I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been sick with a cold that wouldn’t go away and busy with school. I wrote up this post really quickly last week and decided to post it now because I’m interested to know what you think. It’s really rough (so please take everything with a grain of salt, I guess), but I think I like the gist of it. Also, I would love to hear what you guys think about the advice because it’s so priceless.
I just love this quote.
Intellectually, I recognize that it is the antithesis of everything I stand for. I’m a sixteen-year-old feminist who sews for pleasure, never wears makeup, and is eloquent enough to defend everyone’s right to look however they want and sew however they want against anyone who wants to call foul. This quote is the epitome of a culture that sentimentalized my passion, diluted it down into housework, and used it to keep women in the house and men at work.
But isn’t there something wonderful that, just over sixty years after this was written, we can look at it and see how crazy it is? Isn’t the point of progress that we can look back and realize how far we’ve come?
Sewing is a revitalized passion. It’s gone from a household chore to an established hobby, an indie industry, and something that isn’t confined to housewives. Sewing is about expression, it’s about anyone and everyone who wants to create something from nothing being able to. More than any other art form, sewing is about style, fashion, self-expression, and self-acceptance—because it’s a medium meant to be seen, worn, accepted.
What could be more important in the age of recognizing gender and sexuality as spectrums, in a time when we’re debating school uniforms, cultural appropriation, and how to deal with the crippling problems of mental health treatment—everything from anorexia to depression to self-harm—, than embracing a medium at the center of it?
Sewing is not a feminine hobby. It’s not a dead industry. Fashion is alive and important. It’s not about bedecking celebrities in gilded robes either.
It’s about fighting anorexia, bulimia, other eating disorders, and body image issues at the source. It’s about redefining traditional gender roles and opening our eyes to the stupidity of our previous misconceptions.
It’s about letting people express themselves. It’s about those kids who don’t feel comfortable in their own skin for whatever reason and about giving them a medium to examine those feelings and share them with the world. Quentin Crisp (allegedly) summed up why sewing is so important: “To be a person of style is to be yourself, but on purpose.”
Sewing is a medium of self-expression for me. It’s an opportunity to change and personalize my first impression with people. The people who see it as “just a hobby” are missing out.
On a purely scientific note, sewing is about hand-eye coordination, geometry, spacial reasoning, critical thinking, patience, persistence, predicting, measuring. It’s a three-dimensional medium. Draping is physics, understanding why the burn test works on polyester and not different fibers is chemistry, and everything about fitting is reliant on an understanding of human biology and anatomy.
More importantly, it’s a tradition that goes back for decades in many families. Especially for me, it’s a connection to my grandmother that I will never lose. I’m even kinda connected to that 1949 attitude.
So I guess the reason I always “like” Singer’s sewing advice from 1949 is because it’s hilarious from a modern perspective. And I like that we can laugh at it. And that I have tons of internet friends who will laugh at it with me 🙂
Thanks for reading 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts