I find that people react in one of two ways when I tell them that I'm wearing something handmade:
The first group treat me as though I've accomplished a superhuman feat. That sounds flattering, and I know it's meant to be flattering, but it doesn't make me feel great. There's this unpleasant implication that I'm able to sew because I possess innate sewing talents, that I was lucky to be born with the appropriate traits. This response is a real sore spot with me because I feel like it undercuts the time and effort I've put into developing these skills from nothing. Sure, my personality is detail-oriented and creative - but it's also impatient and easily distracted, and I didn't grow up with any family or friends who sewed.
I have this (unresearched, unsupported, totally just my own musing) feeling that it used to be much more common for people to have hobbies. And, in this context, I don't just mean something you do in your spare time for pleasure - I mean something you do in your spare time for pleasure that involves developing a skill and setting and achieving goals. Cooking, baking, going to the gym, going to yoga classes, running, hanging out with friends - I think most people my age would list these as their "hobbies" but unless you're doing a Julie and Julia and deboning ducks in your spare time, or practicing daily to master that bad ass yoga handstand, I don't think it's the same.
I think this is coming across a lot more judgmental and harsh than I intended... I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to spend your time doing any of the above "non-hobbies". There's a lot to be said for making your own food in this age of processed convenience foods, and obviously everyone should be active and nurture their social relationships. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think I get this response to my sewing because people are so disconnected from skill-based hobbies, and I think that's a shame.
Of course, the second group of responses I get are those that want to know more about the process, how I got into sewing, if I think they could learn it too (the answer is always YES!), how specific details are made, etc. These people may not sew, but I do feel they are kindred spirits in their own way, and I am so grateful to them for encouraging me to share my hobby with them.
This post was inspired by Sarai's recent post at Coletterie entitled "The 3 biggest reasons I sew".