Friends, I'm not sure if I ever said this explicitly, but one of the reasons I was excited about being able to sew my own clothes was that I no longer had to deal with ready-to-wear clothing that almost never fit right.
I'm 5'7" -- not exactly the Mayor of Munchkinland (and the same height as Gene Kelly...and Grace Kelly, actually) -- and normally proportioned. But from the time I started wearing adult sizes, it was always hard for me to find clothes that fit properly (and no man wants to shop in the Boy's Department). This is largely an American issue, because when I lived in Italy and Spain in the early Eighties, finding clothes that fit was much easier. In fact, I wasn't even the smallest size.
|I'm not THAT short!|
Things got worse, especially in the shirt department, when sizing started to be limited to Small, Medium, and Large, as it often is today. Even when I found shirts based on neck size and sleeve length (like dress shirts), the cut was usually too boxy for me and the length too long.
I remember, somewhere back in the Eighties, returning home from a shopping trip to, I don't know, Bloomingdales or somewhere, and realizing that none of the shirts I had bought fit so everything would have to be returned, and feeling so exasperated I started to cry. I'm sensitive.
Pants have always been easier for me, particularly jeans since my usual size (30" x 30") was always relatively easy to find. But still, even when the inseam and waist fit, the rise was often too high, so the pants sat inches above my bellybutton. Think Mom jeans.
Thank heaven for H&M. Whatever environmental havoc they're wreaking with their disposable clothing, at least they carry plenty of smaller men's sizes (hey, it's a trade-off). I could finally find slim-fit shirts that didn't come down below my derriere, and pants that came up no higher than the top of my hip bones. It made me feel very happy. And normal.
I know a lot you, female, male and other, have fit issues of your own and you sew to have clothing that fits. Not being able to buy clothing in stores takes its toll on one's sense of normalcy (as if I didn't already have enough challenges in that department).
Anyway, what brings all this up is that I'm about to muslin my jacket project, Simplicity 7358, a vintage Eighties outerwear pattern I found on Etsy. I'm very excited about it!
This morning I tried on all the waist-length jackets I own and they all have fit problems.
I bought the windbreaker below in the mid-Eighties and if it looks practically new it's because I've hardly ever worn it. It's a very unflattering shade of tan for one thing, and it's also too long. It may not look too long to you, but I'm very sensitive about where a waist-length jacket hits my waist and (in this case) hips. A jacket that hangs down too far only makes a short man look shorter.
It's also too blousy. House also too messy.
Then there's this black leather biker jacket I bought on a vacation to Provincetown three years ago. Friends, don't ever buy clothes on vacation. There's something about being away from home that makes you want to shop, and you'll inevitably purchase things that you wouldn't have if you weren't traveling. This jacket may look OK to you, but it's both too long and, when zipped, too tight in the waist. It does, however, fit comfortably in the shoulders and doesn't ride up when I raise my arms to steer my motorcyle (that's a joke). I also stopped wearing black clothes when Michael told me I was a summer.
The vintage Seventies gray leather jacket below is the one I wear most. I bought it at the flea market for $40; it was made in Korea. I liked the color and most of all, the length. Unfortunately, one of the side zippers is permanently (trust me) caught in the lining and it's a little shabby looking. It's also a bit stiff in that way cheap leather jackets often are. And tight in the shoulders.
Now you may be asking yourself, If he doesn't like long, blousy jackets, why has he chosen a pattern from the Eighties, the decade that practically defined oversized clothing? The answer is that it's the best I could find and I'm going to muslin it first and change what needs to be changed. It has a lot of details I like and can't easily find in a contemporary jacket pattern, not that there are many out there.
I want my jacket to look like this, just with a head on top.
In closing, readers, have fit issues ever damaged your self-esteem or challenged your sense of being normal (if you ever had that sense to begin with)?
Assuming you sew, does wearing the clothes you've made help you feel better about your body and the way you look in general?
Short but enquiring minds want to know!