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Nedu Ahanonu: D-I-Yism

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nedouxI once walked into an IKEA store to purchase a reading table and was fascinated by the idea of going back home with a carton filled with the separate wooden pieces alongside a booklet with instructions on how to assemble the parts to create my table. It was quite like a jigsaw puzzle, and in my mind I considered it a challenge. I knew I would have a smug “Aha!” moment when my task was complete.

I’ll admit that there were a few hits and misses along the way, at one point it even seemed as though my table would only serve as a wall decoration. At first, I couldn’t get it to stand on its own feet without leaning shakily against the wall for support. Well, after a few un-screws and re-screws, a sturdy reading table emerged and I was more grateful than smug.

The Do-it-yourself (DIY) ethic promotes self-sufficiency and it is sometimes borne out of necessity. I’ve noticed that having access to affordable services could remove the need for self-reliance. Take for instance; a Nigerian living in Europe would most likely first consider doing a simple home improvement task by theirself rather than hire a technician, regardless of if they could afford to, because artisan services are quite costly in that part of the world.

On the other hand, a Nigerian living in Nigeria may not even consider undertaking the same simple task on their own, simply because they have the neighborhood handyman at their beck and call who charges quite minimally. Now, I do realize that some people are naturally good with their hands compared to others, but the thing is DIY-ism removes the mindset that manual or skilled crafts are demeaning rather it champions the individuals who choose to acquire such skills.

Most people have a tailor disaster story or two tucked away in their indelible memory bank, I actually have a wonderful memory of the day my tailor impressed me with her expertise. I watched her work deftly from start to finish and my garment was ready in three hours. She turned a near-disappointment into a happy ending and I was able to wear the dress to an occasion the following day.

What she did and the way that she did it made me realize that sewing wasn’t rocket science at all and that most skills are learnable if only one decides to learn. I was inspired to learn to how to sew, so I enrolled in a pattern drafting and dressmaking course. I continuously improve my sewing techniques by learning from books and online tutorials, practice does make perfect.

Clothes are pretty much like the jigsawed IKEA table. A basic dress for example, comprises of a bodice (waist-up), skirt (waist-down) and sleeves. The design and shape of these components are influenced by fashion trends or the wearer’s personal style. Sewing skills simply enable one to put these pieces together tidily.

I particularly like how DIY ethic inspires an entrepreneurial spirit. I have observed with immense delight that there’s a new and growing breed of young Nigerian entrepreneurs who have been dubbed- “The Creatives”. One example is the DIY hair care enthusiasts who have smartly made the transition from passion to thriving hair products and services businesses. Another example is those whose “point-and-shoot” hobbies have evolved nicely into well-paid photography businesses.

One wouldn’t be any less of an intellectual if they knew how to sew or paint the wall in their soon-to-arrive baby’s nursery or make a beaded necklace; rather it’s an added advantage to one’s skill set. I wave the DIY flag very proudly, because while it is easy to jokingly label DIY-ism as “Ijebu-ism”, you would agree that the coincidentally saved Nairas and Kobos are rather nice perks. Financial intelligence is always a plus.

There’s wisdom in perfecting or acquiring hand-work skills in the areas that one is passionate about, because you never know, a crafty hobby could evolve into a side hustle that could either be pursued alongside one’s Nine-to-Five grind or even blossom into a venture that’s lucrative enough to be the main hustle one day.

Nedu loves satires and intended puns. She is enthusiastic about DIY sewing and writes about her musings and sewing projects on her blog.  www.nedoux.com and Instagram - @nedoux_sews

21 Comments

  1. Cynical

    July 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Ohhh my goodness,this is Chinedu Ahanonu,my ‘senior’ at Shaggy? ……ok famzing over.. Let me go and read the article.

    • Nedoux

      July 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      Hello Shaggy babe!

      Thank you for reading this. 🙂

  2. Naijatalk

    July 19, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Very nice article Nedu. Was just teasing my husband yesterday about his complete lack of “handiness” around the house, meanwhile I know people who have become plumbers, carpenters, and painters thanks ti

    • Nedoux

      July 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Hi,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂

      “Handiness” can come in handy sometimes. Lol

  3. Abz

    July 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    My husband just moved from Lagos and is completely clueless when it comes to DIY. He’s feeling challenged now and has decided to enroll in some DIY course, whatever that is. Meanwhile, I have to ask, could you please point me in the right direction per sewing. I took couple classes and looking to take couple more. What books or videos led you the right way?

    • Nedoux

      July 19, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Hello Abz,

      Thank you for reading this.

      I write a sewing blog ( http://www.nedoux.com ), in my posts I clearly state the details of the sewing process of garments that I make myself. There’s also a directory of helpful tutorials in the “How to” page.

      A book that I’d highly recommend for beginners is- “Dress Pattern Designing: The Basic Principles of Cut and Fit” by Natalie Bray (purple book).

    • Abz

      July 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you for your response and definitely subscribing to your blog. See you there!

    • Kash

      July 20, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Me thinks you should do a follow up to this article o. Give us real “sewing for dummies” methods. Lemme goan dust my “brand new” 12-year old sewing machine?. Hope it still works ?

  4. Obianuju Ayalogu

    July 19, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I especially like the part about financial intelligence. I’m very big on saving money so knowing how to make my clothes and fix minor issues on my laptop is a big incentive of DIY for me.
    Everyone should be aware however that Nedoux has a sewing lesson slated for 23rd of July, 2016. Just send an email to her at [email protected]. So if you’re interested in learning the basics of sewing, just send her an email!

  5. Ify

    July 19, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Lol @ DIYism equals “Ijebuism”. DIY skills are definitely useful money-saving means, especially in today’s economy. Hoping I’ll be able to pass them on to my kids as early as possible (once I master them myself lol).

    Thanks for the nicely written reminder, Nedu.

  6. thatinternist!

    July 20, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Nedoux!! Nice one as always. I envy your writing skills. So you are a Shaggy girl also??

    thatinternistblog.wordpress.com

  7. Tosin

    July 20, 2016 at 3:50 am

    word. fun stuff.

  8. Mike

    July 20, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Good one Nedu. Though, this sounds more serious than your other posts, like ‘Pishaaawn’. I guess it’s because of how DIY can save you some money. Lol. Anyway, I like the fact that you always find a way of bringing your passion about sewing into your piece. Well written

  9. Bussie

    July 20, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Nedu Nedu, fantastic write up and my learning point from this is to ensure you always put in ur very best to achieve whatever u set out to do…well done my dearest friend

  10. Adaeze Writes

    July 20, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Hello Nedu,

    Nice and inspiring article as always. DIY is definitely the way to go.

  11. D'Dream

    July 20, 2016 at 10:50 am

    the way i was smilling sheepily while reading this piece is a tastament to the effects your articles influences me, splendid
    I totally support your assertion of imbibing the DiYsm culture as you state. A lot of hassles is prevented and more importantly money is saved. I am practically good with anything hansy except sewing of course. Dont just allow me around me around you cos i am a fast learner.
    There isnt something more interesting that sow your own.clothes. nah wait. you see the thrills of ecstacy that run through your being is something to be experienced than explained.
    NEDU is holding a sewing class in just a few days, please if you are interested kindly send an email at [email protected] #simple. she is good at what she does, her works speak for itself. you can go view the amazing things she’d sew on her blog

  12. Tonyeigbani

    July 20, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    I think I say this all the Time but ” nedu, how are you and your writing so amazing”
    Nothing is ever as hard as it seems, I’m currently pursuing turning my diyism into a real business.

  13. Kate Douglas

    July 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Hello Nedu. This is fantastic! I for one , am a DIY to the core (learnt it from my boss) cos as a manager in my office , before I get to call in any handyman, I make sure is something I can not do by myself from electrical to plumbing to carpentry you name it even my staff are amazed at what I can do myself as a feminine being that most time the male counterparts would always say , when I have the money why should I bother myself. I even do it in my home and I infected everyone including my brothers and my staff now thank me as they DI themselves before getting the handyman involve only if it’s beyond them. This is really Nice… keep it up.

  14. Chioma

    July 25, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I can’t help but agree with you, building or creating something has a very therapeutic or should I say confidence boosting effect on you. And as you said/wrote one does not become less of anything by acquiring a new skill, be it menial or well advanced.

    Well expressed thoughts as always.
    xxxx

  15. Glory Shaahu

    July 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    The whole DIY concept is something that – I believe – is gaining cultural momentum amongst us &, like you said, it is something of an acquired taste for us Nigerians.
    In a country where the quality of work churned out by artisans is painfully poor & we still get to pay for these ‘services’, encouraging folks to acquire skills for sundry home improvements & repairs is nothing short of sound counsel.
    Good work Nedu!

  16. Inez

    July 28, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    I cannot find enough words to totally agree with your thoughts on DIYism. It’s something I’ve never been ashamed to admit doing. I’m casually learning to sew; as time permits and yes it’s an experience that provokes appreciation for the art. I no longer get very offended with my tailors when they haven’t done a perfect job because I can empathize and at the same time I am more able to understand why some clothing lines seem so ridiculously priced. Lol. Beautifully written, Nedoux.
    <a href="Inez-mysmallworld.blogspot.com"My Small World

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