Monday, January 16, 2006

When is enough, enough?

It's a three day weekend and the weather outside is frightful - to coin a phrase, so I am sewing! Now who would have guessed that right?! *smile* I am finishing up the pieces I started last week. But as I was sitting at my cutting table trying to decide on whether to make another skirt or a top it really hit me. When is enough clothing, enough?

There use to be this fabric store not far from my house when I was in my early thirties and my children were very young. It was the closest quality fabric store that I could go to and still be home in a short period of time. I was there one Saturday afternoon when I ran into a co-worker who was purchasing fabric for a blouse. Now at work she always had on the best blouse/skirt combinations and I admit I was a little envious of her extensive wardrobe. So I was surprised to see her at the fabric store. She told me that since her kids were grown, she spent a lot of time in her sewing room making those wonderful combinations that I was so jealous of! And she posed a question about how many blouse/skirt combinations could she make. As the mother of three young children who had so many other things to spend my money on, I didn't understand what she was saying! I would have given my right or left arm for her wardrobe. But today as I sat deciding on what piece to make, I really gained an understanding of what she was saying. When is enough clothing, enough!

Am I sewing for the challenge of making a new garment? Or to highlight a new technique? Am I sewing just to have another new outfit to wear? Am I sewing to use up some of the fabric in my extensive fabric collection? Or am I just sewing for sewing's sake?

I thought that by using the techniques of SWAP sewing that I would be training myself to produce garments that worked well together and applying new principles to my sewing. But am I just making more clothing that will add to my already overflowing closet?

When is enough clothing, enough?


  1. I know what you're saying. It's not like I would be unclothed if I didn't make another garment! A lot of it is the joy of doing the work.

    The feel of the fabric coming alive under my fingers brings a feeling of renewal, and I believe it's actually the force of creation that drives us to do more. The fact that we love clothes, and can wear what we make is really icing on the cake.

  2. I agree with Liana. I *need* to make things; what they are is immaterial. If I weren't sewing, I'd be beading, or knitting, or something else that produces a tangible object at the end. Everyone in my family is/was like this. I don't know if we're born with it, or if it's from growing up seeing everyone around us create stuff, but we all seemingly feel it. Enjoy the process, and enjoy your creations, whatever drives you to make them.

  3. I, too, have a "need" to sew. Always have. I just enjoy the creative process. It needs to be challenging, to engage my mind as well as occupying my hands. Could be quilting, embroidery, home furnishing, beading, or to relax, knitting.
    Of course I rarely need what I make, but I really enjoy the fruits of my labours.

  4. Julia in HoustonJanuary 18, 2006 9:48 PM

    As others have said, it's a creative process although most of us who sew, sew for all the reasons you stated. LOL Enough should never happen if you keep purging the contents of your closet(s) and donate the garments that no longer fit or work. Just keep moving that fabric from the 'collection' closet to the cutting and sewing tables and then to the 'clothing' closet and as the 'collection' diminishes, you know it's time for another major acquisition!

  5. from a practical viewpoint...
    'enough' clothing depends on how often you do laundry... ;)

  6. I do sew cause I need clothes, there's always one little item I'm missing, that I'm always wishing I had when it's time to get ready for work, even tho the closet's full. I still have the 3 young children, so I don't want to do anything too challenging, just something I can do quickly and finish and wear. But I love to see the progress from flat fabric to a wearable garment. Lovely.

  7. Lisa, I think you had the best comment! Yeah, laundry/drycleaning does
    play a big part in how large a wardrobe you have to have!

    Thanks everyone for your insightful comments! BTW, I made the skirt and the pattern is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I can tell I will
    make quite a few more skirts from this pattern.


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