Why do you sew?

I have been sewing for nearly 50 years (yikes!!),  and some of the reasons I sew today are different than they were when I was young, and some are still the same. BTW, just how did I get to be so old??;-) ,

Here’s my why-I-live-to-sew list:

1. I love the feel of fabric. I am very tactile, and I have always loved touching and petting nice fabric. Still do!

2. When I was growing up, all my female role models sewed. My beautiful mother was an excellent seamstress, and both my grandmothers and aunts were pretty darn handy with a needle. I am aware not all women in that time period liked to sew, but most had at least been taught the basics at school or from a family member.

3. Home Economics was required in school, and sewing was part of the curriculum. I remember (and am FB friends!) with my first Home Ec teacher other than my mom: Mrs. Hoover. I am sorry to say I thought I knew more than she did because I had already been sewing for several years with my oh-so-perfectionist mother. I am still embarrassed when I think of my attitude toward this wonderful woman. She had graduated from WSU with a degree in Home Economics, and I still remember her tremendous patience teaching a room full of 7th grade girls to sew. Sheesh! Only a 13 year-old could be so sure she knew more than a college graduate! I’m sorry, Helen!!

4. The process of taking flat fabric and patterns and turning them into 3-dimensional articles of clothing seemed magical to me. Still does!

5. I have never had any interest in trying to manufacture my own clothing designs, but I always wanted to wear clothes that were uniquely ME. Colors I liked. Fabrics that I enjoyed wearing. Design lines that were both functional and pretty to my aesthetic sense. Still do!

6. Fit. I grew up wearing clothes that were custom fit to my size and shape. Why would you settle for something off the rack that wasn’t “just right” when it was easy enough to “make it so”. I see friends of mine exclaiming over the “great fit” of their RTW garments, and most of the time I manage to keep my mouth shut. Most of the time. 😉 OK, occasionally.

7. I love the process of sewing. It is a challenge to sew. You have to “think it through” and keep your brain engaged pretty much the whole time. Forget auto-pilot; ain’t gonna work out for you.

8. Sewing beats the pants off watching TV. Except for possibly Downton Abbey. Even as a kid I really never cared much for TV, and now even less so. When I do watch TV these days I am usually knitting or sewing at the same time, with only partial attention to the tube.

9. I get to sew adorable clothes for my adorable grand-daughter!

10. Being part of the local and national sewing community has enriched my life beyond even my extremely fertile imagination. So many friends, so much support, and so much darn good fun. Y’all know that ASG is my favorite sewing organization, and the online community has expanded my connections around the globe. What could be cooler?

11. Now I get to pass the joy and skill of sewing on to others. No matter how tired, stressed out, or anxious I might be, when I see one of my students light up with pride at their accomplishments, I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything. Not even Extreme Moosetracks ice cream. For reals!

12. My sewing machine never talks back to me. I can tell her anything and she never complains, but just listens patiently, and purrs along. Ohh, the secrets she could tell. 😉

13. I love creating, and sewing is my favorite medium. It engages my brain, tickles my design sense, and gives me a big ole endorphin-rush of happiness.

How about you? Why do you sew?

Happy sewing!


p.s. For another creative blogger story, be sure to read Stephanie’s story of “Why I Create” .

23 Responses to Why do you sew?

  1. I loved reading this! Fit is something I want to learn more about now that I’m more comfortable with the actual sewing part. And maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I hadn’t heard of ASG! There is a chapter in the city we’re hoping to move to soon, yay. Also, I would so love if you linked up, I just wrote my own ‘why I create’ post 🙂 http://swoodsonsays.com/why-i-create/

    • Thanks Stephanie! Don’t be embarrassed about not knowing about ASG, I don’t think the national org does a good job of advertising/promoting themselves – especially to busy young woman such as yourself! (i.e. no social presence!!). But definitely check out the chapter in your soon-to-be-new city. Hopefully it will be convenient and a fun crowd. the Seattle chapter rocks! and happy to link you up!

  2. I love to sew! It was in the family however I had as well sewing lesson at the basic school (with other small technical lessons) – it is so a shame it was removed from the school curriculum.
    I agree with you – when you used to wear good fitting and original cloth it is difficult to wear RTW – I am too irritated when things fit poorly and I know I will have to adjust them – waste of time/money.
    Sewing – once I called it therapy – meditation. Design, creation, making something out of (almost) nothing… wonderful!
    I envy you (a little) the ASG – I miss such great organisation here in the Netherlands. I am a member of 2 sewing societies but they are far not so good and helpful as ASG.
    Enjoy sewing 🙂 Have a great day!

    • Thank you so much Beata! Therapy is right, and especially when you get to sew with your friends at a retreat or class. Then you can complain about your husband AND make something special. Double-bonus! 😉

      p.s. LOVE your blog and your beautiful creations. I always look for your garments to feature in my Craftsy blog posts. Have a happy sewing day!

  3. Great article!! Like you I took Home Ec in junior high. I sewed early on because of being a newly wed and not a lot of money. Now I sew because I just love creating garments that fit well and I find it is a great creative outlet and stress reducer.

    • Amen, Linda! I agree with you. Sewing used to be cost effective, but with the rise of discount clothing it no longer is (with some exceptions). I am lucky that does not have to be a prime motivator for me. Happy sewing!

  4. Great post Maris. My mum taught me to sew when I was about 11, on the machine, but before that I was always hand sewing or embroidering something, crafting or painting. I certainly wasn’t good at much of it! Her mum was into embroidery and beautiful things, and my other grandmother was a seamstress and an amazing knitter. I guess being surrounded by crafty creative women had to rub off on me. I’ve only recently become consumed by garment sewing in the last couple of years. I was lucky enough to be given a sewing machine by my mother in law, who was also a seamstress by profession, in the garment industry. I adore clothing , and things that are beautiful. I’m also very academically minded, and work in a scientific field, and I find garment sewing in particular gives me a change to work with things that are beautiful, but also it uses my problem-solving skills too. I’m addicted to beautiful fabric, and find such pleasure just doing a reconnaissance lap around my local fabric store. I spend hours each week on line, reading blogs and reviews and get such inspiration from the blogs I follow. I’m endlessly grateful for blogs particularly like yours, where selfless skilled seamstresses share their hard-earned skills . When I was sewing as a teenager I had no concept of things like altering patterns or even grading between sizes. I’m amazed at all I’ve learned, and it is such a passion. 🙂

    • Sarah – YOU are a prime reason I love to sew! Truly, my mission in life is to get as many people as possible excited about sewing. And to be excited about something, you have to believe it is possible for you to succeed at it. The great thing about sewing is you CAN succeed. Yes, it takes practice, concentration, and good examples/teaching. But it is withing anyone’s grasp to sew, AND to become a better sewist. Keep at it sister1 you will be amazed at where sewing will take you. I know I have been!

  5. what a great post! for myself, ever since i can remember i’ve had some sort of crafty hobby. my mom sewed, so that was normal, though i wasn’t all that interested in learning until i had kids and those kids needed halloween costumes! at some point i realized i could probably handle a dress or two for myself, and it’s been full-on obsession since then. i love taking fabric and turning it into something wearable and that fits me. like most women, i have a handful of fit issues that keeps RTW from working for me, so having the skills to create my own wardrobe is absolute freedom.

    • Thank you Lisa! I love watching what you create, and LOVE hearing about how sewing turned into a obsession for you. Ummm, I can relate a little (LOL!). My husband commented before I went on a sun-vacay with my BFF this spring, “She isn’t worried about being away from me for 10 days; she is desperately trying to figure out how she can manage without sewing for 10 days.” Hahahaha. Smart man. 😉

      Keep sewing. Keep learning. Don’t sweat the mistakes – they are just learning opportunities. Pass your creative love on to someone else.

      Have a great day at your sewing machine, Lisa!

  6. I love the feeling of wearing something I’ve created.
    I enjoy the solitude of sewing. It’s my quiet time.
    I get to be creative.
    I love the feeling of making something for someone else, especially when they love it!
    I hate shopping for clothes!!!! Absolutely despise it. Sewing for myself means I only have to shop for a few items each year. Yippee!

    • Ahh Cindy, such a wonderful summary – thank you! I love watching how much your skills and confidence have increased over time, and only wish I was able to sew more frequently with you!

      Keep on sewing, girlfriend, and creating beauty. You have so many talents!

      I hope you get to sew today, and (almost) every day! Smooches!!

  7. lovely post! i have been crafty all my life (papercrafts, lacemaking, glass painting, cross stitch, embroidery…) and my mum and my gran both knitted. they taught me to knit when i was about 7. i made a skirt at school when i was about 8, and then all home ec except cooking had pretty much disappeared by the time i got to secondary school. i thought sewing was something that took years to learn until i got a sewing machine to make embroidered pictures and do applique and discovered sewing blogs! lots of people were making lovely clothes after only a short time sewing!

    i started to sew because i wanted individual clothes that fitted well (i’m tall and waists are never in the right place and skirts are super short). i also wanted to know that no one had suffered for me to have clothes – i hate fast fashion and this way the only sweatshop my clothes come out of is my own!

    • Thank you so much Joanne. I really appreciate your comment about fast fashion. I abhor it as well, and want to do all I can to help stop its spread. Keep sewing, and learning, and you will be amazed at where this wonderful art form will take you!


  8. I was born to sew. I wanted nice dolls with nice clothes when I was little — not baby dolls.

    We had an old treadle at my grandmother’s house and I tried every which way to get it to work. It had a bullet type bobbin. I tried all directions for the bobbin but it still snarled. Now I know I probably should have held onto the threads when beginning stitching. I was 6 or less years old!

    I was thrilled to take home ec in 7th and 8th grade. Real sewing machines. I made a blouse — pink with blue flowers. I was a star.

    So here I am 64 years later — still love fabric and love making my own clothes. What I make fits me better than ready to wear — even t shirts.

    I love to learn about fitting — life long learning. And I love to collect fabric especially knits because they were once very hard to find. I am no longer deprived.

    It wonderful having some many American Sewing Guild sewing friends like you, Maris.


    • I love your sewing story Sally! And your genuine love of sewing always shines thru when you talk about sewing! Thanks for being such a sewing and ASG advocate, and such a great friend to me. Smooches, lady!!! 🙂

  9. I LOVE this! I just revisited the first items I had sewn when coming back to sewing after about a 10 year break from it.

    I sew to be unique. I sew because I love fashion. I sew, because I am a bit of a snob in that I don’t ever want to be a carbon copy of someone else. I sew because I love giving my children the same unique styles suited to their personality. I also sew for fit a lot now since my body has changed dramatically since becoming a mother. Overall, I just love creating. I never want to see the arts leave.

    • I love everything you said, Melissa! I am so happy you found your way back to sewing – it is such a wonderful creative endeavor. No matter what skill level you are at, you can create unique, beautiful things. Happy sewing!!


  10. This is a fun series. I was part of the generation between home ec being required and home ec being cut by budget cuts, but I did take it! It was still there, in jr high. Anyway, I love that your machine doesn’t talk back to you. Why does my serger give me fits then? LOL Just kidding. So true that we can zone out and sew up a storm and feel great afterward. I get it!!

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