In Sewing

Absorbing Memories in Handmade

The last two weeks have been a little rough but I’m keeping busy and staying positive. I’ve been doing a ton of sewing lately, mostly for other people but I did manage to make myself a humble Lark Tee out of some super soft grey jersey from Denver Fabrics that I bought not too long ago. This t-shirt was a satisfying make for me because it perfectly coincides with where I left off on my last post about wearing and loving what I sew, but it’s grown to mean so much more than that.


“This t-shirt was made by me. It’s stretched out and wrinkled because I’ve been wearing it so much since I finished it. I haven’t washed it yet and I kinda don’t want to. It still has my cat’s hair on it, the hair from my 20 year old kitty that I recently had to say goodbye to. It smells exactly like my boyfriend because I borrowed his deodorant on that day and it has a small stain on the bottom from the lunch we shared afterwards. I keep catching whiffs of myself and swooning, picking cat hairs off myself and smiling. Man do I miss that little kitty. It’s funny how many more moments and memories I absorb when I’m wearing clothes that I’ve made myself. This is why I want to sew more basic t-shirts. Who knew such a humble thing could mean so much?”

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen this image and this caption already but I wanted to elaborate on that thought here, too.

I’ve noticed that I tend to retain more memories and moments while wearing clothes that I’ve made myself. Maybe it’s because I’ll catch myself looking down at a handmade garment I’m wearing and reflecting on it. I’ll pause to secretly admire a hem I’m particularly proud of or touch the fabric that I picked out myself and think how great it is to say I’ve done that, even if I’m only telling myself.

Even when these pauses only last for a split second, it’s still a pause I rarely take when wearing store-bought clothes. It’s because of the small pauses when I stop to take in what I’m wearing, that I also stop to take in more of my surroundings. For me, it’s the small humble details within those quick blips in time that really add weight to the bigger story. I want more of this. I want more humble handmade t-shirts and more pause in my life.

Have you ever had a similar experience? Do you feel like you absorb more while wearing handmade clothes?


  • Taylor Rogers

    Hi Rochelle, i just found your blog and this post made me cry. Two months ago my cat had to be euthanized as she was born with a virus which had begun to attack her organs. She died 2 weeks before her first birthday. She was so precious to me and losing her was like losing my soul. I can relate as sewing for me has been an escape and is slowly building back my confidence with every project i complete.

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, Taylor πŸ™ Though I’m happy you found some sort of comfort in my post and also in sewing <3

  • So very, very many hugs.

    With all my heart, I’m truly sorry for your loss.

    β™₯ Jessica

  • Nicole

    I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty. That’s so hard.
    My handmade clothes are definitely more special to me, as I know them (all of their triumphs and flaws combined!) completely inside and out, and since I am a slow seamstress, that feeling of pride and accomplishment at finishing something!
    The Artyologist

    • Thanks Nicole, I appreciate it. I love your thoughts on your handmade clothing and I feel the same!

  • Ew ,”put tank down” sounds so wrong. I meant to say we lost our best friend and it was the worst fucking thing ever. Yeah.

  • We put Tank down months ago – we still have his bed covered in dog smells and fur in a closet. And a cupboard of dog food … take all the time you need <3

    • I’m so sorry Nova. I can’t even fathom not having Lucille with me and I know through that love how much Tank meant, and still means, to you. Uhg. Small furry little things who become the world …it’s so hard. And yet I’ll always do it. I’ll always have animals.

  • Ellen Malone Sherman

    So sorry to hear about Kitty, hope your memories of her are a comfort.
    I know what you mean about clothes that we make having more meaning and providing a momentary sense of pride. Still working my way to a mostly made by me wardrobe, and finding my true style. Funny, but I feel more stylish in my 60s wearing me made clothing than I ever did when I was younger.
    Sweet memories of Kitty, they are family.

    • Thank you Ellen <3
      I love that you're finding more style and confidence now than you ever had! That gives me so much hope and excitement for the future πŸ™‚ Sewing does wonders for empowerment and self confidence.

  • Maggie Ha

    My heart breaks for you at the loss of your beloved fur friend. I hope Lucille provides the comfort you need at this time.

    • Thank you Maggie. I really appreciate it. I still have three kitties and Lucille who need my love and attention and they’ve certainly kept me sane. I keep it together for them πŸ™‚

  • When I read your post on Instagram, I absolutely loved it and I am taking more time to notice these little moments. The thing that I tend to notice with my memades, is I remember where the fabric came from. Where I bought it, who was with me, what was happening – there is definitely lots of sentimental stuff going on there. I’m so sorry about your kitty. I think losing a furry loved one is incredibly hard.

    • Thanks Heather <3 I'm so happy you loved my post and it got you thinking about some good moments πŸ™‚

  • Barbara

    So sorry about your kitty. I’ve lost 2 – one 18 yrs & the other almost 15. Our current kitty is @14, but seems to be in great health.

    Several years ago, when we were selling our house, I went through all my old patterns to decide which I would keep if any. It was like looking through a photo album. I remembered when I made the garment, what fabric and if it was for a special occasion. I saw the bathrobe I made my brother for Christmas & the little dresses I made for my niece. There was even the pattern I used to make my prom dress with my mother’s assistance. Yes, our hand-made creations have memories that store bought can’t come close to.

    • Thank you Barbara. 18 and 15 are both very old ages for a kitty to have lived and I’m glad to hear your 14 year old is healthy πŸ™‚

      I love your analogy that looking through your stash is like flipping through a photo album. That’s so true!

  • I love the thought process that goes into making your own, it can only lead to an equal in the wearing of them – I think by making your own you are leading a more purposeful and mindful life

    • I agree that sewing can lead to a more purposeful and mindful life! I love sewing and making for those exact reasons.

  • pingdini

    Oh, Rochelle – I’m so very sorry. I recently had to say goodbye to my eighteen-year-old cat, and it’s taken me a couple of months to wash the handknitted cardigan she’d been sleeping on. I even packed it for a six-week overseas trip, unwashed, still covered in cat hair, then wore it almost every day.

    I finally washed and blocked it last week. I cried. It’s her cardigan now, though, and I will always think of her when I wear it.

    • That’s a really beautiful story about your sweater. Thank you so much for sharing it with me. Cheers to old kitties and the mark they make on us <3

  • jennifer miller

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to say to goodbye to your beloved kitty (and glad I got to say hello to her). You’ve made some nice observations here about the significance a particular clothing item can hold, and I think you have slow fashion all figured out. Take some time to grieve for your friend.

    • Thank you. That day at the Vet was the day I found out about her bladder tumor, which actually wasn’t affecting her much at that point but I knew the time to say goodbye was coming. My family had a few more wonderful weeks with her after that and 20 wonderful years total. She was quite a special kitty.

  • Ryann Cheung

    So sorry about your kitty. But such a lovely way to think about our handmades!

  • So sorry for your loss πŸ™

  • Hi Rochelle, I know what you mean about handmade clothes feeling more special than general store-bought clothes – I completely agree! For me, my store-bought items end up being something to wear for the sake of it or because I have to. Whereas I feel a lot more proud of what I’m wearing if I’m wearing something I’ve made myself!