Finished Project: Buy It or Make It Yourself

Put a couple new things in the shop…slowly buy surely getting it going. Let me introduce the Picaroon Vest and Twine Baskets Set

07 July20 etsy collage

Here’s a secret (not really) for you: you can make the vest yourself with vintage Simplicity 9261 (figure out how to make the baskets by Googling “crochet baskets tutorial,” natch). Realized halfway through that if I had lined the white lining to make it less transparent, I could have made a reversible vest (DUH!!). Please take advantage of my lesson learned.

07 July20 picaroon collage

Pattern: Simplicity 9261
Fabric: from Hong Kong (skull and crossbones chambray) & secondhand (linen lining)

More important to me than having my own Etsy store/clothing line is to encourage people to just make stuff. The ability to make things with my hands feels so freeing from the constant temptation to buy buy BUY. Although some might argue that I’ve only concentrated my blatant consumerism to a particular interest (I did recently admit to having almost 400 sewing patterns), I do find it easier to keep my money in my pocket when I’m out shopping with friends when focusing on finding sewing inspiration, therefore giving less of my money to some rich homophobe and/or encouraging the cycle of exploitative labor. It’s my way of fighting for the Big Issues in my small, individual way.

That being said, I also feel that sometimes a person just wants to see what a garment looks like IRL before jumping in and sewing. In my fantasy world, I would be able to shop off the rack AND sewing patterns at the same time. WOULDN’T THAT BE AWESOME??!!! Imagine all the times you’ve tried something on and it fits great but is made from the most awful print. What if, next to the rack is the same pattern on sale so you can sew it up instead? The closest realization of this fantasy I could find is The Makehouse in Victoria, B.C. which holds a sewing pattern borrowing library and is making physical samples of the patterns for folks to thumb through (WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT??).

Basically, I just want to be transparent about how I make what I make. I’m a librarian by trade (if not in practice at the moment), and we’re all about the beauty of sharing. We’re also all about navigating fair use.

If you’re left wondering whether or not selling a vest made from a vintage Simplicity pattern is copyright infringement, I would argue that my decidedly non-legal but informed research shows it is not (at least in the States):

…copyright protection for the designs of useful articles is extremely limited. The design of a useful article is protected under copyright “only if, and only to the extent that, such design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.”

– Statement of the United States Copyright Office before the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary http://www.copyright.gov/docs/regstat072706.html#N_13_

A more readable interpretation of patterns and copyright is provided by the University Libraries of the Ohio State University. I encourage you to read more if copyright fascinates you as much as it does me.

I just love making shit. It’s pretty much all I ever want to do. I love matching a fabric with a pattern or choosing a yarn or finding some cool beads at a thrift store. I love watching my hands create something useful and pretty. And I want to share that with as many people as possible, whether it’s through encouraging others to create for themselves or making something for someone else to enjoy. Sewing is way more important to me than selling. So, hopefully through Etsy and this blog I can give someone the motivation to start being a producer instead of simply a consumer. At the very least, I have a virtual space that allows me to just keep going about my nerdy endeavors.

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