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February 2015

Why I Sew // KCW
winter

why I sew: Sarah

It’s Sarah from The Crazy Tailor back again with the last post for this season’s Kid’s Clothes Week! I’ve definitely not been leading by example for the actual sewing portion of this season. I did have good intentions, but you know, life and all. I’ve been enjoying reading the various thoughts and motivations of my co-contributors, and although I love reading those stories of “why I sew” I’m not very good at writing them. Actually, I’d rather just sew than write. Ha! So here’s my meager attempt to nail down exactly why I do love sewing so much.

I think, looking back, that I really inherited my love of “making” from my mom. I know I told you that she really, really detested sewing, but there were so many other things that she loved! She had us try cross-stitching, needlepoint, rug-hooking (does anyone remember those? We would make pillows out of them?? Ugh.) painting ceramics, making anything and everything out of paper. She loved to make gifts for family and friends. This grew out of a desire to give, but as a single parent, she didn’t have much to spare for buying – so we crocheted washcloths and made personalized stockings. Once we got our first desktop computer, a whole new world opened up for my mom! She currently owns her own custom rubber stamp business and is, as always, creating one-of-a-kind items for others. She turned her creativity into a livelihood! So obviously, my mom influenced me a lot.

Sewing is something I’ve been drawn to because I can really make it my own. I know what I like style-wise, but finding clothes for my kids that they like, that I like and that are modest is really getting difficult. Although I do like my finished garments to look as store-bought as possible (some people pride themselves on making things that are very unique – and that is wonderful! but not my style), I enjoy being able to put a spin on things, or take my children’s preferences into consideration.

The NUMBER ONE reason I sew is: a lack of quality, modest and affordable clothing for my kiddos, mostly my daughter. A quick stroll through your local Target will offer you mini skirts, cheetah prints, sass-emblazoned shirts and shortie shorts. Um, no thanks. I love a lot of Gap kids clothes, but hello? I can’t even fathom spending that much on one pair of jeans. Also, sewing is not always the cheapest route, but I love to recycle clothes, so there’s that. I do love to thrift shop, so I don’t make all of their clothes, but mostly dresses and skirts for my daughter, and outerwear. I really love making outerwear!

The second reason I sew: it’s a stress-buster! Sometimes I just need to go down to the basement and be by myself and create. I’m an introvert, so this is my jam. Totally.

Third thing: I’ve started sewing much more since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. I think the need to complete  something is what drives me! I used to work in the service industry as a seamstress in tailor shops and there were always deadlines, bridal gowns to be finished, fittings scheduled. But once you’re a mom, it seems that nothing is ever finished. That’s how it feels to me! I need some instant gratification, or at least, something that I can finish in a couple of midnight sewing sprees!

So that was a little bit random and meandering, but I hope you got the gist of it. If you had someone that influenced your desire to sew, call them up and thank them! Your creativity makes world a happier place! And I’ll leave you with a good ole Ryan Gosling meme:

why I sew

image source, tumblr

Why I Sew // KCW
winter

why I sew: Holly

Hello again! It’s Holly from Hamster and the Bee, returning for my last post (*sniff) this season. I’ve really enjoyed writing and  sharing and sewing with all of you! Your beautiful projects and encouraging comments have been such an inspiration to me, and I hope that I’ve been able to return the favor just a little bit. Today I’m here to tell you why I sew.

I think the biggest reason that I love to sew is because I love fabric! I have in the past said that fabric is the true love of my life (shh… don’t tell my husband), and I have had to repeatedly remind myself not to touch the clothes of strangers – that’s just creepy.

I’ve been working and playing with yarn and fabric since I was a kid; I made my first dress when I was 12, I took up weaving and knitting in college, and I earned a master’s degree in textile design with a weaving concentration. Working as a designer was great, but the artist in me still had the urge to create something all mine. In an 800 square foot apartment in Brooklyn, NY, busting out my loom was not an option, but dusting off my sewing machine was, and I was quickly hooked. Sewing allows me to experience fabric even as my career evolves, and is possible no matter how small my studio space may be.

15-0224_KCW fabrics_web

 1. some graduate thesis work  2. Gradate upholstery fabric, designed in 2011

Another big reason that I sew is because I love learning. I would consider myself a voracious (though selective) learner. I would have stayed in school forever if I could have afforded it, and become a doctor of weaving. I devoured everything I could about textiles during my time there.

Just because I left school does not mean that that curiosity has left: it’s been diversified. I read blog posts about blogging and about marketing (my current job), I read articles and tutorials about sewing techniques, I read parenting books and cookbooks and books about painting and habit formation (can you tell that I almost never read fiction?). I enjoy sewing because I can continue to investigate and learn, and develop my skills at my own pace, in my home, in whichever direction I want. Right now there seems to be an endless amount of knowledge to be gained and skills to be perfected.

15-0224_KCW work_web

1) a few books in my workspace these days  2) the process of figuring it out

I especially love the marriage of technical and creative. Using all that learnin’ I mentioned above and applying it to my own project totally floats my boat. And when it’s combined with creative choices like color and texture and style and shape, well then I’m in heaven! In all my work, I see a consistent commitment to both the creative and technical. That’s my happy place.

15-0224_KCW details_web

1) charles lining  2) dc pants pocket

Lastly, the reason that I sew for kids, is for the same reason that is probably most consistent among all of us sewers – I want to make something as unique as my child!

I love that one day the bee will have a box of handmade clothes that she can pass down to a little person in her life (or just to paw through and remind her of happy times and of how much her mama loves her), and they will be completely one-of-a-kind.

15-0224_KCW unique_web

1) the bee in her green dress  2) all of the little person clothes sewn in 2014

Again, it’s been a pleasure to be able to spend this winter with you all – thanks so much for having me!

Happy sewing!

Why I Sew // KCW
winter

why i sew: saskia

Hi all, it’s Saskia from Vera Luna again, with my final guest post. This week, each of the contributors will write about why they sew, and today it’s my turn. Over the past few days, I’ve been pondering about this question, and I realized that there are several answers.

pink collage

M sweater, Luuk hat

First, I sew and knit because it allows me to express my (and my kids’) style. When shopping we rarely find clothes that we like, especially for my daughter. It’s just too ruffly, pink and sweet. Boy clothes are a little bit better, but too often they involve stupid texts, cars, trucks or monsters. And cool unisex clothing is difficult to find and expensive! Lately, my two older kids (6 and 4) have become more opinionated about their clothes, and their opinions really defy the gender stereotypes. My daughter’s favorite color is blue and she will refuse to wear anything but jeans and sweaters, while my son recently expressed his love for pink and purple and asked me to sew him a pink skirt. I love the fact that I can create clothes that they love to wear and that reflect their own personalities.
blue collage

Whale patch, zigzag shirt, Frozen hat, snowy trees sweater


Second, I sew because it is such a down-to-earth, practical thing to do. Just like many other people, I spend a lot of (too much?) time online, browsing the virtual world. Sewing puts me back in the real world, it allows me to work with my hands and it stimulates my senses. Each Saturday morning, there’s an outdoor fabric market in my town, less than one kilometer from our house (yes, I’m lucky!!!). I love to spend my Saturday mornings by strolling to the market, followed by a cup of coffee in town. Often, I don’t even buy anything, but just browsing the stands, seeing and touching all the different fabrics leaves me satisfied and inspired.

summer collage

Ole guacamole, Puffin shorts, Pineapple tee, Space race tee

My final reason to sew is because I love to create. There is something magical about bringing ideas to life. And the best thing about clothes is that they really come to life when being worn. As soon as they are taken from the coat hanger and put onto a body, they literally become three dimensional. It’s so much better than a painting that hangs statically on the wall.  I mean, look at a spinning skirt on a little twirling girl. Could anything be more alive than that?

Meg, thanks again for inviting me over here. I really enjoyed writing these posts and hope you enjoyed reading them too.