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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 22 September 2011
So. I went into the fabric store to stock up on notions.
And overheard a man at the cash counter say something interesting.

Actually, he said something rather silly considering he was standing in a large retail store chock full of fabric, notions and other items for creating handmade goods, populated by people (ok, women) shopping for said items ...and with scissors and pins close at hand.

He said, "So? How is the sewing business? I would think it would have disappeared by now, considering you can just go down to Wal-Mart and buy all the clothes you need. No point in spending more money to make anything!".

I think every warm blooded sewing woman in earshot stiffened and raised an eyebrow inquisitively towards the nearest sharp thing.
I imagined the clerk retorting, with a brandish of her rotary cutter and a haughty air,
"You sir, are an idiot."
Instead she just chuckled and shrugged her shoulders.

I then imagined making a bola out of the nearest strings of beads and knocking him out with them while I proclaimed that he was "what was wrong with the world today" while the women cheered, hefting bolts of gabardine and yardage of interfacing above their heads.

But I didn't.
Mostly because I wasn't sure if a bola was the thing I was thinking of... it was.

But I wanted to.

I would also have liked to have kindly informed him that some people enjoy making things with their hands, and giving handmade gifts, and value to work of artisans who create items of function and beauty and that there is more to life than fast and cheap....

So, I thought I would play a little game... what would YOU have said to him about why people sew (or make anything handmade) (assuming you weren't entangled in thoughts of beaded bolas or held back by politeness or other strictures that would prevent you from interjecting on someone else's idle conversation...)?  Leave your response (witty, serious, outraged, agreeing) as a comment on this post and I will choose a winner Friday evening and send you a 35" playsilk (handmade, thank you very much!).


Abigail said...

Oh how I wish I were witty. But I'd probably have made a comment about walmart clothes being made in sweat shops and handmade stuff is made for the love and joy in it's creation.

Mandy said...

It's not about making something you can get anywhere. It's about making something you can only get from my hands (or mind). I could go buy lots of things new, but that doesn't mean they're better.

Karen said...

Somehow, I don't think anything I buy at Walmart will become a cherished heirloom, handed down to my children's children and beyond. I'm lucky if Walmart clothes last through one season. But, if that works for you, great!
*shakes head and chuckles to self*

Mama Manuscripts said...

I'd tell him that making things by hand is good for the heart and soul.

Cookie5765 @

Unknown said...

Yes! Because cheaper IS better and those poor people in China depend on their fair wages. Pride in one's work is overrated, anyways!

hancoci_s at msn dot com

Grace said...

I might have said (on a really sarcastic day) " Oh my, do you like your women cheap and easy too? Because this store caters to people with a little more class!"

Rose said...

Something along the lines of "Hand made clothing may cost more to make, but when I buy fabric and notions in a local store I help to support our local economy. Then, it gives me much pleasure to create by hand and I can infuse what I make with love and energy. Beyond that, my handmade clothing will last much longer and can be treasured by people who appreciate the care that goes into it."
Of course, I probably wouldn't have thought of those exact things at the time (it never works that way!)

Anonymous said...

Me: "I assume then, sir, that you are single?"
Him: "Eh?"
Me: "Well, why would any woman want to have such a *unique* individual as a life partner when she can pick up a cheap vibrator at any adult shop she cares to patronise?

Miss Traci said...

After laughing (literally out loud!) for a good ten minutes at the comment above mine, my retort seems pretty bland.

But, I would have said (ok, felt like saying) "In a world where so many people spew such ignorant thoughts out of their mouths every ten seconds, it's even more important to note that the same people who are shopping at fabric stores and making their own (fill in the blank), are the same ones who are going to be able to survive the Zombie apocalypse after technology fails. Good luck finding an open WalMart after that."


Michelle H said...

For me it's because I don't want to look like every Tom, Dick, and Harry I meet on the street. Sewing gives me a chance to be me.

Confirmations of a Dream said...

I wouldve said, "hows the food business now a days?i wouldve thought that grocery stores wouldve long disappeared by now, what with McDonalds being right there with food ready day and night!" or... "hows the laundry business" with the example of laundremats (i know I spelled that wrong...). Or something along those lines...

Kelly @ Creating a Family Home said...

Everything I tried typing just sounded too mean! (Think along the lines of "So, how is the grumpy old man business, anyway?")

It would have been much funnier to hear than read, I'm afraid. : )

Kunklebaby said...

Oh, sir. You know every culture has truly "made it" when they do away with the arts. yep! Everything replaced with cheap, junky imitations is the ideal life. {sigh}

I just wanted to say I love this post and your mental images. Made me chuckle imagining it!

Lee said...

Handmade is made with care and allows one to make unique and truly special items-- often for the exact person you are making it for (size, shape, color, focus....all for the person who desires it)- can't get that at Walmart.

ziezo said...

I probably would have lost my patience with him. But if I would keep it together I would have asked him if he preferred cheap things created in suspicious labour circumstances or something created with care and love.

jc said...

And how was man created? Handmade by God, thank you and amen!

Susie said...

"Those clothes made in sweatshops cost way more than just money."

It's true. It breaks my heart to see children wearing clothes made by other children in conditions beyond their control.

Anonymous said...

I make most of my gifts by hand. I was not blessed with the natural ability to sew, and never had someone to teach me(very sad), However I find many other ways to make stuff by hand. I bake, I scrapbook, I make photo albums, refurish furniture and so much more. Yes, I could go to Walmart and just "buy" the item, but for one it usually doesn't look the same as what I created, for two it is usually cheaply made and doesn't last long when purchased from Walmart, and third-OMG thats whats wrong with the world today. Cold, Heartless, people. It means so mch to me and the person I'm makeing something for that I took the time to make it.
I teach my kids the same. We make birthday & holiday cards. We also usually find a craft we can make and send to someone on their special day. My boys LOVE to make thier gifts.

mom2girls said...

I sew, crochet, garden, can, bake ect ect ect because I truely in the depth of my soul believe that 1 these skills could save my life someday 2 they are GREAT for this poor over worked/abused planet 3 that I truely love what I do, every minute of it just feels right 4 I want my children to know where clothing, carrots, eggs ect come from (and they do) oh I could go on forever there are so many reasons.
The biggest reason to not go to wal-mart though is the timeless answer of I do not want my children wearing clothing made for children by children (unless they themselfs have made it which is starting to happen with my youngest a bit now!)

emma said...

I think I might strike up a convo with him first - find out why he would be in a fabric store is an interesting concept (especially if he thought handmade is a lost art), and perhaps also inquire as to what he does for a living (I assume what he does is not art, nor craft & simply a matter of making a cash return on some kind of service, yet I assume not customer service ;-); that info might add to the retort, although without that info, I might simply ask him if his clothes came from walmart (given his affectation for the mass merchant) ;-)

Unknown said...

"well i could buy something cheap and ugly and replace it in a few months, or I could make something unique and personal that will last a life time"

A friend of my nan, after watching me knit socks, asked me why i bothered "as no-one wears knitted socks any more"
I pointed out that myself, my mum, sister and aunt were all wearing handmade socks. she shut up pretty quickly after that

Anonymous said...

I would say something like, "Sewing isn't just about making something to wear. It's also about doing something oneself, and the do-it-yourself market is hardly limited to this store.

Also, it's about being creative. Sewing and crafting with fabric can be a real art. As a parallel, who wouldn't rather adorn their walls with their own original art rather than posters or prints from Walmart. It's much the same with clothing.

nicola at aol dot com

Unknown said...

Love them all Thanks for takingt he time to share your perspectives :)

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