Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sew long summer

E-girl wanted to learn to sew this morning . We sewed a skirt for her and a doll out of scrap fabric, then an elegant skirt for her out of an old chintz curtain (Scarlett O'Hara redux).

I am too busy and impatient to sew these days, and usually only get out the machine to mend things that are too valuable to toss. And, since fabric is so expensive now, there's really no financial incentive anymore. I'd rather express my creativity in some other fashion.

But when I was in high school, fabric was cheaper than clothes (since they were still being made here and not in Third World countries), so the creative and/or poor girls sewed many of their own outfits. There were three or four of us in my group who would sew at night and then compare outfits at school. Even the girls who went on to college and graduate degrees sewed at home. How else could I have been able to afford an outfit designed by Betsy Johnson? I used Betsy Johnson Butterick patterns.

Sewing also provided an economic leveling—the poorest girl I knew, who lived up on the mountains in a two-room cabin (with eight siblings) still managed to look elegant, modeling at least a new outfit every week.

Maybe teenage girls now have some kind of shared, creative experience, but observation tells me that crafts have been replaced by texting and IM-ing. Of course, it's still a shared experience but I'm not sure there's any valuable skills being honed that way, beyond typing. Texting doesn't repair a curtain—or make a skirt out it either.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tried my wonderful home economics teachers patience while making a simple apron and decided, wisely,after the completion of a tennis dress edged in blood red ric rac, that I would never sew again.