What draws us back again and again to the sewing room? I’m always fascinated with the sewing journey that many have taken. Some of us started as children and went through the dreaded home ec classes to eventually find our voice as a teenager or young twenty-something. Others didn’t get on the path until mid-life. Some have left the fold and returned, others have been steady eddies. Whatever your journey you know the pull that I’m talking about…that irresistible urge to put needle to fabric and "make something". I enjoy reading about sewing, fashion, and fabrics but my reading tastes really run the gamut from light fiction to more serious genres. Recently I have been reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I did not expect to find something in this book that would cause me to blog on this site. But here it is–
"Isn’t it curious how in so many of our pastimes and hobbies we play at supplying one or another of our fundamental creaturely needs –for food, shelter, even clothing? So some people knit, others build things or chop wood, and a great many of us "work" at feeding ourselves–by gardening or hunting, fishing or foraging. An economy organized around a complex division of labor can usually get these jobs done for a fraction of the cost, in time or money, that it takes us to do them ourselves, yet something in us apparently seeks confirmation that we will have the skills needed to provide for ourselves. You know, just in case."
Michael Pollan, The Ominvore’s Dilemma.
So this pull to the sewing room is really about self-reliance? Maybe so. There is a satisfaction in knowing that we can produce a garment for wearing and do not need to rely on the industrial complex to do that for us. Perhaps this personality is drawn to crafting more than those who are more content to rely on others. I’ve always said there is a high correlation between crafters and gardeners. (We lose many of our fabric customers to the garden in June and July as they plant their food for harvest later in the summer.) When our children were young, we took numerous camping trips for vacation. We would meet lots of people "working" to feed and shelter themselves, even if for a week. I often noticed neighbors who were crafting in some way or another…knitting, cross-stitch, handwork, or, in my case, catching up on reading articles in Threads, envisioning upcoming projects to be started on my return to the sewing room.
I have always thought that the magnetism of the sewing room was related to a desire to express individual creativity in color, texture, and design. I’m not giving up on that idea, but I’m thinking it may go deeper, to some primitive roots of self-determination. It makes sense…any comments?