Why Do I Sew?

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }This question was posed to readers of Threads Magazine and it struck me as a question that could be incredibly mundane as well as incredibly profound. Why does one really do anything? We eat, drink, sleep and mate out of a desire for survival. Everything we do beyond that is for reasons that are far more complex, though most of them boil down to a survival as a creature that is more complex than a simple beast.

I first became aware of sewing as something beyond a way to make clothes when my mom started making a quilt for me. She pulled scraps of fabric that looked familiar out of boxes with no labels on them that had sat in the back of closets at 2 houses. These were leftovers from the clothes my mother had been making for me since I could walk.

Making a quilt takes time and I was fascinated by the process. I sat with her while she cut out and pinned together the pieces. She told me stories about making my dresses and making her dresses when she was younger. Winning awards in 4-H and designing aprons from scratch without a pattern were magic to a very young me.

As I got older, I wanted to make magic myself. I made pillows. Lots and lots of pillows. Then I made a stuffed unicorn. It was difficult but I did it, and I loved it. When it came time to try and make my own clothes, I insisted on doing them all by myself. I grew out of the first few outfits before I finished them but my mom saved them. They’re in her attic still and may some day fit my daughter.

I designed the dress I wore to my senior prom because nothing in the stores that year looked good on me. This was to become a theme. Once I discovered what shapes looked good on me, I began to lament the lack of age appropriate clothing for girls my size. Fashion has come a long way since then but I got a lot of practice making clothes that looked good on me.

I can now find clothes off the rack that look good but costumes? Forget it. While my obsession with costumes, particularly period costumes, is another story, my closet full of them, most of them ones I designed myself, is a very clear indication of the direction my journey has taken. The books on corsets and the making of undergarments that I have give a good indication of where it’s going but the why of the journey goes all the way back to the beginning.

I sew because it’s magic.

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Filed under costumes, magic, sewing, threads magazine

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