The fiber arts are here to stay. I don’t want to hear one more blessed word about how “sewing is a dying art” and, “it’s too expensive to make clothes” when our entire retail and internetz worlds are scrote-deep in knitting, crochet and quilting books, blogs, magazines, craft fairs, and meetups.
I make garments. I mean – I can, and do, mess with that abovementioned stuff occasionally. But clothing is my forte. My beginning, middle and end. My alpha and omega. I don’t make clothing via mass-production or support my habit through any other social-media-saturated hustle, and it chaps my arse when people tell me I should.
Me? I am like many struggling tailors before me: educated first as a child in a lineage of home sewing, emboldened via experts and tuition for classes, and – most importantly – forged in the crucible of a whole, whole lotta trial and error, groping through books and other printed material, and mashing my way through acres of fabrics. And, it must be said: failing many, many times! #theStrugglesIsReal
In my world, sewing ain’t all that cute!
First, and foremost, you need to know I can obsess on garment design and construction like you might not understand. At any given moment I am probably creating at least one item, and planning about five more. In fact if you’ve ever spoken to me in person and you can tell I’m listening, you are speaking to me in a rare state where Kelly’s home. Enough said.
This drive has resulted in sometimes regrettable, epic battles at my machines. Where I sometimes lose.
I am only not sewing out of a barely-maintained modicum of social courtesy. There sure are an awful lot of meetings and gatherings where it would not be mindful or courteous participation if I brought my hand-sewing, so I don’t. Yes, I cry a little on the inside. But I try to focus on the task at hand.
And hey – what is all this shit about scissors? You’ll see this in a lot of “things to know about people who sew” top ten lists: don’t cut paper with our fabric scissors! tee hee!
But – really? My family doesn’t mess with my scissors. Maybe they know when it comes down to it, I will spend their grocery money on new ones!
Also: AS IF I don’t always have a set out being sharpened, and one or two pair at home ready to rock!
Stitcher’s kryptonite… it’s real. You know, something that I should avoid, but will lure me to my doom, every time. In my specific case, I have to make rules about when I allow myself to shop for wool tweeds. And I can’t pass by a vintage sewing machine selling for practically nothing at a local thrift store.
Yeah, I can get a little obsessive. Certain large-chain stores coupon schemes-I-mean-programs are an organizing factor in life.
“Sew your own wardrobe!” is flippantly hailed (by non-sewists) as a way for plus-size women to finally have decent clothes. But:
sewing didn’t solve my self-esteem issues…
Thing is, I used to fly up my own rear end obsessing on fit. But the endless tweaking of pattern blocks can be a real red herring when what we’re often dealing with are body image problems and aspirational thinness-fantasy, which plague women mercilessly. I know a lot of sewists who make garment after garment for themselves – only to never be satisfied: making tweaks and adjustments and endlessly looking for “the right pattern”.
… except when it did!
The good news is, I stuck to it. I stopped kidding myself I liked styles that I didn’t like. I found some mentors built like me who love how they look and love to sew for themselves. And I think I got so tired of obsessing on my body’s supposed flaws and supportive undergarments and “flattering” patterns and stripes and shit that I just moved on.
Sewing is so much fun I want to share it – with everyone! After a while I got pretty good. And I found along the way that there are totally mean, snarky people out there who are forever talking trash about beginners and bloggers…
… but I don’t have to be one of them!
I’ve sewn for over thirty years. My experience in the craft has been full of successes, sure – but also so many, many mistakes, and regrettable choices…
that at a certain point, I started getting fearless.
I am no longer a perfectionist (although my pieces are often perfect – hey-oh!). I can take risks. I can cut into that fabulous yardage instead of saving it for a rainy day. If I’m not happy with the end result – I gift it to someone who will be. And for my pains, I have made a lot of garments which are either rockin’ it on my hot bod – or out there somewhere, making someone happy!
So yeah. Sewing as a Life Choice isn’t for the faint of heart. But I’ve stuck to it long enough that these days I sew exactly what I want, when I want –
and I love it!