Americans in their 20s and 30s are now at least one generation removed from the era of homemade clothing and hand-crafted wood furniture, Underhill says. "In the 1950s, 90% of homes had sewing machines, which means women knew something about how clothes were put together. They could look at something in the store and tell if was of good construction or crappy construction," he says. "In my office, I don't know anyone who has bought a custom suit. They don't know the difference between off-the-rack and custom."My mother had a Singer sewing machine, and, being a daughter of the depression, made lots of clothes for the family. Those she didn't make, she likely altered to fit the next-smallest child.
For one brief, shining moment I owned a wardrobe of hand-tailored clothing, including hand-made shoes. I was in Asia for a year and was buying clothes that weren't hand-me-downs. Alas, all my baggage was lost on the trip back to the United States!