Evolving Patterns

Sewing is an Essential Skill: Why is this a news flash?

It should be an exciting time for the sewing community when sewing machines are sporting “Sold Out” watermarks online and long-neglected sewing machines are coming out of closets to be dusted off and fired up, but it’s hard to be excited about anything fueled by a pandemic.  

Whether inspired by The Big Mask-a-Task (as I like to call it) or the fact that sewing is a great quarantine sport, it seems that the sewing community is growing exponentially these days, and I can’t help but love this tiny sliver of a silver lining.  

These headlines though… Is the fact that sewing is an essential skill really a news flash?  

I like to compare it to cooking.  Clothing yourself, at least in this society, is as necessary as eating.  Buying all your clothes, home decor, and other fabric necessities from a store is exactly the same as relying on restaurants for every piece of food you put into your mouth.  Sure, there are people that do eat restaurant food exclusively, but I think it’s universally agreed that cooking your own meals is healthier and more budget-friendly.  


“But sewing is hard!” 

So is cooking, before you learn how to do it.  You weren’t born knowing how to cook.  You learned, likely from other people and from recipes.  Well, guess what:  Sewing is just as accessible.  You don’t have to learn to sew from your mother anymore, though it’s great if you can! Social media, YouTube, and many other outlets are connecting the sewing community in amazing ways.  To find mentors, you need only google “sewing.”  Sewing patterns are your recipes.  Sure, inserting a zipper the first time is difficult and you’ll likely screw it up, but you probably screwed up your first scratch meal too.  But you got better and faster at cooking with practice, right? 

“But sewing takes so much time!” 

I dare you to calculate how much time you spend shopping, only to buy clothes that don’t fit well or in a color that you don’t really like.  The stores, the dressing rooms, the return shipping… Add it up. Then don’t forget to add the Dressing Room Emotional Tax:  Trying on clothes leaves you with misplaced anger and frustration. You’re mad at your body for not fitting into the clothes you want, instead of realizing that mass produced clothes cannot possibly account for individual body shapes. 

“But sewing costs more than buying it from a store!” 

Sometimes, but store clothes are also not custom tailored to your fabulous measurements or in the perfect fabric or color for you, much less unique.  Quality fabric does sometimes come at a premium, but those clothes you think you are buying for so much less money are not going to last nearly as long.  You’re going to send them to the landfill, sometimes after the first wash, and buy more – a bottomless money pit.  Here’s your real news flash:  That’s what the manufacturers and the stores want you to do.  You’re not saving money, if you understand what a long game is.

“But only grandmas sew!” 

Don’t even get me started on this b.s.  (1) Sewing grandmas are awesome and we should be so lucky as to learn their skills.  (2) Take one look on social media at who is sewing these days.  I dare you to try to find an age range, race, or gender not well represented.  (3) You know who is responsible for eradicating this ridiculous stigma?  We are.  You are.
So I’d like to plant this seed here for all the new sewists and the sewists coming out of retirement due to current events:  Don’t put your machines away when social distancing is over.  
Take all this sewing energy you have now and run with it!  

Make it a marathon, not a sprint.  




2 thoughts on “Sewing is an Essential Skill: Why is this a news flash?

  1. See if there is a chapter of the American Sewing Guild near you. You will meet a variety of seamstresses, some extremely skilled and other quite raw beginners. The group is always willing to help the beginners, and we all love to talk about sewing. Often there are challenges with everyone invited to make a specific type of garment. This time our guild is asking us to make something in the loungewear category. Don’t worry; participation is not a requirement. If you are too busy or you just to feel inspired by the category, just come and admire what some of the rest of us have made. You will learn from the group, and you will make some friends.

  2. I don’t normally comment on blog posts, but I felt the need to express my thoughts on this particular one. Today’s blog is quite inspiring and is expressed well. It reminds me of participating at a dim sum. You must be open-minded to trying Chinese dumplings all the while sipping your Jasmine tea and pacing yourself. Yes, sewing may be hard at first but the more you try, the more comfortable you will be using your sewing machine. Your confidence will grow in the process. Take your time and think about what you want to sew, maybe who you want to help. Who knows? Just like a knitting class, you could start a sewing circle via Zoom meetings from all around the country. Let your inner sewist come out to play and create. Have your sewing machine be your voice and express your passion for life. Think out of the box and make your first stitch.. Be brave. Be patient. Be an essential sewist!!!

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