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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Saturday, June 30, 2012

New clothes

Calypso Flowers left a comment on these pages that got me thinking. She reported that the sleepwear discussion of a while ago prompted her to make some new housecoats (robes to my American friends) and how much she was enjoying them.

That made me smile because one of the things I did before I went into the hospital was to go a little crazy buying nightgowns and housecoats. I became obsessed with wanting to look put together when I wasn't. 

Now I don't have a doctorate in psychology but you don't really need one to understand that I was channeling my awareness of things I couldn't control into something I could. I didn't spend a fortune, I Targeted, Amazoned and L.L. Beaned and continued with sewing projects I had on the go. I also bought new blush and lipsticks to coordinate.

It has really perked me up to have something new to wear every day.

Which makes me think about sewing.

The whole concept of investment dressing is interesting, I have written about it before. I understand that a cashmere and silk wardrobe might make sense for a certain kind of professional life I can no longer image, but can you think of what it would feel like to pull the same thing out of the closet every morning for five years?

I mean where is the kick in that?

Am I the only one who has ever sent something into the thrift shop donation bag just because she is so sick of it?

At various points in a woman's life she needs a bit of a lift to get over the hump or to feel less spiritually ragged.

When you come home with a new baby for instance and are not getting any sleep and everyone expects you to snap to it because this is all a natural process.

When your kids all leave home to start their futures and it seems like you are left behind when all the fun people have left the building.

When you have been in the medical system and it seems like your body has had strangers' hands all over it doing things that really are not how you would choose to spend the day.

When a career or partnership ends and you wonder what if those where the best years of your life?

Well let me tell you those are times when you really need new clothes.

My mom, an only child, lost both her parents when she was 16. She always told us that that summer the aunts got together and sewed her a new wardrobe, and put a red rinse in her hair.

And it helped.

I talked to my oldest friend this week who is planning on taking an earlyish retirement the day after her birthday this December. 

Her plan between now and then is to wear what she has, to buy not one new thing, and on her birthday to throw her entire wardrobe right out.

It's not that she has disliked her career, it is just that she wants to recognize that she is moving into a new phase.

So in all our earnest wardrobe planning we need to remember that maybe the objective is not an end point of a fully functioning closet - sometimes just to have something new is reason enough to sew.

On a side note I am going to have to sew something this weekend. My recovery is going really well and a lot of the credit goes to Big Nurse.

I am more of a run around than lie around kind of person and I am not really cut out for this but BN takes all orders seriously.

To give you an idea of what I am up against he has scales he uses to weigh what I want to lift.

The phone is to calculate the weight more exactly.
And he has been cooking treats for me. Coming home from work in the middle of the day to make cupcakes, with sprinkles, and even making home-made fish sticks as fish sticks are my secret comfort food ( we get pretty wild and crazy here in Nova Scotia).

There is a lot to be said for marrying an eccentric.


Cosmos said...

The picture of the jar on the scale is so touching and romantic. Yes, really. The photo just screams "I love you so much I'm worrying about every detail of your recovery in the way I know how".

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog thru Debbie Cook's blog. You and I have much in common. I'm a PreK teacher, diagnosed with cancer in Dec. I had to take off the semester for treatments and leave my little students with a substitute. In early June I was hospitalized for a stem cell transplant and was told that it could be a month there. I bought two new robes and new pajamas too! And guess what, I'm so tired of them that I'm donating them. I will retire this summer from teaching and I am already planning to donate my teaching clothes, too. Shorts, khaki pants and t-shirts will be my uniform now, and they will be new, not my ratty old summer clothes! DH is watching my diet also, not cooking and baking but buying anything that he knows that I will eat. I wish that I could retire by choice and not because of my health. I agree that sometimes we just can't make a choice and that it's out of our hands. Jackie

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I sew for both reasons - new clothes and a great wardrobe. The concept of wearing a new garment to uplift the day is something I wholeheartedly endorse! Glad you are doing better!

Barbara said...

You take care Jackie, I understand.

Margy said...

Great post...I've always used clothes as an "upper", too. And I married a wonderful eccentric, it sure makes life "interesting", at times. Hurray for Big Nurse!

Nancy McKenzie said...

I want to have the courage to dump my wardrobe like your friend. Give me a bit more time and I think it will happen. I'm a slow to process person, but then I move decisively, more or less.... Need the fish stick recipe. Love fish sticks and hate processed fish.

Louisa said...

Hopefully BN won't think scissors and fabric weigh too much! (Don't know about the iron though. You may have o solicit assistance with that.) You need to sew at least a little. For your mental health - which is as important as your physical health, right?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to BN. What a love! Elle

Anonymous said...

Thank you Barbara. I will try to read your blog often. You and I have much in common these days because of health issues, but I think that we can share sewing fun too.
I will take care of myself, you do the same.

ReadyThreadSew said...

Both my mum and I get fed up with our clothes but fortunately we are similar sizes with, sometimes, similar tastes so when she has a clearout I get some new stuff and she gets some of mine. I tend to do better out of this arrangement because she buys a *lot* of clothes :)