I'm asked pretty often how I got started sewing. It's largely in part of being around my mom, who made most of our clothes growing up. It just doesn't seem weird to me to think "Gosh, I have nothing to wear tomorrow night, and I've been dying to have a blue dress. Ok, better get a move on and make one if it's going to get done in time!" It's really empowering to think that we can creat the basic things that we use every day. I think it is very similar to how I look at food. Food and clothing are some of our basic needs, and we can impact their availability creatively. With cooking, we can be creative at least 3 times a day! Here's a pic of my mom with my sister and sister-in-law at the pumpkin patch. I miss the Midwest in the fall!
I grew up in the mid to late 70s, when there was a movement much like today to have a vegetable garden in back and sew your own clothes, paint, sculp, make crafts like macrame. We made crafts constantly. You can see in the background of the photos my mom's paintings that she painted, she is really artistic.
My parents had a huuuge garden, filled with rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, carrots, etc. and then a strawberry patch too! We went apple picking and made pies together, picked strawberries and made jam. It really impacted how I consider food and how we procure it. I watched my mom sew all the time and saw how much time it took to create one garment: the planning, the shopping for materials, the careful cutting and piecing. She even embellished with hand embroidery and applique, you can see the overalls with a little dog on the front, how sweet! We laughed as teenagers about my brother in gingham with a bow tie, but now that I'm expecting a little one of my own, I'd do just the same I'm afraid.
Both with food and clothing, modern marketplace forces have taken us to very abstract places with how they're produced. Most of our food travels over 2000 miles to get to us, and most of our clothes are made by slave laborers in Asia or obscure Pacific Islands that are falsely labelled "Made in the USA". We buy both food and clothes for far cheaper than we ever did, scale-wise, but there is a cost involved in the soul of the means, IMO. As fans of vintage clothing, we have to remind ourselves that things were manufactured differently back then: 95% of the clothing in the world was made by union laborers in the United States, and now it's only 5%. Many ladies sewed their own clothes to save money.
I think this is why it's become so meaningful for people to take the methods of production into their own hands, it reminds us of how much work our foreparents did on a daily basis, the tradition of skilled craftsmanship, and it's also really fun! Thanks Mom!!!
4 weeks ago