Sunday, July 31, 2011

Has sewing changed my life?

Tilly asks in a recent blog post "Has sewing changed your life?"  She is writing a paper discussing the impact that sewing has had, not only on her life, but on the lives of other sewists too.  Thinking about this I thought a post of my own was perhaps the best way in which to address this question.

Like many other sewists I learned to sew when I was young.  I learnt because I wanted to and became quite proficient at it.  Then...... I had to take classes during my years in high school.  This turned out badly for me as I knew more than the teacher.  I found it so boring because I had to make what the class was making; this put me off which resulted in me not sewing much for a long while.  Sewing after that came in waves I had times where I would make clothes then my interest would wane and I wouldn't sew at all.  I have now returned to sewing and it has taken over my life, I can't get enough of it.  I'm addicted!

So...has sewing changed my life?  The answer to this question is definitely YES!  How, you might ask.  Well, let me see...

Sewing has saved my sanity!  It has become my lifeline.  Before I came back to sewing my life was spiralling into a depressive state.  There was no time for anything; it was all study, work and home duties.  I was constantly grumpy or in tears over nothing due to the stress these things were creating.  I had no time for anything, all craft work was non-existent.  There was no 'me' time.  Something had to give so, I became a high school tertiary drop-out.  It was the best thing I could have done.  Now I have time to sew and I can't believe the difference it has made to my disposition.  Everyone is happy!

I love sewing, it gives me great pleasure to be able to make something useful especially clothing that I can wear and be proud of.  I love that I'm not relying on the whims of the clothing industry to choose the styles or colours I wear each season.  And the feeling of achievement when I complete a garment or master a new technique.  A sense of self worth.

Sewing saves me money!  My spending was getting insanely out of control so I made a promise to myself that I would no longer spend my money on badly made, ill-fitting RTW (except for a few essentials like tights, underwear, shoes etc) but I would try to make everything I need.  This equally was the best thing I could have done.  When I go to the shops now, I may look at the styles in the windows for inspiration but I haven't even walked into a clothing store for about two months.

Sewing is helping me to define my look!  Personal style has always been a huge challenge for me and sadly I was letting myself fall into a rut, not caring what I wore or how I looked.  I have always been conscious of what I wear, not wanting to dress as so many others my age do.  I have a young attitude to life and like my look to be current, but now, being in my early fifties I'm afraid that I will look like 'mutton dressed as lamb'.  Sewing has changed my focus and I now look for styles that actually suit my body type and personality.  I never wore dresses or skirts before; I didn't even own any.  Now I have several  which I love wearing and tend to choose them over trousers and jeans.  I also have quite a few on my 'to make list'.  Wow! This must be the biggest change yet.

Finally, since my return to sewing I have discovered the most wonderful friendly, supportive and knowledgeable on-line community.  The accomplishments, ability and the willingness to share their knowledge is so inspiring it just blows my mind!  Having my own blog and connecting with like-minded people has had an extremely positive impact on me.  I no longer place importance on things that really don't matter.  I focus more on the beauty of a simply made garment or a lovely fabric.  I enjoy participating and sharing with others in the knowledge that I'm making new friends, friends I know I would get on with if we should someday meet in person.  After all, why wouldn't we get along, we have so much in common.

Now here are a few specific questions Tilly asks which I will endeavour to answer.

What does the online sewing community mean to you?  Why do you participate?
Other than myself I don't know anyone who sews clothing, so for me, this is a way to talk with other people who share my addiction obsession passion for sewing and understand what I am talking about.  It is also a means to learn new techniques, find inspiration and hopefully make lots of new friends through the many blogs I read. It's my support/therapy group and we all need that I'm sure ;)  hehehe!

What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
I would have to say definitely So, Zo's me-made months.  I have only participated in one and fell short on the challenge but I learned a lot about myself and my wardrobe.  Then there are the sew alongs and tutorials.  All of these things show the creativity and innovation of those leading them and they inspire everyone following along to allow their inner creative spirit to be free.

Who are the "leaders" in the sewing blogosphere?  Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
For me the leaders are those whom everyone turns to for inspiration such as Casey, Gertie, So Zo, with their sewalongs, tutorials and me-made months. The ones who post often and write on topics of interest to many people.  Who interact with their readers and ask what they want then take that information and apply it to their blogs.  Blogging takes a lot of time but I think anyone willing to invest that time can be a leader in the blogging community.

Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline?  What makes sewing blogs unique?
I belong to the Australian Sewing Guild which has groups that meet monthly.  I find my group to be a lot of fun and there is much to be learned from other members.  It has more of a social feel and there is always something to talk about.  But blogs are far more than just a social group as ideas and inspiration come from around the world and we can make friends we would otherwise never meet.

In conclusion, has sewing changed my life?  Yes it has!  I am a much happier person who shares a passion for creativity with many others around the world.  I am in constant awe of the talent of those around me and feel lucky to be part of such a wonderful community.


  1. It is wonderful that sewing has been such a positive influence on your life, and I'm happy that you have rediscovered your love for it after a few off-puttingyears in high school!

  2. Shelly, thanks so much for your thoughtful response. I was nodding along to most of that - so much like my experience. I like your comparison of the online sewing circle to therapy!

  3. Sewing has been a positive influence for many of us. My only regret is that I don't read as much.

  4. I'd definitely agree with you, being able to make your own clothes is quite empowering. And it's amazing how easy it is for your school experiences to put you off things too, from sport to sewing! Glad you managed to overcome it :)

  5. I identified with alot of what you said - being creative but making something useful and that sewing is a great stress buster . I love reading sewing blogs too although I suspect I spend too much time doing this. I am glad that sewing has provided such enjoyment to your life.


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