Monday, September 26, 2016

What Sewing Means to Me - Part One

For years sewists my age, sewed in isolation. Yes, there were neighborhood sewing groups like ASG, local fabric stores, and television shows but we predominantly sewed alone.  With the birth of the internet and sewing moving to many social platforms, we can see what our sewing sisters and brothers are doing around the world at any time. We carry it on our phones ~ in our pockets and purses ~ on our tablets, laptops and computers.

We can access sewing inspiration via Google, Blogs, Periscope, Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook.  You need an inspirational lift, an image, fabric choice, or just a dose of sewing, you can now get it 24/7 via the Internet.

I wanted to ask sewists that I admire what sewing means to them.  So I made a list of sewists I admire, sewists that inspire me and sewists whose blog posts and Instagram pics I eagerly anticipate. There are some popular sewing bloggers included in the next couple of posts but there are some sewists that aren't as well known also! 

I will admit that most of my sewing friends played along, thank you, thank you! However, my list is purely personal. This is what floats my boat sewing-wise AND I asked quite a few sewists with some choosing to opt out. So know that even though this process will include quite a few sewists not everyone I admire is included in these posts.

I thought it was fitting to start with some of my international sewing friends and asking them, "What Sewing Means to Me?"  Because even though we all love this craft, we all have specific reasons that drive us to create. This series of posts is starting with their thoughts, so grab a drink and settle in because this post is quite long! 

Let's see what these amazing sewists have to say ~

Top Row: Rachel of House of Pinheiro, Liz from SewBusyLizzy, Manju from SewManju
Middle Row: Carolyn-Handmade by Carolyn, Meg-Cookin' & Craftin', Sasha-Secondo Piano
Bottom Row: Lara of Thornberry, Barbara of sewing on the edge, Tany of Couture et Tricot

Starting with my Canadian Neighbor ~ Barbara Emodi who blogs at Sewing on the Edge and via her Instagram Account

"Sewing is my core activity and has been since I was eight. It is closer to who I am than anything but maybe being a mother, and even then it's pretty close and probably sort of mixed up as one identity. If you know me, you know I sew. When life gets tricky I sew so I can feel like myself again.  When life gets lucky I sew because usually you need something new to wear for that. I can sew in my sleep and it always feels new to me. I don't really know why I sew and I don't need to figure that out. I just know I will never stop sewing."

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Moving across the ocean let's hear what Rachel Pinheiro from London has to say.  She blogs at House of Pinhero, Instagram: houseofpinheiro and her Twitter account is: HouseOFpinheiro. Here's what Rachel has to say ~

"A creative outlet. I'm a creative and energetic person by nature.  Sewing is an outlet that found its way into my life by chance. I always loved fashion but discovered sewing later in life. I feel inspired mainly from my own closet and lifestyle. I have an appreciation for interesting cuts and designs and to have the ability to create whatever comes to my mind is super empowering."

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Another sewist from England is Manju. She blogs at SewManju and here is her Instagram account, sewmanju. Her thoughts are ~

"I left a busy career in the pharmaceutical field to become a stay at home mum 4 years ago. Since then, sewing has challenged me mentally, given me something to focus on aside from my family and home life, given me goals and aspirations and helped me develop my own sense of style and fashion in a way simply buying RTW never could. As a woman with curves, sewing has empowered me to make clothes that I like to wear that fit me the way that I would like them to. Additionally, I have met so many wonderful people through reading (and writing my own) sewing blogs, social media and even in real life. I feel very fortunate to have discovered and developed a passion for this wonderful hobby!"

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From Portugal, we have Teresa Leite who blogs at Couture et Tricot.  Since we all know her as Tany, here are her thoughts ~

This is the first word that comes to mind when I think about sewing: I love making my own garments; it's something that makes me whole and defines my being. When I talk about sewing my eyes sparkle and my face opens up.

Personal Growth: 

I started sewing when I was eleven, and my sewing skills have grown along with me and have accompanied me throughout all stages of my life; sewing has become a huge part of my identity and contributes to my awareness, besides giving me an enormous sense of achievement.


Sewing gives me a purpose when defining my own goals and then setting a clear path towards them; I enjoy every step of the way.


It wasn't until I started blogging and connecting with like-minded people from all over the world that I felt that I really belonged. Some of those friendships have made me expand my knowledge and also have made me a better person.


I really believe that knowledge should be available to anyone who seeks it. I love sharing what I do and when someone reaches out and says I've inspired her or him to sew and/or improve their sewing abilities, it makes my heart sing.

Tany's social media spots are: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and her second blog, Tany et La Mode.

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Moving further along the European continent to Italy specifically, we have Sasha Werner. Sasha is a new find but an exciting sewist to follow and she says ~

"For me sewing is the expression of a maker attitude of mind. There is no better feeling than the rush of joy and pride making something with your own two hands gives you; realising you do not feel mystified and thwarted by your own possessions. And if fashion shouldn't be a tool for conformity but a means to challenge the status quo, what better way than by making your own fashion, your own clothes. Besides it's creative and fun!"

Sasha's social media spots are her blog, Secondo Piano and Instagram.

The last few bloggers are from Australia and Southeast Asia.

First up is Lara Finlayson from Australia and this is what Lara feels ~

"It means colour, creativity, community, sanity, a sense of achievement, and a measurable result for my efforts. It means clothes that fit me, in styles that I like. It means smiles from my daughters when I sew them the perfect dress. It means time to decompress, to relax, to learn, to apply my knowledge, and to just be me. It also means a very large sewing stash!"

Lara can be found here at her blog, Thornberry.  She does have an Instagram account but it's private, so you have to make a request to see her pics. Search @thornberrylara on Instagram if you're interested.

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My sewing sister in craft and name is next ~ Carolyn Smith from Handmade by Carolyn, tells us what it means to her:

"I've been sewing my own clothes for over 40 years and nowadays I no longer wear any ready to wear clothing at all, so, obviously sewing has become a huge and very important part of my life! I now make everything: sewing all of my clothing, underwear and tights; knitting my own socks, scarves, gloves and sweaters, and just this year I started making shoes too. Now I'm undergoing a personal experiment of 1 year of wearing only things that are 100% handmade by me, and excluding anything not made by myself.  It's been pretty challenging! However, sewing is my number one love!  For the technical and detail-oriented amongst us; it satisfies the need to solve a puzzle, requiring patience and attention to precision...for lovers of fashion; it's the quickest and easiest and most fun way to express your personality, your individuality and your creativity as a form of artistic self-expression."

You can see Carolyn's makes on her blog and her Instagram account.

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Also from Australia, Liz from SewBusyLizzy says ~

"As my sewing journey continues, what 'sewing means to me' shifts and changes with my growing skills - and the endless evolving juggle of work, family life and being passionate about my hobby.

Initially, sewing was about the joy in creating garments I could wear. However what I love most now is when I sew all the things that compete for my physical time and 'head space', simply fall away.

The creativity, problem solving and physical work of sewing take over and the 'busyness' of my life falls away.  There is just me, fabric, thread and a sewing machine.

And for me that's the magic of sewing, the 'space' it provides me to create outside the worries of the world."

Liz's social media sites are Twitter, Instagram and her Blog.

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The last international blogger I want to feature is new to me but I love, love, love the garments she's been creating and sharing on Instagram. It's Meg McCarthy who blogs at Cookin' and Craftin'.  Here are Meg's thoughts ~

"To me, sewing is fulfilling, freeing and fun.  I love that satisfying feeling I get when I've made something both beautiful and useful.  Wearing things I've sewn for myself and seeing loved ones wearing garments I've made for them is delightfully rewarding.  I also love the freedom sewing gives me: the freedom to make whatever I dream up and have it be in my size, my colors, my style.  I'm no longer limited to wearing what's available in stores...But most importantly, sewing is fun!!!"

Meg's social connects are her blog and an Instagram account.

Finally, I know this was a long post and if you made it to the end I appreciate it. There will be two more posts of sewists saying "What sewing means to them." Please feel free to leave your own comments here and on future posts, I will be featuring a few of them on my final post for National Sewing Month!


  1. What a great post. BTW, Lara is from Australia :) So glad to see so many Aussie sisters. And a couple of new ones for me.

  2. Thanks for asking me to join this, Carolyn! I love reading everyone's perspective. What a fun celebration you've put together this month!!

    1. Meg - I'm honored that you were willing to participate! So happy that you've enjoyed the posts this month.

  3. Wonderful post. I always love to hear what motivates other sewers. And some of these are new to me, too, so new folks to follow their adventures.

  4. Great post. I loved reading everyone's motivation behind their craft.

  5. SO fun!!! I can't even believe this month is almost over...sheesh. Thank you ladies for sharing a bit of yourselves!!!!

  6. I started sewing at a young age. first I made a couple doll quilts from leftover scraps from Grandma's quilts. The Christmas after Mother passed, my sister and I spent many evenings in the Homemaking room at high school where the local teacher taught me how to make small felt stockings, hand sewn and decorated with sequins and beads. I made enough to decorate a whole tree and gave many away. Next it was Barbie doll clothes followed by making my own clothes. Cross, stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, quilting and now wool applique, rug hooking and crochet-- I've done them all. Now after retiring as a Home Economics teacher, I realize that it's not all about the end product. Its the process that calmed me and occupied my thoughts as a child. It's the occupation of my hands and focusing on one thing when my brain is being bombarded with thoughts and ideas.. It's the comforting feel of natural fibers and the rhythmic movement of the needle or hook that relaxes me. Finally, it's the simple repetitive patterns that allow me to focus on the one who knows me, who made me to be as I am and continues to reveal himself in my life for His plan and purpose. Thank you Lord for your gift. So, when you see my handwork or me wearing something I've made, just know that you have witnessed what God has given me to keep my sanity throughout the years.

    1. Sarah - thanks for sharing with us! I so understand what you mean about how comforting the feel of handling natural fibers is and how the whirl of my sewing machine as it works calms me.

  7. I enjoyed reading this post. Off to go look at some new-to-me bloggers.

  8. This is wonderful! I often wonder why I sew - I could afford to buy RTW, I often have sewing and fitting frustrations. But these posts sum it up. I would add that I still cherish the memories of my mother's sewing and how her work and skill kept me well clothed even though we didn't have much money when I was a kid.

  9. great post - you have put so much work into this series of posts - it is appreciated! so interesting.

    1. I'm glad you both have appreciated these posts. It was more a labor of ode to the artform that I love & adore so much!

  10. It's always interesting to hear another person's perspective on what sewing means to someone. Great post, Carolyn!

  11. From Creative Hormone Rush: Great post! I love the responses that describe the emotional component of the act of sewing: joy, sanity, the passion of creation, creation of a calm space, and the cares of the world falling away, and I hope you include a post delving into how one feels when actually sewing. Though the larger goals and benefits of wardrobe creation are great, it would be work, work, work, -- just another time-consuming and sometimes frustrating chore, -- if there weren't something compelling about doing the actual construction part. Doesn’t the meaning for each of us have an emotional component? Restful? Solitude? Private time? Going into a state of total Zen calm? Satisfaction from real-time problem solving as you sew? Even if you're superbly customizing a pattern or using wildly fun fabric, construction is work. Precision work. And, occasionally, bang-your-head-against-the-wall work. Yet why isn't sewing a just tiring, annoying chore? What’s the key kernel about the actual work of sewing that makes us voluntarily, even enthusiastically, devote so much time and energy to the doing of it? Of constructing a garment? Or, do many people secretly hate it but do anyway it for the potential positive results given by some of the responders in your post? Is it like being willing to pick up the poop because new puppies are fun? Or is it because there is some core positive reaction that makes us happy right when sewing?

  12. Talk about all around the world - this was a wonderful post!

  13. What a wonderful post! And I've been nodding my head in agreement while reading what each of the ladies had to say.

  14. This is AWESOME! I love to hear this! Our community is so necessary and relevant to the craft. A good of "social media"!

  15. Oh, how I enjoyed reading this post. I look forward to checking out the blogs of these sew sisters who are all new to me.

  16. Thanks for asking me to participate in this, Carolyn. It was both a pleasure and a honor! I'm also happy to meet other sewing like minded people all over the world.
    Hugs from Portugal!

    1. Tany - you inspire me soooooooo much that I was honored that you wanted to participate. So thank you, thank you, thank you!


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