A well-respected sewer on another blog has been fielding "where do you wear those fancy clothes" questions.
This resonates with me and it brings to my mind a comment Carolyn made here a few days ago about make that silk top and wearing it to the grocery store.
Of course I should and I will.
I used to teach sewing classes sometimes, when my kids were little, in the evenings for a local fabric store. Off I would go in my heels, still leaking milk in those early classes, and do my best.
I was always amazed at my students, the ones who were spending absolute fortunes on expensive fabric, machines, and patterns but who would come to class in tennis shoes, jeans and, I kid you not, husband's T shirts.
You see when you sew you have a chance to not just create your clothes, but in some ways, your life. It is an opportunity to take.
I did that in several ways at various times. I sewed, and thought about clothes, and figured out how to do it better. I learned to look the part when I needed the part.
At one stage, my first husband had exited, and it was not easy. One day my daughter went down to the drugstore and bought a pen. She came home and gave it to me and said "this is for my mother the writer." Well, because she expected it from me, I wrote to Threads and told them what I made, and what I thought was important about sewing. The wonderful Christine Timmons, retired now but a truly great lady, asked me to write some articles for them and I did, quite a few articles eventually.
Then one day the equally amazing David Coffin called and said he wanted to come and visit, and could he stay with me and talk sewing for a few days? Now I was a single mother with a bunch of kids in a little house. I didn't have a "studio". I wasn't an artist. I was, and I am, an ordinary sewer with a very ordinary life. Of course, I had a fit. A complete fit.
Well, David came and he was wonderful. He explained deep mediation to my then very young sons, who thought he was amazing. He showed them how to drink "greens" from a bottle and talked to me about sewing and his paintings and life. One boy moved into his brother's room and David stayed in a little kids room, surrounded by little kid mess, and acted as if it were perfectly normal, as if my ideas, thought in my own house, in my own head, from things I had observed and taught myself, were as significant as anything that came from any New York atelier.
I kept sewing after that, worked at increasingly complicated jobs, and as I went, kept making my own clothes.
I don't know quite why I am telling you this, probably the most personal thing I have written here, but I somehow want to share that sometimes people, women, need to and can make who they are. I did.
Sometimes we are called on to reinvent ourselves many times in our life times, and we have a right to do that. We can sew an outside that expresses the inside. Sometimes the world doesn't hand you much respect, and you start by making it, literally, for yourself and by yourself. You should dress as well as you want, sew as much as you want, be who you decide you can and need to be, and be good to yourself.
You can sew a life.
OK now I am going to bed.