Warning, this post contains a critically low level of sewing content.
Breast cancer treatment has all sorts of twists and turns and at the start of this adventure I did not foresee the removal of my breasts as part of my treatment. As it turns out, I am headed towards a double mastectomy once I am fully recovered from chemotherapy.
For women who have a mastectomy, you have a few choices – a full reconstruction (an unglamorous boob job which often requires using bits from elsewhere), using prosthetic breasts in a specialised bra, or simple go without. Unbustedness, straight-up, breast-free, boobless (ha! Write that on your calculator).
A reconstruction doesn’t appeal right now as I am not keen on breaking bits of my body that aren’t broken. On-off-breasts, have their appeal. What sizes girls should I wear today… But imagine the fitting issues! And I cannot imagine how uncomfortable they must be on a hot day, and I happen to live in a stinking hot country! Embracing my new bust free status appeals the most.
This last statement has taken me a long while to get to. I have had to answer a lot of questions to myself to get there. Do breasts define you? Do they define you as a woman? Are breasts necessary to look good? Or feel good? Don’t you want to have big boobs after going through all of this? As difficult as it may be after I wake from surgery I think that approaching this creatively through my wardrobe and sewing might just help me to take the first steps towards acceptance. To be honest, there has never been a whole lotta action in my bra space, so if anyone can do it, I can!
So whilst I haven’t been sewing much, I have been doing some web browsing and some mind sewing. The thing that strikes me about advice from breast cancer support groups is that the focus seems to be on hiding, rather than EMBRACING, the loss of ones breasts. Sure, I am not about to go drawing attention to my unbustedness, but I am not about to start wearing a whole heap of frilly necklines, scarves and shapeless sacks to hide it either. And if I never have to wear a bra again, I may as well take advantage of that too!
Lots of the styles I wear already will continue to work:
– higher cut, interesting neck lines
– busy, bright prints
– horizontal stripes
– jackets and blazers
– defining the waist line
– androgynous styles
My initial sewing thoughts:
– knit patterns will be easy to adjust
– patterns without darts may work straight off
– sewing separates might be easier, but, but, but I do love me a good dress
– fitted, woven patterns are going to require some extreme Small Bust Adjustments!
So, chime in, do you, or do you know anyone doing extreme SBA’s that might have some intel for me or interested in collaborating to build a database of information? Can you think of any patterns (or even designers) that would be a good fit or more difficult?