Tell people that you sew your own clothes, and no doubt you’ll get a similar response across the board: that they’d love to try it, but they don’t know where to start. There’s so much jargon to learn, so many gadgets to buy, and a multitude of potential needle-and-pin-related injuries to contend with. Yet sewing is like any skill or hobby – it takes practice, practice and more practice, plus a heavy dose of enthusiasm (and lots of tea).
So if you enjoyed watching Ann, Tilly and the rest of the gang on the Sewing Bee and are tempted to have a go yourself, read on for my top 3 reasons why you should stop dallying and take the plunge:
1. It’s fun!
A simple one to kick off the list with, but oh-so important (or, indeed, oh-sew important). Many feel intimidated by the idea of sewing for the first time, but no-one is judging you (unlike those poor Sewing Bee contestants), so just take things at your own pace. Even the worst mistakes can be resolved by a stitch-unpicker and a can-do attitude, and learning from your errors makes you a better sewer.
Yet it’s not just the big bad wolf of self-doubt you need to banish – it’s the I-don’t-have-time devil on your shoulder, too. Before I recently rediscovered my love of sewing – having not sewn a stitch since college – I dismissed the idea of taking it up again, believing that time spent sewing should be used for something more useful, like writing the next bestseller (I wish), spring-cleaning the house (also unlikely) or (more feasibly) watching re-runs of New Girl. Yet immersing yourself in an activity like sewing is one of the best ways to clear your mind and focus on the moment, leaving you feeling refreshed and paving the way to a more relaxed state of mind. Good huh?
Working on my latest sewing project while chain-sipping cups of tea is my idea of a pretty fab afternoon – and I get a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Then, and only then, do I watch New Girl – and I enjoy it all the more.
2. You’ll get great cost-per-wear out of your sartorial accomplishments.
Let’s face it – sadly, sewing isn’t as thrifty a pastime as it once was. Sewing machines aren’t exactly cheap, and patterns and fabric can cost a bomb (although this post might be able to help you with that one) – and that’s not to mention the man-hours involved in actually creating a wearable piece.
Yet none of these things put me off – and nor should they you, because it’s all about the cost per wear. Yes, you could buy a ready-made dress for a tenner in Primark, but answer me this – which would you wear with pride and keep in your wardrobe for years to come: a cheap, fast-fashion, high street dress, or a unique garment that you spent hours making just-so? I rest my case.
3. You can create the wardrobe you imagine, not one the shops want to give you.
When I went shopping in my pre-sewing days, I often had a clear image of what I was looking for already in my mind before I’d stepped out of the door – the trouble was, most of the time the shops just didn’t stock what I was after; or, if they did, the fit would be slightly off so I’d be constantly readjusting the offending top, skirt or dress every time I wore it.
Nowadays I use the high street for inspiration, getting ideas for prints, new-season shapes and trends before heading straight to the fabric shop to create my own version that is more personal to me (and that fits me like a glove – if I get my measurements right, of course). Having a wardrobe filled with fabulous made-to-measure garments sounds like a pipe dream, but sewing makes it achievable. After all, why do you think so many bloggers participated in Me-Made-May this year?
These are just three of a million-and-one reasons to get stuck into sewing – what made you pick up a needle and thread for the first time?