I have a young daughter so I'm always interested in studies about mental and physical health of young girls and young women in our society. Of course, we hear about negative body image and eating disorders amongst young women (and young men too now) frequently which concerns me a great deal. However, this past week I also read somewhere (sorry can't find the article anymore) that Sewing one's clothes had helped some young women change their negative feelings about their bodies.
I totally agree with that article, especially for someone like me with a very unusual body shape. If I had to buy all clothes from the stores and not know how to sew or alter these RTW clothes, I would be very depressed as well I think. In truth, the main reason I started sewing for myself years ago was that I could never find anything from the stores that fit properly, and that I always had to make lots of alterations on those RTW clothes myself.
Now that I wear mostly self-made clothes, I feel more comfortable and more confident than when I relied only on RTW clothes. How liberating is it to be able to custom make something just for my body? This applies even more to items like fitted jeans and swimwear. How many times did I hear my female friends tell me how depressed they got after going on a jeans or swimwear shopping trip? Of course, the ability to create something wearable also gives me great satisfaction and is extremely therapeutic for me.
My daughter is now old enough to understand that I make my own clothes and I make clothes for her as well. When she sees something in the stores or a picture in a book/magazines, she doesn't ask me to go to the store to buy it. Instead she asks me to make one for her. I hope that when she is a bit older, I can instill in her the love of sewing, the love of creating one's own unique garments. And most important of all, she doesn't need RTW stores/designer to make her feel bad about her body because the RTW clothes don't fit her properly. I want her to know that her body is fine the way it is; it's just the RTW clothes are of the wrong fit and poorly made.
My son still doesn't care about fashion much. He is happy with my creations for him. Once in a while he would ask me to add a simple applique (e.g. a number, a letter, etc) to his t-shirts, or make a bag for him with Thomas the Tank Engine on it. But most of the time he doesn't really care much about his clothing. I hope to teach him how to sew as well (he loves all kind of machines) in the next year or so and see how he gets on.