“Why would I make that when I can go to Target and buy it for $10?” “That’s nice for you, but I don’t have time to sew.”
“How do you find time to make all those things?” “That’s a lot of work. Not really worth it in my opinion.”
Have you heard any of these? I get these questions from people quite regularly as a matter of fact. I have a few sewing friends in town, but not many. Many of my friends and acquaintances appreciate the sewing I do, but from afar. They just don’t quite “get” me. Ya know what I mean? That’s what I love about this online community. There are so many like-minded people who totally understand my fabric hoarding tendencies, crazy urge to sew last-minute gifts and messy house because I’ve spent all week sewing kid’s clothes. (Note: because I find blog posts without pictures to be very boring I’ve uploaded some pics of various sewing projects I have done over the last few years. If you are curious about any of them just click on the picture to be taken to the blog post.)
But really all that doesn’t answer the basic question of why I sew in the first place. It all started almost 6 years ago with a desire to learn how to quilt. Contrary to many others, I did not grow up sewing with my mom. While my mother does know how to sew and did sew me a few garments when I was very young, it’s not her passion and she never truly enjoyed it. Once she had 5 of us kids to take care of, she put the sewing machine aside except for small mending projects.
Growing up, I was the bookworm who would much rather have her head in a book than anything resembling home-ec. I took a basic sewing class in high school, sewed a hideous, ill-fitting skirt, tried out a few other big box garment patterns (without success), and then lost interest in sewing. That mentality carried me through college until marriage. But something happened after I got married. I had always harbored an inner desire to learn how to quilt, so that summer after I got married, I took a quilt class at my local quilt shop…and the rest, as they say, is history.
The quilt class not only taught me how to construct a quilt, but it also gave me a refresher on sewing basics and techniques. I became fascinated with the craft. I can’t really explain my fascination except maybe to say that I’m the kind of person who always needs to be learning and growing and now that I was done with college and book-learning, I had found another outlet to fulfill my inner need for learning.
The first year, it was mostly quilting and small household projects: pillows, placemats and such. Then I got pregnant with our first son and started experimenting with children’s clothes (mentioned on my previous post.) It seems like it’s a never-ending ascent to learn more and more about the craft of sewing. The more I learn, the more I want to learn. At the beginning, it was just something fun that I’d always wanted to learn. Now it’s much more than that. It comes from a deep-seated need to create that I never knew I had. The feeling of taking some flat pieces of fabric and creating something 3-dimensional that’s both useful and beautiful with them…well, it’s become a high for me. Now I sew because I have to. I have always admired artists, but never felt that I had the creative gene. I have now found my creative gene- it’s taking fabric and creating things with it. I mean, the possibilities are endless!
In addition, sewing is also part of a challenge in our family’s goal to live a slower, more intentional life and be better stewards of our Earth. Sure, I could go to Target and buy the same top, or pair of shorts, or whatever else you want for cheaper and much less work on my part (and on occasion, I do). But when I create it with my own two hands, it not only gives me a feeling of being self-sustaining, it also aids in the goal of less sweatshop clothing, more ethically-sourced, etc, etc.
So that’s probably more information than you ever wanted to know about my sewing journey, but I’m all about the information overload. I feel a bit vulnerable sharing something this personal with all of you, but I hope you enjoyed reading a bit of my story and maybe you could emphathize with one or more parts of it? What about you? Do tell me! Has sewing always been a part of your life or is it something you more recently picked up? Do you have that same inner need for creativity that I experience?