I am not the sewer my mom was. She sewed my clothes when I was a kid and later she took advanced classes to learn to tailor suits and even to do upholstery. When I was a kid I used my grandfather’s old Singer which had been converted from a pedal to electric and learned to backstitch by turning the fabric 180 degrees….the stitcher only went forward.
I didn’t sew for years and even gave away my newer machine (It had cams for various stitches!) to someone who wanted one after I had not used it for about 5 years. And I missed it almost immediately. Does that fit one of the natural laws of behavior?
So when I started sewing again, it was a new learning curve and while I had ideas, my ability was not able to translate the concepts as well as I wished. After making bags for about fours years it seemed like a switch got flipped and the quality of my creations jumped up quite a bit. I had the courage to get rid of the fiascos after storing them for another year or so.
Now, I don’t sew again as much. I have been busy with my business to preserve locally grown foods, Can-Do Real Food, and there has been no time for the sewing since June. But the holiday craft fair is Thanksgiving weekend and I also promised a Facebook friend I would make a bag. As the canning pressure (ha ha a play on words there) has reduced, I need to clear off the sewing table in my office/workroom.
The Holiday market this Thanksgiving weekend will have 75 artists, artisans and craftspeople who will be offering their concepts of love for sale. And it is love for sale. Love of craft is what drives people to spend hours and hours producing something by hand that many consumers do not recognize as different from the mass produced stuff at the big box store.
Like locally raised versus cheap food, many people think a well sewn handbag is equivalent to a bag sewn in a sweat shop in VietNam. Or maybe, the average consumer does not think much at all about what it takes in time, learning curve, special tools, material costs, to assemble something they love and hope you do too. Maybe the average person is completely unaware, even when hearing about sweatshops in Pakistan each time one collapses and kills people, that this is not a historic concept but one that is happening today. Maybe the idea of paying the craftsman a fair price for his time and material is just not palatable but paying a worker $1 a day in a developing country is okay?
This holiday shopping season is only five weeks away. The ads will be bombarding you to NEED items and like sheep, many people will flock to the mall to buy something just like hundred of others they see there.
A craftsperson can make you an unique gift for the very special person on your list. Many, if you catch them early enough, will even custom produce something you order specially, in the favorite colors and with all the features that loved one would enjoy. For example, I used to sew bags I enjoyed and offered them for sale at various markets. In time I stopped and offered to make custom bags. I made fewer in all, but the recipients were THRILLED with their purchase because it was made especially for them with their choices and wants.
Take the time and set aside at least 15% of your holiday budget to spend at crafts fairs. The money you spend will stay in the community, enhancing the local economy in ways spending at the big box store never can.