Community Blog | COVID or Bust(y) with Jasmin

March 10th 2020, my plane lands back home after visiting friends. There is a five hour wait time between my arrival and when my aunt can pick me up to go home. So I’m sitting in a café with a London fog latte, writing in my journal for story ideas. After a bit, I look up. The news is on; it’s been on most of the day. I’m aware of what is coming; everyone has been watching the news. The Sword Fighting meet-up I was just at started out trying to follow the new, vague covid rules; however, it still ended in hugs and tall drinks. We were aware but didn’t take it as seriously. But the news is now telling a different story, and the storm is crashing down around us.

Within days, I would be in lockdown. 

Where I live happens to be a tourist town, and the world ground to a halt. The hotel I cleaned at shut down. I was thankful to be Canadian, and I had money options. I had just recovered from a severe injury in January, and now I was home again. Stuck in the same four walls I was already sick of. And, as anyone who loves me dearly can tell you, I do not do boredom well. 

So, how does a girl, already bored with her space, learn to keep herself busy?

Well, time to get a new hobby. 

From my injury, I was already losing the ability to wear some of my clothing. Pinup and vintage style is my jam, but not often in my price tag or bust size. The town I live in is tiny, with little clothing options in general, but finding clothing for a plus-size, busty gal has never been easy. 

So screw it, I was going to learn to sew. 

I purchased my new sewing machine with my tax return, a Bernette b35, some Gretchen ‘Gertie’ Hirsch patterns, and a little fabric. And just started. My mother was a sewer, and my friends are too, so I had a hotline while we are far from one another. 

Jasmin sits at her sewing machine and sews a gray fabric.

I started with skirts, then a couple shirts. And then, I had a few moments of realizing that even in sewing, my boobs were going to make my life hell. I made this purple shirt from some cheap broadcloth, and my boobs were ready to bust out of it like it was 1990’s Hulk Cartoon, but it floated over my back a bit like I was shrinking under a shrink ray. The Pull-over Dress from Gertie was adorable, and I love it, but it still had that problem where it shifted the back forward, and that puts a weird strain on the arm holes. 

After this, I stumbled upon Cashmerette, a plus-size boob-sized indie pattern designer. And I, being more than slightly incapable of reading the skill level, decided to try it: the Lenox dress, with princess seams, the tiniest seam allowances for the button band, and so many little pieces. With the help of my friends, YouTube, and my own darn stubbornness, I made a dress I adore. It was my first success, and not my last. 

It’s a year later, and I’m getting more adventurous. Time to learn how to make Full Bust adjustments instead of just pulling patterns inward. Time to learn how to make clothing that makes me feel as happy as I am. I deserve clothing that fits me and my body, and I want to learn how to do that. Loose-fitting clothing is excellent for comfort, but I deserve to strut my stuff at the end of this Pandemic during my next sword symposium and love it. 

Jasmin stands next to a dress form, which has a gray fabric with orange foxes draped over it. The dress form is also wearing a black bow tie.

Is it hard? Yes, it is. Especially being almost entirely self taught. Books, YouTube, Cashmerette workshops have been my teachers. I’m working on it all and learning by making mistakes (and getting messy!). 

Life is full of hard things, but at least with this one, I’ll get nice clothing out of it. I am loving that I can learn to make clothing that makes me happy and fits me – not someone else. Is it a steep learning curve? Yes. But that’s part of the fun. 

Jasmin is a novelist, a one-time published short story writer, and a trouble maker with too many hobbies. She lives alone with her imaginary cats (less shedding) in the Canadian Rockies, bemoaning the constant snow while sewing more sundresses. She dreams of a beautiful and comfortable wardrobe for both winter and summer. You can find her makes at @101mystic.

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