The two of us were sitting side by side, either sewing the sleeves on or fixing this and that, and the video about Jamdani weaving from India suddenly came into my mind — Two people sitting side by side in front of the loom, weaving slowly. When the narrator describes the duo, “One master” and “Another master” are used.
And the silly conversation between the two of us began:
“This master is very hungry.”
“This master wonders when he can have lunch.”
“This master wonders if another master can get her some water.”
B: All in all, we used “this master” instead of “I” and “you”. It is an inside joke; not everyone can get it. But we had fun with it throughout the entire clothes-making journey.
There wasn’t really a division of labor. As long as the tasks can be done by two people, we’d do it together. So even with a seemingly boring job, we could still have fun as we can work and joke together, and even compete against each other. A friend once said that long-haul bus rides are so boring. But for us, we can chat and not feel bored. I guess it’s similar to how we work.
T: It took you more than 100 hours to make this English smock, and most of the time was spent fixing and re-doing the wrong, crooked, or not-so-good-looking stitches. Is it worth it?
B: It’s definitely worth it because re-doing means correcting and improving. Creating a smock is easy. You just need to read some books or study some online materials then you can do it. But it takes some real hands-on work to truly understand every detail, shape, and texture. If you simply want to be hands-on but not really putting your heart into it, just reading a book will do! Either spend time doing your best, or don’t do it at all. Don’t be half serious because it’s not worth it and a complete waste of time!
T: Nowadays, smocking serves only an aesthetic purpose; but back in the Middle Ages when resources were limited and elastics were not yet invented, it offered natural stretchability to fabrics. Smocking involves the process of gathering fabric into pleats to create stretchability while keeping the entire piece of fabric intact. A garment crafted with pleating can be worn by one from childhood to adulthood and even passed on to the next generation. In a way, smocking is a manifestation of a sustainable lifestyle and at the same time, a form of decorative art.
B: Honestly speaking, machines are more efficient; but in terms of details, they might not be that good compared to manual production. Take the example of sewing on a button. With hand-sewing, we can hide the thread tail nicely underneath the button; but with machine-sewing, the tail is always visible and the button loosens up quite easily. It definitely matters to people whether a button can stay firm and in place; but the problem is, does anyone care enough to look into the issue and comment?
Handcrafting the detailed parts, or even hand making a piece of garment, has a lot to do with time! Take your time and forget about efficiency. The time you spend on hand sewing a garment means that the piece can be worn over a long period of time and will be treasured by the one who wears it.
Speaking of, we haven’t had fun like that for a while. Probably will have to wait until the second project starts. We planned to create one for each, a long one and a short one.
一開始就是覺得好玩所以才做，但做完就覺得很多事情真的simple but not easy（簡單卻又不容易），要繼續學習欣賞不同simple中蘊含著的not easy。
T：Simple but not easy的工序是説不完的話題，這種令人埋頭苦幹的著迷，似乎是愛造衣的人才會有的共鳴。
B: Handcrafting is a very personal way of creating and expressing emotions. It’s even more personal and subjective when it comes to how others perceive the work. For example, there are people who like the rawness and irregularity of handcrafting. There is a uniqueness that comes with it. If such personal items can bring happiness to one’s self and the others, it’s certainly meaningful and special.
We started because it seemed fun, but then we realized there are so many things that are simple but not easy. We will keep learning how to appreciate the difficulties that come with simple tasks.
T: There is so much to talk about when it comes to simple but not easy, and it’s such an obsession. This is something that only those who love clothes-making will understand.