When researching to write this blog I did a few Google searches around “The Benefits of Sewing” and “Why we should learn to sew?”. Although each article had plenty of good points; stress relief, brain growth, helps with self-esteem, it’s a marketable skill and it fights dementia, I didn’t feel any of these reasons would entice me to sew or sign my kids up for kids sewing classes. So, I’m going to give you my own list of reasons why I sew and ultimately why La Movida offers sewing classes in Vancouver, in the hopes of inspiring you to take the leap and try a sewing class!
1. Sewing is Super FUN!
I love sewing because it’s super fun. It makes me happy and gives me joy like nothing else. When I sew, a sense of well-being comes over me. I feel excited when I start a new project filled with anticipation of the new thing I’m going to make. I feel challenged in a good way, working through problems, trying new techniques and experimenting with new fabrics. As I work through it I truly get excited, and when I finish, watch out! I am usually pretty pleased with myself – I am proud, maybe more than proud, I may be boastful. I might even jump for joy and there’s always a self-congratulatory, “I made this.”
2. Sew it Alone or Not, It’s Up to You
A great aspect of sewing is that you can do it by yourself. As long as I have my sewing machine, I’m guaranteed to have hours of amusement – learning, thinking, problem-solving, decision making, self-realizing, and self-reflecting: “Could I really wear this in public?” Sewing alone is good because many of us sewers sew in our underwear (or less) so we can try on our creations again and again, for fittings and to admire ourselves. When I sew, I listen to books on tape, podcasts and sometimes music. Sometimes if the project is challenging and requires a lot of brain work, I have to keep rewinding the show because I realize I haven’t been listening, I’ve been fully concentrating on the task at hand. I am good for 4 or 5 or 6 hours straight, usually well into the night.
Sewing in a group is also great fun. Sewing circles or sewing bees have been around forever; sewing, chatting, sewing, gossiping, sewing, and drinking (tea, wine, or whatever floats your creativity boat.) Sharing the outcome in group projects; supporting, helping each other and sharing knowledge.
When I was in my early 20’s a couple of friends and I use to sew together once a week, sewing an outfit to wear out to ‘the club’. We had to start and finish before we could go out, wearing the garment we made that night, and sometimes it was just before last call. Now I usually insist that if I am going to fix or sew something for a friend, they have to bring me a treat, and chat with me while I do it. A sewing buddy is the best, sharing your hobby, taking a class together inspiring and supporting each other, all while putting on a united front in defense of a dying art.
3. The Stash and the Hunt
Most great inspiration to sew comes from sorting, touching and admiring your stash. A stash is the huge pile, box, or room of fabric and stuff you have amassed over the years (patterns, trim, buttons, thrift store finds you intend to alter). It contains the most beautiful print that you’re too nervous to make into something, the best deals you ever got, and just the tons and tons of potential that lays in wait of the perfect project.
A trip to the fabric store! Sometimes it just has to happen, you have to go and see; see what’s new, what’s on sale, what’s just waiting out there for your creative genius to seize. Some new fabric to make a wonderful, unbelievably, heaven sent item that will change your life for the better, forever, guaranteed! My trips were always legendary whole afternoons then whole days, maybe several stores, and now that I have my studio my shopping for fabric is epic. It includes online, multi-city, wholesale, retail, dead stock and donations.
Curious About Sewing Classes in Vancouver?
Check out La Movida’s upcoming sewing classes for kids and adults at our Vancouver studio.
We offer a wide range of classes with exciting projects for all skill levels!
4. Showing Off – The Ultimate Reward
Maybe this one is more about me than all sewers, but I’m a total show off. I love thinking I am the best, most fashion-forward Cinderella in the room. I like the attention. Look at me! Look at me! I’ll let you in on a little secret. For most of my life, I have been overweight and I always thought if my outfit was so great, so unusual, so bright, and so unique, that everyone would notice me for my clothes and not notice that I was fat. I don’t know if it worked, but I thought it did, which counts. Not the smartest, slimmest, prettiest, well-spoken, articulate, but “did you see her outfit?” I win! I remember this feeling as far back as grade 7 when I altered my first pair of pants taking them from flares, which everyone once had, to punk rock skinny legs with pink thread details. So cool. Now when my students are showing off what they’ve made, and are so proud of their accomplishments, I relish in their joy and feel that I am helping them show the world what they can do.
5. Thrifty by Mistake
I know today that the 5 R’s are super important and trendy which is a good thing for our world. To be able to replace a missing button, hem a pair of pants, mend a hole are all great skills and we all should be doing this instead of trashing perfectly good items. Luckily for us sewers, we can do all these things with ease. Betsey Johnson used to have a basket in the store of damaged dresses and things that were sold at a huge discount and that is the way I was able to buy my favorite designer, buying damaged goods and repairing them myself. But that’s never been my motivation. For me, making my own clothes was inspired by a desire for something special. I love the whole process of idea to outfit. I am lucky that my passion is thrifty because I like making something or remaking something I buy at a thrift store or the sale rack. Sometimes, a total remake is needed and sometimes just need a little refresh with new buttons, shortened or tightened. In the ’80s when big shoulders were first in style, I used to buy men’s suits, alter the waist silhouette so it would nip in and I’d roll up the pant bottoms, or turn men’s t-shirts into skirts. I wore 40’s and 50’s underwear-like slips, bustiers, and crinolines into outerwear like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.
6. Sewers Live Dangerously
This one is from my students in La Movida’s kids sewing classes. They tell me they are risk-takers and face peril every time they sew. They tell me that they experience a high level of excited anxiety when navigating all the potentially harmful items in the studio. There are pins out to poke them and needles ready to stab them. There are presser feet ready to snap at their fingers. There are bobbin winders trying to catch their hair, not to mention the scissors ready to snip at them and their fabric with wild abandon. Helpful seam rippers that tear through fabric with no regard. Sewing machines ready to undermine their skill by purposely sewing crooked or getting stuck just to release the fabric the minute an instructor looks at it. Irons hiss and spit at them tempting them to touch their hot surfaces. Everywhere danger lurks and only the brave and determined with skill and training on their side can navigate this dangerous environment and succeed in overcoming the many obstacles to create something truly awesome, which makes the somewhat treacherous journey worthwhile.
7. Practical Patterns & Frivolous Fashion
I just like making my own tea towels, duvet covers, pillow covers, pillowcases, pajamas, sweatpants, hoodies, leggings, curtains, scarves, mittens, toques, leg warmers, eye masks, stuffies, skirts, pants, dresses, jackets, coats, and more. I like to be able to buy something and shorten it, tighten it, replace ugly buttons, mend a torn seam, change the straps or add an embellishment. Also, I like to be able to recognize good quality in the things I do buy. I value how hard it is to make something beautiful, something with great craftsmanship or style. How many hands have touched it and how much effort has gone into it. If I’m going to buy it, I want to own it. It may be a lost art, but not to me. My life is immersed in sewing and teaching others how to sew and I understand it’s a very practical skill, but it has also fueled my pursuit of the frivolous. I don’t really need a sequin skirt or silk pillowcases or a new outfit for a fancy party, but because I can make it, I say why not?
I hope you have enjoyed these insights into my love of sewing and you’ve been inspired to try something new. Why not sign up for a class for some guidance? La Movida offers kids sewing classes and adult sewing classes in Vancouver with exciting new projects and creations being added all the time.
What has inspired your love of sewing?