Clothing is a beautiful thing. Clothing gives the opportunity to present to the outside world an insight about who you are through the garments you wear.
But that has a downfall. When someone says something mean about what you’re wearing, what you’re revealing about yourself, it can sometimes hurt. Hurt a lot.
Rejection is the refusal to accept, approve, or receive an idea, person, thing. Refusal to accept someone as a romantic partner, refusal to approve of someone’s idea or concept, refusal to approve of someone’s clothing or fashion style. Emotions of rejection are among the most painful in life.
The problem is we tend to give everyone around us the authority to reject us — people who pass us on the sidewalk, our friends, our classmates and coworkers. It’s easy to give the authority of rejection of our appearance away. In fact, I think for a lot of us women, that’s our natural inclination in life.
But sewing provides us with a unique opportunity for a mental shift.
From one perspective, the potential for rejection of our appearance is much higher when we sew. If you make something and people don’t like it, it’s a double whammy — much worse than if they don’t like it and you simply bought it at a store. You’re not only choosing to wear it, you poured your energy, skill, money, and time into making it!
When you sew, the safety net of buying things that passed several layers of vetting before reaching store floors, that’s gone. You’re not leaving up to others what style and fabric are cool and stylish. The full weight of fashion choice is in your hands when you create your own garments. So in one sense, the risk of rejection is much higher when you sew your own clothes.
But let’s look at it another way. A more accurate way.
In school, rejection of your class work is up to the discretion of the teacher.
It’s an amazing system, because no matter what other students say, it is up to the teacher to subjectively decide the quality of your work. In the class room, the teacher is the only one with the ability to accept or reject. The teacher is the ultimate authority.
In your clothing choice, who is your authority? Who is the one whose approval you seek, the only one whose word matters? Who is the one who gets to say how well your work measured up to the rubric?
The teacher has the ultimate authority to reject because they are the designer and orchestrator of the class. It is their rightful authority, for they are the only creators of the rubric, the set of standards on which your work is evaluated.
In sewing, you not only create the work itself, you also create the rubric by which it is judged. Things like the quality of the sewing, how well it shows the beauty of your specific body, how well it fits with the rest of your wardrobe, how it connects to your emotions. You alone choose the rubric.
When you sew your own clothes, create your own artwork of clothing, rejection cannot exist in the opinions of others. They have opinions, yes, but their opinions carry absolutely zero weight on the value of the clothing. Others cannot reject things you create, because they are not the creators. You are the ultimate authority. You and only you, creator, can determine your own approval and worth of your handmade garments.
The reality is, when you sew, you actually leave much less room for rejection. You take back power and thwart rejection’s threats.
Have you found this true in your life? Has sewing your own clothes made you more resilient to people’s opinions of your appearance?