Just call me Betty Draper. Yesterday, I took some time out from the sheath dress and Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing for a little home decor sewing, and it gave me a lot of think about in terms of sewing and "homemaking," I suppose we'll call it.
You see, this weekend both my parents and my in-laws are coming to visit and my husband didn't want them to see that we live like savage exhibitionists with no curtains. So off I went! I started these yesterday afternoon, and had them done in the evening - after a little Mad Men break, of course. I used this fantastic tutorial as my guide. I absolutely adore this fabric, and I wish I had enough left to make a dress so that I could match my curtains!
Anyway, there's not much interesting to say about making curtains. But I did have an ironic, contemplative moment while finishing them up. Jeff and I had just finished watching last night's Mad Men, which was so much about Peggy: her confusing status as both single girl who wants to be desired - and conversely, as a budding feminist and the one voice of women's perspectives in an "old boys' club" office.
As I sat at my sewing machine, Jeff had gotten out the tool kit and was puttering around, getting the curtain rod put up. Weren't we the perfect picture of 1963 domesticity! It's funny how sewing, while being creative and resourceful, can also be a symbol of the ideal housewife. Just look at this Elna ad from 1955:
Look at the happy homemaker, hanging her curtains! This ad really highlights that sewing at this time wasn't thought of as a hobby, but as a vital part of home economics for a wife. Even my mom said in this interview that my dad bought her a sewing machine when they first got married 40 years ago so that she could repair his clothes. (Very romantic, Dad!)
And, of course, home sewing is a money-saving, ecologically responsible, and fun activity. I actually starting sewing again a year and a half ago after being horrified by the selection of window treatments in my price range. (Hello, polyester!) But I do think it's crucial to remember the roots of this feminine activity, just as it's crucial to remember the historical/political implications of what we wear.
Whew! I guess I had more to say about curtains than I thought.
P.S. The young gentleman in the first picture is my beloved kitty, Henry Higgins. He bids you ladies a good day.