A few mornings ago, I was on the train, commuting, listening to music and sewing part of the strap back onto my backpack. And I began to notice something. People were looking at what I was doing. And I carried on with what I was doing, as if sewing with needle and thread on a moving train was a completely normal thing to do at 5am in the morning. But the more the train filled with commuters, the more people were looking up and trying to work out what I was doing. Until a lady sitting across from me leaned over and said to me “I wish I knew how to sew”. And I realised something. In an increasingly mass market, fast fashion world, the skill of sewing – particularly sewing by hand – is becoming a lost art. I believe it’s an important skill.
1. It saves money, and makes you think twice about clothing purchases
Once you learn how to sew your own clothing, shopping for clothes (and bags) becomes trying to work out how they’re made, and instead of purchasing clothing, you start thinking “I could make that”. And then you go home full of ideas for outfits you could sew.
2. You can completely customise your clothing collection
Don’t like that top in pink? Green’s more your colour? Use an existing pattern, or create your own, and make it exactly the way you’d like. Sewing gives you the ability to conjure up outfits from your dreams and inspirations.
3. It helps you develop your own sense of style
Sewing can be a great way to copy something you’ve seen in a shop, for a fraction of the cost, but it can also help you to learn the way that certain shapes fit on you, discover what flatters your own shape, and what colours make you look great. Over time, you’ll also end up with a strong individual style, completely of your own making.
4. It can save you from embarrassing moments
Case in point, I was about to go out one morning, and things felt a bit breezy. Realising there were no windows or doors open, I began to look for where the breeze was coming from. And quickly discovered that I’d split my pants, right through the crotch area. So I checked nobody was awake, whipped off said pants, stitched up the split seam by hand, put the pants back on, and went out.
5. It’s a rewarding skill that allows you to help people
Repairing holes or torn seams, replacing broken zippers, hemming pants and skirts, the list goes on. I’ve never seen bigger smiles than when I was able to help someone through sewing. Whether it’s repairing a much-loved soft toy, or a piece of clothing for someone, or hemming pants for a job interview that ends with the person getting the job, it’s a rewarding skill to have.
6. Sewing doesn’t require an internet connection
It’s a practical skill, that uses your hands, it’s creative, and you can do it wherever you are. If the power goes out, you can turn on your phone’s torch (or light a few candles), and keep working on your sewing project. It allows you to unplug for a while, and in a world where our internet access and social media status updates go with us everywhere, unplugging gives your mind a chance to rest from the screen and reboot.
7. You can teach it to others, and, in turn, empower them with an important life skill
There’s something beautiful about a skill being passed on to others, and then seeing lives change as a result. Sewing has helped people in remote parts of the world to make a living, people who can’t afford to buy new outfits to make their own, and given them a skill that they can then teach to people that they know and care about. Knowledge is power.
8. Sewing can be quite a worthwhile business venture
Making alterations, designing custom clothing, teaching workshops, creating online courses, or a YouTube channel – these are just some of the things that can allow you to make money from your sewing. My best advice if you’re wanting to take this forward, is to make sure your sewing skills are top-notch, if it means you’ve got to study up on fashion design, entrepreneurship, or how to run a small business, do it. Education has the power to change lives.
9. If by any chance the zombie apocalypse occurs, you’ll have an extremely valuable talent
You can sew, right? That means you can fix things. You’ll be the go-to person for repairing clothing and bags, and if anyone gets an injury that needs stitches, you’ll be able to do it. You might even save lives. Provided you’re not squeamish, of course.
10. It’s a relaxing and calming skill to have
One of the most wonderful things about sewing, is that it’s the sort of thing a person can get lost in for hours. The repetitive nature of hand sewing in particular, relaxes and calms the mind, and is an excellent stress reliever.
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