Back to Basics

I recently read Andy Couturier’s book A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance which introduced a number of people who are living rich lives with little money. Many of them find joy and satisfaction in working with their hands, producing food, creating art and making crafts. While reading, I was reminded of how much pleasure I used to get from making my own clothes.

I once loved wandering through fabric stores, trailing my hands over silks and wools, and then choosing fabric which I would then make into a mini-skirt with pantalons or a pair of jodhpurs, or something else. Using Vogue patterns and fine materials, I whipped up outfits by Perry Ellis, Norma Kamali, Ralph Lauren, Claude Montana and Laura Ashley. I made this one really cool architectural-looking dress out of white linen that a fellow college student borrowed and never gave back.

In Japan, it’s hard to find clothes that fit me properly, and in these hard economic times I hesitate to indulge the clothes horse in me. But inspired by Andy’s book, my children’s fifth grade home economics class, and a recent viewing of a movie about Chanel, I went to the brand new crafts shop that sprang up a few months ago, bought a length of chocolate brown linen and made myself a pair of pants. Next, maybe the dress.


5 thoughts on “Back to Basics

  1. Very inspiring. I hate to admit it, but I really don’t know how to operate a sewing machine. The thought of sewing a pair of pants or an outfit is daunting. Impressive and yes, very useful in Japan where my size 9 feet were tough to shop for, not to mention clothes!

  2. I’ve just started to learn to sew myself! My mum bought me a sewing machine while she was here and I’ve been collecting fabrics ever since 🙂

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