The Reasons That I Started to Sew and Sew for Myself Now

Next month (August), my local lifestyle magazine, Carlisle Living, is running a small feature article on me. The focus of the article is not just on my sewing and my blog (although that is a prominent part of the article), but on my life, career and education. I was asked to pick eight items that have a special meaning to me and explain what that meaning was. It was not that easy to find eight items, let me tell you!

Anyway, it may surprise you to know that quite a number of my friends/ acquaintances don’t actually know that I make my own clothes, or write a sewing blog. It will probably come as quite a surprise to lots of them….and now I am not even sure what I was doing agreeing to be featured! I would describe myself as a confident woman, but I don’t advertise the fact I make my own clothes to all and sundry. I figured that the timing of the article would be good as I am hoping to teach local sewing classes after the summer.

Lots of people don’t understand why I chose to make (most) of my own clothes. Initially, it was a creative outlet for me at a time when  I needed it. I was a new mum, back at part time work, and also studying a fairly intensive distance learning program for a diploma in medical toxicology. The sewing was a way for me to be creative and expressive.

After that it became something to fill the quiet (winter) nights. My husband works evenings and my daughter would be asleep by 7:30pm. Obviously I couldn’t leave the house, so I would go and sit in my sewing room near her bedroom and sew for a couple of hours in the evening with the TV on in the background for company.

But now it has become much more than that. I find sewing my own clothes very….empowering. I don’t have to fit in with the industry standards in terms of size. And that applies to all women whether you are petite or plus size….we don’t all just fit into the standard measurement models that the Ready to Wear Industry uses. I also enjoy the fact that my clothes are individual and perhaps have a special story or meaning behind them.

Another thing that people don’t understand is why I don’t sew clothes for other people or for money. Well, being perfectly honest with you, I just don’t enjoy it, and I don’t want to spend the spare time I have doing that. All us sewists understand the time it takes to make an item….something that non-sewists don’t perhaps appreciate. I enjoy making clothes for myself….any other sewing time is pretty much exclusively reserved for my husband and daughter.

And of course, now I have my blog, and through that I have “met” some amazing, supportive, talented people both virtually and in real life. That’s YOU, readers 🙂

So, I bet you are wondering what the eight items I picked were? In short:

  1. A handmade quilt I made for Kezia when she was 2 years old
  2. My PhD thesis
  3. An oil painting of Pultney Bridge in Bath, the place where I had my first full time, permanent job after getting my PhD and which holds happy memories
  4. A book commemorating 75 years of OXO (yes, that’s right, the gravy granule cube), published about 25 years ago. Whilst I was at school I entered a competition to design a tin commemorating 75 years of the OXO brand, and I won a highly commended prize…part of which included this book
  5. A saree that I wore for my betrothal ceremony the night before I got married to Philip in India (10 years ago at the end of this year)
  6. A carved wooden box that was one of the last gifts my father gave me the year he died (in 1994)
  7. A photobook I made for one of our favourite ever family holidays to Kefalonia in Greece…beautiful, beautiful place
  8. The white eyelet dress that I made using fabric from Paris. I picked this one because everytime I wear this dress I am reminded of our trip to Paris and how magical it was for my daughter meeting Cinderella and seeing the princesses dance.

So, what were the reasons that you started sewing? And does everyone know that you sew or write a sewing blog? Or is it just me keeping secrets and being a dark horse (I admit I always have been one to keep my cards close to my chest)?

Until next time….

 

 

 

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About sewmanju

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing projects....now everyone can get to see mine.

12 responses to “The Reasons That I Started to Sew and Sew for Myself Now”

  1. Alex says :

    Wow, how exciting! I’m “home” next month and will pick up a copy to read and enjoy. My eight items would have to include my sock knitting needles, which have accompanied me to all sorts of places, good and bad, and an old shorthand notebook as a memory from my reporting days, pre-family. Lots of scope for thinking about what’s important there – six more items to mull over …

  2. stitchedupsam says :

    How exciting! You’re not alone in keeping you cards close to your chest, in my “real life” (ie not the blogging world) the only person who knows I have a blog is my husband. Plenty of people know that I sew though.

  3. Maggie says :

    I have also kept it a secret from most people that I sew my clothes – outside of my family and a couple roommates/girlfriends. One of them just outed me on a facebook pic though! I work with a ton of guys, so never talk about it there, but a coworker saw the post and asked about it. He was curious, but didn’t really bat an eye (apparently my vegetarianism confuses him more than this…). I guess it’s not as crazy (outside of our sewing blog bubble) as I thought!

  4. jmajne2014 says :

    I sew because it is so fulfilling to get the compliments on the clothing I make. So yes, lots of people as well as coworkers know that I sew, however I have not started a blog yet. Was thinking of doing one, but I have a hard enough time keeping up with my instagram.

    • sewmanju says :

      That’s great that you get complimented on the stuff you make and feel confident enough to share your abilities with others. As for blogging…only do it if it feels right for you.

  5. Jilly says :

    I just found your blog today. What an interesting question. I sew because I love the process of picking out the fabric, the construction process, I’m even loving the fitting process. I am at the point where sewing is not saving me any money. And, I feel like I’m contributing STILL to the fast fashion culture by just buying fabric instead! Some day my successes will out number my failures. Soon!

    • sewmanju says :

      Yes I enjoy those aspects of sewing too. Don’t be too hard on yourself…just enjoy the creative aspects and feel great knowing you make your own clothes with your own hands and not some one you don’t know in the third/ developing world.

  6. Ebi Poweigha says :

    I refer to my blog as something I spend time on, like ‘I have to go home and work on my blog’, so anyone who listens knows I have one. No one has ever asked to see it, and I’ve never shared the address.

    I wear my makes almost daily, and whenever I get complimented on them I always say ‘I made this!’ It’s a little uncomfortable for me, but I think it’s important to speak up for my handiwork. As such, when my co-workers and friends see something on me they like, they often ask if I made it myself. It’s nice to be known as someone who does something special.

  7. SewSouthLondon says :

    Gosh, that sounds so familiar to me: new baby, part-time job, old clothes don’t fit, lots of time spent at home in the evenings. For me it was part practical solution, part creative outlet. Now it’s a way of life!

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