Friday, February 21, 2014

Home-made clothes and root beer

(I was rereading some old drafts for posts never published.  Found this one, dusted it off, and added some pictures and updates.)


I am reminded again why I don't sew much anymore.  I used to sew everything.

My sewing history goes back to about age 12 or 13 when I learned from a patient combination of my aunt, home-ec teachers, 4-H teacher, and grandmother who gave me a used machine.  I have always loved clothes and for many years, this was my only way of having any.  I remember gleaning fabric from a couple of old wool skirts found in a trunk in our basement, to sew some culottes, which were popular back then, so that I'd have something new to wear to high school.  If I didn't sew it, I didn't have it.  I made pep-club uniforms, boy scout shirts, costumes, and even a swim suit which proved to be a mistake.  I've sewn for hire and for favors.  I've made countless window coverings of almost every type, quilts, cushions, and have even re-upholstered a boat.

(Husband says I need more pictures in my posts, so here you go.)

I sewed my prom dress, my simple wedding dress, and even my mother-in-law's Mother-of-the-Groom dress.

Us, many years ago, sandwiched between the folks.
Mother-In-Law, in her sage green dress, is standing next to the groom
 who was still in his short-lived post-mission-extreme-hair phase.
My step mother, next to me in her lovely non-homemade turquoise dress, unknowingly did not comply with my attempted color scheme.  Oh well.  (Thanks, Lins, for cleaning up the old photo.)

When I had children, I sewed everything they wore too.

And of course the Husband sported many home-made shirts.

It was just what one did if one couldn't afford to shop ready-made.

Not anymore.

I recently decided to re-use some fabric from a failed window shade project to make a new duvet cover for our bed.  I pieced together the top of the duvet and then headed out to the distant BIG fabric store to look for the backing.  Good freakin' heavens!  The cost of fabric is ridiculous!  Get this:  It would be cheaper if I bought a new set of king-sized sheets and used that for the bottom piece, than to buy the fabric.  And if I didn't already have the fabric for the top piece, it'd be cheaper to just buy a finished duvet.  How can that be??

How can unused fabric cost more BEFORE it is made into something, than after?  Doesn't labor count?

The sad thing is, if fabric cost what it does now, back when I was a teenager, I would have never learned how to sew.  I couldn't have afforded it!  It is no longer cheap, nor practical, to make one's own clothes and my frugal-to-my-bones nature is aghast.   And if you do take out a second mortgage to invest in some fabric for a project .... once that project is done, you'd better be happy with it because you ain't taking it back.  And need I mention the price of patterns?

Hence, I fear that sewing will become a lost skill.  Like the home-made root beer my dad used to make (not the dry ice variety, but that which you bottled and kept in the basement like wine) ..... no one does it anymore.  Sewing used to be a big part of my life.  Not that I miss it, because, to be honest, I don't.  But I see the value of what it taught me for those many years.

So now I'm looking for sheets of the right color, for the right price, to finish my project.  And I WILL find them because another skill I have honed to near-perfection, is ...... shopping.   And now that I've discovered and embraced RESALE shopping .... my frugal bones are ecstatic.


Update:  I ended up using an old sheet from my own linen closet, made the duvet, and now it remains stuffed on a shelf in my closet because the darn thing is too heavy to sleep under.  THAT is the problem with home-made ..... no returns.