get through it, you're so strong woman that many people see me as. Being strong doesn't mean you can, or should, have to handle everything on your own.

That's the brief background for why I'm so excited with the information I've been learning. As I said, it's re-connecting some dots I'd lost track of and yet, even though it's not entirely new, there's this inner joyfulness at recognizing that things are now moving forward. Not that life isn't a roller coast and not that there won't be other "stuff" that comes up, but in terms of what I am working on, I feel like I've turned a corner that just might stay turned.





We don't tend to see ourselves the way other people see us. Our vision is distorted by experiences in our past and those echoes of negativity speak loud. This month, I've had several ah ha's that have impacted me significantly. One was the surprise thought that popped into my head when I set up my new dress form. It's bigger but it's not BIG. Twenty years ago, I was very slim, even underweight. When life got stressful with my husband's illness, I started packing on the pounds which led to yo-yoing through a variety of diet plans all of which - ultimately - left me heavier. While I'd opted out of worrying about my weight, I hadn't opted out of seeing myself as heavy. That thought was the beginning of a paradigm shift.

Watching the type four information, I noticed how stunning the women were after their makeover. I saw their newfound confidence in their facial expression and posture. In some of the type four make-overs, the women went from exceedingly frumpy to definitely stunning. I observed but I - obviously - could not be a type four because I was not beautiful. It's one thing to be told you are beautiful and assume the teller is biased and it's another to truly accept the compliment.

When I realized that I was indeed a type four, I had to re-read the information from the I am as opposed to the am I perspective and it felt so right that I bought new make-up, put on earrings, wore higher heels, dressed the part, and garnered some lovely compliments. My step has more spring and I too feel that confidence. For the first time that I can remember since being a little girl playing dress-up, I looked in the mirror and thought I am beautiful. There's a whole history that I'm not going to go into about why that is such a lightening bolt moment. Trust me, it's of seismic proportion.





When I was out for a walk yesterday, I glanced down at my shadow and thought what slim hips. WHAT? I have never ever - ever, ever, ever - thought that about my hips. Typically, I look down and think yes, you are definitely hippy. And I am. But I'm not horrendously out of proportion and I have nice shape. When I cut out the waistband for my latest jeans, I thought I'd made a mistake. It looked too small. I actually remeasured everything twice because I couldn't connect what looked tiny with my body.

It's is so very strange at fifty-two to suddenly be seeing myself in a more flattering, more positive way... and very wonderful. For that, I'll pay $99.00. AND.. a lovely bonus... it's having a huge impact on sewing. The wardrobe is cleaned out. The stash is cleaned out. The pattern collection is surely next. And, I'm developing criteria for making the correct choice more often. This is good.





A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Yesterday, I pulled out four softly structured jacket patterns and read the reviews. My focus was on the pictures. I wanted to see how structured the garment was, how it draped, and how much excess fabric was in the real garment as opposed to the illustration on the pattern envelope. The photograph above left is from LizPalmer's review of out of print Vogue 8454. Of the four jackets I reviewed, this one - and especially her photo - impressed me. This is a look I'd wear confidently and one that would be flattering with my figure. While I didn't choose to sew the jacket, the pattern did go back in stash. The others may not. I'm still debating.





There were no reviews of New Look 6273. I bought the pattern after seeing it on someone's blog - I'm not sure whose. The elements that I know will flatter me are mirrored images at center front, parallel lines, the princess seams that give shape (architecture), the soft but firm structure, and the high sleeve cap. What I need to be careful of is how much drape will that lapel have and will it fall correctly but there's room to adjust that while sewing.





Before sewing, I adjusted the length of the jacket. First I shortened above the waist so the curve would hit at the curve on my body. I'm short waisted. I removed 7/8". And then I added 3 1/8" length below the waist so the finished jacket would hit at relatively the same length as my t-shirt. I am not comfortable with waist length garments. As you can see, I have a small back waist and high hips with absolutely no room between my hips, my waist, and my ribs. My waist is basically a string around my middle. When a garment cuts across at that level, it looks - IMHO - like a beach ball on my butt which is not the impression I'm going for.





These are my latest Burda 8157 jeans. The fabric is stretch denim so I basted all the seams, pinned together center front, and wore them around the studio for two days to see how much they would stretch. At one point, I went to take them off and completely forgot to unpin the front and just pulled them over my hips. OH... that meant I didn't need a zipper and frankly no bulk, no button, less belly seemed like a way better option to me. If the fashion police have a problem, oh well.





To finish the waist, I sewed a waistband with a casing and then put 1", non roll, elastic through the casing. The elastic is only slightly smaller than the waistband and holds the jeans snuggly to my body. I wore them all day yesterday and LOVED them. I'll definitely make more like this.

Another new idea I tried was lowering the waistband an inch so that the top of the waistband is at my waist as opposed to the waistband seam. I'd noticed that I was forever adjusting waistbands down an inch after I'd worn the garment for a while and wondered if this might solve the problem. A string around the middle is not an inch wide. What took me so long ? ? ? ? As I said, they are very comfortable. I think this may be the answer to less alternations and... with this change... it doesn't look like I need to tip the waist any more. I'll explore that next.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a good week, a good month, and that's an understatement.

... after almost two decades of yo-yoing, I finally realized that being grateful for my body, whatever shape it was in, was the key to giving more love to myself. 
- Oprah Winfrey

31 comments:

  1. Great stuff, Myrna. You continue to inspire me with your perseverence and fearlessness! Susan

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate knowing that the information is worth sharing.

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  2. The jeans look fabulous. Here' to a great month!

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  3. Love the jeans with the paisley top. One shape I don't think I've seen you experiment with is wider (as in anything from bootcut to flare to what the French refer to as "elephant foot") pants at the bottoms. I think they'd look great on you, and give you a bit of the architectural interest you desire. I've got a stretch pull-on pair of no-iron black wide-leg pants (poly jersey maybe? something slithery but non-clingy lol) that go with me on every trip, as well as regular wear, and they always make me feel like I can go anywhere in them.

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    1. Thanks. Are you referring to a wider leg that falls from the hip or a leg that flares from the knee? I like both shapes. The print pants I just sewed - no photos yet - are much wider and fall from the hip and it's a look I really like. LOL - I was debating a black pair because - as you said - it just seems so versatile. I may put black pant knit on my shopping list for Sew Expo. If you could link me to a picture of the pants you're thinking of, that would be great.

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    2. I like and own both shapes too, but here's the exact pair I take everywhere. (These fall from the hips, and are roomy enough that I usually size down one size from the measurements they list). The fabrication on these is not as high quality as the brand used to be years ago, but still good enough and good deal enough that I keep a black pair of these on hand at all times. I keep fiddling with copying them, but am still tweaking because copying from slinky fabric is never an exact science. ;-)

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/NWT-QVC-Attitudes-by-Renee-Wide-Leg-Jersey-Slinky-Knit-Pant-Trousers-BLACK-S-3X-/330844292486?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item4d07db4586

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    3. Thanks for the link. They remind me of a couple one seam patterns that I have and definitely of the McCall's 6515 that I sewed last week. I'll get a picture of those asap. Do they have a side seam?

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    4. They do have a side seam, and I just checked the fabrication, 92% poly 8% elastane. I think what I love about them is they are folded over from the waist to form an elastic waist casing all-around but the elastic is tacked (vertically sewn about an inch in front of each side seam) so they're basically flat-front with the gathers in the back, and the pattern is therefore slimmer through the front waist than a fuller-gathered pattern would be. Too much fabric around my waist/hips and I end up looking wider, which is not my goal. :-D Looking forward to seeing your McCalls.

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  4. I love the fit of those jeans! You're quite right that they make your body look slim. And they look great with the paisley top!

    Interesting about the top of the waistband....I've been (slowly) coming to that same conclusion. It's funny how something so simple can take so long to come to the forefront of your mind.

    I so envy your ability to just add some length here, take a different amount there, don't do the zipper, add a sleeve, put on a different sleeve, no problem. Those are technical skills which elude me.

    One of your comments yesterday suggested Pinterest for DYT ideas. Oh my! What fun! I only recently discovered Pinterest. I don't know what I thought it was, but goodness! It's wonderful! Full of great ideas about all kinds of things. And I love how you can gather ideas into different boards to keep them organized. I hadn't thought about it as a resource for body shape versus clothing shape ideas. Duh! Of course!

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    1. They feel slim too and that's a delightful feature. I know - who considers whether it's the top or the bottom of the waistband that's supposed to sit at the waist. I don't think I've ever seen that addressed anywhere and in fact - the assumption I came away with is the bottom BUT... this seems to work better.

      LOL - oh dear. A new Pinterest addict. It's quite the place. Enjoy.

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  5. I have found (at the age of 62!) my sweet spot as far a style and color. It is a lovely place to be. I can walk into a store now and eliminate what will not work! I can then concentrate on what I like and none of my clothes are "orphans" any more.

    Truthfully I can get dressed in the dark now and still come up with an outfit that works and looks fabulous. What a joy that is!

    If I have a funeral or wedding I have some thing that will work.

    We are going on an opera tour of Europe this spring and I have made a long dupioni silk skirt in my eggplant purple to wear with several different tops and one really over the top jacket.

    Today I will finish my jeans to wear in Puyallup and hope to get a quick jacket done as well. See you there!

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    1. It's a delightful sweet spot that you're in. YEAH you. Thank you so much for sharing the information. You've certainly pushed me along in my journey and I'm very appreciative. Eliminating what doesn't work is often an easier perspective than trying to figure out what does. You know where not to go and you can explore the other options. I wrote Diane - my coach - yesterday and said that it feels like I"ve made a shift from trying to be someone creative to being myself creatively and from trying to sew something sparkly to sewing what looks and feels like me and will give me my own authentic sparkle. This is huge. SO FUN to now look at the details of that. I'm looking forward to meeting in Puyallup.

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  6. I'm on the same journey and find your posts inspirational

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    1. Enjoy the journey and the results. It's good not to be alone and I'm glad what I'm learning is helping you too. YES YES

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  7. Hi Myrna:

    It's good to hear someone else breaking through on body image issues. Although I have a question. What is the type four you refer to? This isn't something I've heard before.

    Thanks!

    Tracy

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    1. Sorry - I was referring back to a posting last Friday and Monday when I talked about a program called Dressing Your Truth. As you'll read, I wasn't all that impressed with their presentation but it did connect dots for me and re-connect me with some truths I'd let go. Type four is similar to a Winter if you know about the Color Me Beautiful system. They were clear, pure hues and - as in my case - shaded colors where black has been added. The DYT system is based on energy which gives it strong correlations to personality type testing as well. The mix is interesting. I'm not sure how good or how bad the information is matters as much as does it impact you and move you forward. It's certainly done that for me and sent me to my bookshelf to pull out some books I haven't read in a while along this line. If you're interested in this topic, one book I heartily recommend is Nothing To Wear by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo. FABULOUS. It spends a lot of time on your fashion personality while Looking Good by Palmer/Pletsch focuses on your shape.

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  8. Myrna, just an FYI.......type 4 wears clear primary colors and black and white. Type 3 wears the shaded with black colors!

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    1. LOL - you're determined that I'm a 3. Could be. I prefer the shaded colors but I just finished - literally - looking at a dozen type 3 pages on Pinterest for tomorrow's posting so I could honestly say that I had paid attention to your suggestion and not a whole lot resonated and what did was really leaning toward a 4. I absolutely do not wear brown or any of the fall/spring colors or gold jewelry or leopard print or anything like that and a lot of the garments were too textured for me. I like some texture. Perhaps I'm a 3 1/2? Either way, if I end up dressing in a way that makes me more alive and energetic, this is good. I saw one graph that related 1 to spring, 2 to summer, 3 to fall, and 4 to winter. That's what I had thought as well. I've been asked numerous times if I'm a winter. You can analyze me in person next week. What fun.

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    2. I have been wrong in the past.......rarely. LOL

      I am a double whammy type 3 bulldozer. Even my secondary is type 3! With a type 4 husband. Amazing how after you understand each other's quirks it really does work.

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    3. LOL - this may be one of those rare times. I hope so. It's going to be fun to meet and see.

      I've been involved in color my entire life as a hair stylist, an interior designer, and an artist and I've studied this topic quite intensely on and off for over thirty years. Color and balance are my strong points so if I've got this wrong, I may as well pack up my crayons and find something else to do. I can't see it. I've done too much hair, decorated too many rooms, and created too many pieces to not have some idea of what I'm talking about... to say nothing of the fact that most of my stash and closet works well for me. To suddenly be in an entirely different realm would feel like a split personality. Hmm... VBG... is this a Gemini thing?

      Actually, I think it's part monitor coloring and part how you've interpreted my personality from what you've read which of course leaves out all of what I didn't write and doesn't display my very dry sense of humor. The DYT or CMB information was definitely more about reconnecting the dots than new dots. About actually putting on the make-up, wearing the earrings, and making the effort... and some weeding out... but not a major overhaul... or even a lightening bolt unless we count discounting grey. The shift was the feeling not the facts.

      I read the summer/winter info today at Color Me Beautiful and Color Me Confident and they have new categories like a deep summer. That sounds about right. I'm not pastel pink and I'm not hot pink but deep fuchsia, now that makes sense. The book Nothing To Wear talks a lot about our fashion personality. I think that's a HUGE part of the puzzle along with figure type. ALL so interesting.I really appreciate your opinion. It's fun to talk to someone who obviously enjoys the same topic. Thanks.

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  9. Hi Myrna. I am a Type I with a secondary Type IV, I believe. How this looks on me is that I dress with restrained whimsy--you might not notice the humor at first but something might make you smile if you keep looking (if I've got it right on that particular day). the whimsy being the TYPE I and the restrained being the Type IV part. I don't like to bother with details, don't want fussy clothes, don't like to plan (all TYPE I), but at times analyze an idea from every possible direction (TYPE IV)--most annoying to others, I'd say. I do a lot of mental sewing, very little actual sewing, but the garments in my head turn out great. Good luck with your adventures as a Type IV!

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    1. How fun that you can play with that whimsy aspect. I can see how you could subtly sneak it in and startle the viewer. I have a sense of humor but it's real dry and can take people a minute. They need to learn my tone. Over analyze... oh definitely. I can over-think over-thinking. Thanks for the well wishes.

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  10. What a fantastic post, many , many thanks. You really made me smile on a cold grey day here in England. Sometimes I find everyone's "journey" blogging a bit tedious but you are genuinely on a journey and I am very much enjoying "seeing" that journey travelled. I hope that you continue to revel in this process.

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    1. You're welcome. THANK YOU for letting me know I'm not being tedious. Spiraling around through the same things can seem like you're never getting your act together but I learn something new each rotation. I'm definitely feeling more confident about me now.

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  11. I read the reference to Nothing to Wear? and thought 'that sounds familiar'.

    That would be because I already have a copy.

    CMB has me as a cool summer (cool and soft) which puts me in Type 2 which does sound right.
    Just a pity that I think I have always envied/wanted to be more of a 3. I think I associate softness with weakness, no idea why.

    OTOH I do get a shock if anyone suggests that they see me as capable, reliable etc (anyone think it's just possible I have self-esteem issues?).

    Right, off to make a coffee and read Nothing to Wear while I wait for Part3 of DYT to hit my inbox.

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    1. OH - you're so lucky to be able to go pull it off the shelf and start. SUCH a good book. What personality are you?

      One of the dangers with these types of testing is how we individually interpret a word as opposed to the intent of using that word. Drama for me is an emotional mess as opposed to a presentation.

      One thing I've learned is that there is always a flip side - like the flip side of judgmental is discerning. I think too that some of our strong attributes were learned through life circumstances. First my husband traveled for work and now he's been ill for over twenty years. I had to figure out how to manage everything and it's so ingrained that who knows what was "real" and what was "learned".

      Enjoy the book.

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  12. Not only do I have a copy, I had already done the exercise.
    Classic.
    So a cool summer, Type 2, classic.

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    1. YES YES - isn't that exciting. Now what are you going to do with that information? What did it clarify? What will it change? I'm so excited for you.

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  13. Work through the various descriptions and put together a description of me that feels right.
    Work out the person I am and the person I want the world to see.
    Nothing too ambitious :-)

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    1. LOL - no, just a minor little task. Too fun. Please share how it goes.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.