I sew, and knit, for all of these reasons, and more. In the past couple of years my body shape changed along with my style, my age, and my awareness of production and commerce. In my 20's and 30's I had no problem shopping at the large chain stores (I was a huge fan of the Gap) and would frequent their businesses regularly. Gradually what they sold stopped appealing to me, I had trouble finding anything in their inventory that I liked, and/or that fit me. One day I realized that I couldn't find any clothes that were available to purchase that I liked, that fit me, or that I could justify paying for. That realization started me down the road to making my wardrobe. I promise it was never a political decision, it just evolved. Today, the majority of what I wear I have made. I do not make my undergarments or my shoes, and I buy tights. Still wearing a store bought coat and bathing suit, but everything else is mine. The pride and satisfaction that Sarai refers to in her post are dear to me. But I really think the most valuable reason to me is great pleasure, even joy, that I feel when I make. I was having a crappy day recently, things just weren't going well, I was frustrated and irritated and discouraged. I walked away from the computer, put aside the dismaying issues, and went to work making myself a top.
I had recently bought myself the Datura pattern from Deer & Doe, having seen so many lovely versions out there in the universe. I rightly thought it would be a charming little top for the brief but strident summer days we have here in Southern Maine. And it was just that, and more. It doesn't use much fabric and is perfect for small cuts of precious fabric you don't know what else to do with. The construction of this darling little garment with a lined yoke was just the mental challenge I needed to get my mind off my troubles. I had to do a google search to find a visual description to match the written description in the pattern, and when I did the whole thing clicked. Such a good feeling to successfully complete a garment that was a challenge to create, a pleasure to work with, and flattering to wear. What you see above is the second version that I immediately made after I finished the first one, that was how much I loved the pattern. I have yet more planned….
And then I went to work on a muslin for an Anna from By Hand London, which you see here. Another garment I had been watching on the inter-webs that sang to me. I was on a tear….. And I can tell you my endorphins were cranking!
So you see making your own clothes accomplishes all sorts of things. It makes you garments to cover your body. It makes you plumage to indicate to the world who you are. It gives you satisfaction of a very tangible sort that few other things in modern life offer. It gives you pride in your abilities. It engages your brain in specific healthy, productive ways. It makes you empathize, at least a little, with the workers in the world engaged in the fashion business. It connects you to generations of hand crafters and their traditions. It also connects you to modern day makers, people right here in your community.
Would you like to join me in some making?