I am a sewist, a creator of clothes, quilts, bags, home decorating, and many other things. have sewn for over 20 years. My projects have changed over the years as my needs have changed. I was sewing before sewing was cool. I learned to sew during the last time period when sewing was cool.
At the age of 50, I began to do some self-examination. I realize that IO do not need to do things simply because I have always done them. I have the freedom of choice to continue or stop processes or habits in my life. My time is valuable and I am making the conscious choice to d those things that are rewarding to me. This decision has caused me to inventory my activities during my spare time as well as my professional life. Sewing dominates most of my spare time. Why? Why do I sew? The first step is to examine why I sew in order to make a more informed decision on whether to continue devoting so much time to it.
I wish I could say sewing is my artform. Sewing is a means of creative expression for many people. They consider themselves fiber artists. I can say I may create art and each project has my aesthetic throughout it, but I am no artist.
I wish I could say my sewing is the result of my inner urge to be a “maker”. There is currently a huge Maker Movement underway. I wish I could say I sew from a deep inner need to make things and create objects. Yes, I have a desire to create things and learn techniques, both traditional and modern. I love learning new crafts. I will forever be a student of how things are made, but I am no maker.
I can definitively say, after much introspective, that I am a sewist out of necessity. I would like to turn this blog into an art gallery or maker space, but it is a complete waste of time. I have asked myself the hard question. I have no doubt now that I sew because the goods I need are not readily available.
I learned to sew clothing because my mother sewed clothing. My mother learned to sew clothing because her mother sewed clothing. We made my clothing because garments were not available in my size.
There were no clothes to fit me in the late seventies and early eighties. I suffered from being a healthy child from hearty Midwestern stock. No one in my family fit within the standard size measurements established in the late forties. I remember a school year when I was finally able to fit into husky jeans designed for girls much, much older than me. For a few golden months, I was able to wear jeans from a mail-order department store. I remember that being a year that I thought I was someone special.
Later, as a teenager and young adult, the fashion industry began to make clothes for my more-than-average frame. Unfortunately, the price tag affixed to those garments was beyond my meager budget. The tops, pants, and dresses tended toward the matronly or the muumuu styles but nevertheless, I was finally able to wear “store-bought” clothes.
So here I am, a mature adult and my frame has not changed. I am still larger than those original standard measurements that have not been updated since the later forties. My clothing choices are more plentiful. There has recently been a revolution to acknowledge those who wear a size twelve or larger. I applaud that movement. I hope it gains more and more momentum.
The portion of my budget dedicated to clothing is not any greater than it was in my younger years, but I find I have a fabric stash, as do all sewists. The temptation to walk into the sewing room, pick up an attractive yardage of fabric and craft a garment that fits me specifically in all the right places and is the right color or design for my body is a force that I cannot resist. It feels good to finally have sewn enough that my skill level has progressed past beginner. Many techniques are second nature. Yes, I sew because I need it. I need well-fitting clothing that suits my style and my pocketbook, as well as expresses my artistic personality and fulfills my need to work with my hands and craft something.