Little thoughts

Little thoughts: need more sleep! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Has sewing changed my life? You bet.

Tilly at Tilly and the buttons has asked if we can all share our stories about how sewing has changed our lives.  This seems to be a bit of a common theme at the moment as Oonaballoona has given her story of how she started sewing in response to a question from a commenter about how she got started sewing.  Go read them both if you haven't already, Oona as always is hilarious. 

I started sewing properly in 2010, before that I'd pick things up and mess about with hand stitching things as didn't have a machine but nothing serious.  I've always loved making things, art was my favourite subject in school but the only exposure to sewing machines was my mother's broken machine and the machine in school that I was allowed to 'sew' on one lesson but with no thread and no fabric, the needle just punched holes in the paper.  It sounds like I went to a really deprived school!  I didn't they just weren't interested/didn't have the resources for this particular subject in what was then called DT (design technology).  I also remember designing clothes for this particular subject and came across the drawings the other day whilst going through some stuff I'd left at my parent's house.  And no you're not going to get to see them any time soon!  haha!

So it wasn't until J's mother found me a sewing machine in a charity shop that I really got started and then it snowballed as J got me a dressmaker's dummy, my parents got me books and a rotary cutter and mat and a sewing box and my sisters supplied me with fabric and notions for Christmas and birthdays and just because.  And of course I found sewing shops in towns and online.  I'd been reading a few sewing/vintage blogs for a while before this and had had a mini sewing machine that I'd made soft furnishings with but had given up the ghost and had started to feel that I really needed a proper machine and was chomping at the bit by the time that J's mum got me the machine. 

Currently my own machine isn't working, well one of the belts has stretched and it's on order but they can't supply it...even though they've taken my money...grrrrr.  So I feel like my arms have been chopped off.  I have piles of sewing, quite literally as I'd cut out a whole load of bags and purses for stock for my shop when it decided not to work any more.  J has done a temporary fix on it for me and will give it a go later today as also want to finish my attempt as a Sorbetto.

So through this rambling back story what I want to say is that sewing has become a way of life for me.  I really want to do it full time as hate my job with a passion and this week without my machine and doing no crafting whatsoever my mental health has suffered dramatically.  It's my own fault, I should have done something to make me happy and not let some horrible people get under my skin and not thrown a wobbler.  I never would have believed you if someone had said to me that taking away my sewing would result in me becoming very down, but along with the other little crafty bits I do it's my only creative outlet as my job is so far removed from creativity it's a dull gunmetal grey merging into a murky dirty brown.  As you know I don't do bland colours or bland anything much so this is rather the best insult I can give without using expletives.  It's also a result of me reading Joanne Harris' 'Blue Eyed Boy' which talks of synaesthesia.

Sewing has taken over my life, but in a good way I think, yeah ok, so I dream about fabrics now and had a nightmare where I was looking at fabrics and another woman came and took all the lovely pieces that I was trying to keep hold of, but I'm not giving it up for anyone.  I gave up art once and it just crept back in anyway.  I don't regret the academic route I took, I just wished I'd done a joint degree or instead of the MA done another degree in Art.  I may have ended up in exactly the same position that I'm in now but at least I'd have done it.  I know I could still do it but I feel myself moving more and more away from structured education as I've mostly taught myself to sew and I found the MA so mentally exhausting that it kind of put me off doing anything again.  It's not fair on it really as there were a lot of life changing events during the time I was doing this course that were highly traumatic.

So to try and drag this mammoth post back to the topic in hand, sewing has also impacted on my buying habits, not only do I not go to certain towns/cities any more because they don't have sewing shops, but also I don't go into very many shops at all now.  Take for instance yesterday, I went out in my lunch break because I felt like I wanted to give myself a treat as I was having an awful day to top off a not so good week.  I went into Monsoon as I could get there in my lunch break when I can't get to the sewing stall in the market and back in my lunch break, it was my shop of choice before I learnt to sew and it had a sale on.  I walked past all the lovely clothes as I can't look at a piece of clothing now in a shop without thinking 'can I make that?' or 'would it look better in a different fabric?' or 'where can I get that fabric as think it would look better as (fill blank in with garment of choice)?'  I went and looked at all the accessories, not even glancing at the bags for the same reasons as the clothes and I was sorely disappointed.  I wanted something bright and sparkly to cheer me up but everything looked cheap (when Monsoon isn't a cheap shop) or I started thinking with a few beads and tools I could make that too.  It didn't exactly help my mood although it changed from feeling down to feeling angry and disappointed.

Perhaps this says more about the RTW market where everything is made in a hurry to feed the hungry buyers who don't know any different.  I say GO BUY HANDMADE!  It has a soul and has been made with love and care and will probably last a darn sight longer than anything in a lot of these shops.  Otherwise LEARN TO SEW!  I can't express as you've probably realised by now today, how much my life has improved as I feel like I have a purpose and it brings me enormous joy to create something I feel is either useful or beautiful or hopefully both.  Sewing for me is most definitely not a hobby but a way of life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So what do you folks think?  Has sewing changed your life?  How can it not really...I'd be interested to know!


  1. I'm really gutted for you about your machine being out of action. I know I'd be completely lost without mine...

  2. wow that's a post filled with trials and tribulations! I know exactly what you mean though, having felt much the same for not studying music at school and ending up pursuing more "academic" subjects and careers... I wrote in a poem somewhere about the conflicts of an artistic soul and an analytical mind! ... but like you the thing to do is not to give up doing the artistic things that make you happy! :) if I can do some quilting on my late night shifts and read books about fashion and design in the rare gaps between calls and emails, then it's not too bad! I've just sent an email to a quilting club that meets at 7pm once a month, so hopefully I can get to that when it resumes in September!

    I think your goal of being able to do 1 day a week with your Magpie Mimi is definitely attainable in the not-too-far-away timeframe, and who knows where it might go from there! you've certainly got the vision to make it happen :)

  3. Thanks guys! It was more of an emotional post than I'd normally due but it's all ok now, I bought fabric! haha! ;)


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