Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dress you up in my love

Tonight I was sewing by hand. Actually, I prefer hand sewing to machine sewing. Tho I do remember Grandma sitting at her Singer table (the machine flips down into it when you're done) and watching her foot hit the pedal as she moved the fabric through. I was fascinated by how she coordinated her hands, the fabric, the pins and her foot!

This came up because earlier I was sewing a tabard for a group I belong to. Tomorrow is the group's anniversary and I wanted to have a spiffy frock for the celebration. Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it), the needle on my mini machine broke and I didn't have a replacement, or a way to get one. I decided to practice my hidden hem stitch. It took a while, and it's almost done, but I still have to finish the neckline, hem it proper and put in a few darts. It's kinda hard to pin yourself for alterations!!

Working by hand gives you a more intimate relationship with the piece; More of your energy is going into it. You take more time because you have to. Each stitch can carry an intention or a mantra whereby you enchant the piece for a specific purpose. And let's not forget the role of weaving as an act/symbol of parthenogenetic Goddesses like Athena and Neith and their Priestesses or Nymphs.

Back in the day, one of my favorite tops to wear out to a party or club was something I had made myself. I was in a good mood when I made it, and in the right frame of mind and I had unconsciously enchanted it for that purpose. The top was a favorite because it worked ;) You don't have to be adept at making your own garments, you can enchant them the same way you might consecrate a sword even though you didn't forge it yourself. I suspect most people have a favorite hook-up outfit, or the infamous power-tie, or a favorite pair of pants that make you feel a certain level of confidence. It's a piece of clothing you wear when you want to invoke, or evoke something specific. Lucky socks? First date underwear? Do you have a garment that does something for you?


  1. This reminds me of my mother's 40 year old Singer that she uses to this day. I learned to sew on that machines, and she still quilts with it. I agree that there is a strong, strong link between women and weaving -- this is a theme that keeps coming up in my dissertation research. Out of curiosity, do you do embroidery or cross-stitch?

  2. I've done some cross-stitch in the past, but I'm not the stitchy or knitty type. I admire such handiwork because I don't have the patience for it. I feel like I take to sewing more because it is (er, was?) a necessity. Do you do any of the above? What is your dissertation about?

  3. I'm doing my dissertation on Mother Grove in Asheville, NC. I'm halfway through the coursework for a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies through the California Institute of Integral Studies. The lovely reference librarian and I have discussed how my own research and personal history (as an adopted person) is like stitching together fragments, and I love reading reasearch about women that employs this metaphor, like Plaskow's 'Weaving the Visions' and Diamond's 'Reweaving the World.' Although my mother is a talented seamstress (4H farmgirl) who loves to quilt, I only have rudimentary sewing skills. I guess doing cross-stitch was more appealing and something I do occasionally. It makes me feel connected to generations of women in my adopted family. My late paternal grandmother tried to teach me to knit or crochette, but I didn't seem to have the knack for it.

  4. This post caught my eye and I just had to note: The needle breaking was a sign! I was already contemplating leaving the group mentioned but ignored the many signs I was given. As a Libra I tend to vacillate, to say the least, and thought my doubts were just typical indecisiveness. I figured if I just pressed on through them, they'd go away. I wound up sticking around longer than I wanted or should have and leaving after a falling out rather than on friendly terms. I don't think it could have ended any other way- when everyone is falling over themselves to be nice, things drag on. Clean break! Funny- the sewing needle did break cleanly!