From Sewing Dresses to Loving Herself, Nandita Amin Finds her Joy and Herself
Nandita (above) wearing the Jolene Turtleneck Dress with self hacked sleeves
When I was asked to write a post about myself, a thousand questions ran through my mind. Should I start from the very beginning, should I jump to my self imposed sewing hiatus, or should I describe a personal journey in learning to love the body I have and self acceptance? After careful consideration, I decided to start with what really motivated me to sew…the love of dresses, which in turn, lead to learning to love myself.
I first learned to sew in the 1990s. It was mainly window treatments and throw pillows for my apartment. I tried my hand at clothes construction, but being a perfectionist, fitting was a major issue and I basically gave up after what seemed like nothing but sewing fails (it was only about 10 garments, but still). Fast forward to 2014, I turn 40 and my midlife crisis is in full hormonal swing. I purge my closet of everything that made me hate my body (jeans, fitted shirts, pants
that pinched). What I’m left with are easy dresses in all sorts of colors but basically the same style, A line and knit. I start looking inside the dresses and a lightbulb goes off! These dresses are not made of magic, these dresses are not kept together by priceless threads. The dresses are no more than two or three pieces of fabric and I know in my heart, I can make these.
So, off to the internet I go, I mean doesn’t everyone use Pinterest as their Holy Grail? I scoured for what seemed like hours for “easy sew” dress patterns. I tried a few, but they were sacks on me and I felt that doubt creep in, the self- loathing rearing its ugly head. Just as I was about to give up and go back to ordering dresses online, I check into my Fb and the “you might be interested in” Seamingly Smitten Patterns page pops up. I click and there I find the cutest fit and flare dress, The Carrollton Avenue Dress, and it’s on sale to boot. One last try I tell myself, if this doesn’t work out, I know I can say I tried and that sewing was just not meant to be. But, not only did the dress work out, it gave me the much needed confidence I needed to go forward in my sewing adventures. Next came the Sazerac Shift Sew-A-Long. A classic shift that I can honestly say is my TNT. Truth be told, I have sewn an entire wardrobe of Sazeracs and each of
them gives me immense joy. So much joy, that I joined in on an Instagram challenge from England #owop…one week, one pattern, using the Sazerac. I gained not only a huge amount of followers, the hosts of the challenge posted me as one of their favorites!
Sewing dresses has opened up a new world for me. The satisfaction I derive from finding fabrics and mixing trims and prints, is not measurable in units. Sewing allows me to love my shape, to accept that I may not be a size X, Y, Z, instead, I’m a size LOVED. I am able to take a pattern and create one of a kind dresses that are a reflection of my personal style and aesthetic. I no longer worry about whether my clothes are “hiding” parts of me that are deemed unworthy by the media. Instead, through sewing, I have learned that a measurement is simply that. I have learned that a size does not equate to beauty. I wear my dresses with pride not because of the size or label, but because they have been created from my heart, from my love of the fabric I have chosen. I wear my dresses knowing how far I’ve come and how excited I am for the future.
If you’re wondering about my fabrics and trims, I am what’s called a connoisseur of all of prints, textures, colors, and stores. I purchase most of my fabrics online, fabric.com, cali fabrics, and recently even as far away as Australia. My trims are mainly from India (I visited there a few years back and bought a suitcase full…this is not an exaggeration lol). As far as shops and favorites go, if I see something I like, it could be a curtain or a bandana off the end cap in Walmart, I will purchase it…I am an equal opportunity shopper and don’t worry if it comes from the fabric or crafting aisles.