Friday, August 21, 2009

Why I sew.


I think I was 10 when my mom put me and my older sister in sewing classes at our local fabric store. I remember carrying her old, heavy, olive green sewing machine into the mall for our classes. We made a tote bag. I loved it. I didn't sew much during my teen years, as I recall, but as I was contemplating what to do with my life as a sad little freshman at Brigham Young University, I remembered that I liked to sew.

I graduated from BYU in 2001 with a degree in Home & Family. At the time, it was the closest thing to a clothing/sewing major. Most of the girls (there were zero boys) in my major were going to be Home Ec teachers. I was required to take lots of nutrition and human development classes, as well as fun classes like weaving (on big looms), housing the family (our final was touring new model homes), and household equipment (a 3 hour lab each week where we tested various baking pans and appliances). But by far my favorite were my sewing classes. I learned how to tailor clothing to fit and how to make patterns. It was a blast. I know it's not quite up to the level of a fashion design school, or anything, but I loved it. It was a good balance of practical learning for my current position as a mother.

I love sewing because the possibilities are endless. I love that I can take a piece of fabric and turn it into anything I want-- curtains, a skirt, a dress. The idea of making something out of nothing, and working with what I have to create something spectacular, have always been exciting to me. Also, I am cheap. And super picky. With sewing, I can make whatever I want for very little money. I know sewing isn't always the most economical choice, but it's the pride of creating something with your own hands that makes it worth it in those instances. Sewing is just so very satisfying.

Why do you sew?


Thanks for asking, Christina!

25 comments:

  1. i loved making those tote bags, too, and i have lots of memories of going to that fabric store on tustin with you and mom and getting all excited to make something (a skirt or somesuch), and constantly asking mom for help with the pattern. i'm so glad she taught us to sew, but just like skiing, you took to it way faster and ended up way better than i did. but i'm glad i can reap the rewards of your talent, and can enjoy it from afar. i love to see what you make!!

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  2. I wish I could sew. And that dress is very pretty in pink! Love it. I'm thinking a black one would look nice, too.

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  3. I sew because my dear mother taught me how very early and I fell in love! I love it for the same reasons you do. I love to make something useful and pretty with my own hands. I don't even mind making mistakes and picking them out! That just means I learned something and it will look all the better when I am finished!

    I admire you for taking your love and turning it into a business. I am also contemplating doing the same thing. I have been making lovely aprons for awhile and think I might try my hand at a boutique here or there!

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  4. Hi! I've been following your blog for a while and I just had to comment because I love this post! I graduated in '04 and took all those same classes! Did you have Dr. Burnham for sewing? I LOVED her! My favorite line from her was "The only thing I don't sew for myself are my jeans. I let the Gap do that." I knew I would probably never get to that point, but for the love and joy of sewing, I would certainly never stop. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous blog!

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  5. Hi Stephanie. I love coming here to see the cute things you sew. I learned in 4H class and have built on those small skills I learned there. Straight-line sewing is relaxing. I love piecing a quilt, sewing a simple apron, place mats, etc. I'm not so great at following a pattern however. Maybe that will change as I have just copied the free Oliver + S sundress. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  6. Can I ask what size square you recommend for a swaddling blanket? Loved the demonstration in the sidebar.

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  7. Everything you make is so beautiful.

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  8. i wish i did! why, oh why, are we not neighbors so i can take classes from you?

    to this day, my boys' favorite blankets are the ones you made for them with matching ones for their birth mothers. hopefully, i will be hiring you to make many more!

    love everything you do, steph!

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  9. Steph, So glad you like to sew. My mom taught me on an old fashion tredle machine. When I was about 14 we got an electic portable machine. I nade all of my own clothes until about 1970. Did not make jeans or coats but many jackets. I really enjoyed it but have been spoiled and have sort of given up sewing for myself. Still like to make baby blankets and towels though for all my precious great grandchildren. Lots of practice with 14 grands and 26 greats and 2 on the way.
    Love you lots
    Grammy

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  10. I'm glad I asked! It is always inspiring to me to hear about other moms who make the time to do something they love. SO (or SEW if I wanted to be really cheesy!)... I will hopefully be getting my first sewing machine this weekend. I can't wait to start!

    Christina

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  11. I love to sew, too, and I just don't make enough time for it. Mostly I sew because, like you, I like to make things with my own hands! And if I can do it for very little money, then that's a bonus. I love having old fashioned hobbies. Sewing, knitting, crocheting... it seems to be a lost art among so many women. I hope that those of us who enjoy it can spread the word and create some converts! ; )

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  12. i, too, wish i could sew like you. i can read a pattern and am good choosing good fabric for any given project and at visualizing a finished product - all things that my mom taught me since i started sewing. i wish i could have had two majors because while i love what i did at byu and the degree i earned, yours sounds like all kinds of fun. not to mention applicable. i think my highest reason for sewing is similar to something you said - i love creating something out of a cut of fabric. there are few things as satisfying for me.

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  13. I really started in sewing in earnest when I needed cute baby gifts for friends and could make an "ooooh & ahhhh!" gift with just a few cents of fabric scraps and ribbon I already had. Poverty is often the mother of creativity. :)

    I learned to sew by hand & needle as a child and then took classes in school. Later I designed and sold handbags, skirts, headbands and more. I don't sew as much as I did a couple of years ago, but just this week I added straps to 2 strapless summer dresses and redid the entire hem on a torn dress.

    I'm so glad I have a skill that so few people have today. I hope sewing is on its way back in a big way just like knitting did in the 90s! I think it is.

    Thanks for reminding me to be grateful for my skills and to get excited about doing more sewing!

    Love your blog, btw. Read it all the time. Love your creative, stylish, wise approach to life & motherhood. Very impressive!

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  14. I'm just so jealous you had an option to major in Home & Family...instead of all the other boring stuff.

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  15. I sew for that reason as well....because i can make exactly what I want in the size and color I like, with the sleeves and color and whatever that I pick out myself. There's a sense of satisfaction in creating something.

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  16. I've loved sewing since my first class in jr. high (back when girls had to take sewing/cooking and boys had to take shop). I bought a sewing machine with money I received when my grandmother died and I still use it. I love making dresses; I once made FOUR dresses from the same Belle France pattern and no one ever knew! I probably should have picked your major at BYU!

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  17. I sometimes wish my sewing skills were as practical as yours, but with the exception of sewing for my home, my thrill comes in cutting up the fabric into little pieces and sewing it back together again. But, it IS a thrill.

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  18. I'll tell you why I don't sew. Because you can. :) You are my crutch, Mrs. C.

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  20. I absolutely love your blog and had to stop reading back on your posts because I've got to get to bed earlier tonight. Who you are and what you do (including your photography) amaze me. I can barely sew simple curtains. Speaking of sewing, I just finished reading The Seamstress for book club; thanks again for the recommendation.

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  21. I taught myself how to sew on my mom's sewing machine in high school. I love a creative challenge. I sew because I am always looking for creative outlets. It is very satisfying to have a tangible product in the end. It balances my design work nicely (since that part is, for the most part right now, intangible).

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  22. i don't sew but i love to make bows and bracelets. but looking at your blog and other friends that sew makes me feel like i'm not in the "cool" club..lol. you do a great job.

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  23. I sew because i can. Because I learned early, and loved it. Because when I picked up my machine again for the first time in many, many years, it was like bicycling. And after a while, like receiving the biggest gift I'd ever had. Because it's creative AND practical. There is a limit to how many paintings you can hang on your wall: there is no limit to what you can create and actually use with a sewing machine.

    And while i'm at it and just left a similar comment on your sister's blog: I so love following your blog.
    Your parenting style makes my mommy ambitions hurt and my evil self snicker, but even though we're probably diametrically opposed politically and religiously and what not --- well, I find you inspiring in many ways. Thanks.

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  24. What a cute site! I just found it… I think through your sister's site? Anyway, I wish I had known there were sewing classes at BYU. I would have taken some while I was there. Oh, well. I just recently picked up sewing and it's such a fun challenge for me to try out something new. I have always been interested in fashion design… pretty much any design. So this is my way of learning how to design clothes, by first learning how to make them.

    http://www.simplymodernmom.com

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  25. I sew for many reasons you do too. I'm not very artistic but when I sew I feel artistic. I love being able to make things custom to my needs. I also love taking plain fabric and transforming it into anything!
    I learned as a young girl and didn't sew much in my teen years then I got married and had my first child, and I just wanted to sew and sew, and still do. I had my sewing machine under my bed in college :)
    Your blog is wonderful and I love it!

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