Wednesday, April 13, 2011
SEW YOUR OWN
"Hey, I see you. Do you now see me. I intend to make you retreat. Send me your seconds at dawn."
Bright yellow curtains are just the right banner to wave as one utters defiant words. Mine are cotton, 54 inches wide, printed in America with a delightful suzani pattern. It took me two hours to cut and hem them. It is not too professional a job. Part of me feels that it might have been wiser to outsource. O am not a trained seamstress. The sewing machine and I are not always in the nest of terms. My seems tend to meander and lurch. No matter. Sewing my own curtains, crooked seems and all, gives a sense of accomplishment. That, I suppose, is why women often turn to crafts in bleak times. See, for example, the beautiful quilts made during the Depression. Imagine the women who designed and stitched them while they wondered what to feed their families.
With few exceptions, work traditionally done by women's work has usually been undervalued. Seamstresses, quilters, embroiderers rarely command the respect they deserve. That might be the reason so few women or men of the younger generation bother to learn traditional crafts. It is easier to go to Hellmart and buy a pair of cotton Battenburg lace curtains made by Chinese political prisoners or Third World workers who are paid slave wages. At ten bucks a pop, they are a real bargain. My curtains cost four times as much although I bought the fabric from an outlet. I am OK with with the price I paid. The curtains are good and sturdy. They will last for years. What's more, they are a little offering to the gods of joy and my contribution towards making my home a pleasant place. These days, more than ever, we need pleasant places.