Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The other day I was asked if I make my girls' clothes. I shyly answered yes, just as I normally do when I am asked that question, or if I knit my children's clothes. Back in Portland, a question like that would be a compliment, as many of us there love to be more connected to our roots, live simply and make or repurpose as much as we can ourselves. But this time, the question seemed different. I felt it in my stomach. The question reminded me of those childhood moments when someone asks you something they already know the answer to, just to hear you say it so they can make fun of you about it later. It was almost as if sewing our own clothes wasn't "good enough" or perhaps too old fashioned. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think this person was trying to come off that way at all, but the tone made me think about how others may look at us and our choices.
This interaction took place shortly after being told "We were poor so my Mom sewed our clothes." by someone speaking of her childhood. Needless to say, all of this talk has me feeling a bit self conscious now. I wouldn't want my children to be embarrassed or to feel out of place because they wear handmade things. I mean, I don't think they do feel this way at all. They always tend to gravitate towards the things I make them in their closet over the mass produced items they own. The same goes for toys or other everyday items. They seem to choose handmade, just as I seem to.
I choose to make my children's clothes because I love doing so. Contrary to what might be a popular belief - sewing (or knitting for that matter) your own clothes is not less expensive than buying them. Sometimes it actually costs much more. But the satisfaction that comes from making something with your own hands for someone you love just does not have a price. Not to mention that I am not particularly fond of the styles for children clothes nowadays. I prefer to dress my children as children - not miniature adults or teenagers. That's just my own personal choice though.
My Grandma used to sew my Halloween costumes for me as a child and I loved it. I used to take her talents for granted not understanding how much goes into what she made me. Boy do I appreciate them now! I just wish she was still here for me to tell her so. I can still remember one Halloween lamenting over the fact that there were no Princess Allura (of Voltron) costumes available. My Grandma sat down with me and watched an episode of Voltron, and sketched out Princess Allura's dress and crown. Then by the time Halloween night came I had the best costume there was! Those are the kind of memories I truly hope my children have.
Why should making things from our own hands be looked down on? Is it not something to be happy and perhaps maybe even a tiny bit proud about? Every stitch tells a story, and each fabric used speaks of what my children love at the moment. And what about the food we make from scratch? The sprouts we loving tend to in our gardens? Call me old fashioned but these are the things that I love. They are part of the fabric that weaves my family together.