I have a bone to pick.
Maybe because I’m middle-aged and have been around just long enough to see styles and fabrics and patterns go out of style and come back again as “modern.”
Maybe because sometimes I like fabrics that aren’t considered “modern” by designers in their early 20s.
But most of all, because the word “modern” is simply overused. Beaten up. Old.
The word “modern” is no longer, well...modern.
Really, I do understand that the term “modern” is a style….but the word is used so often that it’s lost its appeal.
So here are my 4 reasons to banish “modern” from sewing vocabulary.
1. The word “modern” is being used to try to sell us stuff.
There are more than 600 books on Amazon that use the phrases “modern” and “sewing.” (that’s an affiliate link). Really. More than 600. Are we trying to convince ourselves that sewing is a modern activity…because people who don’t sew think we’re old fuddy-duddies by sewing? I mean, unless we’re looking for patterns for prairie costumes…or leisure suits…or 1980s power suits…aren’t we all really looking to sew things that are up-to-date?
When I went to the spring International Quilt Market in May, I sat in on one Schoolhouse session (show-and-tells to get shops excited about products so they’ll place orders) where a couple of women were trying to sell a garment pattern that – to say it nicely – just wasn’t going to be worn by any woman who considers herself to be “modern.” But they kept throwing around the words “modern” and “chic” and saying “this is so modern and updated.” I felt uncomfortable…the fabric and silhouette and concept was soooo NOT “modern.”
It ain’t so just because you say it is. Even if you say it 52 times.
2. Some styles are vintage. We’re wearing or using them today. Do we need phrases like “vintage modern?”
Yeah, I get it. 1950s dresses that we can wear today – with or without tattoo sleeves. But if I see a photo of a woman in 2014 wearing a vintage-style dress, I’ll pretty much know that she’s modern. I doubt that she vacuums in either her heels *or* in that super cute dress while waiting for hubby to get home from work.
3. Just because there’s open space in a quilt doesn’t necessarily make it “modern.”
Certainly it might be “modern.” But it might be old. Really, really old. In fact, many so-called modern quilt designs are inspired by vintage quilts – and sewn in post-2010 fabric. It’s all good, really – it’s so important to look back at our roots, be inspired, and derive something new from them. But if a quilt pieced 200 years ago is still “modern” today, is it really modern? Have you seen the book on The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (Amazon affiliate link)? Lots of modernity goin’ on there, even though some of those quilts are quite old.
4. Sometimes “old” can become “modern.” And we love it anyway.
There’s nothing particularly modern about hexies and quilts or other items made from them. Yet they’ve made a comeback. The quilt above was made sometime in the mid-20th century (if you’re a fabric expert, feel free to share your expertise on the decade). I was given this quilt by our parish priest who, in his words, was going “to pitch it” if I didn’t accept it from him, because it has some tears in the top and he needed something new.
I guess I saved this quilt from death in a modern landfill.
Along these lines, I’m a fan of the show “Project Runway” and am often struck by judges’ comments when someone doesn’t design an outfit for a younger woman. The designers are tongue-lashed by judges who say the outfit isn’t “modern” or “young” and “hip.” Does everything have to be modern and young and hip to be great anyway? If a woman in her 60s dressed like a woman in her 20s, wouldn’t that be strange? Can’t women in their 60s (and older) be modern-minded?
What do you think about the term “modern?” Do you have a 5th reason it should be banished? Or am I simply a crazy sewing blogger who’s taking this modern “phrase craze” too seriously?
Deanna McCool writes for sewmccoool.com. To make sure you don’t miss a fun post, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box!