Where "it" comes from.

As anybody knows who has read this blog in the past few months (or even just past 24 hours), I make my own clothes.  At this point, in fact, I rarely buy anything from a store at all.  It's not that I don't see a million things in stores that I want to buy, it's just that I have found so much joy in creating things with my own hands that I would rather clothe myself that way.

Sewing is something I started when I was young, and just kept coming back to again and again in life.

When I was in elementary and middle school, I made a few pieces of clothing with the extensive help of my granny and my mom.  Specifically:  a red and blue plaid vest with matching blue elastic waist (still love it!) shorts, a clown costume for Halloween, a neon green shift dress with yellow daisies on it, a black and purple floral skort (ah, the '90s).

My first major in college was, in fact, apparel design--a major I switched out of after the first semester because I thought if you were going to be a part of the fashion industry, you would have to live in a big city, which I never wanted to do.  Ironic, considering I now live in the biggest one of them all, and also the fashion capital of the U.S.!

So after a few more changes in my major, I became a teacher instead.  But I found myself sitting back down at the sewing machine during my first year of teaching, thanks to my mom (ahem...Santa) giving me a sewing machine for Christmas, and I have been making garments (mostly for myself, but sometimes for friends!) ever since.

Lately, I have been thinking about where this comes from.  What it is that has drawn me back to the sewing machine each decade of my life, why I think about seam finishing all day when I'm at work, why I happily stay up way past my bedtime hunched over the ironing board, why I stare women down on the street and constantly think "How did they make her dress/top/skirt?"  I think I may have figured "it" out.

When I was in kindergarten, my mom had a dalmatian print dress.  Not an over-the-top, Glenn-Close-as-Cruella type dress.  Just a regular dress you would wear to work or church, only the animal print of choice wasn't leopard or zebra, but dalmatian.  It's no wonder that I remember this dress to this day, since it wasn't just your average dress.  But the thing is, I don't just remember it; I remember everything about it.  It had a 50's style shirt dress silhouette, with a full skirt, covered buttons up the front, a big belt at the waist, red trim, and a sassy collar.  I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and I thought my mom, with her tan skin and permed hair, looked absolutely beautiful in it.

I have owned a lot of clothes in my life, but I could not describe 90% of them to you with the same detail that I can recall my mom's dalmatian dress.  I remember that I thought that maybe when I grew up, I could have a dalmatian print dress too.  And what I just realized is that I can.  I can make one if I wanted to.  I could gather up fabric and thread and a pattern and buttons, and I could sew up my own version of that dress and I may or may not end up looking like a Disney villianess.

And that's "it."  Why I love to make clothes.  Because the clothes you wear on any specific day help shape what you think and feel and do that day, and clothes--the really good ones--can become ingrained in you.  Because some clothes you will never forget.  Because clothes make memories, such as these.  And with every piece of clothing that I make, I'm making my own memory right along with it.


  1. I may or may not have teared up while reading this. Thank you for being so passionate about something! we need more passion in the world! I love you and your sewing!

  2. That's right--all of it.