Basket of Zippers

A Basket of Zippers
8x10 oil on panel

When a simple basket of zippers caught my eye as I was walking around the Mission District in San Francisco fond memories came flooding back. I realized how unusual it is now to mend existing garments, much less make your own from scratch. Daily life may be easier, but it seems a little light on the pride of ownership that once was a natural part of things.

When I was growing up the women I knew sewed. In Junior High School girls were all required to take Home Economics, which had a large sewing component, and the boys took Shop, where they learned basic wood and metal working. It was generally understood that part of growing up was learning to use tools that would help you fix, maintain and possibly create things.  My mother didn't just sew her own clothes, she periodically reupholstered our furniture, measuring out and creating her own patterns. My friends and I routinely made our own clothes, and enjoyed trips to the fabric store, and discussions of our plans and progress toward the final product. School dances and events always sent us into high gear. I've gone out on a limb here and included a photo from the archives.  

On our way to my High School graduation, my mother and I model the clothes we made for the event.  It appears that she bought a bit more fabric than I did! After choosing the pattern, selecting and purchasing the fabric, laying it out on the carpet and cutting, pinning, sewing, pressing and fitting the garment we hand finished the  hems. It gave a woman a different kind of pride in what she wore!