Monday, July 5, 2010
The Tyranny of DIY
Two years ago, I knit a dress for my daughter Helen. Here she is in it. As you can see, it's cute but specific. Helen picked out the yarn, pink with pom poms knit up with a second hot pink yarn, and the style is decidedly homemade meets A-line. She wore it for a week the year I made it and a week the next year, and yesterday, when we were deciding what clothes she should keep and what she should give away, she said, "Mommy, I'm not going to wear this anymore." I can't blame her, but it's also a hard item to give away. Would you put your kid in a dress like this if you didn't make it for her?
This is the problem, generally speaking, of clothing that's more homemade than hand made. They often hold meaning that outweighs their use, so we hold onto them because they were (maybe beautifully) made by someone who was dear to us but is now dead, or by someone who is still alive and was nice enough to make something instead of buying it, even if what that person made is nothing you'd ever buy. So what do you do?
After running through my list of two to whom I might give this dress, I had what I consider to be a major brainstorm. "Helen," I said, "What if I made your dress into a pillow?" This Helen was very excited about. I'm even excited about it. I don't really sew, but I don't think it'll matter. No one will really be able to see the seam, and if it's a little specific to the object, that's OK, it's homemade.