See, as I've been trying to pick out clothes to donate, I've been faced with a slightly more preliminary question: what is the value of something me-made? I've got several tops, dresses, and skirts that I made when I was first learning to sew, and while they came in handy during me-made month challenges or laundry emergencies, they are not loved and spend most of their time languishing in the corners of my closet. And yet, I feel hesitant about donating them. Will the eventual owner know that I spent hours planning fabric choice and pattern marriage, lovingly sewing, reluctantly hemming? Or will they just pick up my third skirt and wonder why the seams inside aren't serged? Even though I don't love these garments, it seems unbearable to think about someone else disdaining the time and effort I spent in making them. In other words, I can hate my sewing babies, but nobody else is allowed to.
|I see you disdaining my ugly babies, you smug Tim Gunn of a cat. You stop it. Stop it right now.|
But it remains that these garments are taking up space in my closet, and they're just not getting worn. Add to it that my fabric choices back then were on the more abysmal, polyester, or quilting cotton side of things, and it seems unlikely that I would take them apart for the yardage. Also, I know that I would much rather make something new with the tasty fabrics I've been dreaming about, instead of going back to revisit a leftover. Nobody ever cheers on Leftovers Night (although I adore leftovers for breakfast...but I'm not sure how that metaphor translates into sewing).
So if the choice is between something relatively well-made-but-RTW, and something not-so-well-made-but-slaved-over-by-me, both rarely worn and taking up closet space, which do I donate? Does being me-made give an item enough value to compensate for its being not-quite-my-thing? I guess that depends, then, on what I want my wardrobe to be about. Do I want my wardrobe to be beautiful, functional, all things that I would feel proud and happy to be wearing (and which may or may not, but more likely will, include RTW things)? Do I want my wardrobe to be all about me-made, even if there are some things I don't love? Is the point of teaching myself to sew so that I can be apparel-ly self-sufficient, capable of making all levels of clothing, from outerwear in to unmentionables? Am I learning to sew purely for the intellectual exercise of it, the challenge of learning to fit pants and, one day, tailor a suit, even if I don't wear suits? Is it just to save money, because thrift-store-sheet-therapy is cheaper than retail therapy, except that cost of notions and the amount of fabric in my stash probably negates any savings? Do I sew just for the frosting, and should I feel bad about my lack of enthusiasm for sewing cake?
Some people are determined to learn to do everything for themselves, from canning their own fruits and vegetables to raising their own chickens/eggs, from weaving cloth to making it into apparel, from building their own furniture to baking their own dog biscuits. I don't know if I'm one of those people, despite what Elaine or Emily may think. I want to sew my own wardrobe, but only if it's a good one, and I don't really feel the need to be bothered with lingerie just yet. And I don't have room to hold onto everything I've made, so I guess it's time to say goodbye to those first, ugly, babies. Maybe someone else will enjoy them, or, given the quality of construction/fabric, more likely someone else will do me the favor of tossing it into the rubbish bin, without burdening me with the knowledge of it. I can pretend that someone out there is enjoying that hideous, unevenly hemmed polyester mesh skirt. And I can hold onto that nice blouse that I probably could make if I really tried, only it just doesn't seem worth the effort when I think about trying to find a comparable fabric, drafting a pattern, and sewing it up with all the proper finishing even without a serger, just so that I can say that my wardrobe is me-made. I have better things to do with my time, and I want to enjoy my hobby, not turn it into something like cooking*, so a sewing diet of mostly frosting (with cake, only when I actually want to make it) it shall be. Who knows, one day I may be seized with the desire to make my own unmentionables.
|Sewing this kind of cake was fine, though.|
On another note, thank you to all of you who had such nice things to say about my blogiversary! I really enjoyed reading all of your comments and felt very encouraged and warm and fuzzy. I used to want to be an artist and a writer when I was in elementary school, and then my parents' practicality got in the way and I ended up majoring in science. But through blogging my creative projects, I feel like I'm getting to live that dream a little bit! And in case you didn't catch it, the pattern giveaway is still open for another couple days; nobody seems to want poor set #2, so you've got a great chance if you fancy those patterns!
*I realized recently that while I love eating good food, I don't actually enjoy cooking all that much. It's not at the bottom of my list of tolerable chores, but it's certainly not a hobby for me either. My husband actually likes cooking, and will experiment with new recipes when he has the time, but I would rather just make the same TNT recipes so that I can get eating out of the way, and have more time for truly fun things (at least for me) like reading and sewing. Baking is slightly more fun, but only just.