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How Sewing Influenced My Life (After 20+ Years)

You might have learned to sew from grandparents or parents, but some of us didn't have sewing elders. In this episode, Sarai and Haley share invaluable lessons and reflections from Seamworkers who have been sewing for more than 20 years.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast • March 20, 2023 • Episode 134

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode, and a brief summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.


How Sewing Has Influenced My Life (After 20+ Years)

Some of us are lucky enough to have parents or grandparents that taught us about sewing.

Not everyone has that. This is one of the reasons that finding an online sewing community to become a part of can be so powerful. It allows you to connect to people with experience and expertise that you may not otherwise have in your life.

With a craft like sewing, you never stop learning. You are constantly finding ways to improve your skills, for one thing. But you’re also always discovering something about yourself, whether it’s your approach to solving problems, ways to build patience, or how you value your time.

So when you talk to those who have been sewing for decades, there’s always something they can share, a new perspective that you can take into your own creative practice. In this week’s episode of the podcast, Sarai and Haley hear from several Seamworkers who have been sewing for 20+ years about their own most important lessons.

You’ll undoubtedly come away with a new way to look at your own craft.

Here are some common themes that emerged from their stories. Do you see any of these themes in your sewing?

Being Present

“Of late (almost 60)I have FINALLY learned to enjoy the process instead of acting like I work on piece rate in a factory. I also learned that for self care I would rather sew than massage/mani/pedi. I am so much more at peace after some time in my sewing room.” - Melanie

“I would not say sewing has influenced my life, I would say my life has influenced my sewing. Age and experience and the desire to perfect a craft has made me appreciate the process and the journey and mastering techniques—sometimes now when Im done with a project I’m disappointed it’s finished. My focus is more on the art and less on making or wearing a new shirt or skirt..” - Gus

Creativity

“Sewing has given my brain a creative outlet... I needed something that was just for me and sewing was the perfect activity and became my passion. When my kids started school it gave me a place to focus my restless energy that I used to spend on them. Being a stay at home mom is pretty isolating and it gave me community. I feel like sewing has always been there. I sometimes take for granted how long that's been the case and what a big part of my life it has played.” - Krisha

“Sewing unleashes my creativity...I've learned that much of the art of sewing is problem-solving. I thought problem-solving was the purview of the corporate and business world, not the arts. How wrong I was. It has given me a deeper appreciation of all of the arts.” - Betty

Independence

“Sewing kept a roof over my head, kept me occupied during lonely times, gave me independence. And now I am teaching at a local grade school one morning a week. I love when they all call out hello, as I walk into the the school grounds. When they run up to me with a sketch for something they want to try, when they say they want to do sewing every day, and the eleven-year-old boy who didn’t want to do sewing elective last year, told me he fixed his teddy bear in the holidays, ‘Because I remembered the sewing you showed me.’” - Jane

“What has sewing given me? A sense of capability that can’t be shaken. Through sewing, I know that I can overcome a broad or ambitious goal.

Not too surprising, I now teach sewing!” - Laura

“It’s always been very hard for me to put into words what sewing has given me. All the people who raised me sewed, and it seemed natural to pick it up...I've since turned it into a semi-career. I’ve sewed in theater costume shops, historic sites, freelance, museums, and probably more than I can think of at this moment. I’ve dressed family, friends (and enemies), actors, historians, kids, and myself. Sewing gave me independence. I could do this myself. I can contribute. I use the problem solving skills developed in sewing every dang day.” - Kate

Connection

“Sewing connects all the dots to my past, to the people and places I have known and been...I feel connected when I wear my Aunt Kate's thimble, an aunt born a long time ago that I never met.

And I feel connected to the future. When I give a quilt to someone, someday, someone will hold it and say, ‘My Aunt Kelly made this for me.’ Sewing crosses generations, and only the technology and gadgets get better all the time. Connecting with other sewers is not age dependent. We just connect and help each other.” - Kelly

Grace

“One of my first purchases when I left home (40 years ago this year) was a sewing machine. Sewing has taught me that I am never going to achieve perfection but that’s ok because progress and “good enough” outcomes/products are better than never achieving anything for fear it won’t be perfect.” - Donna

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