TBT: The Home Atelier

You may have heard about intrepid patriots and loving volunteers sewing face masks and donating them to hospitals during this time of shortage. This is a lovely phenomenon, although homemade masks do not provide the same level of protection as N95 respirators and other gear that some doomsday hoarder jerks have taken out of circulation, surely causing the deaths of untold numbers of medical professionals. (If this is you, my impulse is to tell you to burn in hell. But that wouldn't help either; instead, there is still time to repent and donate your hoard of N95 masks to your nearest hospital and then sit in your room for at least three weeks sewing your own cloth masks for yourself, in your own favorite colors and patterns.)

Long, long ago, when I wrote about sewing at home, I planned to get a nice sewing machine and learn how to use it. And I did acquire a nice sewing machine, and my friend Lisa did give me lessons on how to use it. My first garment was a maternity dress. And the biggest lesson that I learned was that I am not a seamstress. This is not my calling in life. Absolutely not. Keep the needles and thread away from me. This is my housewifely Achilles' heel, alas. We can't all be good at everything.

Many other people do enjoy sewing, and it's a lovely way to pass the time, regardless of whether a hospital or care facility near you wants homemade masks. Stay at home, stay safe, and catch up on all your mending and knitting projects. Have a stitch-and-bitch over video chat. Post a homemade fashion show on YouTube. Leave a comment under this post with descriptions, pictures, or links to your own work to inspire others.

If you like, take a trip down memory lane and revisit my 2000s celebration of Lisa's homemade fashion below.

The Home Atelier

Wear custom designed clothing! Everything pictured here was created by my friend Lisa, a poor and fabulous art student. Circle skirts are awesome, but homemade clothes do not have to look bohemian, hippie-chic, or fundie. You can make high fashion at home, too. Browse magazines and online advertisements for ideas.

Learning a new skill takes time, but when you get the hang of something like sewing or crocheting, it can really pay off. It's not one of my strong points, but it is something I plan to work on once I get my hands on a good sewing machine. Lisa was a busy graduate student with six children (OK, six beloved canine and feline adopted family members) when she created these pieces, including two wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, and a beach wedding suit.

The first wedding gown is Lisa's own, and below is a green dress she made for her reception.

If you make clothes to wear yourself, not to sell, you can rip off designer clothes and handbags straight from the runway. Better yet, if you are recreating the piece from scratch, you can change the fabric, color, and cut to better suit your own shape and style.

Create your own couture!

...Or at least, find a friend who can sew if you have a wedding or other big event coming up. It's always fabulous to wear a one-of-a-kind creation designed only for you.

Happy stitching!


  1. Ooooh, she is really talented. I wonder how much she'd charge to make me a simple dress...

    Great ideas!

  2. Send her a message on Facebook! Who knows? She might be down for some dressmaking while she looks for a job in a less recessiony state.

  3. 2 years later, I never saw these comments....but I do like projects for other people! Of course I am now 12 hours from you...


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