Friday, November 4

MAKE IT WORK: A DIY fatshion craft zine

Hey everyone! I've come to post about a new project that I'd love for anyone to get involved with. Since I've been unemployed for a few weeks now, I've been crafting a lot in between job applications, and I've come across lots of useful plus size craft resources that I'd like to share. I was going to post a series here, but instead I thought I'd make it into a zine! I'm looking for contributions from others too. Here are the details:

Make It Work is a DIY fat radical craft zine, focusing on strategies for resistance, tutorials and craft projects for fellow awesome fats. “Make It Work” has been a mantra within fatshion communities since I can remember, and I’m interested in exploring it as a radical premise of fat positive politics. Fat people have and have always had very limited options in ready-made clothing, and, whilst retailers are starting to produce more on trend pieces, the process is slow and in the meantime, we have to come up with our own radical alternatives – whether it’s making clothes, thrifting, altering clothes or making straight sizes work for us. I want this zine to be about sharing the resources, skills and knowledge that we’ve gained, and for it to provide strategies for people to move forward with.

All contributions are welcome, and here are a few suggestions:

- DIY tutorials (resizing smaller items, designing patterns from scratch, adjusting clothes, costume making, accessories)

- Radical craft projects.

- Craft and fatshion related personal pieces.

- Organising fatshion events – clothes swap, DIY fashion shows, selling on etsy and so on.

- Sewing and crafting on a budget – how to do it, where to find cheap supplies, etc.

- Thrifting tips, shopping guides and etsy recommendations for fat positive sellers.

- Strategies for shopping – how do you find the pieces that you want if they aren’t immediately available? Shopping in straight size stores, vintage shopping, resource guides.

- Dressing queer as a fat person – how does being fat impact your choices? How do dominant aesthetics limit your choices, how do you resist them, and how does your sense of dress interact with these dominant aesthetics?

- Resources for trans and gender queer identified people.

- Letters to high street retailers, commentary on outsizing, plus size ranges and any other rants.

- Pieces on fatshion role models.

- Illustrations (that look good in black and white and are photocopiable!), comics, visual art of any kind.

- Critiques and criticisms of fatshion – how could we be more inclusive? Who do you want to see blogging?

Email any ideas, contributions and questions through to me at I’m going to set a preliminary deadline of 30th November for submitting, though that will probably slide and if anyone can’t make that, let me know and I’ll try and set some space aside for you.

I started thinking about doing something like this after some conversations with Lauren over the weekend, and after some debates that have recently been circulating around twitter and tumblr. I’ve been following fatshion blogs and communities since I discovered the Fatshionista livejournal community in 2007, and I’m really interested in how the community has evolved and shifted in those years. For me, Fatshionista was an amazing space, because it focused on fashion from a radically, politically engaged perspective and because it didn’t permit diet talk of any kind. I’m not saying that it was without problems, but at its peak it was a fantastic entrance point for anyone starting to re-think their body. Now that the community has dwindled, and most people blog instead, this sense of safe space doesn’t really exist anymore, because, whilst there is still a community of sorts, we each control our own spaces. Just because someone runs a plus size fashion blog doesn’t mean that they are fat positive, that the blog won’t involve diet talk or that they engage with politics in remotely the same way that I do. I’m used to fatshion being half about body politics, and half about clothes – however, as different people have entered the community from different backgrounds, the focus has shifted away from politics.

I recognise everyone’s right to bodily autonomy, and I’m not going to argue with anyone losing weight – that’s your choice, just as much as mine was to stop dieting. We all know what’s best for us individually. However, I can’t pretend that I’m not often nostalgic for when fatshion always came with a dose of radical fat acceptance politics. Instead of just ranting about my issues here, I thought I’d try and create something new that would bring some of these resources back into focus.


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