The 3 biggest reasons I sew – what are yours?

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reasons-i-sew-header

Today, clothing can be purchased for pennies, almost literally.

The expansion of the fast fashion industry has made clothing an almost disposable commodity, and a highly addictive one at that. In that landscape, the idea of sewing your own clothing seems quaint to most people.

After all, why spend your precious time and money creating something you can buy at the mall for a few bucks?

But some of us look our over the sea of clothing racks and sale tags and don’t like what we see. Instead of abundance, we see an overwhelming glut. We see devaluation. We see waste.

Even if you don’t care much about the ethics of fashion, chances are that you have felt overwhelmed on a personal level by abundant choices and cheap prices. There’s just so much.

It is that very landscape that drives us to become more creative, to explore other ways of understanding our clothing, of finding meaning in the objects we surround ourselves with.

Sewing does more than allow us to make some cool stuff. It is something that has brought genuine joy into my life, and in some unexpected ways.

reasons-i-sew-creativity

Joy through creativity

Most of us get into sewing as a creative pursuit. Something inside us is itching to play with fabric, texture, and color. We want to make something beautiful.

This kind of creative expression is a pure joy in itself. The urge for self-expression comes from deep inside, and could be realized through painting, knitting, sculpture, or making balloon animals. Whatever. But for some of us, sewing is the medium that works (or one of them).

There’s another aspect of these kinds of creative pursuits that is often overlooked, and that’s the pleasure we take in learning new skills and getting better at something. No matter who you are, it’s thrilling to watch yourself get better at something you care about.

Finally, there’s another layer of creativity. Not only do you get to express yourself through the things you make with your hands, you actually get to wear them on your body out in the world. That means you get to share them with others.

Planning the things, making the things, and wearing the things all become part of a process of exploring who you are.

reasons-i-sew-appreciation

Joy through appreciation.

Through the economics of fast fashion, clothing has come to have very little value for most people.

Restoring that value is one of the gifts sewing can bring. The more I sewed, the more I slowly began to see that clothing isn’t some commodity that magically pops out of an automated factory.

All clothing is handmade, in one way or another. Making clothing takes time and skill and real human hands. It has worth.

Learning the value of clothing can translate into a lot of new attitudes. For me, it gave me the sense that I needed less of it, but I wanted what I did own to feel special.

Sewing also taught me about what makes something high quality. Being able to see the markers of quality and read past marketing hype helps me make better decisions, and feel good about the things I do buy.

Sewing also helps me appreciate my time more. I’d rather spend 6 hours making a dress in my studio than three hours working extra hours to pay for a dress that has less importance to me.

reasons-i-sew-community

Joy through community.

Finally, sewing can connect you to a community of women (and some men!) who share your oddly old-fashioned appreciation and creative obsession.

You can connect with them through classes, through your local shops and studios, at events, or just online. I’ve never met a group of more warm-hearted, kind, and creative people than those I’ve met through the sewing community.

Not everyone gets it, and that’s ok. They might have their own creative pursuits.

But for me, nothing beats getting to wear the things I’ve created every day, and all the joy that comes with them.

What are the biggest joys that you get from sewing?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

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Comments 71

Katja twistedyarns.wordpress.com

I started to sew half out of curiosity (I had an old treadle machine in my room when I was a teenager, and I really wanted to know if I could get it to work), half creative pursuit (I was very goth at the time, and shops didn’t really offer what I wanted, at least not in the small city I grew up in).
Much later I realised it also gave me a huge source of confidence – sure, not everybody agreed with my idea of “style”, but at least it was mine, it was well thought through and it expressed what I needed to express (cycle back to one of your last posts, which I totally agree with, btw).
And even today it gives me confidence – I had my first presentation in front of the whole company today, on a matter that wasn’t all pleasant and really is a call for action on many levels, and what did I chose to wear? A completely handmade ensemble of Belcarra blouse and Vogue 1247 :) Did it work? Absolutely, the first thing I heard in the morning was a compliment about my nice outfit, and that took some of the terror I was feeling away.

Andrea_R quilti.com

I enjoy the process of taking a flat two dimensional piece of fabric and making it fit a 3d body. If I didn’t enjoy the actual putting together part, it would not have lasted this long. :D

And I enjoy making things for people I love. My granddaughter is 4 and is convinced I can make *anything*.

maddie madalynne.com

A unforeseen reason why I continue to sew (not why I started to sew) is definitely the community. I have never felt so in place and in tune with another person than a sewer. They just get it, they get my passion, and that’s what drives me forward.

Kat coutureacademic.com

Oh, I just love it. I love everything about it. I took a break from it and can’t be without it. So many reasons, but the biggest is love :)

Sue

What a well-stated post! I sew for all the same reasons. It is therapy for me. It takes me to another place….and quite often it is a place of calm. It’s always been hard for me to find the styles I prefer on the racks these days too and so I sew my own clothes not only for the better fit, but for the styles that I love.
With a new granddaughter now, I will sew for her and hopefully teach her to appreciate the art of sewing as well. That excites me!

sojoysews

My #1 reason for sewing my clothes is FIT. My large bust and waist forces me to buy RTW that is too big for my narrower shoulders and hips. Huge and droopy is not a good look for a larger, older woman.

The second I’ll call STYLE. While a cami underneath can be a cute fashion choice, sometimes I just want to wear an open neck that doesn’t show as much cleavage as most RTW does on me. Also, my “Spring” coloring often doesn’t fit what designers are showing. I need warm, bright, and lighter colors near my face, not jewel tones or the dull muddies. No navy or burgundy tops for this sewer!

CREATIVITY is my #3. I enjoy the process of combining the colors and styles that are right for me, as well as creating basic pieces in comfortable and appropriate fabrics. Polyester for a summer top in the hot & humid summer? No way! It’s also fun to have a skill that seems to be a mystery to so many, even though I rarely tell anyone when I’ve made my outfit.

Great question!

Lee

I, too, have always craved the touch, texture, and manipulation of fabric, so creativity is a big part of why I sew, although I’d have to say that it goes hand in hand with quality. I can make much higher quality clothing than I could ever afford to buy. In addition, sewing allows one to bypass the racks and racks of trendy, poorly made garments and design something that is tailored to personal taste and is much more durable.

Years ago when I worked 40-hour weeks and had two small children, my sewing style for myself was more fast food than gourmet – my girls got the smocked dresses! But now I take much more time; everything is lined or with finished seams, and structured garments are truly tailored. These clothes are investment pieces that are made to last for years, not months. Wouldn’t have it any other way!

helen siddon justsewtherapeutic.wordpress.com

I like being able to create well made garments and also not having to rely on fast fashion, for both ethical and practical reasons. Before I started sewing again I would go shopping with a clear idea of what I wanted and most of the time return empty handed. Now I can create exactly what I want and know it will fit and not fall apart after a couple of washes! It’s also great therapy for me as I have bipolar, when I am up I can channel my creative energy and when I’m down it helps me focus and gives me a sense of achievement, much cheaper (and more fun) than any therapist!

Mary young-broke-and-fabulous.blogspot.com

Yay, another bipolar seamstress who uses sewing for therapy ! (Me too!)

Katie R

It was a combination of not being able to find anything that fits (busty & petite, argh) and not being able to find anything to satisfy my sense of style. I write creatively (poetry and working on my first novel), and soon discovered what a huge creative outlet this is. When I need to take a break from writing, it’s a good activity because I can be creative while my brain ponders what I was writing.

I’m wearing my first moneta today and it’s so nice to wear a garmet that doesn’t gap at the neckline and fits through the shoulders. I’d much rather spend half a day working on one item, then half a day at the mall looking for clothes… and exhaustion and body-hating that goes with shopping and trying things on.

When I try on things that I’ve sewn, it’s about getting the garmet to fit me and making tweaks. But when I shop, it’s about getting me (usually wishing to be skinnier) to fit the garmet. It’s very empowering to be the one making the garmet.

Tori

I totally agree with you about waste. I really hate looking at a sea of clothing in department stores. I have just started top make my own clothes and find it a welcome challenge. I get so much satisfaction out of creating my own garments and love to be able to choose my own fabrics and colors. I look forward to improving my skills and learnign how to tailor the clothes to fit my body.

Zoe May fozzelandbean.blogspot.com

Yes to all three!
I grew up drawing, painting, knitting… anything creative that I could get my hands on. Being able to work with beautiful fabrics was the next obvious step, and it stuck! Expression played a massive role – my goth and hippy phases ended and I was left unable to find anything that I really loved. And the sewing community is just amazing! It’s how I learned almost everything that I know!

It wasn’t until I had really started sewing that I began to appreciate being able to make clothes that fit. All those years of thinking I was some kind of alien, drowning in clothing that was way too long for my shoulders and torso!

And then there’s the part I am more and more aware of each time I wander into a clothing store – the badly-matched prints, dodgy seams, cheap fabric – they’re not just a sign of poor quality, but also of terrible working conditions. I just can’t justify it anymore. So glad that sewing is rapidly growing in popularity!

Caitlin

I sew for Fat Activism! As a fat person, your clothing options are very limited here in Canada. There are some plus sized stores that try to cater to a broad spectrum of people but they aren’t very successful. How can only a few stores expect to dress grandmothers to 20-somethings, punks to business ladies, not to mention clothes that look good on all sizes and shapes of us plusy ladies? Should we as fat people be reduced to only what hideous “camouflaging” dreck is available in only these 3-4 stores?

I love sewing because it breaks me out of the bedazzled mumu mold that most plus stores go for. There are no limitations, if I want something trendy or retro or flattering or NOT flattering I can make it. It was the single most freeing thing for me as a plus sized woman to discover sewing.

Annie

My mother bought a Husqvarna on the black market in Holland after WWII and brought it with her to to the states. I learned on that machine, turning the crank with the right hand, guiding fabric with the left. Then I went to the Singer factory in Hartford when I was 10 for a class, where we had a fashion show at the end. I still recall what I made. I’m so grateful for that early exposure to making things well. Slow fashion in the fifties. And now, fifty years later, I can make whatever I want, and with the internet and the sewing community on line, my skills have increased so much. Purchasing fabric is a huge part of the creative experience and I find that doing that, conceiving the garment, making it and learning at the same time, and then wearing it, is a creative extravaganza on so many levels.

Beatrice

I just like being creative. Feeling all those lovely fabrics and putting colours together. What could be better than that. It makes me happy. I sew competition outfits for my daughter and her friends. They are rhythmic gymnastics, which means I can play around with vibrant colours and lots of sparkle. When I see them compete on the carpet in the suits I made them, I am always amazed that I made them. Slowly I have started to make clothes for myself and I must say it is adictive.

Tialys thetialys.wordpress.com

I too started to feel overwhelmed and slightly sickened at the vast range of clothing that is available in shops – especially when you hear what goes on behind the scenes. Also, I love being creative in all sorts of ways and only recently started sewing clothes again. As others have said, it makes you re-focus on what you really want out of clothing and I find I definitely don’t need as much as I used to think. I too have found the online sewing community helpful and supportive which is a bonus when you live miles from any workshops or classes.
I find, when I am sewing a garment, I am so focused and absorbed in what I’m doing that I switch off from day to day stress so, despite what you might think if you heard my language when I have to re-thread my overlocker, I also do it to relax.

Jennifer Miller

Love your inspiring blog and echo many of the statements. In no particular order, my three: #1. I have a need for a creative outlet (that for many reasons has been squelched for decades). Grew up sewing and I am realizing how much I need that back. #2. The garment industry is unethical and in some small way, I hope that not supporting it will help, if only in my mind. #3. The sight of a mis-matched plaid or uneven zipper top (or wallpaper, for that matter) makes me cringe. Oh, and rack upon rack upon rack of disappointing offerings–please spare me. Am now pondering which machine to get for my return to a craft I loved as a teenager. Happy stitching, all!

Pattie

I completely agree! I love the fabric choices and customization when creating my own things. I love interacting with the online community as I don’t know anyone in my physical community who sews garments. Most of all, I love the connection to my mother and grandmothers I feel when sewing. My mother taught me to embroider before I even started school. She made all my clothes for school. I was often made fun of during the 80’s for my lack of Calvin Klein jeans and other faddish clothes. Ironic that now that handmade and homesteading is “hip”, many of those former classmates are trying to learn to sew, preserve food, and raise chickens.

Teresa Ward

Why do I love to sew? I started sewing as a child because I admired my mother at the sewing machine. I only found out in recent years that she absolutely hated sewing. She only sewed to save money clothing five children! LOL

I enjoy the creating part. Not necessarily being creative, just creating something…a finished project (which is why I don’t have any UFO’s … strange in the sewing world, I know!).

I also enjoyed being able to make clothing that actually fit my tall body. Long enough sleeves. Long enough trouser legs. These things are thrilling!!! My daughters are even taller than I am, so they are happy that Momma can make clothes to fit them, too. We are also full-busted ladies, and buying clothes that fit there without being dowdy or having huge shoulders is wonderful! We don’t mind a little decollete, but really hate showing cleavage!!!

Now, I have grandchildren that love their clothes made by Grandma Honey! My grandson is tall with broad shoulders … Grandma makes shirts that fit! My granddaughters are toddlers, but love to go to a fabric store to pick out fabric for grandma to turn into twirly dresses! What better reason is there for sewing?!!!!

Lorena

In my case, I wanted to learn how to sew because I had my great grandmother’s Singer sewing machine. This machine was used extensively by her and then by my grandfather who used it a lot.
While I have done very little with it, its something I want to pursue and already have several projects in mind !
I loved reading all the many things sewing can spark !

Joanna

What a great post! I sew for many of the same reasons already mentioned: the process, the product, even the price (who wants to pay $50-75 for a “little nothing tee?). I like that it isn’t a mindless activity, especially if you are a fitting challenge or enjoy hacking RTW, you actually get to problem solve and design. I also sew because all the women in my family were incredible sewers and wouldn’t it be a shame if I didn’t use what they taught me?

Michelle tresbienensemble.com

There are a number of reasons I sew. The biggest reason I sew is individuality. I source a lot of my fabrics and notions second-hand to increase the odds that I’m sewing something unique. Additionally, self-expression, creativity, stress relief, ethics, and consumer impact are driving forces behind my sewing. The sewing community is a fringe been a fringe benefit for me, not a motivator.

Alice Elliot

All that! And I find that, as I get older, and better at my craft, I enjoy the meditative aspect of the entire process; planning, finding fabric, fitting, cutting, sewing, and wearing. I’m determined to use up my fabric stash and every time I use a piece of fabric that I’ve hoarded for YEARS!, I am so satisfied!

Gorgeous Things gorgeousfabrics.com

That’s easy. Creativity, quality and fit!

Sara A.

I came to sewing garments through quilting. I came to quilting because I was an embroiderer who wanted to make something rather than just embellish things. I’ll be honest, I’m not a great quilter. I like playing with color and how it moves throughout a piece, but I’m not the most accurate cutter and I don’t have very accurate seam allowances. I’ve come to peace with the fact that all my blocks and all my sub-units will need to be trimmed and then I’ll need to pin my strips from the center outwards to disguise my inaccurate cutting.

Then, I had this burning desire to sew my daughter a dress and then another with the idea that the skills I learned from sewing her dresses could be transferred to me. I’m an RTW 24 and I’m rapidly being sized out of the market. Plus sized clothing on a good day is basic and the bigger you get, the stodgier it gets as they assume that fat women are also old. Heaven forbid you have a formal occasion coming up, because it’s basically all mother of the bride with prom thrown in for good measure. If I can learn to sew well, I can have clothes that fit me the way that I like in styles that I like no matter what is in style to the wider world. I’m even coming around to the idea of making my own jeans! I think I’m gonna need a few more garments between now and jeans though.

For me, while there is definitely a creative element to garment sewing, it can’t compare to quilting. Quilting is like painting, but your fabric is your paint. Embroidering is drawing with thread and knitting is how I meditate. Since I spend weeks and months on my quilting and knitting projects, sewing is instant gratification.

Dotty

Oh my….. the world comes full circle. I started to sew at 10 because I had a woman’s curves and the only clothes that fit me were my mothers. I started to sew in self defense. I loved ( and still do the process) and I had clothes that were trendy and age appropriate, but yet fit. Now the circle……. I am quite a petite woman with curves over 50…. and I could not find clothes that fit that were age appropriate. So even though I sewed throughout the years, the “reasons” changed. Kids clothes, costumes, gifts etc, but alas it is back to fit and age appropriateness. That is why I sew.

Mlle Assorti mlleassorti.blogspot.be

I relate so much to everything you say here! I sew for a few different reasons, first of all because I love to do it, I love being creative with a piece of fabric. Making something with my hands balances my mind. Recently I discovered I also sew because I really want to appreciate the pieces I own. Fast fashion, the mass consumption (and waste) of clothes and the kind of circumstances a lot of clothes are made in make me feel bad. Also, like you said, sewing makes me appreciate my time more. Thank you so much for this post, greetings from Belgium

Vanessa

FIT: I’m 1.8 m tall (6 ft), with long arms, back, legs.

WORKMANSHIP: I like my skirts fully lined, buttons sewn on securely, etc

INDEPENDENCE: I want to wear exactly what I want – and I can’t be bothered traipsing around shops for hours to not even find it.

Canal Couture canalcouture.blogspot.com

Vanessa, do you have a blog? Would be great to see what a fellow tall girl with similar sewing motivation makes

LilleLu lillelu.blogspot.com

I sew primarily because I need to feed my very real inner artist – the one that might be talented enough, but certainly not dedicated enough to make it a profession, but which still needs feeding in order for me to feel that all is well in the world.

But I also sew because I am a busy woman with a difficult figure, and even if I didn’t have that, sewing something I envision often takes less time than trawling the shops and trying on a hundred garments that are just not quite right — time I really don’t have in between work and having a family.

Andrea newvintagewardrobe.wordpress.com

My main reason for sewing is fit. I am only 5ft tall. Even RTW petite clothing doesn’t fit. Of course, I love making exactly what I want as well as the feeling of accomplishmen of having made it myself.

Nicoletta stitchandcappuccino.wordpress.com

I think the main reason for me is me. After leaving my job two years ago to be a full time mom, my world went upside down for many reasons : the new baby, my mom’s sickness, the new life in a new country. I felt so unbalanced and I started to sew again (I have learned from my mom when I was young but never be into it in my youth). Sewing is my moment of peace, it is a meditation exercise, that, if I am lucky, I can do daily. I feel so happy when I do it.

Janet

I work in a fabric store part time and sew for interiors part time. Guess what I do for fun…..sewing! It gives me a feeling of quiet satisfaction when I realize that I made everything I’m wearing and carrying (makeup bag inside purse inside tote bag, which also contains lunch bag and napkin, all made by me). Just sitting here at home I can see slipcovers, curtains, silk lampshades, a multitude of pillows, upholstered footstool, dog beds, room divider curtain, and even braided rugs that I have made over time, not with a big plan but just using the moment and a little inspiration. I particularly am attracted to making useful items I can live with for years. Sewing is not so much a hobby as an integral part of normal life, so if I don’t sew for a while I feel ungrounded. I also think it’s wonderful to physically create something, when so much of our time is spent on abstractions.

Elizabeth isewyousew.blogspot.com

It is so nice to have a community that “gets” it! I have to say that IRL I have only half a handful of people who “get” it. I am still unfolding all the reasons why I sew but for me, as the mother of two small people, my sewing is the one thing that doesn’t (usually) get undone at the end of the day. Also when so much of my mind is filled with caring for those little ones it is nice to have a piece of my mind devoted to my next creative sewing expression! Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Samantha agatheringofstitches.com

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes! Why aren’t we all in the same town? Can you imagine what a fabulous community we would have? Someday….?

I sew for all these reasons and mostly just cause it makes me feel so damn good. Even when it’s a struggle or a challenge, it feels sooooo good to make!

Paola lasartora.blogspot.com.au

Yes, to all of the above, and to which I would like to add the joy of autonomy. The sewing room is the one area of my life where I can truly say I am the master (mistress?) of my domain. My work and family life are subject to constant negotiation, compromise, and at times acquiescence to the whims of others, no matter my opinion on the subject. In the sewing room, what I say goes, which gives me enormous satisfaction. It also means the stuff-ups are mine alone too:)

Elaine

I sew for the joy of sewing. It give me inner peace! Also for fit. Older plus sized women do NOT want to wear black all of the time.

Since retirement I have given up black all together.

Lauren doozy.tumblr.com

I get joy out of creating something no one else has, and having the skill set that allows me to see something I like and recreate it at home. Though there’s a large community of sewers online I find in my every-day life I’m the only person who sews. I really enjoy constructing with my hands, just taking something like 2 1/2 yards of fabric and making a beautiful dress out of it. It really gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Janey

I am not sure I can get it down to 3! I very much agree with your post. I have struggled with the idea of some one making such tiny amounts of money for making the millions of clothes at my local mall, which are then sold for next to nothing at sale time. I am picky with how my clothes feel so I sew . I hate looking the same as everyone else, so gone are the days of going somewhere and there are a stack of women in the same thing. I hate fashion! It is horrid when nothing in the shops suits your shape or style! The clothes I love cost so much, I can make them in fabric I love for lots less. I think it also gives me something for me. As a mum, wife, teacher etc etc, I sew for me. It helps me relax and clear my head of the crazy of life. Who would think that a machine which makes a needle and thread to up and down could mean so much to so many of us!

Claudia

I really love sewing because my little niece wears all the clothes that I make. Then if someone says something nice about her clothes is very rewarding,to hear her saying that was her aunt who did it. And then because it fits you all the time at a lower cost.

M made-by-melanie.blogspot.com.au

I mainly sewing for the community surrounding sewing – I’m enjoying new social connections & making new friends. Secondary to that I want to be creative – to find something I can do in my home to occupy me other than hours of TV on the couch.

Toby Wollin kitchencountereconomics.com

I’ve been sewing since I was 11 years old (which is a very long time ago, indeed) and my reasons have never changed, really:
1) I have very distinct tastes (even in junior high) and I can never find anything in a store that I like. Usually, also, I can also never find what I want/need and staffing is so thin these days that I can never find anyone to ask things like, “Where can I find lined medium grey wool slacks?”
2) I have some distinct physical features which require me to do big alterations to store bought garments. It’s a better use of my time to make something that fits me instead.
3) Store bought (even at the most expensive levels) is actually made quite cheaply, with cheap buttons, crappy linings and so on. I hate buying coats, for example, where I have to replace the linings after a year. A coat should hold up both inside and outside for several years wear, but they don’t, and the differences between the expensive ones and the cheap ones is really quite small. I’d rather put in the time to make myself something that has all the features I want (pockets on the inside in the lining, for example), out of fabrics I want, in the color I want, at the length I want that fits me (see item number two). Several years ago, I took the time to make myself a wool winter coat that is still going strong. I was walking to work at that time and needed a coat that was warm, wind-proof and long enough to go down over my boots. None of these items, at any price, could be obtained in a store. I made it; it weighs a ton, but was a champ, even during winter walks where it was close to 0 degrees F and there was a wind.

The Joys of Sewing | Rhiannon Vining

[…] Sarai just posted a great article on the Coletterie about 3 of the reasons she sews. I’ll give you a moment to read it. […]

Betty Jordan Wester nouvellegamine.com

I started sewing for fit. The fit in store bought clothes was far from my body. As I get older, the fit has gotten worse.
But during my second wave of sewing (my late 20s, early 30s) I started sewing primarily for creativity. I wanted to wear things that weren’t in style & (in the case of Japanese patterns) weren’t ever going to be.
That creativity has expanded to other areas. I’ve spent a year working on a cloth doll to tie into my paintings and wear tiny 60s & 70s clothes. And I design t-shirts for my son based on the things he likes, but don’t exist in stores. Shhhhhhh, toddlers love Bowie and Doctor Who ;)

Sewing has enriched my life by helping me grow my patience and bring the creative parts of my life that used to live on paper and canvas out into the world in 3 dimensions.

erin opportunityknits.blogspot.com

The planning, dreaming, selecting fabric and pattern. The sewing and trying on countless times :) as I go along. Wearing the end product.

Aless White

I sew so that I have the perfect excuse to continually buy beautifully coloured fabrics!!!

I LOVE colour and being a true Pisces (creative+practical) I feel so good about combining the 2 sides of my personality in my dress.

Not so long ago, I also realised that I see sewing as solving puzzles- something I also love to do!

Thus, sewing meets all those needs, the creative/imaginative and the practical/intellectual.

barbara barbarajanemade.wordpress.com

this is so true. I particulalry love the creativity, learning and perfecting skills, the quality fabric and the good fit. It’s not a money saving excercise, but it sure is fun.

Enrique Granados enriquesews.blogspot.com

I sew because i crave being different! I want clothes that fits me also! Not just ladies have a tough time finding clothes, i feel the pain also ladies. Its not about the money when i sew, i just want to make beautiful clothes without being judged!

Nikki

Fit was the no 1 reason for me starting to sew. Reason 2, I have no real interest in high st fashion and was sick to death of not only not finding clothes that fitted, but not finding anything that I actually liked style wise – I have very specific ideas on what I want to wear. The petite ranges of clothes in the UK are very limited and the fit is still off! Reason 3, I hate shopping in general and the thought of having to spend my precious time trawling the shops for clothes – no thanks!
Now I have a hobby I love, a creative outlet and clothes I like!

Rachel nevermindthebobbins.co.uk

As a creative person working in a non-creative industry (I work in financial services) sewing has given my a wonderful outlet for expression. Where in the past I arrived home feeling drained, I now find myself rushing to the sewing machine ready to pick up my latest project. When sewing I feel time seems to go by so quickly as I’m completely absorbed by something I love.

My interest in sewing has also taught me the wonders of wearing something that actually fits me! I’m quite tall and a little busty so I really struggle to find outfits which fall in the right way.

Stephanie

I pondered this question all day yesterday while I sewed. Like many others, I sew because it allows creativity and intellectual stimulation (reading sewing patterns is fun!). Also I love love developing a skill to make something tangible that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical (much like a carpenter who builds a table or bookcase that is both beautiful and useful).

Emerald alluringemeraldjean.com

I sew because I like to wear things that no one else has. That’s my main reason. I like things that are really different, and I feel so pretty when I wear things that I have made with my own hands.

I also love the creativity and community of it. It’s wonderful to take a piece of fabric and see it turn into a garment. It’s also so nice that we can connect with other sewists, and talk to “our kind”, the people who understand why we sew and the value behind it.

It’s true, I do value the clothes I make more than ones bought in the store.

jan

I sew because when I was young, that is what you did, our mother’s did also. Then I sewed because I had a daughter who needed things that you could never buy. I sewed because I hated stores telling me I had to have black or blue things when I hated those colors. Now I read men who sew, and I am so sorry I did not teach my sons this skill. We should teach the next generation.

Claudia circlecircleblog.blogspot.com

Thank you for this wonderful post! My top three reasons are pretty much the same as yours, but it’s nice to see them expressed by someone else. In my non-online social circles, it seems like I’m the only one with a handmade hobby. Sometimes people react with real interest and curiosity when I tell them that I made my outfit, but other times people react as if I’m so lucky to have this miraculous, super-human, innate sewing skill. Or they’ll say something about how I’m so “domestic” or “hipster”. It’s really degrading to not only have someone undercut the work (and joy!) I’ve put into developing these skills from nothing, but it’s also isolating to be put into this box.

Punkin Raby

I like this…had never really thought about my reasons for sewing, but your article has inspired me to respond. First, it’s a natural gift–started sewing with my grandmother when I was in 2nd grade. Second, the yield is unique and quality-stuffed. And, third, it’s creative and an extension of myself.

Thank you for this thought-provoking article.

Julie Dickens

I love sewing because it fills your head and there is no room for worries or stresses. Also I am the largest I have ever been size 16 and 5ft nothing. Nothing actually fits me in the shops anymore!

Julie Dickens

When I don’t dress make etc I cross stitch! Only got into that last year and I love it, though I only do small items ie cards and tags. I have a badger cross stitch on the go, but it’s rather complicated with millions of grey shades!

izy

I feel happy by being productive. Sewing helps to do that. It really doesn’t matter what goof up I do, I can still go back & fit it. So sometimes it is a lesson of lift, you can fix it & that makes me feel productive. In a way it makes me feel like I have spread a little bit goodness into the world.

Annabella hollyannabella.wordpress.com

I love the feel of fabric between my hands, I love choosing it and hoarding it, I love pressing crisp stitches under the iron. But most of all I love that sewing takes me out of my head and out of my daily existence to my truly happy place! I’ve read about the concept of flow a lot and I’m pretty sure that when I sew I’m in a true state of flow. An entire day passes by in a flash and sometimes I forget to eat. I take huge pride in wearing the clothes I make, and I love the way they express my personal style. Sewing is the absolute best.

Jan C

I first learned to sew out of necessity. When I was in my early teens I started to show an interest in pretty clothes and my mother introduced me to the sewing machine saying it was the only way we could afford it. I fell in love with the art and even made my wedding dress. Out of choice, not necessity. (thirty years ago). I love how it’s almost instant gratification as you see results very quickly, unlike knitting. I still sew to save money at times, but more for the love of creating something unique and different – just like me!

Charlie

Fit and style: I first started to sew when I was twelve, taught by my mum, as being six foot tall absolutely nothing RTW was long enough – particularly trousers. I also often struggle to find the exact thing that I’m looking for in the shops and sewing (even more so now I have done a pattern making course) enables me to make exactly what I have envisaged wearing.
It’s good for my head. As part of CBT treatment for depression you are encouraged to make time to do something you enjoy doing for yourself. I hadn’t sewn properly for a few years and in the depths of a really low period, I made a skirt from my daughter and found the sense of satisfaction and the concentration really helped. For someone with low self esteem it’s also very rewarding to know you’re actually quite good at something! I now sew whenever I can and find it cathartic, relaxing and motivating.
Frustration vs sense of achievement: I find sewing a paradox. When I’m planning a garment and working on the fit, toile and pattern alterations, I take my time and really enjoy the process. As soon as it comes to the actual stitching, my impatience gets the better of me and I can not wait to have it finished, which in the past led to shoddily constructed garments that didn’t look very good. I’m now learning to enjoy the process of actual construction as well. Although with two small children I can only really sew in the evenings so things take longer to complete than I’d like.
I follow a lot of sewing blogs and find the warmth, willingness to share and passion of the community incredibly compelling. This wasn’t a reason I started to sewbut it is increasingly something that inspires, motivates and teaches me. It is also very open – I’d not normally write something this personal on the internet! Coletterie being a wonderful resource and inspiration in particular.

Kristina needlefruit.com.au

What a lovely post! I came to sewing through embroidery and up until I started both I really didn’t think I had any creative talent or skill like that.
So yes! Creativity is definitely one BIG reason.
I also started to appreciate what goes into making clothing and how much work and skill a nice style or good fit takes.
I had the opportunity to teach sewing for a short while and absolutely loved the community it builds and how all these people come together and build friendships while learning something new and fun!

Susan E. Hemann susanhemann.blogspot.com

I totally agree with you about sewing for yourself. There is also one point I would like to make, some clothing, in higher end stores comes with a hefty price. I am not just speaking monitarily, but rather where it was made and by whom. Are they paid a decent price for their labor? I know how long it takes to embroider something, to add beads etc… I can no longer go in a shop that charges an outrageous price for an article of clothing handmade in India and other countries, where I know they live in poverty.

Hannah surfjewels.tumblr.com

I love to sew and make things, I love to have things that are unique to me and secretly I like it when someone says: wow did u make that?!

Kath bernieandi.wordpress.com

Lovely post!
I sew for many reasons…

1. Creative control and freedom to make clothing that is 100% your style. I do buy some RTW pieces, and I sometimes have luck finding things I like, but almost nothing beats making a unique piece that is “you”, that you can’t find at the shops, where things are often dictated by trends of the moment (not always a bad thing, but I have certain styles and colours I love/will always prefer)

2. The sense of accomplishment you feel, when you make your own clothing. When I feel bad about myself, or feel like I am a bit of a hopeless case, I always feel better when I make something

3. The process- I used to be all about the end project, but over the years I have fallen in love with the actual process of sewing, the sounds, the feeling of the fabrics etc. I also think of my mum when I sew, because she has always sewn and had a passion for fabric, so nice when you can keep the tradition alive :)

sonja levenses.wordpress.com

a well-stated post, Sarai – blog articles like yours and statements like this – http://100actsofsewing.com/statement keep me motivated…

i love learning… and looking back on all my sewing endeavors – it’s all about the process… and when I wear the product – well, that’s an added bonus!

Ann

I am retired now, and, as I look back on my life, I see that I wasted more money on clothing than anything else. I cannot think of another commodity that is so disproportionately priced in comparison to its actual value. Of course, I am speaking about higher end garments, but not those offered by designers. I never had an interest in cheap clothing, and it wasn’t available in the 1970’s through 1990’s, as it is today.

Back then, I wasn’t buying the garments, I was buying a lifestyle. I am reminded of an old ditty sung by the Smothers Brothers: “I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy. . . If you had an outfit, you could be a cowboy too.” I didn’t want to be a cowboy, but I wanted to be perceived as a credible, yet sexy, young professional woman.

I sewed a few things in law school, because I needed the clothes, but I was never very good at it. Now, in my sixties, I sew for the reasons you so articulately stated: for the creative outlet, for the joy of learning something new, and to commune with like-minded women.

I have been sewing clothing for just over one year now, and have made 34 things. I have learned everything I know about sewing from blogs, such as yours, and Craftsy. I endeavor to make each garment as refined as I can, both inside and out. I am not able to stitch up a dress in 6 hours, as you do. It is not unusual for me to spend one or even two weeks on a dress. I don’t need the clothes, so it is more about the making than the having, and I am willing to spend whatever time is required to learn something new, and make something beautiful.

Sewing has given me a new enthusiasm. I find that I am eager to try everything I see: working with knits, making a Chanel style jacket, doing Alabama Chanin-style handwork, recrafting a couple of my deceased mother’s garments for myself, learning a few couture techniques, and, hardest of all, learning to make things fit.

My husband and I just returned from a cruise, and it felt good to wear something I made every day. I felt especially pleased when people occasionally complimented me on my outfit, and then inquired day after day whether I had made what I was wearing then. It may be difficult for artists to get their work seen, but it is easy for a seamstress, and it is gratifying.

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