Dropping a Bombshell

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Hey readers, I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog and my blog reader/twitter/sewing community in general for the last week or so. Sorry for that! I hope to get back to reading all your lovely blogs and comments right away. If you want to read more about what’s been making me so distracted you can skip down to the bottom of this post, or skip over it entirely.

In the mean time I want to talk about my new swimsuit! This is kind of my late submission for the Swim-along even though I finished it over a week ago. Travel and working at the fabric store (and other things) have kept me from taking pics of it so far but I have already gotten to use it at my cousin’s 5th birthday party and I plan on wearing it to my friend’s birthday party next weekend, too. I love this suit!

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The Goal: I wanted to make a suit for the Swim-along. My other bikini I’m working on still hasn’t been finished yet. Also Heather Lou of Closet Case Files so kindly sent me this pattern to try out so I wanted to whip one up.

The Pattern: If you follow sewing blogs you’ve already seen this Bombshell Swimsuit pattern. Dozens of people have made it, as we all should, it’s awesome! My favorite feature is the “skirt” effect in front that’s great for those of us who worry about coverage in the front as well as the back… The back is great, too. Full coverage in the bum area as well.

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The Fabric: I bought this swim fabric from Fabricker. It’s kind of an abstract floral print. The colors remind me of a Polynesian sunset or something. I’ll have to remember that when I’m swimming in a stagnant creek where I’ll most likely be wearing it here in Central Texas.

The Changes: I didn’t make any changes to the pattern this first time but next time I might tighten the elastic on the front neckline a bit more. It’s not a huge problem as it is right now and so far I’ve picked the lazy route and decided not to go back and re-sew it.

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Also next time I’ll baste my lining and outer layers together with a straight stitch rather than zig zag or serging because basting the front and back layers then stitching them both together at the side seams makes for a lot of exposed basting stitching to rip out. Some of which I have yet to remove… one day… ;)

The Results: This is a great pattern design. I didn’t follow all the directions all the time although I recommend that you do. With so many elements and pieces there is a logical order to how to assemble this suit which you should follow. The instructions are so detailed that I think an advanced beginner to use this pattern to sew her first swimsuit and feel incredibly accomplished.

I was worried the straight line at the bottom would exaggerate my pear shape but if it does, I don’t care. I love this suit and I think it looks pretty darn good!

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Ok, so back to my excuses about not being around much. I don’t intent to turn this into a political blog but I feel compelled to talk about this subject. You might have heard by now about how here in Texas we’re facing legislation that could effectively close dozens of women’s heath clinics across this state. On Tuesday, June 28, Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for over 10 hrs to block Senate Bill 5.

I was there that Tuesday in the Senate Gallery from about noon to 4 and later that night I stayed up watching the live feed of the filibuster. The bill failed but our Governor called another special session to push the bill through. So I went back to the Capitol again on June 30, and again for the big rally on July 1 and for the House committee hearings on the 2nd and again on the 3rd for good measure. I’ll be back next week, too.

And if I wasn’t wearing orange or packing protest snacks or working at the fabric store I was on Twitter and news sites trying to figure out what was going on and to try and make myself feel better.

You see, for the first time in my life I feel like I am being specifically targeted because of my sex or my gender, not anecdotally in society but by those who make the laws of the land. For me, personally, this bill isn’t about saving babies. This woman already wrote an excellent piece on that point. And let’s face it – I’m a privileged, educated, white woman who has never been without health insurance when she needed it, and who, most likely, will never need an abortion. Heck, I’ve never even stepped foot in a Planned Parenthood. This law will not directly effect me. It will however effect rural women, women of color, and women in poverty and that’s not ok.

But even for white ladies like me this bill is dangerous. While watching some political round table show one of the commentators made the distinctions between the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on DOMA and the Voting Rights Act. He said that the SC struck down DOMA because it explicitly discriminates against gay couples while the portion of the VRA was struck down because it dealt with implicit discrimination that wasn’t obvious. Because of that states like Texas can enact Voter ID laws when registered hispanic voters are known to be less likely to have a photo ID than whites.

Bills like what are now HB2 and SB1 are examples of both explicit and implicit discrimination against women. The explicit part is as obvious as a coat hanger. But whether or not these bills pass and are ultimately struck down by the SC, the implicit part will linger.

Bills like these legitimize and perpetuate the myth that female sexuality is bad or taboo or “a sin.” These bills reenforce the idea that women’s sexuality must fit inside a tiny box of abstinence until heterosexual marriage. It’s the “virgin/whore” dichotomy we’ve been dealing with for thousands of years.

That mentality is used by businesses to deny employees contraception coverage (because it’s “against our beliefs”), by education boards to not fund day care in schools so teen moms can graduate and reduce their chances of being on welfare (because it’s “encouraging bad behavior”), by legislators who think they can debate what is or isn’t “legitimate rape.” It’s the mentality that keeps law makers from understanding the bills they write (rape kits =/= abortion). It’s what makes men in cars think they can honk and catcall at me while I’m trying to mow my own damn lawn. It’s what enables slut shaming and rape culture.

If you are a woman in Texas in need of abortion services you are at best a “victim” and the state needs to protect “vulnerable women” like you and at worst you are a super skank undeserving of state assistance to help raise a child you can’t afford. There’s no winning. It’s only black or white. And the mentality seeks to divide us.

During these protests I definitely felt an urge to “prove” my self worth to pro-lifers. I’m not a “murderer,” I’ve never even been pregnant. I’m a respectable law abiding adult. I’m not one of them. And see, that’s the real problem. The anti-women mentality is implanted in girls like me from an early age. At 11 I had to hear from abstinence only presentations at my school that as a woman I am defined my by “purity” and that once I’ve unwrapped my “pink present” I’m basically useless. That in order to have sex I need to be married (even if it’s an abusive marriage, like my mother’s), not that I need to be ready or give consent or be safe and informed. My mother was first married at 16 and she sure as heck wasn’t ready for sex. Teaching these things to girls is wrong because having sex or not having it does not make her a terrible person. It makes her a person, who shouldn’t have to demand respect and dignity.

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The mentality behind these bills makes it so that people feel they can make assumptions on a woman’s character not based on her personal history but on her specifics body parts.

When you look at that picture of me above that I took in my back yard you can’t tell if I have kids, if I’ve ever been pregnant, if I’m married or single, if I’m gay or straight, how many sexual partners I’ve had, when I first started having sex, whether or not I use birth control, what my religious beliefs are or how I personally feel about abortion.

The only things you can tell from that picture up there (besides the fact that I am uber-pale) is:

  1. I sew my own swimsuits, and
  2. I stand with Wendy and all Texas women.
  • kaelaC

    woooo!

  • Sew Festive

    I loved this. I may not be in TX, but I stand with you ladies too :)

  • Beautifully sewn, beautifully expressed. As a former resident of Texas, having raised my three daughters there, thank you!

  • lk

    Gorgeous suit, gorgeous words.

  • ashley akers

    Thank you Dixie for standing up for Texas women! My mom was at the Capitol on Monday too. I love a lot of things about our state but the current state of politics is truly scary.

  • Well done on your swimsuit!

    You may not be aware but there is an ongoing discussion in Irish politics about abortion. Abortion is not legal in Ireland currently. In 1992 the X case as it is called involved a 14 year old girl who was raped and became pregnant by a man known to her family. He had been abusing her for 2 years. Her family told the police they were going to the UK for an abortion and asked that the foetus be examined for paternity so that charges could be brought forward. A judge ordered that the girl should be detained in Ireland for 9 months because the right to life of the unborn child should not be interfered with. The family appealed to the Supreme Court centering on the right to life of the mother as she may take her own life if the pregnancy was not terminated. There was a referendum held and the country voted and the freedom to travel outside the state for an abortion was passed and freedom to obtain or make available information on abortion services was also passed. The right to an abortion in the case of potential suicide was not passed.

    A few month ago the case of Savita Halappanavar an indian woman living in Ireland died after developing septicaemia from a miscarriage which lasted more than two days. The foetus was not viable and had no chance of survival. She requested to be induced or have an abortion but it was refused due to the legality in Ireland. The government is now trying to pass legislation so that abortion can be allowed if there is significant risk to the mother’s life. Hopefully this will be passed in the next few days so pregnancy can be safer for women in Ireland. It is incredible that it has not happened sooner!

    Thank you for standing up for women in Texas. I hope that more people will do the same here in Ireland.

  • Raquel Ashton

    Thanks Dixie! Excellent swimsuit and excellent political stance!

  • aleah

    Great swimsuit. But more, what a smart, eloquent, meaningful piece of writing about the bills in Texas. Thank you for putting all that out there. You rock!

  • What a great swimsuit! Its greatness is only defeated by your writing. Like Aleah said, it is very smart, eloquent and meaningful. I am happy you decided to speak about this and I was moved by Senator Wendy Davis’ actions and hard work.

  • Good on you!!!!! Thanks for standing up for women’s rights, and thanks for writing about your perspective so clearly! (Also: Great bathing suit!)

  • FUCKING RIGHT ON. At first I was all “Oh man, Dixie really nailed this suit, and how many more babes do I have to see in my suit before my brain explodes” and then POW, some good ol’ feminist righteousness. The neo-cons in Canada occasionally make some attempt to infringe on our right to choose, but its pretty enshrined in Canadian ethics to just leave women the fuck alone when it comes to their reproductive rights. I get so worried about my American sisters when I see what’s been happening the last few years. It’s just such misplaced energy. I understand why people get emotional abortion, but at the end of the day, regardless of where you stand on the issue, there are millions of kids OUT OF THE WOMB living in poverty, abuse, and neglect. And nobody gives a fuck, because actually addressing that issue is so much more complicated than carrying a picket sign, pointing fingers, living in judgement of others and refusing to acknowledge the deep, ingrained connection between women’s reproductive agency and her freedom in a democratic society. Can you imagine what would happen if all the energy from pro-life activism went instead to demanding an end to child poverty? How beautiful would that be? What kills me is that they could actually greatly reduce the amount of abortions occurring if there was a comprehensive sex education agenda in your country. God forbid kids know how to use a condom. Anyway. I’m sure you’ll piss a few people off with this post (“IF I WANTED TO READ ABOUT LEFTY BULLSHIT I WOULD READ HUFFPO!!”) but I’m giving you a massive Canadian high five in solidarity. Way to fucking be lady.

  • Julianne Siadek

    Rock on and be righteous!

  • Donna

    Well said. It makes me sick to my stomach that this is happening. Stand strong!

  • Virginia Rand

    The thought processes behind some peoples decisions and arguments can be truly terrifying. We’re all cheering you on.

  • Lucysb

    Couldn’t agree more, and love the suit. Enough said.

  • Clare Sager

    Great post – so eloquent and right-on! Good luck with your campaign, keep fighting the good fight!

  • Cocos Loft

    Excellent, Dixie. Well said. Thank you for doing all the things you are doing to represent me and others.

  • sallieforrer

    Beautiful post, Dixie. Your swimsuit is badass, and your words are so right on. I SO wish I could have been there, standing with you in Austin. Thank you for the intelligent, eloquent post during these crazy times.

  • elisalex

    Damn fucking straight. Denying a woman’s right to choose can only be the beginning of a slippery slope into the deterioration of basic human rights. What a pitiful regression for mankind that would be… SO well said, Dixie, and LOVE the suit! x

  • Dixie, this is such an excellently written piece, and you know that I agree with every word. Love! (And love your suit too, gorgeous!)

  • Al

    The sound you hear is the standing ovation I am giving you. Well said, well done. Proud to call you a friend!

  • stephanie u.

    Great suit and great post!

  • That is crazy! Thanks for writing so openly about your views. I live in Holland, so we have the rep that ‘anything goes’ but it’s not like it is a country of hoodlums and sinners. I believe we should have the right to make our own mistakes. Not everyone has to agree with our choices but the government should support or stay out of it either way. Great job on the bathing suit and keep up your stance on human rights!

  • Rachel

    Whooo-hoooo!! You are a badass…both with sewing and helping the fight for women’s rights!! Thanks for working so hard for all of us…I’m in Florida and am so proud of Texas women right now….

  • lulumiss

    You are a badass! Thanks for rocking the suit and rocking the vote!

  • Jill Frank

    I too came over for the swimsuit (bought the pattern, haven’t yet started it due to life getting in the way), but will stand right beside you with this issue. I moved from one of the most liberal counties in MI back to conservative KS (Conservative as in there were no democrats to vote for on our ticket). I have come to the belief that you are required to sign away at least 50 IQ points to become a politician, at least in this state…

  • tanyamaile

    First off, your suit looks fantastic!! Second, you are awesome for standing up for rights that all of us should have. It’s disheartening how this country has not progressed with women’s rights, but considering that basic human and civil rights are not considered for many people in this country, it is not so far-fetched. Kudos to you.

  • Maeve Fanning

    Great suit. im almost finished mine. Im irish & stephanie has outlined very clearly whats going on here. we are trying to progress while the opposite seems to be the case in texas. keep on fighting for your rights.

  • What a fantastically written post, it seems incomprehensible that in today’s society these battles must still be fought, doesn’t it? Also, a great swimsuit

  • Kelli Ward

    you look amazing. I am going to make this suit. just need to find the right fabric now.

  • kelly

    well said Ms. Dixie! i could not agree more with your comments :) (… and the suit’s lovely!)

  • Kat Siddle

    This was beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for standing up for other women, even when you don’t share all their experiences.

  • Bec Stitches

    Beautiful post and suit :)

  • Really powerful writing! Good on you for getting involved. I’ve been following this news from London. Good luck for Monday.

  • Alessa Farbenfreude

    You go, girl! The swimsuit looks fantastic, and thanks for that empowering piece of writing. :) I’m glad that Germany is much more enlightened concerning these matters (I had sex ed classes in school every couple of years since 4th grade primary school, and while abortion is technically a crime, after medical/psychological consult or if there’s a medical reason for it, it’s exempt from punishment, and a lot of hospitals also have an anonymous way for giving unwanted children up for adoption).
    Hoping that your taking a stand for the rights of women all across the US will be successful!

  • Leila

    Such a great post!! I really like the combination of the swimsuit and talking about Wendy and reproductive rights. In my world they go together perfectly. Thanks for this.

  • Awesome swimsuit. LOVE the fabric. (plenty of my garments still have basting stitching in them!) Even more, an awesome message. I’ve been watching what’s going on around this in the US and it makes my skin crawl – that madonna whore complex is a bitch and I just can’t get over how women become second class citizens the second the become a carrier for another life. Pro-life? What about the life of the mother? I can totally handle a blog absence if that is what you’re out doing. Thankfully life in Aus is different for women in that situation – Keep it up – and I hope with all my heart that what you’re protesting for – preventing that bill – works out.

  • Trisha Eardley

    Dixie, I’ve always thought you are fantastic, but love you even more now!

  • LaraGa

    You are my blogger hero right now! Sewing bitching clothes AND standing up for women’s rights, how fucking awesome are you??? :)

  • Katrina Blanchalle

    I am IN AWE of your ability to capture the points of this issue and argue persuasively. I get so angry when I try to talk about it that the words just dry up, and I don’t do much better with writing. You have a real talent and I feel very fortunate that you are here to speak. I’ll just point and say “what she said!”

    I can’t say I have a favorite of your many beautiful swimsuits, but this one’s really stunning. Pattern + fabric = perfection.

  • First off, this might be the best bombshell I’ve seen yet. It might even be the best swimsuit I’ve ever seen! More importantly, thank you so much for all that you are doing on behalf of women in Texas, and, by extension, the entire country. No one should be forced to have a child, period. It makes me feel so sick and powerless to know that so many lawmakers either can’t see or don’t care that the lives of real women are destroyed by these restrictions that are heralded as protecting life. I’m so proud of what you all have done in Texas, thank you for standing up for all of us.

  • Nicole Robinson

    Way to say it–exactly what so many of us are thinking–so succinctly! It’s so scary but reassuring to read other people not only agreeing, but getting out there and being heard (in person and online). Thanks for sharing. And cute suit!

  • A Stitching Odyssey

    What a moving and powerful post Dixie! Thanks so much for eloquently sharing what so many of us are thinking and feeling! And you’ve made an awesome swimsuit to boot!

  • Nicole Morgan

    Yes to this! If this state wants to claim that they’re just trying to protect women and children, why don’t they actually enact real policies that would do this?!? Why not make it easy for teen moms to graduate, stop cutting benefits to needy families, give moms & dads paid maternity leave, etc.? Instead of passing this legislation that will close all but 5 clinics, why not add in funding to make existing clinics safer without requiring them to be giant freaking state-of-the-art surgical centers? I mean, if this was really all about SAFETY.

    Cheers to your awesome rant and your awesome swimsuit!

  • Kelly

    Your swimsuit is awesome, you rock! Thanks for putting yourself out there and not being afraid to voice your opinion, and thanks for putting in the time and effort to fight for what you believe in. I have so much respect for that!!

  • Rachel Pieters

    I love you swimsuit, and I love your message. PREACH IT! :)

  • Amanda Berka

    Thank you! I read you often, although I don’t think I’ve ever commented. This was a brave post. I could never put my body on the internet like that (or so I say/think now – but you ROCK that swimsuit) and you’ve laid yourself completely bare by sharing some very important political views. I stand with you (outside TX) and I hope that your post reaches others who may be swayed. I suspect many in the sewing blogger community won’t initially agree with you. I salute you for putting yourself out there and giving commentary to a topic in need of reason, maturity and information (rather than much of the misinformation passed around).

  • Angela So

    Love your swimsuit! I want to totally make the same thing! Well written post and good for you!

  • Jenni Murdison

    Just want to add my congrats to you for producing a great swimsuit, a must read post and for being there and standing up for what you believe :o) I followed this story on twitter as there was NO mainstream news on this in the UK at the time it was happening!! and what was then reported was incorrect! Be sure that many of your readers will happily wait for new posts as we understand some things need fighting for xx

  • Your suit is awesome, and so are you! GO YOU!!!

  • Abi

    Awesome post. Thank you for speaking out!

  • Thanks Stephanie, I had heard about the Indian woman but not the other woman. Thanks for sharing about these issues in other countries. It’s important to know about what’s going on even outside of my state.

  • ashley akers

    I just spied you on the news in the state Capitol. Go Dixie! I knew it was you because of your mustard yellow folded knit skirt.

  • House Of Pinheiro

    You look hot hot hot in your bombshell swimsuit… Love it

  • Irene

    Thank you so much for speaking out so passionately about our cause :) I really admire your energy and tenacity! Reading about your experience with abstinence “education” made me feel sick… It’s something I’ve only heard about on the news but I never felt the full impact until I read your account.

    With the rhetoric coming from the other side of the political aisle, it’s hard not to view them all as enemies, motivated only by their lack of respect for our humanity and smug judgmental attitudes. While I’m sure that many of them do get off on deluding themselves that they have the moral high-ground, I do believe that there is a significant portion who are motivated by more genuine and humane emotions. Of course I don’t think we should let them have their way just because they have good intentions, but we shouldn’t dehumanize them.

    I used to have this friend some years back who once told me, “I used to be pro-choice until I saw the first sonogram of my son.” At first I was highly offended that he thought he had the right to control women’s bodies, then later I realized he was trying to say that experience forged a deep emotional bond between him and his unborn son, which made him incapable of understanding why anyone would ever terminate a fetus. That’s pretty natural, since we are evolutionarily programmed to protect our offspring. But clearly just because one father doesn’t want to abort his son, it does not logically follow that all women should be banned from terminating any pregnancy ever. This person, though, wasn’t motivated by slut-shaming or woman hating. His only fault is his inability to empathize with women in less fortunate circumstances, but we would be equally lacking in empathy if we lumped him in with guys like Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.

    It’s hard to maintain civility when faced with people who want to take control of your own body away from you, especially when they’re perpetuating old gender roles that reduce women to sub-humans. And perhaps it’s easier for me to say since I’ve been fortunate enough to always live in relatively liberal environments (LA, Seattle, etc), but I think when we start calling all anti-abortion people “woman-haters” we are sinking to the same level as those people who say that anyone who would choose to have an abortion must be a soulless monster who doesn’t value human life.

  • lol, huffpo.

    but for reals, i like your energy. thanks so much for making an awesome swimsuit and for giving me some inspiration in other life areas as well.

    and if all else fails… there’s always canada, right? ;)

  • thanks, i keep thinking that maybe the basting will just fall out on its own or something, basically, i’m just super lazy. ;)

    and thanks for the support. going to the capitol almost every day has got me a little worn out.

  • thanks leila, i think ‘baring’ myself on the internet, both body and mind is kind of empowering. at least for me in this specific moment, anyway, lol.

  • thanks joanne, it’s enlightening to see what other people in other countries experience on this topic.

    at least cute swimsuits are universal. ;)

  • Thanks for writing this, you bring up some good points. I agree this issue fuels lots of emotion for both sides that skews our view points. Your guy friend had a very personal epiphany and I don’t think for a
    moment that it stemmed from a need to subjugate ladies or some
    nonsense. He’s probably not gonna be one of the ones wearing life tape
    in the halls of the Capitol. Basicially I don’t think people like that
    are the ones perpetuating the mentality I talked about.

    And I certainly don’t think that all people on the other side want to dehumanize women or something extreme but good intentions and good actions have subtle differences and ignorance isn’t innocence. I don’t think most of these people lack empathy but I do think some lack insight. I truly believe there’s got to be some way to accomplish this common goal of reducing abortions without being insensitive to women.

  • thanks!!

  • lol, that kinda makes me embarrassed just thinking about it. that must have been when I was waiting in line to get into the gallery. thanks! :)

  • thank ya!

  • aw thanks, i hope to be getting back to more regular sewing, soon. i certainly have a long enough to-do list.

  • all us austin gals should make the same suit and then go to barton springs or something fun!

  • haha, there have definitely been moments when i thought i might want to go back and delete those swimsuit photo posts. it’s a little crazy to feel so exposed. in more than one way in this case. ;)

  • thanks lady!! :)

  • why thank you, for both parts ;)

  • thanks katrina, editing is my best friend. if i tried to talk to someone about how i feel i’d probably get all flustered. it’s always like that with the important stuff, right?
    and thanks so much about the swimsuit, too! ;)

  • haha, thanks!!

  • aww, thanks trisha!

  • thanks alessa, it’s cool to learn about other countries’ laws. we have a similar thing here where you can drop off babies at hospitals or police or fire stations which i think is great.

  • A Sewn Wardrobe

    Great swimsuit. You are so brave to post such pictures. You look wonderful.
    I completely agree with your thoughts on abortion.

  • Justine/sewcountrychick

    Hi Dixie. Thank you for this post because it led me to the blogs you linked to which voice my concerns about the conservative Catholic community I became a part of after moving to a rural area and putting my kids in a small religious school. I had to leave because I just couldn’t get my head around all of the backward attitudes they had about the place of women and how women in The Catholic faith are supposed to have as many babies as possible because it is Gods command to not practice birth control.

  • zozowahine

    AWESOME post!!!! I love that you have used your blogging platform to talk about something so important. Thanks so much for taking the time offer your considered view to your readers. And your swimsuit is amazing. Zoe xxx

  • I just came across this piece via Heather Lou and wanted to say RIGHT ON. Not only for what you say, but also for being brave enough to bring it on your blog. I think lots of us deal with gritty stuff in the day to day, and use our blogs for a spot o’ creative escapism, where the baddest things that happen are wonky seams and puckered sleeves. Which is absolutely fine, everyone needs an escape… But at the same time, when you feel so strongly about something that it dominates your life at that moment, why shouldn’t you share? Especially if you can do it in a positive, motivating way, AND link it to what your blog’s all about. You’ve really inspired me to look for real-life/sewing-life crossover opportunities of my own. Thanks xx