Okay, I'm going to call a spade a spade and admit that I realize that learning to make my own clothes is neither necessary or all that efficient. But after sharing my recent attempts to learn to crochet, this desire shouldn't come as much of a surprise to you—so at least there's that! I first saw a box full of old dress patterns at my friends store a few weeks ago, so the notion was already in my head when I came across this pattern from Built by Wendy yesterday. And I immediately thought that since I have basic sewing machine skills, I should be able to do this. But please realize that by basic I mean I can't for the life of me ever reload a bobbin, so I definitely don't understand how my machine works at all.
When I was little I had a Snoopy notebook where I used to "design" clothes. This was the period when I wanted to be a fashion designer and I was full of lovely ideas (at least in my memory!). I eventually took a home ec class in high school but really wasn't impressed by what we were learning. I even had to make a dress using a pattern, but I vaguely recall that I never finished it...for reasons that have long since gone by the way side. I do remember that I found it really hard and that the paper pattern, fabric and I didn't get along. I stuck it into a box somewhere and left clothing construction right there.
But now that I've learned how to knit and crochet, two things I didn't think I'd be able to do, I have to consider that maybe making simple clothes is within my reach. As the craft movement continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the main thing that I'm learning is that the walls of "what I can do" are coming down. Actually this applies to food as well: it's not that someone's forcing me to do this, or telling me that in order to be a good or successful woman, I have to make my own bread and hand sew quilts. Instead, I am finding that these things actually give me a whopping dose of satisfaction and a sense of control in my own life, control that when taken in projects with a decisive beginning and end, makes me feel productive in a way that is somewhat rare.
All of this has been on my mind because there's been a bit of a feminist debate going (or continuing) about the pressure to cook everything from scratch even as we're all so busy. I remain firmly on the side that if these things—whether they be cooking or crafting—are something you choose to do because you feel that it personally makes your life better, makes you a happier person, then more power to you. (And me!) I am not sure that I'll wind up making a dress that I will want to wear outside of the house, but I ordered the pattern shown above and am ready to give it a shot. I might just learn something about myself along the way.