Deb asks a question I know many of us have pondered: Why is plus-sized clothing so damn ugly?
Need I explain? I think we’ve all seen so-called “clothing” that bears more resemblance to a tent or a blanket fort than something anyone would want to wear.
Why It Exists
If you ask me (and I suppose, you did), the answer is nothing more than laziness on the part of designers and manufacturers. In order for a garment to “fit”, according to the industry, it needs to be large enough to not be too tight in any one spot on the body. A small-sized lady doesn’t have a lot of fat, so when smaller sizes are designed, they are basically accommodating average-sized bones and not much else. A larger lady, on the other hand, has non-bony curves! Some of us have most of it in our boobs; some around our bellies; some on our hips and in our thighs… which makes it harder work for those clothing creators. Because if it’s the right shape for someone with a well-endowed bosom and an average waist, it will be way too big around the bustline of another lady of the same “size” (we should talk about arbitrary sizing bullshit another day) who happens to carry most of her weight below the belt. So to make sure it “fits” everyone in a particular “size” (if only you all could see how I am rolling my eyes as I type this), they design it to be big enough to not be tight in any area of a person wearing the size, no matter how their fat is distributed. And so, we have baggy, tent-like, “fits” everyone but flatters no one plus-size fashion.
What Can You Do About It?
Much like our previous conundrum, other than create a riot of some kind demanding change from the apparel industry, I’m not sure what we can do to get this problem to stop existing. I would personally like to see clothing designers (for all sizes!) start designing for SHAPES instead of sizes. For example, you wouldn’t be a size 18; you’d be a size 18: pear or apple or triangle or hourglass or whatever. And within each size, they’d have the pattern for different shapes. That would be super awesome. (To do this at Crafty Broads one day would make me unbelievably happy.)
For now, though, you can look critically at the things you try on, and evaluate whether the style is more or less flattering on you before you buy it because it “fits”. You can also have just about any garment tailored to fit you better (don’t forget to budget for this when shopping) or you can learn to alter things on your own.
So here is what Trisha wants to know: What is up with the gap in the back of all the waistbands?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there’s a good chance everyone reading this knows exactly what Trisha is talking about. I know I do. In case you don’t, here’s what happens: You go shopping for some pants. Or a skirt, it happens there too. You try on a pair. It seems like it would fit your waist perfectly, if only you could get it over your hips… which is not ever gonna happen. So you pick the next size larger. Sweet! It fits your hips perfectly! But now that you’ve got them zipped up, there is a huge gap at the center back. But you buy them anyway, because what choice do you have? And you wear them, and right after you pull them out of the dryer they are fabulous for about 5 minutes and then you find yourself with a terrible case of plumber’s crack. What’s worse is that you may even find you can successfully take them on and off without unzipping or even unbuttoning. This does not bode well for keeping your ass covered.
Why It Exists
The reason for this gap, along with numerous other fit issues, is the way mass-produced garments are designed. For each design, they have what is called a fit model. This is a person who’s job it is to have the garment tested on them. They do this in just one size (6, generally, I believe) and of course the keyword is model – which means they are likely to be tall and skinny and generally not too curvy. And that is the key problem for this issue. A not-so-curvy person doesn’t have a big difference in her waist vs. hip measurements; but most of us have a sizable increase from waist to hip. So when they take that fairly un-curvy pattern and then make it into other sizes (called “grading”), it doesn’t get curvier… it just gets proportionally wider. This is a mistake, if you ask me. (And everyone else who isn’t shaped like a tree trunk.)
What Can You Do About It?
WELL. Somehow we should all band together and demand that designers and clothing manufacturers start considering the bodies of actual people when they come up with these things. But given the likelihood of that happening, let’s talk practical solutions:
Have them altered. Honestly, this is kind of your only option. You can learn how to do it yourself (it’s pretty easy) or you can have it done professionally. It should take someone who knows what they’re doing about an hour, and shouldn’t be terribly expensive. Ask your local tailor and then factor in the cost when you’re picking out your next pair.
Custom jeans! Made from scratch to your measurements. Obviously, this is a more costly option… but it may be worth it, especially if your jeans get a lot of wear. Most mass-produced versions have stretch in them, even if they aren’t marketed that way, and the elastic wears out really fast, much faster than strong, sturdy denim. Perhaps you’ve noticed how they seem to get holes much faster than they did 15 years ago, before stretch denim existed? With a custom pair, you can request non-stretch denim, reinforcement in the areas that you personally wear through the fastest, and as a bonus, they will also be hemmed the right length.
Today we’d like to thank everyone who helped support our recent Indiegogo campaign to fund our new shop. Whether you gave us $5, $150, or simply shared the link with your friends, it all added up to $2,500 — which is AMAZING.
We’d especially like to thank the people who were generous enough to give their hard-earned cash to us. Fifty people contributed; and some of them chose the perk where we thank them publicly on this here blog. So, in no particular order, a special thanks goes out to:
Alyssa was the very first person to donate to our campaign, and I promised her I would think of a special perk. So here it is: Alyssa is SHAVING HER HEAD to raise funds for children’s cancer research. That is a totally way better cause than our shop, and you can help her reach her fundraising goal of $1,500 by donating right here.
…and the other 45 people who did not choose a public thank you as their perk. We are truly grateful to each and every one of you!
Stay tuned next week for some other perk-winnings — three of our backers opted to have their biggest pet peeve about mass-produced apparel discussed right here, so we’ll have posts explaining why these horrible things exist and what you can do about them. (Besides having us make all your clothes, obviously.)
We’ll also be updating you here with photos and progress on turning that empty storefront into a cozy home for Crafty Broads. Our priority projects are a privacy wall for the fitting area; better lighting so we can see what we’re doing; and a permanent closet solution to replace the rolling garment rack we have right now. If there’s cash left after that stuff, we’d love to get a nice big cutting table, additional storage for the office and workroom, and some sturdier tables for our sewing machines.
Oh, and if you’ve got any old wooden windows laying around? We’ve got the perfect spot for them.
If you’ve been keeping us with us on Facebook, you know that we have rented out a little storefront and are moving Crafty Broads out of our home and into a real shop! Very exciting!!
Well… we need your help! We have the space, but we are in need of equipment and furniture – such as work tables for our sewing machines, hanging racks for garments, office supplies, etc. So we set up an Indiegogo campaign to help launch the shop. We are offering some great perks to our contributors, and we hope we can count on you to support us with $25, $75, or more. If you don’t have cash to spare, please consider promoting our campaign to your friends or on your Facebook or Twitter account. You can find all the details here:
As you may be aware, we have been wanting to go on a real honeymoon since we got married almost three years ago, and we’ve had our eyes on Spain. And with airfare to Europe being so expensive, we didn’t to spend all that money (and time) on flights just to stay for the week or so we could afford to take off work. So we hatched a little plan to extend our honeymoon into a working vacation by coordinating some weddings in Europe while we were there. We put it out there on a coupleblogs, crossed our fingers, and held out a vague hope that it might actually happen.
Well, we couldn’t possibly be more excited to announce that we will be coordinating Kim and Tomi’s wedding in Switzerland next summer!! The lovely house and breathtaking view pictured throughout this post is where the wedding will be held. And it will include a pig roast! Did we get lucky or what?
We would love to stay and explore a bit longer, so if you are getting married anywhere in Europe* next year, we would be thrilled to come organize your wedding and celebrate with you! Without further ado, here are the specifics.
The Crafty Broads’ 2014 EUROPE TRAVEL SPECIAL:
No travel fee for airfare to Europe!*
Day-of-Coordination**, which seems to be known as Wedding Day Management in some parts of Europe. See below for full details.
Both Cindy and Julia to coordinate – in other words, two wedding planners for the price of one.
Unlimited hands-on help with last-minute details or anything else for the entire week leading up to the wedding, at no extra charge. We can help with arranging floral centerpieces, crafting decorations, minor clothing alterations, etc.
We are accepting bookings for August and September 2014 weddings, and will extend into July/October if we fill up those dates. Please book by September 30th, 2013 to take advantage of this offer.
Ok, sounds great, but how much will it really cost us?
We are giving you two options for pricing this deal:
Flat rate. $2500 (about $1875€) including all travel – to your city, around your city, lodging, and food.
Regular fee + local travel. $1250-$1500 (950€-1125€) coordination fee and you provide local transportation from the rail station and around your town, lodging, and food for us for the week. We are open to guest rooms and home cooking and whatever other low-cost travel options you can think of!
To get started, please email info AT craftybroads DOT com!
*Europe is defined by us as the UK plus anywhere we can get on the Eurail Global pass: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland (includes Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.
**Day-of-Coordination (Wedding Day Management) includes:
Beginning when you book us, you will have unlimited access to us via phone, Skype, and email. About six weeks prior to the wedding, we will meet to discuss your celebration in extensive detail and create a wedding day timeline. After the meeting, we will become the main point of contact for each of your vendors (suppliers). We will review their contracts, confirm the details of their services, and ensure that they are up to speed on the wedding day timeline and all of your plans. We will also put together several handy organizational documents detailing the timeline, items needed for decor, contact information for pertinent parties, and an assortment of other things. We will be available for your rehearsal, if you have one, to guide you and your family members, wedding party, etc. through the ceremony. On your wedding day, we will take care of whatever needs to be done – typically this is setting out decorations, place cards, and the like; keeping everyone to the wedding day schedule, handing out final payments to your suppliers, assisting you and your guests with anything they might need, and cleaning everything up at the end of the night. We will come equipped with an emergency kit so we can handle any situation that may arise over the course of the day.
We need a part-time employee to be my wedding assistant. Duties generally include: attending/facilitating wedding rehearsals, setting up decorations, coordinating details and timelines with vendors, assisting wedding guests with whatever they need, and cleaning up things at the end of the party.
Train for 2-3 weddings in June and July, and then be a for-real assistant for a handful of weddings throughout the year. If you are awesome, you can be my assistant forever and ever.
Must be available weekends. Hours are typically all day (usually starting between 12pm-3pm and ending around 12am-1am or thereabouts) on Saturdays, occasional Fridays/Sundays, even more rarely a weekday.
an excellent communicator with no qualms about talking to strangers
a nice person capable of interacting pleasantly and professionally with all kinds of people, even when they are under the influence of (lots of) alcohol
able to work independently and follow directions clearly
have a good eye for design and details
able to work long shifts, spending much of it on your feet, while also schlepping lots of stuff around
an unhealthy obsession with organization, spreadsheets, checklists, and nice pens is a plus
sense of humor and fluency in sarcasm are absolutely mandatory.
Pay is $13/hour for training and $15/hour when you become a full-fledged assistant.
Absolutely MUST be available Labor Day weekend – ALL DAY Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
A car is helpful but not required.
Interested parties should email a letter of interest to cindy at craftybroads dot com, and tell me why they would rock this job! Please also provide a list of relevant work experience (doesn’t have to be a formal resume but I’ll take that too) and anything else you think I should know.
[This is a post I originally wrote for A Practical Wedding. It seems like the perfect wrap-up to this chunk of the series, so here it is again with a few edits/updates, in case you missed it the first time around.]
Hi, My name is Cindy, and I am a Stage Manager. I’m addicted to paperwork, checklists, sharpies, and starting on time (which, I’ve learned, is a near-impossible task). If you’re like me, you probably don’t need to read this post. But if you’re currently keeping track of your guest list on the back of a greeting card (I recently met with a client to discuss her upcoming wedding, and she whipped this out of her purse and started counting check marks…), or you’d be hard-pressed to find your photographer’s phone number if she doesn’t show up on time, you may need my help.
1. Get Organized
This is the hardest and most important step.
You need to set up a system for yourself to keep track of the big picture and all the little details. Get a big binder and divide it into tabs for each big part of your wedding. Here are some you might want to start with and what’s likely to go in them. You can use this binder from the get-go and include inspirational pictures and ideas as well, if you want.
Important Info (for me, this is a couple sheets in page protectors before the other sections; it’s the stuff you’ll reference most often on/right before your wedding day)
Contact Sheet – Name, Cell Phone Number, & Email Address of everyone with a role in your wedding (vendors, wedding party, family members, officiant, anyone needed for pictures)
Timeline – Detailed breakdown of what happens, when it happens, where it happens, and who needs to be there – for the entire day, including getting ready & getting home or to the hotel after the party is over
Checklist – of everything that needs to be brought to the ceremony or reception, and who is responsible for bringing it; this should include detailed directions on decorations, seating assignments, signage, and other things that need to be setup
Venue information, including floor/seating plans, and any needed setup
Copy of your ceremony text
Copies of any readings on separate sheets of paper (heavy cardstock is a good idea!)
List of your processional/recessional order and music to be played
Your marriage license, ready to be signed!
Anything else related to your ceremony
Venue information, including floor/seating plans, and any needed setup
Playlist for the DJ, with special songs (first dance, etc.) noted
List of who is giving toasts & list of people you want to remember to thank!
Anything else related to your reception
Guest List, including any dietary restrictions your guests may have, or meal choices if applicable
Seating Assignments, if you’re doing that
In addition to the guest list, you might also keep track of gifts received & thank you notes sent in this section.
Many of you may find this section optional. However, if you are coordinating dresses and/or suits for a large wedding party and/or parents, that could go here.
Depending on your personal organizational style as well as what things you’ve opted to do for your wedding, you might put any of these in another section or exclude them entirely.
All of them. You do have contracts, don’t you? (If you don’t, ask for them! At the very least get their commitments in writing via email, order, or invoice, and stick those in here.)
You probably noticed a bunch of paperwork referenced in that list (Contact Sheet, Guest List, Timeline, Checklists, Playlist, etc.). I recommend you use an online document service (like Google Docs) for these things. That way you can access them quickly from just about anywhere when you think of something that needs to be added or edited, and you and your partner can collaborate easily.
2. Make Backup Plans
Ok, now that you’ve got everything in one place, there are probably some things for which you should have backup plans. Examples are: outdoor events, which should have an indoor location secured in case of inclement weather; flower girls/ring bearers who may be suddenly shy and unwilling to walk the aisle in front of all those people; your iPod playlist which should be copied onto someone else’s iPod too!
3. Find the Missing Details
Consult online checklists or friends who’ve gotten married, ask a planner – whatever. There is probably something you forgot (reserved signs for your family’s seats? someone to press play on the iPod? toasting glasses your grandmother sent you a month ago?), and if you take a little time now to check your list twice, you’ll figure it out before the big day arrives and thus avoid panic.
4. Hire a Wedding Stage Manager or Sweet Talk a Friend
A stage manager is not optional. Not because you need someone to plan your wedding for you, because, obviously you already did that in step 1. But because on your wedding day, you do not want to be setting up chairs and centerpieces before you run back to the hotel to get ready, wearing a watch to keep things happening on time, or talking to the catering manager every twenty minutes about what food to bring out and which tables go where.
Do you have to pay for this? No, you absolutely do not. But know that a professional has done weddings and events before yours and will help you with or even do all of the steps above for you. (Please go read this article on Offbeat Bride by the awesome Ang of Lowbrow Events about what a wedding coordinator does). If you go with a friend, choose wisely. This is not a job for the social butterfly who makes everyone feel welcome and gorgeous at the party just as soon as she shows up late and without her potluck dish…again. This is a job for that friend who sends out the evites with driving, parking, and public transit directions from three different starting points and can usually be found apologizing for being ten minutes early with an extra bottle of wine in hand.
I know everyone’s schedules are crazy and it’s hard to get people in the same place at the same time, but even if it’s fifteen minutes the morning of the wedding, try to schedule at least a quick walk through of your ceremony. Practice walking slowly, unless you want to be like me and beat your future spouse down the aisle.
6. Relax, Get Married
Hand over your binder, your watch, and your cell phone to that person you designated in Step 4 (preferably the day before) and simply be present. Soak up all the moments in the first day of the rest of your awesome married life.
Ask your baker how to cut that first slice of cake. They often place dowels and plates in and between layers so that it doesn’t slip or fall over; it’s better to cut around those, yes?
Make a shot list for your photographer. Even if you aren’t doing formal, posed photos, you know there are people you’d be sad about not getting a picture with. Write it down and check it off.
Decide in advance what you’re going to eat on your wedding day (before the reception) and the days before. Put someone else (great job for your best person) in charge of making sure you eat. And choose healthy stuff that you know won’t upset a nervous stomach.
If you’re having any kind of welcome party or rehearsal dinner in your home, especially if you live in a condo or apartment building, let your neighbors know ahead of time or be prepared for them to throw big hissy fits about it. (I speak from personal experience.)
Write your thank you notes as soon as you get gifts. I cannot stress this enough. (A friend has a rule that she cannot use a gift or deposit a check until the note is written – an excellent rule.)
If you’re getting married outside (or spending time outside right before your wedding) and you burn easily, for the love of all that is sacred, please wear sunscreen. Lest you have a big red blotchy area on your chest that is not in the shape of your gown’s neckline. (Yep, that’s me.)
Little Phrases from Theatre that May Help You
Finally, a couple of my favorite phrases from theatre that may help you keep perspective and/or sanity:
The 6 Ps: Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Productions. Or weddings in this case.
There is a very fine line between “The show must go on!” and “This is stupid, I’m going home.” If something about your wedding seems like way more trouble than it’s worth… it probably is. Cut it without guilt, and move on.
“It’s just a show, it’s just a show, it’s just a show…” This is my mantra when people are being pains in my butt or I’ve just messed up a cue and I’m beating myself up about it. It happens. Point being, it’s not life or death (unless it is, in which case your stage manager will be calling 911, administering first aid, and otherwise handling it) so let it go and refocus on what’s ahead.
→ Got more stage managing questions? Need some spreadsheet templates for your wedding? Please feel free to email me – cindy AT craftybroads DOT com. We also offer wedding coordination in Chicago and beyond. Schedule a meeting time here.
Julia brought us 39 exquisite lace amulets that were made by women in a Guatemalan village in 1946 for her grandmother’s wedding. She wanted them to be an integral part of the design of a custom, elbow-length ivory veil, but also needed them to be easily removable for future generations to incorporate into their own weddings one day.
We decided to use their circular shape to create a scallop edging around the bottom and lower sides of the veil. The veil itself was made from soft and ethereal ivory silk chiffon. We think it turned out pretty well!
I’m sort of at a loss for what else to say about this project. We LOVE period garments, as you know doubt are aware, and working with these little pieces of history was delightful. I am certain they will look as lovely on each woman in Julia’s family who dons them one day as they did on her.
Congratulations Julia and Jon!
All photos were taken by Ashley Therese Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.
Ok, so you’ve got your wedding mission statement, and you’ve got your budget, and now you need to figure out who to hire. The only problem is you have no idea how to find those people who will make your wedding awesome, give you great service, and not rip you off. How do you find them?
Ask! If you hired a wedding planner, that is a great place to begin. She or he will be able to give you a general idea of how much things cost in your region as well as suggest some vendors in your price range. If you didn’t hire a wedding planner, start talking to anyone you know who has recently planned a wedding; they will certainly have opinions to share. You can also use our favorite tool – the internet. Search for the kind of vendors you need, check out their reviews (make sure you look at public review sites, not just the hand-picked testimonials on their own websites), and ask around on the various wedding community boards for suggestions.
Once you start contacting vendors, make sure you can afford them before you fall in love with them! If they don’t have at least some general pricing on their websites, send an email or call and ask for an average (be sure to include how many guests you expect, as this can make a big difference in some categories).
Found a few that fit your budget? Awesome! Interview them!! Please don’t skip this step. You should use and trust your gut instincts when you meet with vendors. If they don’t communicate in a timely fashion now, they are unlikely to do so once you book them. If they are awesome and go out of their way to customize a proposal for you or accommodate your budget, they are more likely to be great to work with throughout the process.
Got it narrowed down to one or two? You are almost there! Ask to see a sample contract, review it and make sure you understand everything in it. Find out what their payment schedule is. Ask any question you may have about their services and pricing now, before you sign anything. Still want to hire them? Go for it!
Once you have everything booked, get organized! We’ll talk more about this soon, but go ahead and start a spreadsheet with all you vendor contact information now, and mark payment due dates in your calendar (with reminders!) so you don’t miss them.
That’s it! Now, go relax until the wedding! =)
→ Need more help? We can help you find the right vendors, negotiate contracts, and keep track of payments for you.d
Lisa found us through the Offbeat Bride Tribe. (Side note: we are becoming an official Offbeat Bride sponsor in February!) We hit it off instantly when we met up at the Morton Arboretum on a very cold day last winter. She told me about her wedding plans: a morning ceremony surrounded by thirty of their nearest and dearest, including a gaggle of kids; photos in the Fragrance Garden afterwards; a brunch of comfort foods and bellinis; and lots of crafty details.
Best Buddies. With matching bow ties.
What I loved most about Lisa and Bill’s wedding was the love you could feel between all of their family members and guests. Bill’s son served as the “Best Buddy” and their collection of nieces and nephews made up the wedding party, referred to throughout as The Minions. They are a rambunctious, happy bunch to be around, and their energy made the day both festive and relaxed. It’s pretty damn near impossible to be worried about anything when you’re in the midst of a bubble-blowing fest and skirt-twirling contest!
See? Love! Heaps and heaps of it.
Lisa and Bill had a short and sweet ceremony, officiated by a dear friend, and then braved the chilly early-April temperatures to take photos outside. Inside, the room was filled with lots of handmade details – Lisa spent months folding paper flowers for the bouquets and the centerpieces (they look great, don’t they??) as well as making flower corsages for each of their guests. A family member made crocheted headbands for the girl minions; the boys each had a special flower corsage.
But maybe my most favorite part? After feeding each other the first bite of cake, the kiddos all lined up and each got a turn being fed a bit too!
To sum it up: this was a super fun and relaxed wedding full of people who genuinely love each other and their families a lot – and that is kinda the best thing ever. I loved being part of this day.
All photos were taken by Timothy Whaley Photography and are reposted here with the photographer’s permission. Photos in this and all posts are protected by copyright, and are are not available for reproduction, redistribution or any other purpose without written authorization from the photographer.