Now this story starts in about 1984. We lived in Cheyenne Wyoming, and there was a blizzard and a lot of snow on the ground. I could see my neighbor unloading groceries from the back of her car which she had driven across her yard up to her kitchen door. Having moved from Arizona just months before, I thought this was absolute craziness! But now, years later, I could easily see myself doing the same thing.
That winter became boring confined to the indoors. But there was a saving grace, I love to do embroidery and sew. I was lucky enough to be living in Australia when I was 12-years-old. I went to an all-girls school, and back then the school only had 2 electric sewing machines. The rest were all manual treadle machines. So we had to take turns getting to use the electric machine, but did most of our sewing on the treadle machines. I say this was ‘lucky’ because it taught me the basics. Not to rely on the machine to be able to do the work for you. We learned how to put in a zipper without a zipper foot, let alone make a buttonhole by hand.
When my children were growing up I did a lot of sewing. I also used that sewing machine (and other crafting talents) to make extra money so I was able to be home with my kids. I did everything from sewing outfits to cutting out wood shapes and tole painting. My biggest sellers were little sailor-like outfits, and wooden garden bunny cutouts. During Frontier Days I made little wooden magnets with the cowboy on horseback that sold like hotcakes. Now you have websites like Etsy where people like me would be able to sell all sorts of things.
So much of my sewing/crafting paraphernalia has been boxed up for years. But more recently I have been digging thing out and getting back into it. I made the youngest a book bag awhile back, but let’s just say it can be a problem when you are trying to get too many layers of fabric sewn together. So we made a visit to a local upholsterer and had him sew it up.
Well, to get to the point of this story, for Christmas this year I wanted to do something handmade for my future daughter-in-law. She recently graduated from college, and is now a school teacher. So I thought to make her a fun bag to carry all her teaching stuff in. I went digging through all I had and found a pattern, material and thread; even a loaded bobbin. The pattern called for quilted fabric. Most ‘quilted’ material would be 3 layers of fabric, top patterned, filling layer, and a plain color backing fabric. What I had was a thicker material that had been quilted. So I wasn’t able to follow the first direction of taking the fabric apart to use the patterned layer as binding. No problem, I have tons of binding, but all ugly . . . so off to the fabric store. OMG! (the youngest hates it when I use OMG) Have you seen the prices of fabric? How can anyone afford to ‘craft’ anymore? All I bought was some ribbon, a few iron-on decorations, cording, and $14 gone! If I had bought the fabric, let alone the pattern, ouch!
So I have come to a conclusion, so many people complain that we spend our money on things made in other countries. The simple fact is that especially in this economy we can’t afford to buy locally. Let’s get honest, to buy everything to make this bag would have cost about $35. I could pick up something comparable at a local dollar store for about $10. Yes, this is probably better made, will last longer, and has the added touch of being made just for someone special. But, most people would look at it from a more practical side. Why spend $35+ and hours of time to produce something you could pick up at a store for so much less? If you ask me, it sucks.