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Episode 20

Sewing for the Body I Have Right Now, with Maggie

What would you do if your body kept changing? If you lost 30 pounds in a month or gained 90 pounds in a year? Maggie's chronic illness causes extreme changes in her body, affecting her desire to sew and her relationship to the craft she loves.

Maggie Crisler stands 6’1” tall, is plus-sized, and feels like her accent isn’t quite Southern enough for her small Alabama town, but it’s too Southern for the rest of the world. After a tumor on her pituitary gland caused her to rapidly gain over 90 pounds in one year, she thought she was locked out of clothing that fits. And she quit sewing. Why should she bother making clothing if her body might be totally different in a few months?

“I didn’t know what was gonna happen, and I still honestly don’t know what’s gonna happen with my health and my body. I don’t know if once we get all of the stuff sorted, if I’m going to drop 30 pounds or if I’m going to stay the same size or what.“

Maggie is a force. She plays a bright red vintage organ in a rock ‘n roll band, quilts, has long, wavy red hair, sews her clothes by hand, and has a cool job at Alabama Chanin. When you talk to her, she exudes confidence. She’s matter of fact. She has a kind tone in her voice, she’s a great storyteller, and you can’t help but want to just hang out and chat all day. But she’s spent much of her life feeling like she doesn’t fit in.

Born and raised in Alabama, and growing up in a creative household, sewing has always been a part of Maggie’s life. Her relationship with this craft has changed as much as her body. After a two-year hiatus from sewing, Maggie learned that sewing is about so much more than her body. It’s about sustainability, creating things with her own hands, connections to other makers, and the power of a well-fitting garment.

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