Let me start with a joke.
I wanted to sew. So I took my mother’s sewing machine from the closet, placed it on the dining room table, cleaned the bills off the table, sat down, stood up to plug in the sewing machine, found out the cord is too short, went to the garage to find an extension cord, came back, plugged in the machine, remembered I forgot the thread upstairs, went upstairs, checked my email, replied to one of the messages, came downstairs, remembered I forgot to take the thread again, went upstairs and finally got the thread, came down, couldn’t figure out how to thread, went upstairs to find the manual, came back, saw my cat running with the thread, caught the playful cat, punished her, made peace with her, went to the kitchen to give her a treat, came back, studied the manual, threaded the machine, found the bobbin already in place, uhh, was feeling happy, remembered I forgot to get fabric, couldn’t find any fabric, went to the kitchen for some old towels, saw my husband watching a movie, started to watch the movie with him, finished in 1 hour, remembered about the sewing machine on the dining table, being disappointed unplugged it and decided to try sewing some other time.
Let’s put the joke aside and continue with our theme.
Sewing in the modern world is becoming more and more a lost art. It seems that sewing is so old school. Now all day long we have gaming, blogging, tweeting, texting, calling, recording, podcasting, facebooking. We are using cell phones, tablets, computers, all other cyber things everywhere and every day. Use a sewing machine? Now, that’s something we hadn’t considered. Our grandmothers were sewing mostly because they didn’t have a choice – things were not widely available or they didn’t have money to spend, but the will to look good and stylish was always in human nature. Our reasons for sewing are a lot different than our grandmothers’. Now it is cheaper to buy a t-shirt than to sew a t-shirt. So why would we start to sew when it seems that everything possible is freely available for everybody?
I want to show you some benefits of sewing in our cyber-crazy world, and I would like to revive this one of the oldest activities of human beings.
1. Sewing is no longer a chore – it’s an art
When you sew, you’re not just making a dress, or curtains, or a bed cover – you’re giving life to an idea. You are taking a piece of yourself and sharing it with the world. Every step in completing a sewing project involves making a decision about how to bring it to fruition: which fabric to use, what color to choose, which pattern will be the best, how to cut, how to put the pieces together, etc. If you find yourself stuck in a job that doesn’t represent you, sewing can be a great way to provide that mode of expression you’ve been searching for. Besides, it’s fun!
2. Sewing can help you look and feel your best
Most of us aren’t models. Store-bought clothes can make us feel bad about ourselves when they look better on the hanger than on our bodies. The problem isn’t with us; it’s that clothes are made to fit “average” shapes and sizes, not individuals.
If you sew a dress yourself, you can choose colors and patterns that hide your problem areas and flaunt your assets. I haven’t had a small waist since I turned 50, but I choose patterns that hide this problem. I am a size 10-12 when I buy jeans from the store, yet people consider me slim because I know my body, and have learned how to make optical illusions with slimming dresses and figure-flattering skirts.
3. Sewing can be a way to make your house look good
Accessories like royal draperies, embroidered throws, scented sachets, fancy bed covers, silk pillowcases, even new chair upholstery, are all things you can sew! These are the things that turn a house into a home and are great conversation pieces when guests come over. Why not display your personality and creativity around your home? And you can even make trendy outfits for your favorite pet.
4. Sewing can help you reinvent yourself
After retiring, losing your job, breaking off an important relationship, or other changes in your life it might be good to find some new passions and new goals. So why not to start sewing? It can make you happy in different ways.
Did you notice that we always think that we will be happy someday in the future when we finally reach our goal whatever it is at that time? And everybody is forgetting that it is good to feel happy today, it is good to feel happy in the PROCESS of doing something not only at the end of the journey.
Sewing works exactly this way. After all, sewing IS a journey, not a destination. You make something small –a kitchen glove, a pillow, a skirt and you like it, your friends like it, your family likes it. Will you feel satisfied and happy at this moment? Of course, you will, no doubts about it. And in the process of making the thing, you could already envision how good it will be looking on you or on your couch. This sense of achievement of something new will bring more satisfaction to your life. You can’t fail as long as you start and enjoy the ride.
5. Sewing allows you to use organic and natural fabric
Can you find a 100% silk dress, pajama or pillowcase in regular stores? Of course, you could go to Chanel or Gucci to buy them, but do you have the money for this? I go to New York City, buy gorgeous 100% silk fabric for 10-15 dollars per yard, and voila – my 100% silk dress (which looks like the ones from boutique stores) cost me only 30-40 dollars. So if you can sew, you can treat yourself to luxurious fashions in silk, linen, cotton and wool for much less money than retail.
Besides, there are health benefits of a natural lifestyle. Natural fibers are less abrasive than synthetic fibers. They don’t just look great; they’re far more comfortable.
I just adore shimmering appearance, natural softness and beautiful fall of pure silk, exceptional coolness and natural strength of linen, durability, versatility and stylishness of pure wool in almost unlimited selection of beautiful colors.
6. Sewing can make you stand out
How many times have you bought something at Old Navy or American Eagle, only to find your enthusiasm lost when you see your neighbor wearing the same thing? If you make your own clothes, that will never happen.
Wherever I go, people are noticing – and complimenting – my clothes. “What an interesting skirt!” “What a unique dress!” “Where did you find that hat?” Take a look at my article about sewing a coat, none of them can be found in stores. And the best part is that I know these compliments extend past my clothes and my physical appearance. Before even speaking to people, I show them my personality. That’s what they appreciate. I can’t express how much more confident I feel after these encounters.
7. Sewing can help you look younger
Why? Because you care about your style, you choose carefully what you sew. It doesn’t make sense to sew frumpy shapeless T-shirts and wide pants with elastic at the waist – you can buy them very cheap in a store if you want to disguise yourself with clothes.
But if you sew something yourself ( and I am describing my own issues here ), you can choose the model to hide sagging skin at the back of your arms with smartly made sleeves, or to hide your aging neck with a large cowl collar, or to hide your fat belly with a wrap-over skirt, or to complement your feminine shapes with a built-in bra. You can choose a color that’s good for your skin, your eyes, or your hair.
8. Sewing can help you relax
When you sew, your mind is busy choosing a pattern, making alterations, cutting, changing needles, choosing threads, etc. During that hour, your hydro bill doesn’t seem so pressing anymore and you can’t remember why fixing that faucet upstairs seemed like a big deal. We have the ability to lose track of time if we fully engage with what we’re doing. As for me, I love escaping into the world of fabric, patterns, needles, and scissors. In fact, I’ve grown to think of it as meditation.
It is interesting to note that you can sew and at the same time listen to your favorite music, an audiobook, a podcast, or the news. When you’re feeling up to it, you can do two things at once!
9. Sewing can be a motivation to watch your weight
I’m serious. Clothes take on a new level of sentimental value when you make them with your own hands. If you made some nice dresses last year you will not want to throw them away now because you got fat and the dresses don’t fit you anymore.
Just imagine — you put so much love, time and work in your creations – and you throw them away? No way! I bet you will try to stay fit. Fitting into that silk dress that was so tricky to make can become your motivation to start eating right. Besides, you can’t snack while using a sewing machine!
10. Sewing can help you make new friends
Sewing itself is usually an individual activity, but in the process of preparing your projects, you will interact with many people who have the same passion. For me, going to the fabric store has become a way to discuss my projects and brainstorm new ideas.
11. Sewing can improve your mind
In the same way that puzzles and crosswords get us thinking, sewing can stimulate our brains. Mastering a sewing machine takes time and practice, and the process of sewing is a very detail-oriented one. Your brain will work to produce creative ideas all the time. You will have to memorize a lot, you will have to be acquainted with many sewing terms, you will have to know how to do many operations on sewing machines, etc. In a short time, you’ll find your coordination better, your reflexes faster and your ability to focus improved.
12. Sewing can improve your health
First of all, as any other creative activity, it can minimize stress, and we know how important it is for healthy living. Stress is unavoidable in our world so we have to deal with it somehow. Sewing may be a way to manage your stress. Sewing helps you relax, and because of this, it can lower your blood pressure.
Second, you are not constantly sitting while sewing, you are moving a lot, because you need to get up to make a pattern, to cut the fabric, you need to get up to iron almost after each stitch, you need to change sewing machines for different kind of operations (from a regular sewing machine to a serger, from a serger to a cover stitch machine and back).
13. Sewing is a great activity to do together with your kids and grandkids at some point
It can be both interesting and educational. Sewing dresses for dolls, buttons, small cases for cell phones and other hands-on projects can teach kids creativity, patience, eye-hand coordination and show kids that learning can be fun. Moreover, sharing things you love to do is a wonderful way to create deep, loving relationships and for a child, having executed ( even if with major help ) a project that results in an actual item he/she enjoys and can be held and admired, is a major achievement. A family that i-phones together or watches TV together is getting apart, a family that builds things together stays close together.
Some unexpected benefit of sewing is overcoming our addiction to computers, cell phones, TVs, tablets and all these i-things so for a few hours a day you disconnect from this world of Candy Crush, Pet Rescue, Angry Birds, Scrabble and other games, and substitute it with something different and productive.
14. Sewing is a good way to make thoughtful gifts for your family and friends
Handmade gifts are always in fashion. Finding a gift that people will enjoy and use is not easy, but if you can sew, gift-giving possibilities become unlimited. A cell phone case, a doll for your daughter, a dress, a scarf – these are things you can learn to make, and things your family and friends will actually use. By varying the fabric, changing the applique, adding embroidery you can create gifts in a short period of time at a minimal cost. The joy of sewing may be enhanced when we see that our handmade gifts bring happiness to those around us.
Leaning to sew is like learning a different language. You can’t wake up one morning suddenly knowing Russian; it takes time to study, practice and gain experience outside the classroom.
So, I invite you to my blog about sewing. If you made it to the end of this post, you’re probably interested in learning to sew. I plan to teach you how to start, how to grow your skills, how to branch out and experiment with organic and natural fabrics, patterns, textures and shapes. You don’t need to make difficult patterns or to sew complicated wedding gowns from the beginning or ever ( even if at some point you will be able to ).
A little goes a long way. Start small — for example , with a pretty wrist pincushion, or with an easy button embellishment, or with a simple spaghetti strap dress. I don’t want you to make something you can buy in any store. If you start sewing make something different, something nobody has and something that fits you or your home. As long as you have fun doing it, you’ll know you’re making art.
What do you think? Am I right?
What are your reasons for sewing? What is your sewing story?
Please, leave a comment below.
I sew but I am not a sewer. It is like calling a person who draws – a drawer. Maybe fabricologist? Materialist? Just kidding. Sewist? Please, take a poll here. I would really like to know your opinion.