5.2.18 Homesewn pyjama bottoms
Pyjamas is my favourite word. I like that you can't say it without sounding like you're purring a little and the way that the y and j look like two pyjamaed legs climbing out of bed.
They were the only right and proper choice for my first dressmaking project. I bought brushed cotton in a bright paisley print in honour of the word's roots - the Persian pāy-jāmeh (which means leg-garment) - and they are exactly as soft and as comfortable as you're imagining. They came out just right and I beamed as wide as my trouser legs when I finally finished them today.
Making them took time, my body finding the movement and up and down of measure and cut, press and hem more of a challenge than I'd expected, and I found it strangely moving to sew them.
My whole life, I've been wearing second-hand and shop-bought clothes almost exclusively made by other people: people I haven't seen and will never know. Watching my fingers carefully fold and press seams, guide stitches, I kept thinking of all the other hands that have worked on things I own, hands far quicker and more skillful than my own. I felt suddenly embarrassed never to have thought of them much, imagined them. I wondered what they thought about as they pushed fabric through machines and snipped threads. I wondered what they worried about.
It is a good thing to make your own clothes at least once, I think. Sometimes it is only by moving our bodies and our minds in different ways that we can fully remember the things that other people do for us and have done for us. By copying best we can, we get to join a different kind of dance for a while and there is something special in that, in the synchronised bend and reach and turn and focus, fumbling the steps until we can find the beat of it. Our muscles can feel it, that this is something bigger than us, older than us. That sense of being one of a tribe intensifies for a little while and you get a deeper sense of what we are, all of us together.
It is a humbling thing to make something slowly. Here's to much, much more of that.