body image and the penelope peplum

sewing for yourself is not selfish.

Ah! The Penelope Peplum Sew-a-long has only been over for 24 days now, eep! I wanted to thank all of you participants for participating! As a designer, the ultimate best part of my job is seeing people (YOU!) sew up my pattern and enjoy it! I got so many emails and comments from you guys who sewed it up and loved it.

My favorite part, though, is that many of you said it made you feel good about yourselves and your bodies. The Penelope Peplum has a little backstory, all stemming from some serious body image insecurities that I have had this past year. Body image was never something I really struggled with until the second baby. After I gave birth to my son, the weight just melted off, I was back to normal in less than 6 months and fitter than ever about a year later. Like magic.

Enter babygirl. Her birthday was the best day of my life. The labor and delivery was an amazing and perfect end to an emotionally draining pregnancy (I still need to share that story, way behind!). And then I went home and my cute 4 day postpartum belly stopped being cute. And I was so tired.  And oh yeah TWO KIDS IS HARD. And actually using the fancy double jogger I had waiting for me was less than appealing. So the weight stuck. And there was NO motivation to do much of anything. (Which I think is fine for the first few weeks/months of having a new baby, but this lasted longer.)

I started this blog originally sewing for myself and sharing things I made for ME. ME ME ME. But last year I got lost somewhere in the mix. 2013 became the kid sewing year because I didn’t want to think about measuring myself, or picking a pattern size. Or even think about all the things in my closet that didn’t fit. I didn’t want to be wearing the maternity clothes that I was still wearing. I wasn’t about to sew more maternity clothes to wear. But I was still in a place of little motivation, hating my body and stearing clear of sewing for myself, shopping for myself, doing much of anything for myself. I’m sure some of you have been there, too. It’s exhausting, right?

Anyways, late last year, I said SCREW IT ALL. And I made myself a peplum top with some knit fabric I probably purchased for a kid project. It was cute! I felt good about myself for the first time in way too long. So I made more! And more! And I thought, this has to be a pattern. I needed everyone to feel this way.

And all of the sudden, taking care of my body became more important to me. It was like I flipped a switch and sewing for my body became loving my body which turned into motivation to eat a little better and run a little longer. The Penelope Peplum saved my self esteem. And I’m never going to stop sewing for myself again! Never ever ever. And you shouldn’t either! So let’s keep sewing for ourselves and quit it with that “selfish sewing” phrase because it’s not selfish in the least.

And that’s my manifesto on sewing for yourself. xo


……..Here’s a wrap up of all the Penelope Peplum Tour Bloggers


Craftiness is not Optional
Happy Together
Sew a Straight Line
Melly Sews
Lazy Saturdays
Delia Creates
Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
A Lemon Squeezy Home
Shwin & Shwin 


I’ll be back later with a wrap-up of YOUR Penelopes (and Pippas, too!)



  1. says

    Love it and completely relate to baby body! Haven’t sewn for myself in a long time until recently and absolutely loved it. I have The peplum dress pattern and fabric for it too – hope to cut out soon! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing! That’s how I was feeling and even though I have not lost all the baby weight, I didn’t want to wait until I was the “perfect” size to sew for myself. So I said forget about size and started sewing for myself. And I love doing it!

  3. Amy says

    Thanks so much for this post- I’ve been feeling exactly the same way. After my first two babies I didn’t even have to think about losing the weight, it just happened. Now, 7 months after my third, I’m not back to wear I was and have been hesitating on sewing myself clothing because I’m hoping to lose the rest of the weight. I’ve been pushing myself to start sewing more for myself- mostly knits, so hopefully I’ll be able to wear them once I do lose the weight!

  4. says

    Good for you! You look beautiful and happy, and I’m so glad that you decided to sew for yourself again . . . you totally deserve it :-)

  5. kelly t says

    Having had my 4th child a little over a month ago, I can completely relate. And I’ve been doing the same thing- sewing for my kids cuz I dont want to think about what size I am right now. Thanks for the motivation, I think I might sew myself something cute & get over the size/weight thing for the time being.

  6. brooke says

    I could have written this post! I avoided sewing for myselft for a long time after 2nd and 3rd pregnancies as well. Then I made myself a peplum dress and actually felt pretty! I am still struggling with my body image more than I would like, but I have been sewing for myself a bit more.

  7. says

    Well, you’re gorgeous, and you know I love you! I’ve sewn few things for myself and struggle struggle struggle with body image, but the Penelope Peplum was the pattern that turned the tides for me. I’ve made several things for myself since and it’s awesome! Thanks for the jumpstart, Kate.

  8. says

    aw i love this post, kate – even if i don’t agree with a lot of it, because you are always beautiful to me! but i get it too, especially now having a new postpartum body of my own. even though i don’t have that much extra to lose, it’s still a very different body and i’m reluctant to start sewing for myself again, even though i want to! this is a great motivator though, and i love that you had a breakthrough pattern to get you going again. you’re awesome. :)

  9. jeanine says

    LOVE!!!!! I love this pattern and totally have it on my wishlist :) and you are so gorgeous! and I totally agree 2 kids is HARD! I was the same way after my 1st … after my second – well she is 18months and adorable lol.
    Love that you are sewing for yourself and rocking it! great post!

  10. says

    Aww..I love this story. I relate to it too in some ways. After Nat, I lost the weight okay at first, then I stalled, then we moved, I had to deal with Natalie’s life changing food allergies and I started gaining again from all the stress! Totally new territory to me. I had to work really hard to get back to me again. I think you are beautiful in so many ways. I love love my peplum dress and I can’t wait to make more!

  11. says

    Oh how I feel your pain. I barely sewed for myself at all last year because it was more frustrating than fun to be that intimate with my body size. Here’s to a more confident 2014.

  12. says

    Hey Kate, this was such a great post. I love you mama!! I can’t even begin to tell you how much the phrase “selfish selling” Irks the crap out of me.


  13. says

    I think that it is so hard to be a mom, especially to more than one kiddo. Pregnancy can ravage our bodies and self esteem. It’s great to her you’ve claimed your sense of self back. That is so important.

    I am of the opinion that the word ‘selfish’, like other words like ‘ignorant’, have a negative connotation to them when it is not necessary. We’re raised as women, amongst other harmful concepts, to never put ourselves first. That choosing ourselves is wrong. And it isn’t. It’s healthy. It is also the definition of selfish. Being selfish all the time is bad, as is the converse.

  14. says

    I so relate! The first baby left me skinny and cute. Second……whooooooah. Then the third. Ha! But I’m just starting to feel motivated to sew for myself lately.

  15. says

    Body image has been a struggle since my second too. Even after the weight came off things were just not the same. I also agree it is such a cycle. I did the same clothing stall out. Once I started sewing for myself it really triggered over a boost in confidence, time working out, eating better, etc. I’m sure you’re doing great, with kiddos so close together I feel like it wasn’t until my second was close to 18 months before I even felt a little sane again! A little extra toddler independence can go a long way to help, though then they start plotting together haha!

  16. says

    Thanks for opening up about this! I’ve been struggling with weight for the past few years (and I haven’t even had children yet!) but it’s nice to know that others have gone through the same thing and turned it around. I’ve tried many things to deal with it and to get motivated, but I haven’t tried sewing for myself again! I should definitely do that!