brings a kind of grieving
at the shortness of the season
that savoured space
between summer heat
and winter freezing
a colourful unleaving
autumn unlike any
I can remember:
shrouded in smoke,
washed hands, news reel
and the sounds of
home are amplified;
silent, ear splitting sounds
blurry edged video calls -
we’ve grown older
sowed, and let go
and let go and let go -
Autumn like no other
and painted like every other:
ash gold, oak brown,
gum grey, clover green,
marked with blood,
with loss and love.
It may not look like much to you but this is my #teahousedress sewed in beautiful dark blue linen I bought at the The Fabric Store a few years ago with my sister. I fell in the love with the linen and at the time thought I’d make a roomy wrap dress.
Then I came across this pattern from @sewhouse7 which is inspired by the lines of a Japanese kimono. For a fairly novice sewer like me this required careful concentration. The pattern is so well written, it was actually a pleasure to follow. I took the advice of others and sized down for a more fitted look. I am so so happy with the result - it is truly comfortable and beautiful feeling dress that doesn’t over expose or hide away oneself. The deep pockets and waist tie and box pleat at the back are my favourite details. I now want to make another three!
I’ve felt for a long time that sewing my own clothes is a profound act of love to myself. Taking the time to make something for my specific shape and needs. To champion patterns by independent, female designers and purchase fabric from small businesses who follow sustainable practices and source their fibres ethically. To limit waste and save the leftover "scraps" for future making.
There's a tension that I feel between wanting to care a lot about clothes, and not care too much at all.
In a time where collectively as a culture we own more material posessions that ever before; when fashion fads seem to come and go at whim; when clothing is cheaper and flimsier than ever; when garments are made by people who are underpaid, undervalued and overworked; when we dispose of so many still "wearable" things into landfill or dump by the garbage bag to our local charity shops (for them to deal with) in our pursuit of "joy-filling" minimalism - I want to say enough! I want to spend more time making and mending garments I will savour wearing, and save up for fairly-made items I can't make myself but will last a very long time. Because the process, materials, intention and feeling do matter. The ethics and disposing of our things matter too.
Here’s to our clothes, and the stories we sew into them...
down by the river
three boys fishing
long sticks make rods
a jetty of fallen logs
it's a hiding place they tell me
a mossy, lichen-licked place
a spongey, prone to crumbling maze
of willow stripped bare
and soon I feel stripped of cares
rinsed of the day,
in this golden, shimmering space
awake suddenly to a slower pace:
three boys, now bouncing
on a fallen tree,
frog calls, and the soft ripple of grass
magpies overhead "we need to find the secrets"
I hear them say,
"the secrets of the world"
Frost for the third morning in a row
I feel the cold air seep through
the window beside our bed;
And on the hands of my three year old
who comes into bed for a snuggle
I tuck his icy limbs around
my own, warm ones
I am happy to see it blanket the grass:
white harbinger of bright clear days,
sunshine on my cheeks as I sip tea
and even as I pull a splinter
out of my hand from loading wood
into the fire, I am grateful.
“The leaves are sparkling Mum”
And would you believe after breakfast
all three boys proceed to the trampoline
to “skate” on the icy mat - in socks -
and I don’t mind at all.
We’re all intoxicated by the beauty,
a crystallising of ordinary things
and strangely, something inside me
(the dread of winter, no doubt)
thaws and softens -
even as my fingers freeze.
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...