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Little Lavi

February 28, 2012
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Meet Little Lavi

My wonderful and hilarious friends sent me this Little Enid doll when I was living half a world away after college. They even repackaged the box to say Little Lavi. I may have had a similar haircut and black rimmed glasses. Long live the 90s. Okay, so it was the super-early aughts by then. You know how decades go, style-wise.

Now meet not-so-little Lavi.

Yup, there I am. Well, I am much more than an outline. But as far as outlines go, that is definitely mine.

This isn’t a blog about body image, but if I’m going to post back to back articles of my near-nude image, it’s kind of unavoidable not to go there. This has always been my shape. When I skied and ran regularly, I had those hips. When I ate too many dumplings and drank too much vodka, I had those hips. The circumference changed, but the shape remained. I’ve hated them, I’ve lived with them, I’ve enjoyed them. My sisters, god bless ’em, never let me forget that they are there. (I love you ladies. I do. Go publish your own blog if I’ve offended.)

I don’t know if I’ll actually use the croquis to draw garments onto. That’s not really how I work, I’m not a designer in that sense. But I may do so, you never know. I definitely think this was a useful exercise, regardless. I learned that a Wacom tablet should be delivered to my door immediately. Free of charge.

And after analyzing my body map, I’m kind of proportional. Hips and all. This took forever, or at least it seemed to because I was freezing and stiff from standing still. So, the outline is a bit wonky in places. But look at that! Short waist, confirmed. Thing is, my armpits are about the same amount higher from “normal” as my waist, so I don’t look too wonky. Interestingly, my full hips are only 3/4″ lower that the halfway line. So they’re low, but not as low as I’ve always imagined. Combined with the short waist, there is a lot of length between my narrow and wide bits. And while I’m definitely bottom-heavy, I always thought my shoulders were really narrow, making it appear much worse. Apparently they are only slightly narrower than my full hips. Huh, who knew? My tilted waist and shoulders show proof of the muscle pain that pops up in my right side. And that I need to keep up with stretching and posture self-correction. As does the inch in height I’ve lost! Ack! You’re supposed to shrink at 60, not 30.

When I initially stepped away from the wall, I exclaimed how short the outline looks. I feel 5 inches taller in the world than the outline indicates. A good friend is several inches shorter than me, and she once mentioned she never feels short. I don’t think of her as short either, though I’m aware of a height difference while standing side by side. It’s fascinating how we carry around visions of ourselves moving through time and space, yet another’s perception is completely different.

Findings: short waist, swayback, long hip, full outer thigh (full hip is in the thigh area), curved upper back, full-ish bust, low butt.

In conclusion, while I may not love every aspect of my current shape, I love who I am. That doesn’t mean I’ll give up healthy eating and exercise. Likewise, I’ll try to stop wishing I lived in some other body. Sewing is a vital skill to enable feeling great about the clothes you live in. And hey, if some other short-waisted, swaybacked, long-hipped, full-outer-thighed, curve-backed, full-busted, low-bottomed woman sees this and realizes she’s got a sewing sister, I’m all the happier.

Oh, one more thing. I love reading the advice in fitting guides, if only for the hilarity. When all of my non-average forces are combined, the flattering/unflattering styles & detail suggestions contradict. So the ultimate, final conclusion: throw all that out the window and wear what makes you feel fabulous.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2012 11:56 am

    Intriguingly, Gail from Today’s Agenda just did this same exercise… The croquis is such a fascinating tool. I taught and have done yoga for many years so I understand how relevant proportion and symmetry are to movement. But they’re just as relevant to clothing construction. I’ve done my own croquis work in the last while… It can be rough, but also liberating.

    • February 28, 2012 8:43 pm

      I agree, totally liberating, just laying it all out there. Even if some of it was known, there it is, accept, work with, and have fun sewing! I just checked out Gail’s post, and thanks bringing another blogger to my attention!

  2. February 28, 2012 12:56 pm

    Bravo! Love this post! As you know, I’ve had my own body shape revelations during the process of fitting my first dress, and it’s been enlightening to say the least…. and I have a feeling I’m not done yet, but one can only take so many body shape revelations at once, no? LOL Perhaps one day I’ll do such an extensive exercise – did you get a volunteer to do your wall outline? I think that’s a great idea! :)

    One thing I do know, is that we are SO much harder on ourselves than others ever will be – especially as sewists who have to be bluntly critical of our “faults” in order to make correct pattern adjustments, I know it’s easy to see those unique qualities as faults instead of as the little things that make us unique. But to me (and to others, I’m sure) you are simply a beautiful, wonderful person I’m glad I have the honour of knowing :) And I’m jealous of your hips LOL.

    I do think you’re right, that contrary to the critiques we give ourselves, we often have a very skewed view of what we look like – I often imagine myself much more statuesque and willowy than I know for a fact I am – perhaps this revelation is what perpetuates the self image problems, because when we see evidence that our fantasies are not real, it can set off some very negative emotions indeed!! LOL

    I love your conclusion and embrace it whole-heartedly!! If we’re honest with ourselves we know what looks good on us, and just as importantly, what FEELS good, without any book or fitting expert telling us so. I’m a little ways away from it, but I am so excited about the prospect of building a wardrobe that i LOVE to wear – so it’ll all be worth it in the end :)

    • February 28, 2012 8:51 pm

      Ha! I’ll slice a bit off and send ’em your way. Seriously, though, it’s a weird exercise, but useful. My husband went about it very professionally, re: nudging me back on center the way a frisky stylist moves your head around! It would be impossible without a helper, and Fit for Real People actually recommends another, to make sure the marks are made at level. Try it when you get a spare hour… I’m sure if you do the croquis, you’ll be super speedy at the outline/graphic design part! You’re so right – seamsters need a critical eye, then the ability to translate that to successful garments as painlessly as possible.

      Thanks for such a sweet comment, gorgeous :D

  3. February 28, 2012 1:37 pm

    Great post. I haven’t done a croquis yet but it certainly seems that everyone who has learns a lot about their own body.

    • February 28, 2012 8:52 pm

      Definitely! Even if it never gets used for drawing, it’s a learning exercise. And if you’re Oona, you make it fun by dancing around nakey :)

  4. February 28, 2012 3:27 pm

    Thank you, and well done, you should love yourself and your body, it’s the only one you get. I’m so guilty of saying things to myself in my head about my body that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. That’s the nice thing about learning to make your own clothing, that you can think about your body not as a problem, but as something about which you can learn.

    And for the record, I think you are stunning.

    • February 28, 2012 9:01 pm

      Evil thought patterns, begone!! It’s tricky to balance healthy self-esteem, addressing areas for improvement via exercise (if you want to do so) and simply accepting and loving who you are. You, my dear, are a beautiful, ballsy, hilarious lady.

  5. February 28, 2012 3:31 pm

    Re unchanged body shape – I totally agree. Whether I am heavier or lighter, my overall shape is exactly the same (lady belly, large calves, and all). I think for someone to truly change their fundamental shape, weight lifting has to be involved – but even then, hip bones don’t shrink or shoulders widen.

    • February 28, 2012 9:02 pm

      Oh, I totally agree. Cardio is important, but for me, the real key is weight training. I love it, even if it’s simple body weight resistance exercises.

  6. February 28, 2012 3:33 pm

    Dude, except for the full-ish bust (mine is nearly not existent) I’m darn sure we’re sewing sisters. When I look at your body map I see myself, for real. I’ve also had “those” hips since I was at least fourteen and because of my slimmer upper body and skinny calves and ankles I used to think my body was like those puzzles little kids have where you can mix & match head, torso and legs of different characters. I’ve been meaning to do one of these body maps since I got Fit for Real People a few months ago. If I get around it and find scientific proof that we’re truly sewing sisters, I’ll let you know. In the meantime I agree that fitting advice based on body type can sometimes be a bunch of nonsense – here’s to wearing clothes that make us feel fabulous!

    • February 28, 2012 9:07 pm

      GET OUT! That’s totally it, skinny calves and ankles, “those” hips, slim up top. When I first got FfRP and saw this exercise, I couldn’t wait. Then I definitely could wait. It seemed like a pain in the butt, not necessarily beneficial, maybe TMI. I hope you do one soon!

      And I totally want to ransack your closet!!!

  7. February 28, 2012 8:09 pm

    How does this turn into a croqui that you can use for drawing on 8″ x 11″ paper? Great post!

    • February 28, 2012 9:10 pm

      I edited RAW photos, then saved as jpg, which will be fine for printing… you just need to set the finished dimensions when saving the file. A jpg or pdf will be fine.

  8. February 29, 2012 5:48 am

    Love little Lavi. Sooo cute.

  9. February 29, 2012 10:13 am

    Hi there! Coming over from your comment on my post :-)

    OK – first off: I LOVE that you put your tattoo on your croquis!

    Secondly, I’m with Andrea: when I saw your silhouette, I thought it looked just like my figure! Except for the side view; like Andrea, I’m less well-endowed up front.

    Here’s a fun little aside: a couple years ago, my nephew, who was just entering the sensitive period for awareness of “what is sexy,” said to me: “I like how your butt goes out on the side!” And you know what? So do I! But it took me a while to get there.

    • March 1, 2012 9:58 am

      Your nephew’s comment had me laughing out loud and grinning from ear to ear! I love him!!!

  10. February 29, 2012 12:33 pm

    I love this! It’s so cute that your croquis wears glasses! :) It’s funny the way that our perceptions aren’t always grounded in reality– for some reason, I didn’t have very many pictures taken of me growing up, so when I got married and saw those photos, I couldn’t believe how terrible my posture was (like, I look like Quasimodo!)! I need to nut up and do one of these! As a pretty new sewist, I struggle with fitting still– I know when something fits “weird”, but I’m not aware enough of my own shape to identify what’s going wrong with the fit.

    • March 1, 2012 10:01 am

      I always want to blame my mom for not yelling at me about my posture. Cuz, you know, blame it all on the parents! Ha! It’s definitely good for analysis, but now I wish I could be thrown into one of those fancy 3D printers for the ultimate custom dress form. That would be brilliant!

  11. February 29, 2012 4:05 pm

    Nice one! I love seeing all those croquis out there. It’s so fascinating seeing all the different body shapes! Oooh, and yours wears glasses! :) Also, dear hip-y people, as a med-student with a belly and next-to-no-waist instead of hips please let me tell you: at least your waist-to-hip ratio is easy to maintain. *g*

    • March 1, 2012 10:03 am

      Girl, you dress yourself well, because I always see a waist when you pose in your garments! Bodies are weird :)

  12. March 1, 2012 1:49 am

    Little Lavi! You are so cute – I love that your croqui has glasses.

    • March 1, 2012 10:04 am

      Nerdy croqui! I should give her combat boots and folded arms for a real Daria effect!!!

  13. March 9, 2012 10:15 am

    Thank you for this post! It was really really interesting – and I don’t even know you! (Other than through your blog, which is something I guess.) What cracked me up was that you said you felt 5 inches taller than you really are. I can totally relate. Maybe my eyes are way up high on my face or something?

    I’m tempted to do the same exercise. But maybe I won’t since I don’t sew for myself (anymore).

  14. Jenn permalink
    March 13, 2012 3:11 pm

    Hey Boo ~ the reminder that you are shaped as you are is all in love so that you know you are built just like me, therefore you should be able to make me a homemade garment with adjustments to fit properly, that I could wear with pride. Did that get me a piece of your beautiful work…? Your favorite middle sis

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