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Let's Talk About Size, Baby!

There’s been a buzz in the fiber arts world lately, and I feel the need to speak my piece. I have observed for quite a while. Just taking in the different opinions, feelings, rants, and even bullying. As a knitwear and crochet designer, and as a fat woman, I have a lot to say. After all that I have read and seen, here is my stand:

  1. If you make patterns and design items, you ARE a designer. (Even if your patterns and items are not for sale).
  2. One person cannot please everyone.
  3. The phrase “Size Inclusive” has no solid definition. Read below to find out what the Google results say.

A simple search on Google of the phrase “what is size inclusivity?” brings you to a blog post by Curvy Fashionista that explains that going up to size 30 is being truly size inclusive. HOWEVER, being online (on Instagram in particular) I’m finding that inclusiveness is not so simple. A size 30 is a 58” bust, and we know that is not the largest size out there..so SOMEBODY is being excluded from this so-called inclusiveness. Right? Many mainstream companies claim to be size inclusive and they don’t even go up to a size 30 so are they lying? NO, they are not, because the phrase Size Inclusive is not specifically defined, therefore it has no real meaning. The truth is, the REALITY. The reality is, someone will always be excluded. Someone very short, someone very tall, someone top heavy, someone bottom heavy, etc. I could go on forever!!

There is so much passion, and even anger behind a lot of the posts I’ve seen. Angry that a design does not include a certain size or shape. Angry that a design doesn’t work for their specific body. Angry that a person has the “nerve” to call themselves designer when they are not an expert on sizing. Anger, along with bullying. Bullying a designer because they did not respond the way you wanted them to. Bullying a designer because they won’t do what you want them to do. Bullying PEOPLE because they have not included everyone.

My opinion is that you do not have to be an expert to have a pattern or garment design business. Although being an expert would make for better business, it is not realistic for everyone. Experts will design exemplary, unmatched patterns and garments. Everyone else will do what they can and what they are willing to do. It is very ableist to expect that everyone put 100% of their time and brain power into something that may be a part-time thing for them. Does that mean they do not deserve to participate in this thing called being a designer? Certainly not! Designing is a form of art. This trend of devaluing people and discounting what they have done/created because of what they have not done/created needs to STOP. Now.

I am also of the opinion that “size inclusivity” (whatever that means) is a plus! No pun intended. It is an added bonus. If a pattern does not come in my size, and the designer is not planning to grade up, I will either find another pattern or create one myself. Not everyone has that ability, but if you can knit from a pattern…well, I’ll leave the rest to you! I commend the designers that take the time and put in the effort to design for extended sizing. It is not simple, because literally every body is shaped differently and you can’t simply add inches to each area. Even if you include all sizes though extended sizing, there is no way of including every body shape.

As a knitter or crocheter who is buying patterns, you may have to tailor the pattern to fit your shape and comfort. That is acceptable!! As a knitter or crocheter buying patterns, you may have to tailor a pattern (up or down) to fit your size. This is considered unacceptable by a lot of people, but this is reality. My advice? Find a pattern that you can use; use a tape measure, a calculator if needed, and definitely don’t skip the gauge step!! I personally have shifted my focus from designing for adults, to designing for babies and toddlers. I have a newborn, and all I want to do these days is make adorable baby items! (See previous blog about my baby girl). I will eventually go back to making adult sized clothing as well, and when I come back, I hope there is a lot less anger and vitriol. 

Lastly, I know that this subject can also be applied to the sewing world, but that is not my area. I sew, but not from patterns or for anyone other than myself and my kids.

These are my feelings and my opinions on the subject of size inclusivity. This platform doesn't allow users to respond to comments publicly.


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2 comments

  • Well said. Thank you for the common sense truths.

    Teresa Frey

  • I just discovered your blog after seeing a story on IG by Operation Gratitude where they highlighted your hat pattern. I came to look for the hat pattern and found your blog. Thank you for your common sense. I’ve only read this one post so far, but am looking forward to reading more. Hope you have a wonder day. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and common sense.

    Denise

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