Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sewing is a Talent

I knew that I wanted to say something today but I didn't know what until I got to Cidell's blog, "Miss Celie's Pants". Her post today is about her sewing history and it's very interesting, however, it was this sentence that caught my attention:

"I've said it before, and Erica B. agrees with me, 'If you can read. You can do anything.' "

I started to make a comment about this but realized that I had more to say than that little comment box would hold. Because in theory I agree with the statement, yes, if you can read you can do anything but and here is what I thought next, "Do you have a talent for it?"

As with many things sewing is a set of skills that can be mastered with practice and time but the true creators of amazing garments have a talent and an eye for not just sewing a garment but creating a unique piece. It comes from a series of decisions that are made that range from the color, fabric and texture, to the pattern and knowing what works for your body or anyone's body.

When talent is involved in sewing, you don't just have a functional garment you have a work of art. And it takes more than skills to achieve that. The garments that we truly admire and oooohhh and aaahhh over have a certain "it" factor to them that makes them rise above the ordinary. It can be the combination of "color and fabric" or "technique and fit" or a cumulation of everything but true sewists have a talent and are artisans in my eyes.

I found this quote on Faye's blog today:

"God has given each of us a unique gift (an idea, a passion, a burning desire). He did not leave one person out. It is up to us to find that gift and nourish it and water it. God expects us to bloom where ever he has planted us."

I think too many of us don't realize that the "sewing" we do is actually a talent - something that is a more than a skill...some of us are full fledged designers, some of us are amazing colorists, some of us have great interpretative skills and some of us are awesome teachers...we are all at different levels and as in all things in life not all of us can be at the top of the pyramid. But those of us who are turning out those jaw-dropping, make you wanna run for your sewing machine and copy that, inspiring garments ~ We are artists! We are talented! And I think that we should proclaim ourselves as such!

Now since I always end with a question, let me pose a few here. Think about them and comment or don't but really think about them, okay?! Do you have skills or do you have talent? Do you feel that there is something buried deep down inside of you and that you have to express it through your sewing? Do you believe sometimes that you have "created" something truly amazing when you put that final press on your garment and hang it to photograph? Or are you just slogging along? Does your sewing bring you joy and take you to new heights or does it just take up time? And you know what I have seen some of those reviews on PR.

You don't have to share your answers. But seriously take the time to think about it because some of you know that you are artists and have a talent or a gift and should stand up and proclaim it as so! Yes, if you can read you can do anything but does that mean you are gifted at it!?

Is it your talent?


  1. I started reading your post but then went over to Cidell's. Loved her post. And I love your post too! You are so right, anyone can sew if they try hard enought but there are some of us (and I really, really want to be included) that live and breath sewing and our technique may not always be perfect but we create something special.

    I believe I have talent. And I have skills - the skills come from reading all those books (when not sewing) and then putting it into practice. But in the end it is the colour, style, finishing touches etc that come automatically.

    OK, that is enough from

  2. Great post! My DH says it's "talent on loan from God".

  3. Yes, sewing is my talent. I do think that more people could sew on a basic level, but they don't try, giving up before they even start.

    By the way, when I was in my mid-twenties, about 1974? I purchased a kit from Heathkit and built my own color television... It was a heavy sucker, but a great TV. My dad was so proud of me--he told me that since I knew how to solder, could read and follow instructions, I could do it. So I did.

  4. I think sewing is my talent, and I think I add to that talent with every skill that I learn....does that make sense? LOL It's a talent I didn't know I had until I seriously tried to sew, and I'm very glad I tried and stuck with it! Great entry!

  5. So this reminds me of the 12 years of forced piano lessons I had. Technically, I was fine. Didn't love it and didn't have passion or talent for it. I just slogged along. My parents let me stop taking lessons in high school and I've never looked back. Now, they say they wish they had nurtured my love of photography or gotten me started in sewing earlier when I first asked. This is such a great post BTW. Hmmm. I think knowing style is my talent and sewing is my skill. I think coupled together I make some cool things. But, I can't design, I'm terrible in deviating from a pattern and I can't envision patterns as a jump off like you. To me you, are a *designer*. My sewing brings me absolute and complete joy.

  6. I don't know if "sewing" is my talent or if "wanting to help people feel they look beautiful" is my talent and I do that through sewing.
    I have two daughters who, like me are short and very round. When they were teens, finding anything that would look good AND would fit was practically impossible. My girls were not exactly hopeful that I'd be able to reproduce what their friends wore in a way that would not scream "home made", but I got brave and worked through numerous versions of wide-legged jeans until we got it "just right" - I knew I had it when the younger daughter twirled in front of the mirror with this grin on her face. Sometimes, it's not the amazing outfits that do it - sometimes, it's the humble blue jean - sprinkled with the magic of a 14 year old's smiles.

  7. GREAT post, Carolyn!
    Well, there are the skills and there’s the talent… Take Karl Lagerfeld, for example… No one can deny the man has talent for clothing yet he doesn’t sew… He has a lot of skillful seamstresses (also talented in other way) working for him, interpreting his visions… So I think often these two qualities are connected and I like to think I have a little bit of both. I think the talent is born with you (just needs direction) and the skills you can develop through hard work and practice… I think us home sewers definitely have both; speaking for myself, sewing is really special for me. I get a hell of a kick out of it! Even if the end result is not particularly original (because it mirrors the original model or some other inspiring model), the feeling of accomplishment is enormous!

  8. I think putting fabric with pattern and then onto my body in a (hopefully) flattering way is one of the ways my artistic talents come out. But the actual construction is skill, the same way I use power tools her at the Money Pit. And I also mostly believe that if one can read, one can do anything. However, I also know that not everyone can learn a skill just from reading how-to. Some people need to be shown. Not a lesser quality, just a different brain wiring. My husband and one son are that way. I'm the book learnin' kind. So, he depends on ME to read how and then show HIM. ;-) (Good topic, BTW!)

  9. I've never commented before, but I've been 'lurking' on some blogs for a while now, waiting for my chance to speak. And your current post has definitely inspired me to speak. I believe that what you do in life is 5% talent and 95% perseverance and hard work. Without that 5%, though, you're stuck and you're not going to love what you do without it. I definitely believe I'm talented. I'm still learning, though and working hard. And I so do love to sew. It's my passion in life. Thank you for the inspiring post, it'll keep me going for a few more days.

  10. I need inspiration. I will leave a piece of fabric sitting where I can see it until it "tells me what it wants to be". I'll see a darling pattern and let it sit near my stove, so I can contemplate just the right fabric for it. I'll make a skirt from some wild pattern, then select a minor color from the pattern to make just the right top - the right shape and size to go with that skirt, for example. I think all of these things come from the artist in me, much as taking 2 very different wallpapers and putting them together in the same room, connected with border, tied together with the drapes or cornices, comes from the artist. And it has to look good. If you don't feel and look good in it, will it ever leave the house? If it won't, why did you bother? I am inspired too by your talent, Carolyn. I love your use of colors, of patterns, of adapting the "new" and "modern" to fit and look great on a Mom! Thanks for making us all think about this!

  11. Reading has helped me learn to fix my toilet, lay tile and replace an outlet. But then, I think my sewing skills translate well to these more mundane tasks - think about measuring, figuring out how things work/go together and understanding diagrams. That doesn't necessarily make me skilled in these other areas but I think sewing for so long has given me the patience and understanding to figure things I know little about.

  12. I have motivation, heart and desire, emerging skills and maybe, just maybe, a bit of hidden talent. The artists inspire me to grow, whether or not I ever expect to join your ranks!

  13. Thanks for posting on my blog. YES I love Decorative Dressmaking, it gives me a lot to think about. For so long I anguished over finding some creative outlet. I must have searched for something new to try for several years when it came to me - why not start sewing again and that's what I did about a year ago.
    I too feel that talent comes from passion that God placed deep inside us. Sometimes we have to work hard to bring that passion up and out of that place. My sewing skills are not at the same level as my passion yet, but I am working on it getting there. But just thinking or reading about sewing excites me.

  14. Great post. I needed to read this today. Sewing is definitely an artform.

    You're awesome!

  15. I would like to think I am talented, but I think a lot of what I do is just practiced skill. I am no designer, but I do like to make small changes to what already exists in a pattern. Oxford American Dictionary defines talent as " a natural ability or skill" Well, how do you separate "natural" from "learned"?

  16. When I read your question, my first thought for myself was: skills! I think I can sew reasonably well, love to work on details and try to be a technical good seamstress. In no way I have designer talent and find it difficult to make a consistent wardrobe for example (thus a swap plan is difficult for me). But then I realised that there is a sewing talent I do have: seeing how to use patterns to create something else. My DD is happy about that one. I can see a rtw garment and adapt a pattern to look like it. Though, on second thought, that's maybe skills too.
    Never mind, I like sewing and enjoy being part of the internet sewing community.
    OT: thanks for your warm welcome at SG, I feel the same way.

  17. I pretty much agree with Tany. Sewing/art is a combination of talent and skill. An artist tries to aquire skill that meet the demands of her talent and her needs.
    My needs for clothing do not include dresses or suits, so I don't sew many clothes. My lifestyle is a jeans and boots one. Everything goes washer-dryer-floor heap. It gets washed in the same load as whatever was in my 11 yr old son's pockets. It has to get in and out of a car many times and stand up to exposure to dirt and horse snot. It has to go to the ranch in all weather.
    Instead, I EMBELLISH clothes. And that's fun! Someone asked me yesterday where I found that pattern. "No pattern, I made it up!"
    My skills are evolving to meet my needs and my talent.
    I think.

  18. I am going to have to say that I think this is my art form. My mother and dad were painters and they made amazing works of art, my husband and brother are talented painters as well. I can paint but it doesn't look like much but gimme a piece of good fabric and some tools, I can turn that into something amazing, and I don't even consider myself the best sew(ist)(er). I have a good eye for color and form and I think I can translate those things into sewing. Mick can write a beautiful song but he can't string an attractive necklace to save his life. There are certain garments that just take your breath away and that's less about construction techniques than it is about that thing that is indefinable which makes it art.

  19. Great reading this wonderful piece.


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