- Fit. Most people complain that ready to wear clothes are designed for figures that are thinner and taller than the average. I am thinner and taller than the average, and I still have a hard time finding clothes that fit! Bust lines are generally too high and deep, sleeves and hemlines are too short, or the body of the clothing is too baggy. I am a classic pear shape with shoulders, and depending on the fit, I either resemble a scrawny twig sticking out of a voluptuous bottom, or a slim and reasonably balanced figure. Most days I prefer the latter look, but for that the cut has to be just right.
- Quality on a budget. Home sewing really teaches one the true cost of clothing. Once you add up the material, and the sheer amount of time it takes to produce something, you really start to appreciate why that £3 top at your favourite cheap clothing store could not possibly have been manufactured under ethical conditions (even with automated factory production lines). Conversely, you start appreciating the craftsmanship and durability of some higher end products. However, this does not solve the problem that most of us have limited budgets. Home sewing does also take up a lot of time so there is that cost. Still, it can be a satisfying way to attain high quality on a regular budget.
- Design. If you sew, you are not limited to what is available in the shops this season. You are limited to what the pattern companies are offering, but even that can be circumvented if you learn how to design your own patterns. Fun fun fun!
- Anti-consumerism. Apart from suffering from a case of champagne tastes on a beer budget, I get very bored of shopping very fast. I prefer fewer but longer lasting and well made items. This can also be filed under good stewardship of the earth’s resources.
- Survival skills. My grandparents’ generation – even my parents, mostly – could do most of the labour that running a household requires. My grandmother wired electricity in the house, my father did the plumbing and the roofing, my mother painted the walls. Granny made pasta from scratch at home, my mother bread, my father sausage. And all of them held standard blue or white collar jobs. It makes me feel more rounded and competent as a human being to develop at least some of these skills (otherwise known as therapy on the cheap). And if the world ends, I’ll be able to welcome the apocalypse in homemade couture!
I am not committing myself to learning how to sew, because I do not need yet another obligation hanging over my head. But these are the reasons I am feeling motivated to try!
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