Making Clothes

— an unexpected direction

“many people have never actually had the pleasure of wearing a garment that fits them well. The fact is that much of what we call fashion today is designed to look best on extremely young and slim bodies” - Natalie Chanin, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns

Most of us wish we looked young and slim, is that why we continue to buy clothes displayed on young and slim bodies? There’s a reason why the fashion industry continues to show bodies of only one kind. They must have a strong effect on the consumer.

Maybe one day, we’ll all agree we’re not all young and slim and stop buying clothes that look good on such bodies. Some fashion shows are putting in real people, it’s refreshing but I don’t know how long the ‘trend’ of using normal people will last.

I remember in high school when I learned that clothing from stores was not made for me. Pants were always too long. Shirts were always too short. I have a longer torso than the average body. Other kids didn’t look like they had an easier time, but there were a few girls in the class, skinny with long legs. Clothing looked perfect on them. That’s when I realized that the pants in shops were made for that fraction of the population.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to realize, but the most amazing thing that could happen is if I acquired the skills to make my own clothes. Not only clothes that fit but also for design.

If I see a neat design, I want to be able to create it in any fabric of my choosing and take out details I find extraneous. Whether it’s using natural materials, cotton, linen, wool, or choosing the color and pattern, having the ability to create my own garments is something I’ve always wanted.

It’s strange at this age to finally recognize a dream of mine. I’ve never pursued it because I never thought it was possible.

‘Me? Make my own clothes? It’d be too good to be true.’

The skills required seemed impossible for someone like me. Back in high school, I did a lot of sewing by altering clothing but I could never finish an entire garment.

I didn’t have the patience, to pour over the directions and redo the stitching when it was less than perfect.

But now…I’m starting to see that it’s possible to learn and improve. A seemingly impossible dream has suddenly become a possibility.

At first, I thought my newfound inteerst was magical. But now, it’s opened me up to thinking, perhaps this is what I’ve always wanted–I just ignored it because it didn’t seem in line with the success I was taught to wish for and acquire (career success in terms of a highly respectable job in an office).

This dream of being able to make my own clothing is specifically mine. I wasn’t taught it.

Although I’m just getting started, already, I’ve been able to create a shirt close to what I imagined. It feels so empowering.

I’ve got a couple pattern books and I’ve been measuring myself to create custom patterns.

We’ll see how far this goes, but for now, it’s hard to get enough.

journal

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