Ever since I read the ‘Why I Sew’ posts from last seasons KCW, I’ve been thinking about this very question. Like many adults, I’ve given a few different hobbies a try and they have come and gone, but for some reason when I started sewing it became not just a hobby, but a passion…. an obsession even. It’s sometimes hard to explain to others that you’re a sewer – ‘oh’ they might say and change the subject or (even worse), ask you to mend something….
I’ve followed Brooke and Erin’s lead and jazzed this post up a bit with some project photos – you can click on the photos for more info.
My grandmother was a seamstress for her career. She made custom wedding dresses from her home and has only recently stopped sewing regularly (she’s almost 90). About two years ago I had an epiphany – she has a lifetime of sewing skill and knowledge and I decided that I needed to learn from her before it’s too late. I wanted to be able to chat sewing with her, understand her craft and through a shared passion, understand more about her. She lives too far from me to give me one on one lessons, so I knew I would pretty much have to teach myself and then go to her for advice when I got stuck on something. I’m so proud of the fact that we can and do chat sewing now. When we have a cup of tea, I take my latest projects and I cringe while she examines my seams! This lady is a perfectionist in her own league.
Whether the love of sewing is somehow innate, I don’t know. Both she and my mum knit beautifully too, but my knitting attempts have been abominable. Wanting to emulate my grandmother may have started this journey, but it is not enough on its own to keep me at it day after day. After a great deal of time thinking about why I sew – here is what I’ve come up with.
For some reason, and I don’t know exactly why – sometime during high school I pigeon holed myself as someone who is not creative. I did well in science, particularly Biology and decided to study Biotechnology at university. That was it – I would be a scientist and in my mind scientists are not creative people. This of course is a complete load of c#*p. Every person has the ability to be creative – including scientists (how do they make amazing research breakthroughs without creative thinking?). A few years at home with small babies created a need to feel useful again in some way – I wanted to create something and feel the sense of achievement I used to get from paid employment. Through sewing I’ve come to that realisation that I am creative and I love it!
I’ve become addicted to the creative process – gathering inspiration, wandering through fabric stores feeling the weights and textures of fabrics, imagining what garments these fabrics could possibly become. Now when I’m stuck in the tedium that sometimes comes with the small child routine, fights at the diner table, making school lunches and washing more dishes – my head is filled with thoughts of new projects……… and this makes me happy.
And you know what else, the sense of achievement that sewing has given me lead me to tackle another long held goal of mine – to swim the 1.2km Pier-to-Pub ocean race in Lorne, Victoria. It was something I’d always wanted to do and in January this year, I did it! Guess what, same as sewing, with a bit of training and the right tools, there’s nothing you can’t tackle.
So that’s it really – I know many of you will relate to my desire to sew all the things all the time. Brooke really hit the nail on the head in her post when she said ‘Now I sew because I have to’ – yup! I don’t care so much whether the kids wear what I make for them (well maybe a bit), it’s the process that gives me the return. Have you given this topic much thought? Are your motivations similar to mine or completely different? Do share!