why I sew: Sophie

Hello dear KCW readers!  Sophie here for my last post as a KCW contributor. It has been an honour to share this season with you all.
When I was preparing for this post , I thought of all the many reasons why I sew. There are lots! But I wanted to give you an idea of what makes my relationship with sewing special and that’s what I will share today.

But before I start, there are a few things you might need to know:

a. I am very new to sewing : I mean 2 years is new!

b. I am totally self-taught : thank you Internet!

c. My first love is paper!

So here is to some of the main reasons why I sew:

1. I sew because I scrapbook:
That sounds funny, I know, but it all started with my scrapbooking pages.

PicMonkey Collage12

I used to design scrapbook pages for american companies such as American Crafts and Crate Paper. I was the luckiest French scrapbooker in the whole wide world! I got to play with patterned papers and embellishments and it was so great to search for the coolest design for my next layout.  After I touched a sewing machine for the first time in a scrapbook workshop, I was hooked! When I got home I immediatly ordered a Singer.  I would sew on all of my layouts to add texture and a handmade finish. That was my first ever relationship with thread and needles.

While reading scrapbooking blogs, I discovered that some scrapbookers I admired also made quilts . I was in awe of the beautiful things they created. In the same way that they played with paper, they got to play with fabrics in order to create something beautiful they could use and gift! I had been hoarding all these scrapbooking papers and I was crazy about their colors and patterns.  I discovered then I could have the same glorious colors and patterns and get to use them, to wear them if I learnt how to sew with fabrics! And so I did, all on my own, thanks to Pinterest and google! I learnt to sew just for the love of colors and patterns and the soft touch of quilting cotton!
Naturally I turned to patchwork first, using a fellow scrapbooker’s beginner’s quilt tutorial,  because it was all about patterns and colors mixed together : I created a few quilts and even got some orders from friends and family:

PicMonkey Collage45

2. I sew because I am fussy

Quilting requires precision and patience: your seams have to be perfectly matched and pinning is almost an art! It gave me the perfect basic techniques to sew garments. I was ready for dresses and tees!

When it comes to clothes, I like simple patterns and simple lines, I like a great fit and cool fabrics (see above!). I mainly wear dresses and I prefer cotton, linen and wool: all things I don’t find easily in ready-to-wear shops.  Therefore, being able to create my own garments was an extremely freeing experience. Scary, but freeing! PicMonkey Collage Indeed it is great to have the freedom to pick a pattern I like and create garments I truly love, garments I have imagined and designed in my head and to bring them to life with my sewing machine. It is such an empowering feeling, really. I also find that the small alterations I have learnt to make through the process of sewing with patterns even increase this sense of freedom : I can create almost any garment I dream of.

So the fussy me rarelly goes shopping nowadays. I don’t even look in the shops windows anymore. Instead, I prefer searching online for the perfect fabric –  that would match that perfect pattern-  that would make that unique garment for myself or my kids, just as I like it.

3. I sew because sewing is “meditation in action”:
I am a woman with many duties. I work full time, raise my children and do all the chores while my husband works long hours outside the house. I worry and get tired, like many of us. I can’t leave the house to go to the gym or yoga classes but I found the best “meditation in action”: sewing! yes!  Sewing is like “meditation in action” : it empties my head of all sorts of worries and nourrishes me with beauty and achievements! Love that! So therapeutic! When my hands are busy, and my brain really tries to understand how to attach this sleeve to this armhole or how to quilt-as-you go,  really, there is no room for worrying or any kind of anxiety! Sewing helps me keep my sanity. Bags are my favorite “meditation in action” projects: they require precision but they also quickly give me the sense of achievement I am looking for.

PicMonkey Collage23

When kids are in bed, and I have marked all my students assignments, I go and lock myself in my studio, even if it is just for a half-hour of my own “meditation in action”. After that I feel restored, filled up and happy!
4. I sew because I care!
I started scrapbooking in order to save our memories and to pass these good times on to my children. I meant my albums as gifts. But it seemed quite far from them. It seemed they would only use them, read them and understand how much I put into them in a few years, when they grow up. Sewing was a way to show them my love ” right now”, with an item they could wear everyday, a reminder of my deep feelings for them on a daily basis.

I also like that it teaches them that garments are to be treasured: you don’t buy and throw. It takes time to make garments and each piece should have the respect it deserves. It is a way to fight consumerism and our “ephemeral” society .

PicMonkey Collage16

Sewing them costumes for school plays and carnival is also something I enjoy: they get to have something special, something unique and it has a “made with love” label on it!

PicMonkey Collage
In the same way , if I design and sew a quilt for a newborn baby, I welcome him to this world with the warmth of a handmade quilt and all the time I sew,  I think of this baby and I hope he will find comfort in this quilt.
In many ways, sewing is an act of love.

So here are the real reasons why I sew! But let me add that one of the reasons why I KEEP ON sewing , is all the inspiration I find on Internet everyday, on blogs and places such as this one! The sewing community is awesome and I never thought I would find such inspiring and encouraging sewers accross the world who would reach out to me, even through digital messages and provide the motivation to keep on creating, just for the love of colors and patterns!

This article has 6 comments

  1. Lightning McStitch

    I would never have thought of it, but the transition from scrapbooking to quilting to garment sewing does seem so logical! I’m also incredibly fussy but I lack your pattern fitting skills (and your fantastic figure!) so I’m very impressed with your sewing for yourself as well as what you make for the kids. Thanks for a great blog post Sophie.

  2. Lucinda

    Such a lovely interview! I, too, started off as a scrapbooker but segued into sewing. I loved reading your reasons for sewing – meditation in action! Never thought of it that way, but I like it:) I’m so amazed by how you are able to find the time to sew with all that is going on in your life – you inspire me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *