The Stories of Our Clothes

Almost everything I make has a story.  Simple because most of the time there is thought that goes into the garment and usually there is a purpose to the garment.

This sort of attitude I think is indicative of sewists who have always put more thought into their clothes and in particular the selection of their clothes.  For the most part, the clothes are selected for specific purposes and know that they will be used.

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In my case, I have a limited amount of time to sew for myself so I have to make every outfit I sew for myself work for a variety of situations and for a long time.  But it often goes further than that.  Currently I’m making an oxblood red silk matka jacket.  It can be used for casual or more formal. And although I cut this out according to the directions of the pattern (thinking that it was too long and I could  shorten it later), after putting it together and doing a fitting, I’m liking it longer – sort of in a riding jacket sort of way and something I’ve wanted for a while.  So even though I’ve changed my mind, the jacket is still going to function for me.  It already has a story and a little history just from making it up.

Most of my clothes are that way.  They carry a history with them sometimes before I even put it on my back.  One is the black silk suit I made for my parents’ funerals; one is a cord jacket cause I remembered the summer I made up 6 of them under my mentor and didn’t have one currently; one is an olive green because I have enough red one (OK, I’m a Sooner so I have good reason!); one is because one of my sewing pals was in for the weekend and we went to the local fabric store to purchase fabric and I loved it so much I purchased some for me – it reminds me of her.  But I’m not some sanctimonious, all-knowing wardrobe guru, most of the people I know who sew are the same way.

Most of the time there’s a story to most of my clothes.  That’s what’s missing in a lot of folks’ closets, and the sad thing is that most people don’t even know it’s missing.  That’s how lost the clothing consumer is.  Lost in their ability to be able to choose judicially, selectively and to be able to discern what they need and what they’ll use.  Most people go shopping without the foggiest idea about what they are looking for.

For most people who just purchase clothes from the conveyor belt of fast/cheap fashion, they are not only making choices of clothes they don’t need and can’t use or function for them, there’s really no thought at all to the process.  The shopping is all about it’s a bargain, get it now and worry about using it later or making putting yourself in a situation in which you can use it. Talk about crazy buying!  Whereas when you make a garment, you are examining the color, the texture, weight and look of the fabric as well as the pattern, before it’s purchase.

What Esha Chhabra is trying to convey in a different light is that clothes that are worn, particularly over a period of time, have a story and memories.  And those memories are to be treasured.  But if they weren’t made well of high quality and good design, the owner wouldn’t be wearing them long enough to garner any memories.  Most of the time these conveyor belt fashion is so shoddy that  any wearing is so bad that it leaves a miserable memory, and certainly over time doesn’t improve.  I applaud any effort whatever it takes, whether it’s historical memory to making a conscious decision not to purchase clothes at the expense of slave-labor, shoddy workmanship, with sub-standard materials.

In the meantime, we sewist can rest in the fact that we do have many fond memories of our clothes.  \

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1 Comment
  1. Your creations are beautiful, the details and fabrics make the designs stunning.

    Thank You for your share.

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