Carolyn posted recently about the number of dresses she's made, and her mother's question whether or not she would have bought that many if RTW was her only source of clothing. I got to thinking about the size of my own closet, and whether or not I would buy as many clothes as I make, and the answer would have to be no.
Because it's not really all about the clothes, is it? Obviously it is to some extent - I make things because I want to wear them, and I want something specific, that I either can't find in my colors or size, won't pay a ridiculous price for or just can't justify high price versus shoddy workmanship. Because some things I WILL pay for, but not if I know I can do it better.
And that's what it's really about for me, the doing. I sew because I love to make things. Before I got good enough that I was actually willing to wear what I sewed, I sewed anyway. A good part of the time I never even finished the projects, because it was way more about the process than the result.
I love the plotting and planning - which pattern? which fabric? Is it for this season or next? Is it formal, casual, or for some occasion I will probably never have but feel an overwhelming need to make something for (trying to get out of gratuitous formalwear, since it's basically a wearable version of "too good to use"). I love gathering supplies, going through the lining drawer, rummaging through the tubs of trim, trying to make my vision come together.
I won't lie; I can live without tracing. Of course, I can also live without cutting patterns. Dealing with paper is my least favorite part of sewing, which is why, when I'm feeling motivated but have no specific project going on, I'll force myself to trace off 5 or 6 patterns I've flagged in recent issues of BWOF, just to have them on standby. That'll teach me to not have a project at the ready!
And then the fun starts. I didn't used to like cutting, but now I appreciate the importance of it, making sure things are on grain, matching plaids and stripes so that I can look smugly down at my garment and think, "This is nicer than RTW ." I use a lot of prints, so making sure things are lined up (or large flowers aren't placed in just the WRONG place) is a big part of the process for me.
One of my favorite things to make is jackets, and it's because of the amount of work involved. Now, sometimes there's nothing like an instant gratification project - can you say KwikSew tshirt, anybody? - but if I want a project that I can linger over for a week or two (or in the case of the black Chanel jacket, several months), a jacket is the way to go. I can debate interfacing with myself - block fuse? just the facings/collar/hems? What about linings - discreet or loud?
Reading a few books on tailoring and jacket construction has made me much more conscious of what I can and can't get away with if I want a jacket that's going to be wearable long-term. It's worth the work, that's all I can say.
So that's my question for the day: why do you sew? What's in it for you? Is it all about the clothes, or is it the process?