Sewing as a Way of Life


I use to be a seamstress. I use to sew for a living. I loved it. When I was growing up, I sewed. I learned when I was six years old. I sewed almost all the clothes I wore. As I grew older, Vogue patterns and I became intimate.
In college, spring break was a sewing marathon with a new dress every day for each of the five week days of the break. I chose the latest Euro fashions. Only the most stylish designs were for me.
When I first started working, I was probably the best dressed at the insurance company where I worked. Between the designer sale rooms of the local fashion outlets and my sewing skills, I was a fashion plate.
These days a pattern can set you back twenty bucks. That’s just the beginning. You need fabric, thread and notions (buttons, bias tape, elastic etc.). No one cares about fashion. Anything goes including garments that look like they should have been thrown out last year. Retail outlets sell goods that are meant to be worn a couple of times and then used as rags. How do you keep warm and fashionable in a pair of jeans that are more holes than cloth? I can give away my old jeans and someone younger thinks they have found a goldmine after I have just about worn them out.
I wear clothes forever. I am still wearing a T-shirt I bought thirty years ago. I have a sweater that is probably more than forty-five years old that is my comfort garb at home. The elbows are worn through, but leather patches are trendy.
Now that I am “over the hill,” why should I care about fashion. I am only concerned these days about comfort, but not entirely. I still have an eye for something fashionable, but now it comes from the thrift store. Why pay a fortune for some great ensemble when it will probably out live me?
Turtlenecks are my winter go-to. Summer it is t-shirts and cotton slacks or pedal pushers. Am I ever happy that pedal pushers came back into style….or maybe not. Maybe just anything goes these days.
I sewed commercially for a lot of years and those days are past, but sometimes I will fine one of those fine garments hanging at the thrift store. Sometimes someone who knows me will see the label and tell me that they saw or bought one of my designer dresses or coats from back then. They were made to last, not like today’s throw-away society. I hope they get lots more wear from them. I have been tempted to buy them myself, but I am trying to shed some of this stuff that packs my closet, so maybe they will find some more of these in the thrift store soon. I certainly hope so!

2 thoughts on “Sewing as a Way of Life

  1. Great points about making and quality. Environmentally we have a serious need to get back to this attitude. We need to make to have and use. And use and use and use… Both on a personal, homemade level and on the ever increasing scale.


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