Seamwork
 

I Heart Sewing

Here’s how we fell in love with this craft.

It’s Valentine’s Day soon, and this year, we’ve got a date with sewing. To celebrate our deep love for this craft, we sent out a fun survey asking Seamworkers about how they fell in love with sewing.

Here’s what you said!


We were all beginners once

We all come to this craft on different paths, at different ages, and with different teachers. No matter when and how we learned, we were all beginners once!

45% of us first learned to sew as a child, but only 18% fell in love with sewing as a child.

28% of us learned as teenagers, and despite those angsty years, 22% of us fell in love with sewing as starry-eyed teens.

13% learned in our 20s, which seems to be the time that most of us fell in love, too (25%).

And a special shout out to those of us who learned at 50+ (1%) and fell in love then, too (3%).

38% of us learned to sew from our moms, 29% of us taught ourselves, 19% learned from a sewing teacher, 7.9% from grandma, 3% from another family member, and just under 2% learned from a friend.


Creatures of habit

Time

Is sewing a part of your everyday life? We’re all busy, but 43% of us spend 1-2 hours sewing each week, 31% of us sew for 3-4 hours each week, and 26% of us carve out more than 5 hours to sew each week.

The question is, do you wish you were sewing more? Head over to the community to chat about this!

As for the time of day we spend at our machines, it’s pretty split. 51% sew with the sun in the mornings, and 49% hang out with the moon in the evenings.

Process

About 75% of us live close enough to a fabric store to do shopping in-person, but that means that 25% of us do not live close enough to drive to a fabric store.

Having access to sewing resources is a serious issue! Share your tips for shopping online, thrifting, and sourcing supplies here on the community.

When starting a project, it’s a little bit more common to pick the pattern first (42%), but that doesn’t stop us from snagging some fabric without having a garment in mind (36%). This goes to show there is no wrong way to approach project planning! Do what works for you.

As far as where we all sew, about 65% of us are fortunate enough to have a dedicated sewing room. If you are among the 35% who do not have a dedicated sewing room, here are some tips for maximizing a small sewing space.

Garments

Tops are the most popular garment to sew (46%), followed closely by dresses (31%).

Skirts (8%) beat pants (4%), and about 2% of you mostly sew niche garments, like outerwear, loungewear, and lingerie. That’s awesome!


When did you fall in love with sewing?

If you are ever feeling stuck in your craft, it helps to return to your why. Why do you sew?

We asked you to tell us how you fell in love with sewing, in just one sentence.

A few of you mentioned that you aren’t sure if you are in love with sewing yet, and that’s ok. You will be soon.

Creativity enriches our lives

“It’s like putting together a puzzle that you can wear and show off.”

“Slow burn with some highs and lows—the highs eventually won out!”

“The first time I made a wearable garment, I felt like I had breathed life into the most intangible thing of all: an idea.”

“Creativity—it made me feel I could make whatever I wanted—and then the imagination took over.”

“I love creating, and the sense of accomplishment when I make something beautiful and functional, and with skill.”

“Because the creation of what I made was mine alone, and the feeling of accomplishment is addictive.”

“I realized I could make things in my brain a reality, far better than I ever could with a pencil and paper.”

“The ability to be creative for someone who is not at all artistic!”

“I fell in love with sewing when I realized that I could express my creativity while still following well laid out instructions.”

“The sense of fulfillment and accomplishment over and over again was therapeutic at a time I needed that the most.”

“Sewing, in its myriad forms, fulfills my needs to be creative, practical, and experimental.”

“I fell in love with the process of turning fabric and notions into my own little works of art.”

“The creative processes just called to me, more than the finished item.”

“Seeing something come into existence by my own hand from a pile of fabric was a magical and transformative experience: I created this!”

“I fell in love with sewing when I realized I could solve a problem for someone while also creating pretty things.”


Sewing makes us feel good

“The first time I made a wool coat that turned out exactly how I pictured, it was the moment I fell in love with sewing.”

“I felt beautiful wearing the garments I made myself.”

“I made my own jeans in eighth grade, and they looked awesome.”

“Sewing reminds me of what I’m capable of when I put in dedication, patience, and heart.”

“Sewing calms my heart and my mind.”

“I made a winter coat of beautiful red English wool with black trim and felt like a glamorous movie star when I wore it – a heady feeling for a 21-year old!”

“Sewing was the first thing where I learned to embrace my faults and be proud of the progress.”


We create something with our own hands

“Being able to express what is in my heart, through my hands.”

“When I realized that my best clothes were the ones I made myself.”

“I love creating things, and having something that I use every day that was made by my own hands is amazing.”

“If I wanted something we couldn’t afford or find, I realized I had the power to create it myself.”

“Putting in that first set-in sleeve made me feel like I could really sew, and started my love of sewing!”

“Sewing satisfies the intellectual, the imaginative, and the sensual all at once, and you get a totally unique garment at the end.”

“When I realized I love the act of sewing just as much as the finished product.”

“It was my grandmother’s stash of old concert T-shirts she let me cut up and recreate on a snow day.”

“After a bout of illness, it made me slow down and reconnect with myself and what I enjoyed again.”

“I fell in love with sewing when I realized I have champagne taste on a beer budget.”

“I fell in love with sewing seeing my daughter looking cute with the dress I made for her.”

“I love creating and having perfect stitches.”


Sewing celebrates our bodies

“I could finally create the styles I loved but couldn’t buy in my size.”

“I first fell in love with sewing when I realized I was capable of making anything I could imagine, and that love grew tremendously when I realized I could make clothes that fit my body comfortably and beautifully.”

“Clothes that fit give me a warm fuzzy.”

“I love making clothes to fit my body and modesty standards!”

“It’s a revelation, after years of thinking my body was the problem, to wear clothing that fits and looks good.”

“I fell in love with sewing when I realized that I could finally have full, creative freedom over my wardrobe and body image.”

“I fell in love with sewing as a teen because I could make clothes for my curvy body and goth heart.”

“There is endless depth and potential to the hobby—my relationship to my body and the world has been healed.”

“After I finished my Ph.D., I finally took on the challenge of making clothes that fit me, in fabrics I love, in the classic shapes that suit me—it’s the most feminist thing I have ever done for myself, releasing me from the tyranny of RTW and its cookie-cutter approach to women’s’ bodies.”

“A gradual realization that sewing helped me love my post-baby body shape.”

“I REALLY fell hard when I realized a narrow shoulder adjustment would change everything.”

“As a petite female, I never knew how powerful a well-fitting garment could make me feel until I started sewing.”

“I love being able to express myself through what I make and wear, and by sewing to my unique measurements, I honor the body I have.”

“When I realized that the problem with clothes isn’t my body after all and that I can make beautiful clothes that look good on me and that I LOVE to make, plan and dream about.”

“Learning to see my own clothes meant I could make then fit MY body type the way it really was and not the way the stores said it should be.”

“I finally understood why my clothes never fit correctly. It wasn’t about me, it was about them.”


We value self-expression

“I realized that I could make love notes to myself and live inside them.”

“Nobody can duplicate my style; being individual is important to me.”

“As an introvert, I discovered a way to display my creativity to the world without a lot of fuss.”

“What was once a rectangular, flat piece of fabric, became a wearable skirt—I was so proud!”

“For the unique joy that comes from working a project through from concept to creation.”

“Sewing allows me creative expression and does the talking for me.”

“I fell in love with sewing the first time someone asked me, ‘Did you make that?'”

“In this world where there are so many external demands placed on us, sewing is time for me to create something for myself, that I can see the results of and be proud of.”

“The ability to lose myself quietly, focusing on the details and creative process that sewing entails, gives my heart joy.”

“I fell in love with sewing when no one knew I’d made my clothes!”

“I fell in love when I realized the freedom of sewing my own clothes gives me.”

“Being able to wrap myself in something I made makes me feel like a superwoman who can accomplish anything!”

“When I realized that this single line of stitching would hold a seam for as long as the fabric, thread, or gentleness to the piece could manage.”

“I could finally express myself without talking—I’m shy, but I’ve got something to say.”

“Trying to be a hippie in the Bible Belt.”

“Goth fashions were thin on the ground in rural Missouri in the 1980s, but learning to sew put anything I wanted to wear within reach.”

“I wanted to make stuff that screams my name.”

“I made the ugliest, most ill-fitting dress ever and loved it because I made it!”

“Making one-of-a-kind items of clothing—I always wanted to be different, and this was the perfect way to separate myself from the masses.”


Sewing rejects fast fashion

“I like making things myself, not being bound by the world around me.”

“It was realizing I didn’t have to compromise on anything, like I do with store-bought: I can choose the fabric, the pattern, the modifications, and the fit!”

“I loved being able to make clothing that fit my body and style, which was more rewarding than just buying something from a store.”

“When I discovered that I could have a high-end wardrobe by investing time rather than a lot of money.”

“I found I could fashion (pun intended) exactly what I wanted, not stuck with what was available in a clothing store!”

“When I realized that, within the constraints of my school’s dress code, sewing gave me the freedom to express myself in a way that the mall couldn’t.”

“All at once, it fulfills my desires for creativity, skill-building, problem-solving, ambition, productivity, and living a more ethical lifestyle—as a bonus, I always look awesome.”


Sewing is part of where we come from

“Grandma’s quilt still lives on, and I want to carry it forward.”

“I fell in love with sewing sitting across from my mom while she sewed on her old treadle sewing machine watching fabric come to life.”

“I loved dressing my baby boy in mama-made clothes.”

“I fell in love with sewing watching my grandma transform flat fabric into beautiful, wearable art.”

“I joined a guild where I found soulmates who taught me how to make clothes fit perfectly.”

“I stayed home after giving birth to my first child, and sewing helped eliminate some of the loneliness and stress I was experiencing as a new stay-at-home mom.”

“My mom was my biggest fan; her response to everything I made kept me sewing well into adulthood.”

“My great-grandma showed me her closet full of handmade clothing items for herself, her children, grandkids, and great-grandkids—that’s when I fell in love.”

“When I realized that my mother was right: I can make that for less money, and it will fit better.”

“I sewed before this, but when my daughter was born, and I discovered that I could make her whole wardrobe myself, that was when I fell in LOVE with sewing.”

“Sewing touched my heart when I saw the happiness and pride it brought to my husband and sons when they wore the things I made.”

“I’m not sure whether it was the afternoon sun pouring into my grandmother’s sewing area, my grandmother’s attention, and the magic of what she could do—or later, as a teenager being able to make what I wanted with my little supply of babysitting money.”

“My grandma’s passion became mine.”

“It started with my grandmother’s sewing machine; that’s where my love for sewing and all things vintage began.”

“I fell in love with sewing when I was old enough to join my mom and her friends and family around a quilt that we quilted by hand.”

“I would sit on my grandmother’s bed and chat and hand sew with her whenever I could.”

“Seeing my granddaughter’s eyes when I made her an outfit.”

“My first memory of sewing was at my grandma’s feet using laces and perforated cards. Grandma was love, and everything I associate with her is love.”


Sewing is part of who we are

“Sewing is something I have always done, so it is in my soul.”

“Sewing has gotten me through many hardships.”

“They made us learn in grade 8, and once I started, I never wanted to stop.”

“When we were unable to afford fashion, I discovered that I could create it!”

“When I learned new things in my 40s and went to the next level.”

“When my first child was born, I realized sewing fulfilled a need to feel I could actually “finish” something; you can’t “finish” being a mom!”

“When my little granddaughter said ‘Nona, did you make this for me?'”

“Several years ago, an illness caused me to re-take up sewing after a thirty-year pause, and in my retirement years, I fell totally in thrall of sewing my own clothes again.”

“When I sat down with my grandmother at her Singer treadle machine, her arms would surround me, I feel her with me when I sew today.”

“I fell in love with some fabric that I had as a child, and it has been with me throughout my life and is currently in my wardrobe as a top I made; it is like an old but familiar friend.”

“I can put my energy and love into a sewing project; it feels like having a child.”

“It wasn’t until I didn’t HAVE to sew in order to have nice things that I really discovered my love for sewing; before that, it was just a necessity.”

“The camaraderie of fellow sewists as we each tackled our own challenges and the shared celebration of our finished garments.”

Bertie
Jo
Mel

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