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Size Inclusivity in Fashion -February 2021

Good Morning beautiful sewists,

I have been contemplating this month’s blog post for a bout a week now. I had originally planned a hack of a free pattern from a popular pattern company; it was written, the item sewn and pictures taken. Then I had second thoughts because, as a sewing community, we had a difficult weekend and I strongly feel some issues need to be addressed. Three pattern companies came under fire, rightfully so, for fatphobic incidents within their public and/or private groups.

Intentional or not, insensitivity, bullying, misgendering, exclusion, racism, size exclusivity and all other forms of discrimination are not to be tolerated. At Salmon Valley Knits, we take these things very seriously.  Furthermore, we will not sweep discussion regarding these topics under the rug because ignoring educational dialogue about these topics allows these issues to keep popping up and that is hurting people.

Let me start by saying that I know weight and size are very sensitive topics for many people. I have struggled with my own self-image for many years. Loving your own body the way that it is can be very difficult in a world that highly values thinness. I have looked back at old pictures of myself and wondered what was I thinking? I looked fantastic at that time or in that dress that I felt so self-conscious wearing in the moment. It is impossible not to make comparisons between ourselves and other people; it’s a part of life, but lately I have been trying to focus on reframing my thoughts around more than just body image. For example, I am learning to love my body because has done amazing things! In the last five years it has given birth to and nourished three babies, it has worked hard to support their growing bodies above all else and I am incredibly proud of that accomplishment. My body doesn’t look like what it did before babies but that’s ok its beautiful the way it is. No matter the size, shape or colour I look at other people and see the amazing things their bodies have done, or been through, and see the beauty in every single one of their figures.

Every body is beautiful and deserving of well-fitting stylish clothing.  Every person deserves to be able to find this in both a ready to wear environment and in the handmade world! I recently purchased a pattern without looking at the size chart before-hand (my mistake) and then found out that my husband who normally wears a ready to wear size large was barely in the largest size of this particular designer’s chart. This is completely unacceptable! I will say this until I turn blue - all bodies deserve to be clothed in a style of their own choosing, without feeling like they have to beg to be included!

As a fabric company, our strike sewists represent us within the fabric community. They create beautiful things with the samples we have printed and the choices that they make in patterns, words and post locations need to be reflective of Salmon Valley Knit’s values.  Not only are we advertising our gorgeous fabrics, but every time we post a picture of a garment sewn up we are also promoting that pattern and their company as well. With that in mind, we try to ensure the patterns and companies used align with our core values and demonstrate respect for all humans. As owners, we have a responsibility to create a safe and supportive space for everyone and a big part of that for us is promoting other safe spaces.

Over the last few years, my understanding of many social issues has grown immensely. With that comes a shift in my behaviour, an awareness of my words and most importantly less fear in speaking up when I see something that is wrong. The world has changed a lot since we were little. Although I was raised to respect all cultures, colours, races, genders etc. I have come to understand that a lot of the things I had believed were not entirely correct and came from a broken version of history and systemic problems.  I have only come to understand this by becoming a part of a larger more diverse community.

Many times we do not have a full understanding of an issue because it hasn’t been part of our own experience, but what we can do is seek to continually educate ourselves and change our behaviours.  Like the ripple effect, these changes, person by person, eventually lead to a better, more inclusive community for all of us.

The entire Salmon Valley Knits Team is committed to this.
Some trusted sources on fat phobia:
Interview with the author of Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia
Weight bias in healthcare
Effects of social media on body image
Body image, Mental health and Social media
Weight bias
Thin privilege
Spot on opinion articles:
Fatphobia during a pandemic
Thin privilege in the garment industry