why I sew: Jenn

Today’s post is bittersweet; it’s at once a post I’ve been looking forward to writing, and also signals the end of my time here contributing at Kids Clothes Week.

Folks, I’ve been thinking about the  question “why I sew?” for weeks.  In the past, my answer might have been something along the lines of how it’s a counterbalance to my analytical mind.  But when I began really pondering my motiviation and writing things down I found that’s not really the entire answer – there’s many reasons why I sew:

Why do I sew

Sewing Appeals to both analytic and creative aspects  Sure, sewing is more creative and that does enable a sort of balance to my left-brained tendencies.  I’m an Accountant, and true to the stereotypes, I do like things to tie and tally in both my professional and personal life.  Sewing is also in itself at once both precise and pliable – it’s a marriage of the two aspects.  So if you are accurate in cutting pattern pieces, and align/pin/sew with precision, you will end up with a great result.  Within that are so many little creative tweaks and nudges that can affect the final product.  Case in point  – the rainbow dress I made for Arden’s 4th birthday – what a heady feeling to get all those curved seams to lay so nice and flat, and the matching across the zip was such a rush!

Rainbow Dress Collage

There’s an alchemy to sewing  From an idea plus pile of fabric to a finished garment, there’s a transformation that occurs with sewing which is greater than the sum of its parts.  Add in drafting your own pattern from a design you’ve imagined, and it’s even more magical!  I also love refashioning to sprinkle some extra ingredients into the equation, like in my REduce, REuse, REFASHION! project I made while competing in Project Run & Play.  The coat is made using salvaged leather from my sofa.

REfashion Collage

Sewing is introspective which also brings in a couple other aspects I wrote down: it’s my happy place and that there are parallels to distance running.  Let me explain…  I used to run marathons, and part of what was great were the long runs and how it was this stretch of uninterrupted time with just my own head.  Now that I don’t have my long runs anymore, working in my studio is the closest I get to that happy place.  In some ways it surpasses the “in your head” time of distance running, because part of what I used to think about while running was things I wanted to create, and now I get to be in that peacuful state while I’m creating.  I love the way it feels to be working on a sunny afternoon with the light streaming in through the French doors, or after the girls are in bed and I’m listening to satellite radio with a glass of wine on my cutting table.

Tabletop

It’s something I can do at home Let’s face it – when you have young children, you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time in your home.  Lot’s of other activities are out when you’re waiting for little people to wake up (or rather, hoping they’ll sleep longer – amiright?) so by turning to sewing, you’re able to use that time to accomplish something.  Something way more fun than say, cleaning house!  I know a lot of my friends began sewing when their children were young, and that’s when I began to get a lot more serious about it.  It’s a way for me to create for the people within my home as well as to outfit my home itself.  Pulling something into your home environment (clothing your family or improving your home) that would otherwise take you out of it (going shopping) is a pretty cool thing to do!

LOL Swing Top

Sewing is an accomplishment Big or small, when I sew I’m CREATING.  That’s an accomplishment.  Learning a new skill?  That’s an accomplishment.  Creating a tutorial to show someone else how to sew something – wait for it… – That’s an accomplishment.  I like having a goal or a finish line to strive towards (see reference to marathons above), so tackling a big project gives me great joy, like the PVC Playhouse & Sunshade I made last summer.  Let me tell you, the sense of satisfaction I get when I see my girls enjoying themselves under it’s shade makes every moment I spent creating it worth it tenfold.

PVC Playhouse Tent Collage

And let’s not leave off simply that I like to create and to see my girls wearing things I’ve made for them.  There’s a satisfaction when friends or strangers comment on something they’re wearing that I’ve sewn.

Maybe not the most succinct explanation for why I sew, but I do think it’s the most honest answer I can give.  Are any of my reasons for sewing the same as yours?

This article has 3 comments

  1. Amanda

    I love all your reasonings. I especially love the idea that sewing is both precise and pliable… I enjoy the preciseness of it myself, but it is also nice that if you want to go “off the pattern” you can customize a project exactly to your liking. Also the idea of alchemy… it is so rewarding and satisfying to create something from “nothing”!

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