The new trend : Asking, Talking and Making

There is a definite positive trend for young people (aged 20-35) to learn the more classical and traditional female skills such as garment making (not just sewing), cooking, jam making, appliqué, embroidery, flower-arranging, jewelry making … the list can go on an on with all the skills that sound lovely but feel as though they have missed a generation.

This is in fact the case: In an article in Mail Online this is explained by looking at how the role of women in the last few decades has changed. Women decided to become ‘business women’ in the 80’s and traditional skills like sewing became ‘uncool’ (buying clothes and spending (ie consumerism) was more cool) so many never bothered to learn. Now there is a whole generation of women who have never learnt to knit and ‘schools’ are bringing back domestic science. Companies/organizations, such as the Make Lounge, are also offering courses on ‘how to’ and it is hard to miss, but Etsy after all is built on this ethos.

There are a few things I find interesting about all of this:

  • In a recession we all turn to ‘making it’ rather than ‘buying it’. So is this a trend becuase it skipped a generation or is it a trend becuase we are in a time when we need to be able to do it for ourselves?
  • Are we wanting to learn becuase it is novel or genuinely to learn the skill to use it? Is it not just another thing that women have to do/be to be ‘superwomen’?
  • Is this a new trend or just an extension/development of the individuality trend? We all realize that usually consumerism = mass production and unless you can afford to buy bespoke pieces you will not get something unique or original in the shops/conventional shopping spaces. To be able to make it ourselves gives us not only the satisfaction of personal achievement/accomplishment but also a completely unique and perfect for you item.

I think this is encouraging and exciting. I am young and being able to sew has never been on the top 10 things that I tell people. It has always been met with a “oh!?!” and I know they are quietly working out if I am cool or not. Perhaps becuase I went to design school and was on the same floor as the Fashion Design students that I know a lot of young people who are proud they sew for their living but I would agree that the ‘taboo’ around knowing these skills is evaporating.

0 thoughts on “The new trend : Asking, Talking and Making

  1. Marian says:

    hmmm complex topic.
    I think there might be a bit of everything you named.
    I remember when I was a Uni student i had a proffessor in my sociology class, who was a big feminist…commited woman to the cause. I used to argue with her that it seemed like the price women had to pay in order to pursue the feminist cause was…their femininity. I do belive women and men should have the same rights, but I do not believe we are the same. Not better or worse, just not the same.
    But why did so many women from that generation, the big 60s-70s women had to morfe into pseudo men to prove that women are worth too? And I dont mean just physically, I mean in what they like or not too. Doesnt mean that all women should stay home and learn how to sew, but why is the opposite have to be law? Why are you a wasted person if you decide to be a housewife, or quite your job to raise your children? Why are you considered dumb if you do not want to join the rat race and spend one hour in a traffic jam, 8 working in a numbing job, another hour in a traffic jam to get home clean/cook/iron/help your kids with school stuff/kiss your husband maybe once, go to bed and start again.
    -could well be that you are passionate about your job, or have domestic help, but that is not the majority of women (or men) around the world-

    I grew up in a family of proffessionals. My mom is an Ingeneer. Same as my dad, grandparents (both), aunt and uncles, sibblins and cousins are doctors, lawyers, dentists, psychologists…etc. Not one woman knows how to sew, all scape to anything domestic related.
    When I was a kid and kept asking my grandma to teach me how to sew, she kepts saying “why, you will be a proffessional too. You dont need this skill”. So, I never learnt… it wasn’t compatible to know how to be an intelectual and a crafty person. Im learning it all now…
    There is a whole generation that resigned -consciously or not- to a lot of things that defined them just to be more equal to men (not meaning to say that men don’t sew or do crafts…dont get me wrong…I live with a crafty one…).
    In the process branded as “waste of braincells” all manual, crafty, creative activitiesand traded them for a pinstripped suit…and I don’t know if the whole rushing through life standing in a traffic jam made them all very happy. Many I know live and lived between guilt for giving up stuff/not being there for the children/ losing touch with their partner/never having time; and joy for their achievments. We all know guilt ussually outweights the rest.

    To me a very complicated and too interesting of a subject for a comment. Summing up, glad the trend (trend or consequence) is back.I dont know if recession has much to do with it because, at least in Europe, people keep shopping like crazy. More cauteous because the media procasticate doom, but shops are always full…
    There might be a bit more interest -related to the ecological troubles of the planet- in learning how to do stuff by yourself to be greener…
    It all helps…

  2. pam sizemore says:

    It seems to me that a lot of young woman are using their love for crafting and sewing as a way to stay at home with their children and help support their families while showing their creative side. Most of the blogs I read seem to bear this out. I have always been creative and wish I had been able to do this when I was raising my family.

  3. anja says:

    ooii, another nice, tricky and interesting one. This scenario has always been bugging my mind, since childhood. Luckily my parents did not restrict me in these gender aspects and I could enjoy playing with cars and building blocks as much as getting to know how to bake, cook etc but dad also made sure or rather encouraged that I could fix a plug too, but never let the future husband know. Only at school the first restriction appeared, girls sew and boys use the saw, there was my first problem. I was so hopeless at needlework the teacher had to do and finish my work and evaluate her work,lol, while I envied the boys beeing able to do woodwork. Today I rather grab the sander to restore a piece of furniture before that needle and thread finds my hands. Also agree with Marian but its all one hype at the end of the day fuelled by the superwoman through the media to make or break the rest of us and skin must be thick. With this aspect, the stigma of beeing butch or even gay is attached. But at the end of the day we all humans and the craftier the better for survival and I really would love to sew my own clothes…

  4. Jesse says:

    It’s also interesting that the people adopting this new trend of making are fairly affluent. I suspect that, like growing your own veggies, making your own clothes isn’t really seen as progress if you’re really poor. Making things because you have to is quite different from making things because you want to… I wish there was a way to attack that view. My mother’s generation had it; buying bread from the shop was ‘smart’ because baking bread was something her mother had to do. My gran used to send us home-made soap, which my mother dutifully stored under the sink and then threw out once my gran had been for her annual visit.

  5. wendren says:

    Out of interest: I cannot cook (or I can but it never tastes nice) but that does not make me any less of a woman. It is like there is a heirachy of skills that define you as a woman. I can sew but not cook. Um…

    Also, Jesse, you make a good point: is this trend not just a novelty? It is novel to make your own clothes to those who can afford otherwise. To those of us who can’t or for example in my mom’s case many years back, she had to make her wedding dress becuase she simply could not afford to buy one. Interesting ….

  6. Nell says:

    For me being “domestically handy” has to do with my wanting to feel a connection to the women in my family. I lost my grandmas and mom far too young in life. Knitting, canning, or making anything that I could buy makes me feel like I’m in touch with them. Like they passed these talents on to me and it’s my responsibility to pass them on to my kids. I think it’s important to know where you come from and to try to keep some of that alive. Yes, I could by cloth napkins at Walmart cheaper than the ones I’m making. But I’d rather have my family use something that I made (that I put some love into) every night at dinner. It takes me longer to make than to buy. But then I can choose everything that goes into the project.

    I’m not saying I don’t buy things that I COULD make because I do. But there’s something amazing about being able to provide your family with your time and talent in a tangible form.