Changing Body Shapes – The Foldline Interview


Ooh, have you ever considered the hot topic (forgive the pun) of sewing and the menopause? I have! Kate of The Foldline visited Did You Make That Towers for a conversation on this subject. Ella joined in the fun, too. You can watch the full interview here.

I’m fascinated to hear your own thoughts on how sewing can help and how a changing body shape affects your sewing. Let’s chat!

With thanks to Kate and The Foldline for the opportunity to raise this.

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16 Responses to Changing Body Shapes – The Foldline Interview

  1. Learning to grow ‘older’ gracefully is actually really hard. My body is older for sure but I still think like a thirty year old so its hard to train yourself to not buy that pattern or fabric that perhaps is not really body-shape or age appropriate. I’m working on it though … probably not too hard though – there is a part of me that thinks I should grow old disgracefully .. lol. Great interview.

  2. Great topic. I’m starting this road (I’m 43). I had a body shape and wait that was consistent for YEARS. And now…..not. It’s been a journey and it has been hard to get rid of clothes that I sewed that will never fit again without a great deal of work from me. But it took a few years of “hanging” on to things to get there. In my head I don’t feel any different and that was hard. I notice that my energy levels are different as well. I’m a full time high school (I’m in Alberta, Canada) Foods Studies teacher. By the end of a school/work day. I’m a bit done. That is new for me as well. So I need to (and am working on) being kind to myself. It’s a process.

  3. JP says:

    What a great interview – thank you! I too listened to the series on the menopause on Women’s Hour and being of that age, found it incredibly helpful. As a sewer, I have found it invaluable to be able to make my own clothes in patterns and fabrics that suit my changing body shape. Another pattern I would recommend is the Kate pattern by SewMeSomething. Again, loose round the waist and a variety of sleeve options. Also very easy to make up – I have five in wide variety of fabrics and shapes! Thank you.

  4. Beth Duffus says:

    Great interview. I am 56 and fly the flag for HRT, which I have taken since I was 47 because I couldn’t handle the flashes disturbing my sleep. It’s not for everyone but it brought my life back to normal and it’s stayed there ever since. I can honestly say my body hasn’t changed shape after the menopause but I definitely have to work harder to maintain that. I can’t just eat whatever I like anymore. But no more period pains and no more PMT – the menopause has it has its benefits! I’m intrigued by your comments on solids versus florals and I will now seriously consider making more ‘plains’. Recent floral makes have indeed been a bit too ditsy or girly, or something. Gorgeous dog!

  5. Janet says:

    I loved this talk. As someone who makes their own clothes it is pretty hard not to notice. Particularly the “menopot”, also a larger, lower bust line (oh joy…) Never want to wear a regular waistband again. I look for more drapey fabrics (unfortunately, harder to sew) that are gently shaped…let’s talk princess seams!! At 56 and like Jodie in Alberta my energy level as a middle school teacher is less. I would rather not have joint pain, bunions….no more cute shoes for me!

    • LinB says:

      For at least twenty years, I have been looking with envy at the sort of shoes that 80-year-olds wear. Am finally old enough to justify buying them. You’re so right — nothing is worth having your feet hurt.

  6. KS Sews says:

    It wasn’t UNTIL I started sewing that I learned/realized that body image issues were so persavive.

    I had my first “real” job in corporate America at 21 and this was before casual dress everywhere. So I was familiar with my body/fitting quirks because I would get my professional clothes tailored. And a lot of that presents in sewing as well.

    As I’ve gone from my 20s to late 30s (and we’re a family of early-menopausers!), I am thankfully not particularly affected right now by body changes. It kind of just “is what it is”. But I’ve also had a positive self image as an adult.

    What IS hard is being in my late 30s (youngish haha!) and having young adult kids (18 &19). I have a lot of “shoulds” sometimes and that’s a struggle to toe that line.

    Very interested to read additional comments on this!

  7. Interesting- and I was only discussing menopause with some friends over [several] drinks yesterday! I have a LOT to say about this, so I think I’ll need to doa blog post myself and link to this, rather than waffle on!

  8. This is such a great topic and something that people don’t really talk about. I was listening to the radio a couple of weeks ago and they were talking about menopause cafes in Scotland. I am rocking up to the “M’ at speed (47) and don’t have much of clue what to expect. I have definitely noticed how my body shape has changed the last couple of years though, especially my waistline (or lack of) and having to lower bust darts a bit. Thank God for being able to sew. I am laughing at Janet’s “Menopot” comment. Xx

  9. MrsC says:

    Hi all! I’ve been on HRT for three years now as I had so many symptoms I thought I was going mad. Really. The impact on my memory is the worst and pervasive one. And why women don’t talk about it is that it is mostly bad news, and points out areas of weakness and we don’t want MEN judging us for it in the workplace, that is my theory!
    As for clothes, I do not subscribe to the loose fit and cover your arms. I challenge you all to seriously consider why the assumption that we must cover up our physical flaws is so ingrained. At 53 and a size 24-28, I am not only showing my arms, I am wearing a corset on stage! This is not a life choice everyone would consider, fair enough, but I wouldn’t have done this at 33. My wardrobe is more fitting and shapely than before, while still having floaty pieces too.
    In my 40s I got stuck in a style rut and my options became more and more limited in shapes and colours. Now, I am still very clear about the colours that make me happy, but I am willing to try different things. I am lucky in that I have an on stage life in which to wear extremely flamboyant costumes and styles covered in sparklies, which gives me not only an out, but a chance to try shapes I wouldn’t wear during the day. For instance weirdly I have discovered that tulip skirts look great on me. That’s yet to make it into my day wear! And fit and flare shapes, even though my waist is the same size as my bust.
    The forties is a funny time, we get to enjoy the wisdom of our lives to date, we generally are a bit better established financially. But there is that sense of, “well if it hasn’t happened by now it never will” around relationships, work, kids, so many things. And that can be quite poignant. Well it sure was for me. then I hit 50 and I let it all go. I could see that the future was like Terry Pratchett’s Trousers of Time, and the two legs were before me. I could go down the one where I tried to hang onto things, like looking younger and slimmer (or trying to), maybe getting surgery, that type of thing, which really felt like a slow living death. Being stuck in a time bubble. I chose the other one where I get to let it all hang out, and explore how that feels for me, and where my real limitations are. Finally letting some of those f*cks die once and for all.

  10. Barbara Showell says:

    Aw, I wish Mrs C and I could hang out. We have many similar numbers. I can’t. Lame it all on menopause, I also was lame for about 18 months and took a zero activity night shift job, but this new body feels wierd! I have been fighting acceptance but not really trying for change. It’s raining cats and dogs now, but maybe tomorrow……

  11. Connie Turner says:

    There has always been shame attached to menstruation and menopause. We were shamed into silence about these issues but that makes it harder for people to bear up through the changes.

  12. LinB says:

    Interesting puzzles attract me. A university professor, long years ago, set my theatrical costuming class this conundrum: “How many darts does it take to cover a hump?” (We were costuming Richard III). ((We also overheard one side of his telephone conversation with a client, in which he asked, “And how would you like your chicken dressed?” Never found out if the client wanted us to make a chicken costume for a human to wear, or if we were to put tiny clothes on an actual bird. But that is another story, for another day.))

    Adjusting fit for non-standard bodies is also an interesting puzzle. I entered surgical menopause at age 33, so have been dealing with menopausal physical changes for 26 years.

    I have found that my neck has shifted forward and down, as my shoulders rounded forward. This means that my back is longer, my shoulder slope has twisted, and my throat-to-belly button distance is shorter than before. I have to heave my bosom up with more and more impressive hardware in my brassiere. I no longer have a waistline indentation. The roundness of my stomach and belly seems to have drawn its volume from my once-shapely derrière, which has now dropped and flattened. My hips and thighs are thinner, my upper arms bulge but not with muscle.

    All this is astonishingly horrific from my hypercritical point of view — but, realistically, all the changes are incremental. I am the same weight; it’s just distributed differently. I can still dress in a way that makes me look entirely normal, and feel entirely comfortable. Such is the blessing of knowing how to sew, and how to alter garments, and how to achieve a proper fit.

  13. Jane W. says:

    Late to the party, but this really resonated with me! I walk around with delusional confidence and try not to let my measurements deflate it too much. Some days are better than others.

  14. I loved this vlog (only you could get me to watch a video blog, Karen!). Once I hit the 40s last year it did seem like my body suddenly said “cool, I’m old now” with more aches and pains and subtle changes (oh sure, more acne? 20 year-gone knee problem coming back? sounds awesome!). My weight distribution has shifted a little bit and I’m not sure how much it will continue to, but thank goodness for sewing. While I wear a lot of fit and flare types of styles, I’m also so glad I’ve embraced stretch fabrics and knits, as I know those are going to continue to be staples for me.

    Thank you and the Foldline SO much for bringing up this topic. We need to continue to make sure women’s experiences and voices are heard within our community, not just when we’re in our 20s!

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