I Am Curvy

happy hippo dress view from the top

Before you laugh at me for not looking anything like your mental image of a “curvy” woman, let me explain what I mean by “I Am Curvy”. I have a picture of my body in my head. I would bet that you have a picture of your own body in your own head. As a sewist, I know my measurements well and I know a lot more about my own angles and curves than most people who don’t sew. My measurements have changed very little over the last 10 years. What has changed is the angles and curves that underly those measurements.

10 years ago I had a flat stomach. Now it’s got a curve to it. 10 years ago I had a AA cup. Now I have a B cup. I catch myself looking down at myself with some regularity and thinking “Those are breasts. How did they get there?” It’s not that I dislike my body now or then or that I think it was better before or better now. I had the body of a 20 year old and now I have the body of a 30 year old. And I’m pretty stoked to be in my 30’s. I just haven’t quite adjusted the picture of myself in my head from angles to curves.

Do you have a strong picture of yourself in your head? Does it match the picture of yourself in the mirror? Does your knowledge of your body as a sewist affect that picture?


Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on TwitterInstagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.

Comments 12

  1. Hi Erin,
    I am curvy, too. I have always been an athlete and thin. Now I am 50 years old and I don’t think I look like an athlete any more. I agree that it’s hard to see photos of yourself with a different body than you imagine. I’m getting used to it, but I am still surprised at times.

  2. the older we get, the more changes we go through. At times I still feel like a young mother with toddlers running about, then I look in the mirror and wonder where that older woman came from. Fortunately, like you, I am still happy with the age I am, whatever it may be. Life is an adventure, and the picture of myself in my mind is of someone who wants to enjoy every minute of it!

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  3. Great topic and great sentiment. My story is very similar to yours – very little change in my measurements over time, but the body mass has been readjusted in different places. It’s ok though! Sometimes I give my no-longer-flat stomach a grimace, and then I remember how unhappy I am when I cut out all the foods I love to try to get it back. Honestly, it’s not worth it. I’d rather have the cheese, the chocolate, and a few curves. :) Sewing is so great in this respect – just sew clothes that fit your body without worrying about fitting into someone else’s vision of what “your size” should look like.

    P.S. – I’ve been really enjoying your swimsuit series lately! I’m not sewing a suit myself, but I’ve been picking up lots of great tips on construction techniques.

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      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree – I’d rather have the cheese and chocolate!

      So glad you’re picking up some handy info in the swimsuit series!

  4. I have a slightly contradictory image, I think. On the one hand I’m very thin and bony and angular and AA cupped (I didn’t get boobs when I got to 30 unfortunately!), but on the other hand I do have a defined waist, so I’m not quite straight up and down. I also have a long torso, with a good inch or so extra between my waist and hips which has on occasion caught me out when making something very fitted, as the dress will widen out before my body does so I have to add extra darts. But I think sewing is helpful to body image, because we have to get to know our bodies and know how to work with them, and because that means we get to express our personalities and present ourselves in ways that we choose. So we can both adapt to the bits of our bodies we maybe don’t like, and focus on the bits we do like.

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      I totally agree with what you are saying. Sewing is wonderful for loving our own bodies because we learn that everybody has to make changes to a pattern for it to fit, and therefore there’s nothing “wrong” with any part of our body, just deviation from average – and everybody deviates from average. And there’s nothing like a perfectly fitted garment to make you feel gorgeous!

  5. I can so relate to Kate and Ellen’s comments above! I too sometimes look in the mirror and wonder where this middle-aged woman came from. Aren’t I still 27??

    I am very aware of how my body has changed over the last 35+ years that I have been sewing for myself. But, I no longer beat myself up about the extra padding and wanting to be as slim and athletic as I was at 27. I produced two humans, I’m strong, fit and healthy. And I have all manner of flattery tricks up my sewing sleeve……….

  6. We get told a lot about how our bodies change during puberty but we are not told much about how this continues to happen as we get to our thirties and forties (not quite in my forties but it is getting pretty close). I am very fortunate that a lifestyle with not enough exercise, probably a little too much wine and two small children has not changed my body shape very much. My boobs are a little saggier and my hips a little heavier but I have escaped stretch marks and my stomach looks the same as it ever did. I can’t claim the same for my face or my greying hair though!! We can’t win them all.

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      It’s so true. Many of my friends my age and older have noticed changes in shape. We do hear about how having children and going through menopause changes you, but experience goes to show that without either of these, going through life changes you as well!

  7. Two years ago, I jumped on the low carb train and dropped 30+ pounds and went from a size 16 to nearly an 8. Then one day hubs said, “Wow, there’s so much LESS of you when I wrap a hug.” I knew then it was time to stop the diet. I was trendy, cute-figure-thin, but at 51, oh the wrinkles. Every stinking line showed and I no longer liked what I saw in the mirror. Since then I’ve gained most of it back and am a comfortable size 14. At both ends of the extreme, my internal numbers are good and I’m not on any bp meds or anything like that. But my face today is full, unwrinkled, and glowing. I’ll take curves any day over wrinkles. As we age, we learn to fight different battles.

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      So glad to hear that through all the changes you’ve ended at a place where you are happy in your body. A glowing face sounds like the perfect read out!

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