This week it’s been hard to work out whether I’m saying goodbye or waving hello. I’ve had a strange relationship with clothes over the past decade and a half. For personal reasons I won’t go into, I developed a hoarding obsession with vintage clothing after living a large chunk of early adulthood being denied such frippery. I went bananas and couldn’t be sated and was constantly searching for my next hit or acquisition of beautiful used garments. And shoes. At this point I stopped sewing altogether as I wanted my clothes to have a history and nothing I could produce could satisfy this.

Then seven years ago I became extremely unwell (also won’t go into that as it’s not really important) and as a result have experienced extreme changes in my body. I’ve likened it to sending a vehicle to the mechanics and being given a completely different one in return (which isn’t really road worthy)

Here is a photo taken around the time of taking my ‘vehicle’ in for repair, making daisy chains in the grounds of Salford Royal Infirmary circa 2012. This is basically the body I had been used to living in for 40 years, it didn’t alter, it didn’t require any thought in the past when I did sew with regards to adjusting patterns to fit, I just made that shit straight out of the packet with not a thought or concern that things are any different for anyone else, you pick a number and go for it. Same with buying vintage clothes, I’d eyeball it and just know. Never been into changing room shenanigans.

Then quite rapidly through a combination of altered immune state and drug therapy I have this vehicle that I’m currently driving which is decidedly less easy to cater for clothing wise. I haven’t had a button pressed in my mind yet that says ‘accentuate those curves’ which kind of what the general concensus is. Make oneself ‘look’ slimmer and not to wear lots of cloth or anything that makes one look even bigger. To be honest I don’t really much care about how big I look. I couldn’t give a flying fuck to be frank. I’m more concerned with keeping my body operational and functioning with what I have left rather than worrying about what I’ve gained and how it makes me appear.

As a textilophile, yes, I’ve just made it up – I do care about what clothes I put on said body and comfort is key. Also natural fabrics are preferable so I dipped my toe into purchasing some lagenlook pieces which whilst nice they’re really pricey.  Neutral linens, the go to lagenlook staple however lovely, aren’t the same as the 60s and 70s prints that have floated my boat in the past. I craved colour and vitality which ready to wear garments weren’t giving me so I started making again, about 4 years ago. I initially just drafted my own patterns and experimented (still am) but these days I am embracing using other designer’s patterns. This throws up another set of filters as I’m learning to adapt those patterns to accommodate my now non-straight from the packet shape. Having been dealt a fuller breast nowadays, I’m finding this fitting aspect the hardest adjust to and to make it a bit more interesting for me I can shrink for a few months by a couple of inches intermittently. These are the pufferfish years and I’m really enjoying the challenge of potential mastery of fitting but as I don’t like clingy clothes you’d probably be thinking why bother? Well the answer to that is, I still like something to fit well on the shoulders and then triangle out, lots of fabric, somewhere comfy to live. With pockets.

This is my ideal dress at the moment. It has enough space for growing and doesn’t look too bad if I shrink. It fits on the shoulders and this is the constant I have to follow presently. Which brings me to the purpose of this post. The present.

Having to wave goodbye to the old body has meant reaching a point where unless I let go of all those beautiful and treasured vintage items I can’t fully embrace the journey now and onwards. I did say my collection was huge? well if I didn’t, it was, and when I say was, it is gone as of yesterday. To a local Sue Ryder charity shop which has a vintage section and I’m really feeling a lot lighter now.

Well, that’s not quite true. Nothing is ever cut and dried and sorted out in the theatre of the mind. I’ve been feeling rather low and tearful actually and despite making a no fabric buying pledge in May have assuaged my need for comfort in cloth and purchased this barkcloth beauty to make a special celebratory dress. Just to celebrate letting go.

15 thoughts on “Here Comes Bod

    1. It’s a strange thing isn’t it? I think I may have left it overly long to sort out and may have been better nipping it in the bud. I think at the back of my mind I wasn’t sure if the physical changes would be permanent but as they are it’s about making the most of it. It is for us all. I’m sorry to hear that you have difficult changes to deal with Shawn and hope that you can navigate through them. Thank you so much for you kind words X Josie

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  1. I have been saving this for a lie down and a Cuppa. What a treat it was to read. It’s a priveledge to hear some of your life’s story and I’m really glad you shared this snippet. There’s a story everywhere if we care to take the time to find out more. I can imagine what a wrench that was for you and I hope you are able to embrace a lighter load curated by and for you X

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    1. Ah Aimee, thank you so much for taking time to look into a little window of my world, I really do appreciate your support. I’m feeling a bit better today and I’m realising that it’s a great opportunity for me to start afresh and un-burden myself from the past and look to the future whilst embracing what is now. It’s now that matters and I don’t mean that in a bungee jumping hedonistic way 🙂 Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend X Josie

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      1. You are very welcome. I really enjoy reading posts from the heart like these – it’s an opportunity to know more of people that I admire from afar. I’m glad you are feeling a little better today. I can really empathise and I think it’s important to recognise and acknowledge the feelings. But yes – it’s an opportunity to welcome in the now X

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      2. I can’t tell you how much that means and thank you Aimee. You’re the first person I started following on Instagram and it’s been a very positive experience for me which I never thought it would be. What struck me about you was that you were honest and real and that you were working through it and that it’s was going to be OK for me to get involved in social media if there were good eggs like you on there. I don’t know why but I had this preconceived idea that it was all selfies and exterior orientated. I was wrong and am so happy to have landed in a nice nest of like-minded folk sewing and crafting our journeys. I think as we are mainly involved in a solitary pursuit it’s rather fantastic to find a common kinship with others through our endeavours. Thank you again for being part of that for me X

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      3. Well that’s a lovely thing for me to read so thank you! I’m so glad you’ve found like minded people on here as I have. I have mixed feelings about social media and its definitely not good for my addictive tenancies. But there have been so many positives that I’ve decided to work on my approach to using it rather than desist. I’ve felt incredibly supported by friends I’ve not yet met. And like you say our hobby is often solitary so it’s a lovely way to feel and stay connected. Thank you for your lovely comments as always X

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  2. Thanks for sharing your journey. You are 100% right that how you look outwardly means absolutely nothing, it’s what’s on the inside that is of value. I couldn’t care less whether society thinks I’m ‘pretty’ or not, I’d much rather be ugly and healthy. I don’t understand the pressure to look slimmer, if I want to wrap myself in loads of fabric I’m going to do it (and good for you wearing what the hell you want). It must be a huge weight off your mind and soul to have given away your old clothes, and I’m so proud of you for being able to do it. You are beautiful in whatever physical form you take ♥️

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  3. Thank you for sharing your journey, I just wanted to say that I’m so proud of you for being able to let go of the clothes you so treasured. It must be a huge weight off your mind and soul. I don’t give two hoots whether society thinks I’m pretty on the outside or not, I’d much rather be healthy on the inside thank you. My mum was consumed by cancer and to see a body destroyed that way is very scary – my priority is to try and keep my insides sort of ticking over in an ok state, I don’t care what the resulting outsides look like! You will always be beautiful in whatever physical state you take, changes may happen on the outside but you’re still the same fabulous person ♥️♥️x

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    1. Ah Sarah, thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement, it really means a lot. I am feeling a lot less burdened by not clinging on to the old skin (if that’s the right expression?!) and feel ever so grateful to be surviving and evolving really. I feel lucky to be starting a new chapter and I’m feeling buoyed a bit now as a result of letting go. We are all perfectly us and I think always works in progress! I’m so sorry to hear about your Mum’s battle, it really is such a cruel illness and so hard for loved ones feeling powerless to make it right. I am very lucky too in the respect that I haven’t had to go through that with a treasured other so my heart goes out to you. You’ve really made my day with your loveliness so thank you ever so much, I’m really touched 💕X Josie

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      1. Gah, just realised my first comment actually *did* post, even though it told me there was an error and then I couldn’t remember what I’d written! 🙄 you’ve said it so perfectly with “we are all perfectly us”. Very glad to hear that you’re feeling a bit better having let go, a weight off the soul can do wonders. Just keep on being you, and keep on with your wonderful creations and hopefully this next chapter will be the best one yet ♥️♥️xx

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