Why do we sew?

I wrote this for my journalism course, and thought some of you may find it interesting, so here goes…

Why has sewing become so popular?

It’s no secret that the population’s love for sewing is on the rise. But where did the trend come from? Why are more people than ever now sewing?

Fulfilment/Pride

I carried out a survey on people who sew, simply asking why they sew. The most common answer was the pride that comes with it; the fulfilment gained through making something useable/wearable from scratch. You take a 2D piece of fabric, maybe a zip and a few buttons, and in a few hours you have something 3D that can be worn! There’s no need to find the perfect outfit on the High Street; you can make it yourself. You can’t buy pride; there’s no better feeling than walking into a party wearing a dress you made yourself, with no fear that someone else will be wearing the same.

[I drew a fancy pie chart to show the results of the survey, but I can’t upload it here 😦 ]

Creativity

The second most popular answer in my survey was “I am naturally a creative person.” I don’t know if we as a population are getting more creative but I think we do crave fun in our otherwise mundane lives and we discovered that being creative and sewing is fun!

Therapy

Sewing being relaxing and therapeutic was the third most popular answer in my survey. Sewing takes a lot of concentration; your mind cannot wander when you’re concentrating on where to pierce the needle and which direction to place pattern pieces. It also has social benefits; in teaching sewing, I have come across people who otherwise rarely get out the house, and suffer from various mental health issues. They have told me that their health and well-being has improved as a result of coming to the classes. Indeed, in the sewing community it’s often heard that sewing is therapy.

P1070416Financial benefits

Several other popular answers to the survey were based around money; either making it or saving it.

The recession is to blame for a lot of cut-backs; people became wiser and more careful with money. They stopped buying luxury items – and thought about making them themselves. If you ignore the sometimes high cost of fabric, there is money to be saved by making clothing, home accessories and gifts yourself. If you get clever with upcycling and refashioning unloved textiles, you can create something new from nothing. I’m sure we’re all aware of the influence television has on us; and indeed, programmes such as Superscrimpers, Dawn O’Porter’s This Old Thing, and Kirstie Allsopp’s numerous craft related programmes have certainly seemed to educate the nation on saving money through crafting. It seems that, gradually, the throwaway (or ‘fast fashion’) lifestyle that we have come to live in is changing. We are thinking more about how clothes are made; where they come from; how long we can wear them for.

The Great British Sewing Bee

Since the first series aired in 2013, the sewing equivalent to The Great British Bake Off has been a common explanation to the rise in people learning to sew. In April 2013, The Telegraph reported that sales of a bias binding maker that was featured on the programme were up a massive 230% on the previous week.

Viewers of the final episodes of the show rose between the three series; the second series’ final episode gained almost 200,000 more viewers than the first final did – and the figure continued to grow by the end of series three; this final gained almost 400,000 more viewers than the final of the second series did. This is clear proof that more and more people are joining in the sewing revolution. The fourth series has just begun, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ratings continue to sour.

So why do you sew? Is there a reason that I haven’t mentioned?

Beth x

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26 thoughts on “Why do we sew?

  1. I often get asked why I sew. Friends and strangers are mystified that I’d go to the trouble and expense of making something you can pick up cheaply on the high street. So I tell them that I enjoy creating something tangible – my day job is all emails and virtual correspondence. It’s so satisfying to create something you can see and touch for a change.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the mental challenge of working out how something is made. And the challenge of getting a really good fit. This is a good distraction from the rest of my life. I am always seeking perfection, and while I rarely get there this is what drives me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are many reasons I sew – I like learning new skills (and there are so many to learn in sewing), and having something lasting to show for my hobby. I also like getting compliments, so that’s a factor too. But really, it’s an enabler for my fabric habit 😉

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    • Well yes if you like buying fabric it is handy to know what to do with it! Having something lasting is a good point – better than baking cakes that last 2 minutes! 😀

      Like

  4. Such a great idea for an article! Hope it does/did well in the journalism course. 🙂 I do it for the creativity mostly. Growing up, there were plenty of times that I wanted clothes that just didn’t exist. (Is it awful to admit that most of my clothes in middle school came from medieval costume patterns that my mom and I made, and that I earned the nickname “Madam Medieval”?) Back then, it let me have the clothes that I wanted. Now, sometimes it’s out of practicality (because who can afford a $500 Samus costume?) but mostly still for the sake of creativity and the pride that comes with making something cool. It’s fun to have someone ask where something came from and be able to say that I made it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sewing is brilliant for individual and unique people like yourself, Madam Medieval! How awesome to wear clothes made from such costume patterns to school! Who wants to blend in with the crowd? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t sew as much as I’d like but my nan was a dressmaker in her hay day and that is something I’ve always felt really proud of. It’s no wonder that she passed it on. My dad does all the sewing at home and I still send him stuff to take up even though
    I moved out! And my Aunty is a really good knitter. I am beginning to understand how I became addicted to crocheting but would love to do more projects that involve the machine there are so many pretty fabrics these days 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We never had a television growing up, so entertained ourselves in other ways. Apart from the big outdoors, I loved to make things – I learnt to sew, knit and crochet aged about five and haven’t stopped since.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I sew for all the reasons you mention above, but also as a very personal connection to history. For me, there is nothing like sewing from a vintage pattern that some other woman touched and created with to bring back to life my own piece of the past. Even better when sewn listening to music of the era.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s brilliant. I drove past a truck stuffed with bags of preloved clothing outside one of those recycling points the other day. It made me sad. 😦 All this fast fashion is terrible. We need more people like you!

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  8. I’m also sewing for ethical reasons. I Fricking hate the conditions so many people are working in just to produce cheap tops for people in the west who have more clothes than they could ever need. I try when I buy clothes to stick to the ones that have good ish (none of them are great) ratings but really the best way to reduce my footprint is to reduce the number of clothes I buy and make more myself. Good blog post!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. That’s an interesting post, I’ve been sewing 3 years now and before that it never occured to me that sewing could be my hobby one day and be so obsessive about it, I sew because I like to create and also because it’s therapeutic! I don’t know if I’ll ever stop sewing but at the moment I can’t imagine that happen!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old and my mom showed me how to make my doll dresses so the seams didn’t show. I had been making them inside out. But still I was sewing. There was a time when sewing fell out of popularity. I’m almost 80 and I still love it. Quilting, sewing, crafts, purses. Whatever hits my fancy. With lots of grandchildren and now their children, there is always something to sew for someone. One of the greatest compliments I think I’ve ever gotten was when one of my granddaughters thanked me for teaching she and her sister how to sew. I was so touched by that. It’s lovely to see a tradition carried on by these precious grandchildren.

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