I inherited my mother's sewing machine and I should start learning to use it! Looking at the escalating prices of ready-made high-tech-fabric clothing, making it oneself is a whole lot cheaper!
I am constantly amazed at the new fabrics. I started backpacing in the mid '70s. I remember "60/40" cloth as the new miracle fabric of that time. It was 60% cotton, 40% nylon. Does anyone else remember those 60/40 "mountain parkas"?
I still have my copy of William Kemsley's "Backpacking Equipment Buyer's Guide" - a Consumers Report-style guide to all backpacking equipment - tents, clothing, sleeping bags, stoves, you name it. It's an amazing piece of backpacking history. When you look through those pages and then look at today's incredible equipment you can see how far we have come.