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Plus Size Sewing & Social Activism: Barbara Deckert’s Craftsy Class

Plus Size Sewing & Social Activism: Barbara Deckert’s Craftsy Class

You may have read one of my New Year’s resolutions was to make myself something at least once a month. I mentioned in that article that I have never really finished an article clothing for myself. Part of the reason for that is because nothing I have made has fit how I’d like it to.

There is a reason that all of the designers throw hissy fits on Project Runway when they have to make a garment for a real person. It is hard. Real people have curves and jut out in places that a hanger does not.

I am a FIRM believer in research. Ask anyone that knows me. I read and I study a whole lot before I dive into anything. I really enjoy learning about things, but I also enjoy diving into a project prepared to succeed. I have applied this to my garment sewing for my kids, in that I learned sewing techniques. I have educated myself about seam construction, how to cut out patterns, proper tools, and about my sewing machine. When it comes to sewing clothing for myself though, I have never taken the time to learn about how to alter a pattern to my dimensions.

Let’s face it, it’s daunting. I mean, there is math and geometry involved. More than that, there is measuring yourself and getting a true picture of what your body looks like. It’s easy to think your body shape is very different from what it really is. Body dysmorphia is common for all sizes of women.

Enter Craftsy & Barbara Deckert. Are you familiar with Craftsy? They are an online service that sells video classes in all kinds of “Craftsy” topics. Including but not only: Crochet, cake decorating, quilting, knitting, and sewing. As a lady who watches You Tube tutorials incessantly, I was pretty excited to find this place. The classes consist of lessons which are instructional videos taught by amazing teachers. You can post questions on the class page and the instructor will answer you there. You can see projects that people have uploaded after taking the class. I love that you can watch and rewatch it anytime you like. I just want to make it clear that I am in no way affiliated with them, but I think it’s an awesome service.

Their classes are not cheap, but they have a few free mini classes. When I signed up for an account, they sent me a promo to enroll in a class for $25. I rushed over and enrolled in Barbara Deckert’s class Plus-Size Pattern Fitting & Design.

I checked out Ms. Deckert’s book Sewing for Plus Sizes from my local library a few years ago. It was filled with great information, and I actually incurred a bit of a fine because I didn’t want to return it. I had high hopes of sewing something for myself at that point, but it would take a few more years for me to get serious about it.

I was very excited to see that Barbara Deckert was teaching this class. She has a wealth of knowledge and personal experience with being plus sized. I have only watched the first three lessons of this 11 lesson class, but I am practically in tears. She is that no no-nonsense cheerleader that we all need. She often says, “It ain’t rocket science, it’s just sewing!”

In the introduction to the class she says,

“If you are plus sized sewing for yourself is social activism.”

She goes on to expand on this theory on her own blog:

“When you make your own clothing, it no longer matters that your body is not standardized.”

“We make patterns fit as a part of the sewing process, and as we do, we practice size acceptance where it really matters: for ourselves and for our bodies.”

I encourage you to go read her post about this class, it gave me the chin shivers, which is what happens to me when I get REALLY excited and inspired about something.

Barbara Deckert is in no way my fashion icon. We have pretty different styles. In the first three lessons she has talked about shying away from bright colors, in order to not look like a clown. I think I’ve kind of got one or two toes in the clown camp already. She does say though, that you should make clothing that makes you happy, so there is that. She says,

“Clothing is semiotic! It sends signals to others about our self-esteem, occupation, income level, status, and taste. To live full, successful, happy lives, we need clothing that sends positive signals to others around us rather than reinforcing negative fat stereotypes.”

There is that saying that nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I prefer the saying, nothing looks better than a person who is comfortable in their own clothes. Thanks to Barbara Deckert and her Craftsy class, I am well on my way!

Melissa (158 Posts)

Melissa, known to the world as the foremost Glitter Technician, is the mother of two beautiful children and has two beautiful buckteeth. She currently spends her time making all kinds of quirky items and selling them in her Etsy shop. You can find more of her writing & her wares on her self titled site Melissa Nelson-Stippich.


  • Hey Melissa: Thank you so much for such a lovely review! Here is a link for a half-price class for your readers:

    One more point: I am hoping that my class will become an on-line community for plus size sewers: a safe and positive place to talk, embrace and celebrate our bodies and our style.

    Miss Barbara

    • Thank you for the link, Barbara! I am so excited to get to sewing and sharing. You are a fabulous teacher sharing some very valuable advice.

    • I just purchased the course on Craftsy! I’ve been considering it for awhile and this review and coupon convinced me to go for it.

      I knew I had to once I read the quotes included here about plus size sewing being social activism. I’m really excited to get started and hopefully start to feel like I really can make my own clothes.

      Thanks for the post, Melissa and for the course and coupon, Barbara!

  • We need to make dress forms! Let’s do it soooooooooooooon!

  • […] week I have been thinking all about fashion. As I wrote, I have been taking a craftsy class, I have been perusing books & Pinterest. I am obsessing […]

  • I love Barbara’s book selling for plus sizes. My favorite spot from it is that “if you are large people are automatically going to look at you I notice you more than they do thin and average sized women. We take up more space and actually catch attention more readily. ”

    I’ve been an occasional sewer for years but I have rarely sewn clothes for myself that fit. But now I’m starting again and with undies. I’m sewing bras from and I’ve downloaded Barbara’s inserwear from her blog. Wish me luck

    • That is awesome! I wish you all the luck in the world! Underwear and bra sewing scares me so much. Please share your finished work with us, and how it went. I am so excited for you!

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