a sewing manifesto

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? I think that’s awesome. To commemorate the month, I present you today with my sewing manifesto, or Why I Sew.

Sometimes when people find out that I sew clothes, they ask (with a fair amount of incredulity), “Does sewing really save money?” And no, it doesn’t. At least not all the time. Sure 60 years ago when our grandmothers were sewing, cost was a huge factor, and one that often worked in the seamstresses’ favor. But today, the sewing revival is based more on the craft than on the cost.

sewing machine manifesto

Sewing is creation

I sew because sewing is creation. It’s taking raw materials and supplies and making something beautiful out of it. I get the same feeling from sewing that I do from writing–creativity feeds my soul. I love the tactile nature of sewing. I love draping a fresh cut of fabric over my arm, and I love the feel of the shears slicing through it. I love feeding fabric through the machine, making something out of nothing. I love pressing darts and grading seams. I love matching up notches and markings, because all of it means that I’m creating something.

This creation feeds my mind and heart. The creativity involved with sewing requires a mental effort that is so satisfying to me. I love to learn, and when learning and creating converge, that’s a happy place to be indeed. I think about things differently, because sewing compels me to think through a process and solve problems. Yes, sometimes that process is frustrating, but more than anything it keeps my creativity alive.

sewing thread manifesto

Sewing helps me disconnect

When I sew I can disconnect from social media and the interwebs and focus. Yes, I’ll often turn on a show or podcast, but other than that I’m offline. Rather than using my hands to type on a keyboard or click with a mouse, I’m using them to manipulate and direct something tangible. Sewing helps to center my mind. Sewing clears my head and gives way for my thoughts to mature. Sewing is meditative.

Sewing is intentional

Any form of creation is intentional, and creating with textiles is especially so. You can’t haphazardly throw fabric and thread together and have it turn out beautiful. Sewing asks you to slow down and learn and practice. Now that I’ve been sewing for almost four years, I can certainly pump out a pencil skirt in an afternoon, but it took me a long to get there. Reaching this point in my skills has taken time and effort and patience, all of it intentional and all of it worth it. I’ll say again that sewing and writing aren’t so different. You have to think about what you’re doing, and you have to be purposeful through the process. When I write halfheartedly it shows, and when I sew with lackluster, my product lacks spirit.

Sewing requires me to have a vision for my product, and I have to make decisions throughout the creative and technical process to help me realize those ideas. From the fabric I choose to the pattern size I cut to the hem I use, every decision in sewing is important.

Even my mistakes have purpose. I can’t even tell you how many projects I’ve botched since I started sewing. My husband, though, was the first to point out to me that none of my mistakes is worthless. I learn from everything I sew, even if a project doesn’t turn out.

sewing pins manifesto

Sewing makes me happy

I suppose that this is the crux of this manifesto: I feel happy when I sew. Sewing makes me feel talented and challenged and fulfilled and creative. And when I feel creative I feel closer to God. Believe it or not, sewing aligns my heart and mind with the things that are most important in my life. So next time when someone asks why I sew or if it’s “worth it” I’ll talk about how happy I am when I’m at the machine pressing the pedal and trimming the threads. The thing is that we should all do those things that make us happy. That’s reason enough.

So, let’s hear it. Why do you sew? What makes you feel happy? 

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