I can't help it. I find sewing impossibly interesting.
But it's not just the technique, which one could work on for a lifetime, as we know, or the fabric (a passion of mine long before I started to sew). It's about bodies and sizing and drape.
Let me tell you a beautiful fact - perhaps even a secret. If you learned to sew, you would love your body even more than you do already. And you'd start to love everyone else's.
And here's why: When you sew, you are obligated - nay privileged - to discover every intricacy of your own shape. How you deviate from the standard is what differentiates you from everyone else. Why would you care to be a standard size, if you can sew? It's much more fun to figure out - to have the skill - to fit anything to your form specifically. It's a mark of talent, even as it's a fun activity - and a resolution of every clothing challenge you have ever had!
Don't kid yourself, the more I read the more I learn that standard sizing has been a necessary evil since the beginning of time. How likely is it that one is going to fit a series of set sizes - either in RTW (modern, vanity sizing) or standard (pattern) sizing? It was no more likely in 1952 than it is now. The numbers might have looked different, and the silhouette. The fabrics may have draped differently, had different ease built in. The bodies were, in general smaller and slimmer. But you were as likely to be an individual with your "deviance" here and there (or even everywhere!) back then.
Some fascinating facts:
- The first iteration of modern RTW sizing came about in 1972.
- Standard (pattern) sizing, changed 4 times between 1931 and 1972. That simply means the number on the pattern i.e. 14 became associated with 4 different measurements in that time frame. And yes, the measurements associated with the sizes increased (moderately) over time.
- Pattern numbers (and this has been contested, but on balance I believe it) were originally aligned to the age of the wearer. A 14 was designed for the "average" sized 14 year old. Apparently, this didn't work for an RTW crowd - though why, I don't know. I mean, it was the standard till that point. Arbitrarily, RTW sizing was assigned smaller numbers.
- Since then, RTW numbers accord with larger tape measurements than ever before.
- Pattern sizing is the same as it has been since 1972.
- Most women who sew from patterns must adjust them, or risk wearing clothes that don't fit.
- There are zillions of adjustments, some easier than others. Fit for Real People - a book of hideous design but tremendous information - clearly explains it all.