Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Maternity Patterns

Last night I attended the monthly meeting of our sewing guild. A fun meeting, with the announcement of a new president. For once, we have someone under 40 in charge! This is exciting, we have a couple of young women in the guild now. So nice to see their interest in sewing.

After the business part and a tea break, we had a "fashion show" of sorts. Anyone who had an item to "show and tell" was asked to come forward and present their garment(s) and talk about it. This is always the best part of any meeting, getting to see the stuff people have been making.

The garments ranged from Claire Shaeffer suits to Kwik Sew dresses to baby sleep sacks and even one quilt from a woman who said "I hate to quilt" but she has to make one for each of her married sons!

The final item was a hat presented by Anita. This was so funny, I am hoping that someone will post a picture and I will put it up here. And yes, Barbara Emodi did put a photo of Anita up on her blog so I have it here for you now.

Anita was at her cottage and she gets together with some friends and they spend a day doing something funny and then their husbands judge them at the end of the day. They decided to make hats this year. This followed one week upon the royal wedding and Anita was inspired.

She happened to notice a can of insulating foam that her husband had inadvertently hit with a stray bullet when skeet shooting and the foam had squirted out and formed a rather unusual shape. Anita knew exactly what she had to do. She took the foam sculpture and applied it to the top of her straw hat, adorned it with some flowers and voila - she had her own version of the famous hat worn by one of Fergie's daughters. We could not believe that her hat was given second place by the men later that evening; I want to see what won first place. Anita took the cake last night; we had a great belly laugh and she was a wonderful sport to don the hat and let people take photos of her foam antlers.

An aside: one woman showed the maternity wardrobe she had made for her daughter who is due in September. Hopefully daughter will learn to sew too, because Pat won't be able to keep up with mom and baby and herself at this rate. Pat lamented the fact that there are so few maternity patterns in the books; Kwik Sew had the most at three; I think she mentioned that Vogue had only one (not sure of those facts); Pat resorted to Burda World of Fashion for many of the garments she made. She was puzzled however by the lack of maternity patterns; I didn't feel it was the place to tell her the truth about that.

With birth rates plummeting in the western world, women simply are not having babies as they used to. Canada's birth rate is 1.6 children per woman, which falls well below replacement level. The US is holding at 2.1 which is replacement level, but it will probably drop soon just as all other countries in the developed world have. Most people have no idea that countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain have birth rates of 1.1 per woman, which means that in two generations, they will no longer be nations of those nationalities - they will be composed largely of immigrants.
That is the real reason behind the lack of patterns - there is simply no call for maternity clothes in countries where fewer and fewer women are having babies.

This is a great concern of mine and I don't like to mix that in with my sewing blog, which I keep pretty much to the topic of sewing (and knitting). However, sometimes the truth just needs to be said, regardless of where you are. When I do tell people these facts, they often respond by saying "I see lots of pregnant women and lots of babies" but the fact that their immediate circle of acquaintances may be reproducing does not mean that the overall picture is the same. Quite the opposite in fact. And it should be a matter of great concern for any country that depends for its survival upon having future citizens.


  1. I can understand keeping non-sewing topics out of blogs... But I think this is germaine. I have several pregnant friends at the moment, and I must say they're also disappointed by the lack of maternity patterns.

    The problem you're talking about is a tough one. On one hand, the lifestyle to which we "westerners" have become accustomed to is completely unsustainable at current population figures, given the technologies we have.

    Then, of course, there's the billions of people across the world who live in dire poverty. We can't live our excessive lifestyles and not expect others to want to live with the same comfort and securities we enjoy. So they immigrate.

    So if we're already living at unsustainable levels, then can we really afford (as a species) to do much more than replace ourselves? It's all a very hard, knotted question.

  2. Yes, you are right. We live excessively. I appreciate your posts on frugality because we should be thinking like that. If we knew more about how people have to live, we might rein in our taste for comfort a bit more. by the way, I too love red wine too much, LOL! who would think that it could cause bulges?

  3. There are few maternity clothing patterns due to the fact that we are not a sustainable population. I think about the cultural groups that I have taught. They have many children and I feel they are keeping the population to where it is as I know of a lot of couples who are not having children at all.
    In our community, the Public Health Nurse told me there are 35 babies to be born in our area. She is excited but that is not very many babies. The school district here has the fastest declining student population in the province. Many people choose to be childless so they can live excessively something I do not agree with.

  4. Here in our city of Halifax and surrounds, 11 schools are being closed due to declining enrollment. And that means all those teachers will be unemployed. The birth rate really does affect us in ways that we don't consider seriously.
    As with all topics, there are two sides but we really are hearing only one side on this population issue. A good read is this article by David Goldman, called Demographics and Depression.

  5. I mean, Japan has a low birth rate, it's been like that for quite a long time. You find very sparse schools of only a few students, and that's not unusual.

    I can't help but think that decreasing birth rates are probably for the best. Says the woman with one little girl...

    Also, this reminds me a little bit of a discussion on eugenics in a 30's "Marriage Manual" I found in an op-shop. They were hammering home the idea that more educated people were exactly the sort of people who ought to be breeding, but instead kept themselves to a child or two while the hoi polloi bred like rabbits. So even as back as the 30's (and surely before), people noticed a similar "problem."

    I'd like to think that before I have another kid of my own, I'd adopt one. There's so many unwanted kids out there who should get a chance to be loved.

  6. I hope Steph that you do have another baby, if I dare to say that without encroaching on your freedom. I really do think the greatest gift we can give our children is a sibling.
    As for the eugenics thinking, again two ways of looking at things. For people like myself, I see the educated "rich" western people determining that the hoi polloi should have fewer children. It is disturbing when people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and George Soros meet to discuss world population and who should not be having kids. The rich deciding what is best for the poor.
    Japan is imploding actually and they are in deep trouble because of their population demographic. Not to be emulated, in my opinion.

  7. A site I recommend to hear the other side on the population problem is

    This is a credible organization started by Stephen Mosher, he was the very first anthropologist allowed into China after 1979. His research revealed results that got him kicked out of that country and he has since been writing extensively on the ideology that is behind the "population myth".
    It is definitely wise to hear his side before making your mind up on this issue.