I adjusted my pattern and cut out Vogue 8804, the CS jacket yesterday, and will be posting about that this weekend.
In the meantime I came across this article this morning and I would be interested to know what you think.
Are Spanx a step backward for women?
Let's face it. We're talking girdles.
I remember girdles.
I remember as a child watching my mother contort herself into a girdle and stockings with garters for special events - like her famous stand-up-straight-hold-your-stomach-in photo shoot pose.
I even remember a very old grandmother from Scotland visiting one of the neighbours and hearing rumours down the street that the old man had to lace her in every morning to a corset, pulling really hard and using both hands.
At the root of it of course is the female need/expectation that we all look slimmer than we are.
Is this part of a whole pile of things women do that reflects trying to measure up, as if the original is flawed?
Is the natural woman flawed? Is it just because we are women we feel we need improving before we go public?
It's hard to draw the line between contorting yourself and respecting yourself, because the ultimate alternative, the notorious "letting yourself go" shows even less self respect.
I am trying to figure this out.
Where I am now is that things I do because I feel good about myself are one thing, and things I would do for other people are another.
I wear make-up everyday, yes I have my nails done (thanks for the good advice on that), I iron my clothes, and I spend probably far more time than I should thinking about what I wear.
But I don't wear Spanx.
It's back to my hairdresser.
When I was eight I was taken to a hair salon called Mona's where I was told, before I was given my first "perm" despite the fact my hair already was curly, that I had to learn "a woman has to suffer to be beautiful."
My hair is now natural and I like it. It is my hair.
So I guess I am interested in enhancing (like clothes, make-up and accessories) but not suffering.
Now I know lots of women wear Spanx and feel just fine. I have a sister who tells me she wears it to do housework. Caroline, my favourite sewing fanatic, has posted a picture of her foundation garments here and says she wore it all day no problem.
This has not been my experience.
My midriff high number rolls down, the thighs cut in, but most of all I just feel trussed.
I feel back at Mona's. If I am eight or fifty-eight this is who I am. Deal with it.
I remember once wearing Spanx to a wedding and going into the bathroom to take mine off because I felt it was inhibiting my dance style.
I ran into another woman doing the exact same thing.
Listen it's no small feat to fix a full set of Spanx into an evening clutch.
Now don't get me wrong.
I wish as much as you do that those folks you sometimes see in the Walmart check-out had more pride. I have thought to myself "Oh my dear that's just too tight for you." A lot of times a better fit would take care of things.
And I would certainly defend the right of any woman to wear Spanx if she wants to for herself. And if it doesn't hurt her.
But I don't want her to feel she has to. Or to feel that what's she's got isn't good enough.
The question is do I want Miss Scarlett and Heidi to grow up and wear Spanx, or do I hope that by then they will just be happy enough with what they've got?
Which they better take care of.
What do you think?
- I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon