United States of Americana has got me thinking about so much, about what was once, and could again, be handmade; about the loss of skills to indeed make things yourself (and their blessed revival); about the greater quality but also cost of things like handmade shoes (for example). A weakness of Reighley's book is that it doesn't consider the greater context of people's lives back in 'better times' when they wore handmade shoes. I suspect that if you were wearing a pair of handmade shoes that they were just that one pair that you owned and wore every single day, for every occasion until they were worn into the ground. Yes, it's nice today to eulogise a return to that sort of quality but I doubt that many now would be happy with a single pair of shoes for every single day.
I was often slightly bemused reading Wardrobe Refashion (now sadly defunct but which I absolutely loved and loved the principle behind) when participants were alarmed about whether they could buy new socks and underwear. This concern seemed to belie the fact that socks and underwear are indeed made, somewhere, by someone. They can also be made by you or me, perhaps not to the manufacturing standards that we are accustomed to, but made nevertheless. Fine gauge dress socks, yes, you would have trouble producing those at home, but socks can be knit, undies can be sewn. (Says she, who has been knitting the same pair of socks for some two-and-a-half years now; yes, I concede that time is also a huge cost to be factored in here.)
I remember the first time a friend made tira misu for me (thanks Tamar!), I was devastated. Tira misu was food from the gods, it just miraculously existed; I didn’t want it to be demystified and revealed as the work of human hands. Sometimes it seems that socks and undies are the tira misu of self-sufficient crafting.
Lastly, please do enjoy the wonderful video above about how Roy makes jeans that reminds and inspires me that everything is made, somewhere, by someone, and (given the chance) that someone could be me.