Thursday, January 3, 2013

Learning Sewing Skills

     Why learn to sew when seemingly anything desired can be purchased at a store? The same question can be asked regarding meal preparation. Why put forth the effort of planning and cooking meals when there are prepared foods available in stores and restaurants? Convenience isn't everything! Neither is being a total consumer! Skills such as sewing and cooking are life skills that are important because their usefulness spans times of want and plenty.

     One of my greatest senses of accomplishments has been in learning to work and produce with my own hands. In fact, part of my definition of homemaking incorporates "the home to be a ... productive environment." Being a gross consumer within the home is rather counterproductive. Paycheck in, paycheck out. So, how do I get myself from living this way? One way is to learn how to work with my own hands to produce goods instead of just consuming them. When I practice simple sewing skills like sewing on a button, hemming, sewing a straight stitch, and several others, I am able to extend the wear of my clothing and create cloth items for my home that are reusable. I'm also able to alter purchased pieces myself so they will fit better, and thereby save myself the need to turn to expensive brands for alteration shops for tailoring. 

    A few other benefits to learning basic sewing skills include:
  • Resourcefulness- There are lots of ways to repurpose what you already have instead of buying something new. For instance, a sheet can become a tablecloth, shower curtain, or window curtain.
  • Saves money- Knowing how to alter or repair clothing reduces the need for repetitive purchases. A flaw doesn't render the item immediately unwearable. In fact, sometimes you can find pieces at a store sold at a significant discount that weren't make perfectly but can be fixed.
  • Appropriate fit- Every body type is different and so finding something that will fit perfectly can be a challenge to say the least. Depending on the construction of the item, it may be such a that with a little bit of alteration you can get it to be a more appropriate fit for your body type. By doing the work yourself, you can also save a lot of money by avoiding the expensive tailor or alteration shop.
  • Unique pieces- The ability to create or refashion a piece of material means you can have a look that is uniquely you. Fabric colors and patterns are so vibrant and well..awesome that it's hard to not imagine all the fun and creative uses for them. Your creation will be unlike anyone else's. Go with it!
  • Personalized home furnishings- Even simple home furnishings can be easily sewn. Pillow covers, cloth napkins, curtain etc. are wonderful ways to add personality to your home, not to mention do so more affordably. 
  • Calming- I find that working on a piece of embroidery or other hand needlework can be a calming way to end the day. It develops patience, and that is always a quality worthy of work!
  • Bless others- Did you know that there are organizations that will take things like home sewn pillowcase dresses and menstrual pads to give to little girls in need elsewhere in the world? You don't have to be an experienced seamstress to give in this manner!
  • Self-reliance- I appreciate the notion of learning to do for myself and becoming less dependent on someone or something else to care for my needs. My home and family can be dressed regardless of our level of resources. 
    There are certainly more aspects to learning basic sewing skills than just the ones mentioned above. My inspiration for sewing has developed from my own natural creativity and from my Grandmom. She is one incredibly capable woman at the sewing machine! Granted, she has sewn since she was able. She has had the privilege of living during a time in which clothing and elements of home decor were the work of her hands. She tried to teach me to sew a skirt one summer and her expertise quickly overwhelmed me. What is second nature to her is foreign to me. I'm inspired by her capability and resourcefulness to create or reuse items to meet her needs. I also admire the little touches in her home that she's created that added such warmth and welcome. This is a woman who wastes not, and wants not. She posses the kinds of skills that have assisted her in life at meeting her needs and the needs of others. She has then taught her daughters to do the same. I've delighted in seeing them make scrubs, shower curtains, window curtains and other pieces for themselves or their homes. Skills like sewing, are those that have been deemed a thing of the past and unnecessary now, but are still immensely valuable. 


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