Monday, July 2, 2012

the satisfaction of handmade

This morning I got dressed for work in a normal manner, but it was exciting to me.  This morning I took a handmade (made by my hands) dress out on it's maiden voyage outside of my home. The first time out the door wearing an item is always a difficult day. I'm always afraid I missed something in assembling the item or didn't make a seam strong enough and it's only a matter of one wrong step and I'm standing half naked on the street without a backup clothing plan. As the day goes on and I haven't noticed any holes or other problems, I feel a bit better. It helps to reassure me if I washed the item beforehand in the assembled state to make sure the seams are at least strong enough to handle the washer. A pass through the dryer and I can feel even more secure. But any of that anxiety is worthwhile because there's nothing like wearing a handmade outside of your home for the first time.


At this point, I've never purchased a pattern of any sort for a piece of clothing I've sewn-  I either use info online, from library books or take guidance from existing clothing that I own and put together my own patterns. This has it's risks, but it's also just more of how I do things in many aspects of life, so I think I have an implied level of confidence in my work, even if I don't express it at the time. It can be a little rough (especially as I've learned the importance of cutting pieces nicely before you sew them together), but I do it because there is nothing for me like the feeling that comes from getting over those challenges and making something with my hands and brain.


I learn many things in the process of pulling together the materials, planning things out in my head and on paper when needed  & assembling components. Other learning comes from the use of the items later on. I love learning and I love directing my own learning (sorry school - you have your time & place, but now's not the time for me!) I love using the things I learn in one realm in others. I love how making things with my hands makes me look at the world and observe things and how I better understand why things are they way they are and when there is no need to stick to the status quo. I love knowing that I have the ability to make the tweaks and adjustments necessary to get what I intended out of my project or for the next time around. I feel excited, intrigued, mentally stimulated, practical, powerful, resourceful, unique, more accurately myself, healthy and cheap (in a good way!) I love that I'm wearing an item with no labels sewn into the seams, printed, embroidered or beadazzled across the chest, patched over or removed. I get the same feelings making a meal, knitting a hat or blanket and the somewhat less pratical art projects. To me, it's just an awesome feeling to enable yourself and create. That's why I keep on doing it.

---------------------------------------------------------- sometimes, that's what's behind a new black cotton dress with purple polka dots on a Monday morning.

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