Letting Go

I just recycled a whole bunch of patterns that I had printed and assembled that are no longer the right size. I also cleaned out my closet of all the garments I have made that don’t fit anymore either. I’m planing on listing them in our local buy-nothing group and hope someone enjoys them as much as I did.

My body has changed. I am trying to stay as neutral as I can about this fact – all bodies change as they age. This past year has been awful for our family, after all those awful pandemic years. Somehow things got worse for us. I have always worn my stress on my body.

I’ve sized out of a lot of patterns I’ve bought. I don’t want to take them out of my Airtable, but I also don’t want to see them anymore, at least not front and center. I’ll go in and add a category, see how I can sort them. That way, I can stop checking every time I see a pattern and think, that might work! And then it doesn’t because it isn’t size inclusive enough.

I’ve already reprinted a number of my favorite patterns, and a bunch of the knit patterns are still ok. Most of my favorite makes from the past few years can be salvaged or repurposed – a shirt dress into a light coat, tank tops under wrap dresses and jumpsuits, adding a strip of fabric to either side of a dress, taking some darts out, changing the seam allowance, or taking the fabric to use in another project. Some of them, though, I just have to let go.

I’m trying to see this as an opportunity to try new and (obviously) more size-inclusive patterns that I have been procrastinating about. To find new favorites to replace old ones. To think about how I dress, how my clothes feel, and to be ok with clothes changing alongside of my body.

I now have a recycling bag full of patterns, a pile of empty envelopes, and a giant stack of paper of patterns I never assembled, instructions I don’t need, that I can print new patterns on their blank side. I don’t feel particularly wasteful – only a handful of those patterns were ever going to be made again, the envelopes can be reused, and my time, well, if I’m just assembling new patterns anyway…

Only three really stung: the Kalle, the Elodie, and the Zadie. Thankfully, they come in larger sizes so all is not lost. The tank top is my solution for my “old” Elodie dresses and Zadie jumpsuits, so I’m hanging on to them. I’m still struggling with what to do with my two Kalle dresses – they…fit but barely, and the burgundy Kalle was one of my first makes, and by far the one I was the most proud of for a long time. Also, it’s so imperfect, I can’t imagine anyone else wanting to wear it.

I don’t know if I could have handled it if I had to reprint and let go of all of my Kielo dresses.

All of this to say, I didn’t sew for a while because I was too scared to make something that didn’t fit. I also didn’t want to make something that did fit and let me know how poorly an earlier iteration I was hanging on to fit. I still have that fear, at least a little.

(I know, I know, make a toile. I get it. I just got so confident in my fit it stopped being a part of the process. Ask anyone with ADHD what it’s like to try and change a long-standing process.)

It feels good, however, to have more space in my closet, more space in my printed patterns organization. It will feel good once I reorganize my Airtable. But it also feels sad and frustrating and scary and…

It’s learning to let go.

Addendum: After I wrote this I did reorganize my Airtable. And it does feel good. I was hoping I didn’t have too many patterns that I had to get “rid” of and it was only a little over 20% of my patterns, and most of those were free patterns.

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