Friday, October 19, 2012

His and Hers, Or, Matching, A Cautionary Tale

It must not have worked out with Cecil, because this pattern is folded, uncut. (We could have told her!)
There should be a warning label on patterns that show Happy Couples wearing matching outfits, saying "Proceed With Caution", or as Mr. Hunting Creek quipped, "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."
For a sewing person, it is an early temptation. (Older and wiser sewists nod sadly). She/he likes to sew.. She/he wants to make a nice something for the Special Someone. This route is Fraught With Peril. Many a magazine has advised upon the dangers of "over-gifting.". You know: When you give him a hand knit fisherman's sweater made of hand-spun wool from your own antique heirloom sheep breed, and he gives YOU a Cross Pen Set for your desk.(Mr. Hunting Creek interjects here, "You aren't going to bring up that bicycle pump again?" Why yes. Yes I am. The Bicycle pump gift will never be forgotten in the annals of cross-gender gift giving.) How many sad tales of hand sewn gifts have we heard from our fellow sewists?
Handmade silk ties for him, he gives you a Magic Bullet. Hand made silk pajamas? A Cat Calendar in return.
But Love is deaf to warnings as well as blind, so our  fellow sewist purchased this fine pattern back in 1976, determined to make a trendy top for their beloved. To make this top most authentically, the use of ethnically inspired fabrics is strongly encouraged. Ikat, batik, Guatemalan hand-woven, African Wax prints  all good. Bonus points if you went to Africa/Guatemala/Peru YOURSELF to acquire this fabric  This will give the wearer the feeling of being a World Citizen, which was quite the thing among certain college students of my acquaintance back in 1976. (I myself had a dashiki shirt that I wore often with jeans to my classes, where one of my TA's announced blithely, "You don't have to be a Socialist in this class to get an A, but it will help.".This caused quite a sensation back at UC Irvine, heart of then staunchly Republican Orange County. I think my shirt may have shown how non-Orange County I was. I did get an A. I was not then nor have I ever been a Socialist, but I think the shirt helped.)
Make the shirt and iron it well. If you make a matching shirt for yourself, be aware that most men do not like to wear matching items of clothing. Mr. Hunting Creek, for example, would prefer to have hot sticks of flaming bamboo stuck under his fingernails than wear even so much as the same color shirt as his spouse to an outing. If he sees that I am wearing a dark blue sweater, and he has on a dark blue sweater that is close in color, he will demand that I change my top. Since like most women, I spent some mental energy selecting an outfit, so I refuse. He grumbles and changes.
Don't wrap the gift too nicely - just do it nice enough. Most men do not understand the niceties of excellent gift wrapping and your efforts (like the effort expended in making this shirt, most likely) will be wasted.
I have a spotty track record in the Gift Shirt, so I speak from experience here. I have made lovely, professional quality shirts for three boyfriends, two of whom broke up with me and one of whom married me. I admit, the sample size is small. But I have extensive anecdotal evidence that sewing a shirt for your boyfriend is like entering the Food Chain. Proceed with caution!


Mary said...

oh god, I did this. I made that shirt in the upper left. oh, dear. sigh.

T. Sedai said...

Go Anteaters!

Sophie Miriam said...

Hahahahaha. I made my boyfriend a sweater. My first cabled sweater, and it turned out really well. He's still dating me, so....