Joining the Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult Sewing Circle

I’m going to be 45 this year. Damn. This means I am entering my “Goddess Years.” You know, those years best depicted by the cartoonist Roz Chast (source: Conde Nast):


I worried I was headed into “Goddess Years” when I started getting the itch to sew my own clothes. I mean, who does that? I slaved all winter over a wool coat and received all this dripping admiration from my female friends. “Wow! That’s so amazing!” they’d say. But in the back of their minds, they’re thinking, “Who the hell has the time to sew her own clothes like some peasant? Go to the mall already!”

They had a point. Why sew something from some commercial sewing pattern, a ready-to-wear knock-off, with dubious fabric from the Jo-Ann’s at the suburban strip mall?

Then I found out about Japanese sewing pattern books. I bought this one from Amazon on a whim:


The cover looks so sweet and cool – so unexpected and different. Can’t you imagine strolling in the summer twilight in this outfit, stopping somewhere for soba noodles and a beer?

When I looked through the book, however, the overall “chic” factor faded. The book’s aesthetic seems to say “Japanese Hippie Doomsday Cult” more than “chic.” A friend on a sewing blog summed it up: ‘Japanese hippie doomsday cult’ is actually sort of a fun theme but yes, not for everyday. Unless you want to be that person at the office that dresses a bit differently than everyone else.

You know what? I do want to be that person! My career’s in a bit of a funk and I find myself thinking (again with the “Goddess Years” bearing down) that I might want to try just doing my job, cashing my paychecks and enjoying my life instead of doing the Corporate America Two-Step into my grave.

So, here goes. A little spring and summer project to transform “Happy Homemade Sew Chic” patterns into a fun, useful, and yes, chic, summer wardrobe. Let’s hope my “maneki-neko – the Japanese lucky cat – brings me some luck!



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