My mother used to sew my clothes. Little corduroy pants with elastic waistbands my younger brothers could wear after me. My dresses. Her dresses. Waiting for her at the fabric store while she sifted through patterns was boring, boring, boring except for the fact I could admire the colorful feather boas sold there. She invested so much time making our clothes because she could save money over purchasing ready-to-wear. At the time, I did not appreciate wearing homemade duds. At all. That changed once I started working and needed to look professional. My mother offered to make me lined linen dresses and wool skirts, some of which still look new, clothes I never could have afforded on my small-paper reporter’s salary. People would ask where I bought something and I would brag, “My mother made this!” She even made my wedding dress, fashioning beautiful flowers for the bodice from the heavy silk.
Nowadays, clothing has become so plentiful and cheap, it’s often more expensive to sew your own. Sadly, I never learned the skill anyway. But I appreciate those who do have it and wrote about the renaissance of women making their own clothing largely so they’re more connected to what they consume, a story that ran in The Oregonian today.