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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The measuring tape doesn't lie

Megan Nielson's Kelly Skirt
So, even though we moved house a good couple of months of so ago - there are still a few big bags and boxes of things that I have left in cupboards, only to be looked at when I realise I need something that might be in one of them.

Last night, I had to have a rummage into one of my big yet to be unpacked boxes of sewing things, as I wanted to hunt out a couple of patterns - the first being the Kelly skirt, pictured above.

This is what came into my head when I saw the tulip fabric (pictured below, drying after its pre sewing wash). It is a beautiful quality cloth, with a slight stretch to it. I think the vibrant colours are just perfect for a feel good skirt for autumn and winter. And I have chosen a lovely bright lining fabric (also pictured) to give the finished skirt an extra bit of warmth and quality.

Tulip fabric - an eye watering £26 per metre from John Lewis
And, as I needed to get a sense of sizing, I thought I would try on the version I made last autumn. This skirt was only worn a handful of times before I discovered I was expecting Charlotte, and my waistline seemed to pop out days later. Why something not yet even the size of a jelly bean would lead to such an increase in size remains a mystery (maybe it was cake more than baby!), but it meant the skirt did not fit me for long at all. 

It still doesn't - I laughed to myself at how unlikely those top buttons (or indeed the two below them as well) are to do up this side of Christmas. And so, as I love the style - not least for its super practical pockets - I'm going to make myself a bigger version that I can get pleasure out of wearing now. Believe me, my daily `what on earth am I going to wear that fits/enables breastfeeding/is quite clean' dilemma is proof I could do with a few new clothes.

I genuinely do not care that certain clothes of mine that I love are off limits for now. I'm afraid I get on my high horse when I hear anything in the media that sounds like pressure being put on women to bounce back into shape quickly after giving birth. 

Granted, I have started running again. And yes, I did set up (and will be returning back to) a mums' running group, which meets a couple of times a week in my local park. My hubby refers to the sight of us pushing our prams and running as `the herd'. 

But running is about two things for me: feeling good and enjoying food. Running has been a life line to me since being a mum - both for the chance to get out and meet with other mums and for the psychological boost exercising in the fresh air gives me. As for food - well, last night's pudding is a case in point as to why I have no intention of cutting back in that department. I would rather go for a run than contemplate a diet. I know that it keeps my metabolism nice and high and enables me to enjoy eating pretty much anything.

In fact, there are certain banned words in my house now that I have children. I know, that makes me sound quite teacher like - and I guess I am. `Diet' and `fat' are words I have vowed my daughters will never hear me say - I know I have little control over the fact they will of course come across stupid messages about women and their bodies, but I am determined they are going to live with someone who has nothing but a positive message to give them. We haven't got any bathroom scales, either.

`Boring' and `hate' are other banned words, in case you are wondering. Oh God. I really do sound like my grandparents! (They were teachers, too.) But, I just don't want them to have those words as a regular part of their vocabulary.

pancakes, ice cream and blackberry syrup
Anyhow, where was I going with this? Oh yes. The measuring tape.

Whilst I could set myself a goal to get back into shape and then reward myself once I have done it with a new skirt in my original size, I have no intention of doing this. As I picked up the tape measure, I did so with the attitude that women who have recently given birth are almost certainly going to be slightly rounder - and the task of looking after a baby is physically and mentally demanding enough without additional pressure of weight loss targets.

I know I gain weight after birth, due to the amount of cake/fish&chips you (ahem) need to eat to breastfeed a baby... and that is not including the numbers of energy boosting biscuits that need to go with the many cups of tea required to keep caffeine levels high enough to stay awake.

I am the size I am, and I think I look great - even if rounder and wobblier than a year ago. I genuinely do. I count myself flipping lucky to be a mother, and my changed shape is a result of that.

I hesitated over typing those words for fear of sounding conceited, because we women are not meant to be satisfied with our bodies. But if I want my daughters (and heck, there are four of them now - with all those weddings to pay for, too, as everyone keeps reminding my hubby) to grow up in a world that sees beyond how fat or thin they happen to be, I reckon it has to start with me.

And so, sleep levels and general inclination to get up off the sofa of an evening permitting, I hope I'll soon be wearing a gorgeous new skirt that fits me nicely as I am now. That is two sizes bigger than last year, in case you are wondering. (In my head, I thought it might be just a size bigger, but the measuring tape doesn't lie - and ignoring its message would only result in a tailor made skirt that I still had to breathe in to do up and that would be a ridiculous thing to make.) And if at some point in the future it needs adjusting (due to dedication to running rather than too much cake consumption) then that will be a nice problem to have.

There. Well done if you have made it to the end of this post. I salute your staying power.


  1. You'll get a very loud, "Hear, hear!" from me. Very well put.

  2. What fantastic sentiments. I only wish I could concur with you entirely! Much as I don't want my daughter (who will be one in exactly two weeks time) to grow up with the hideous external pressures about beauty and weight that are exerted upon us through the media etc, and no matter how determined I am to not care about my own pregnancy related weight gain, I still feel miserable that 12 months on I am two sizes up on what I should be. You are rightly proud to say that you are happy with your figure if you truly are. It's something many women I know will never achieve no matter how thin they get. Congrats to you and your beautiful brood of women! And enjoy your new skirt making while you can - Charlotte will no doubt be up and about and attempting to eat fabric very soon, just like mine is now.

  3. Thanks for the comments, ladies. I've finished the skirt - now need to find something to wear with it that fits..!