In many ways, sewing has become a lost art. A generation or two ago, a sewing machine was a household essential. It was common for women to make handmade garments, both for themselves and for their kids. Cotton feed sacks were made into dresses. Jackets tailored. Zippers fixed. Work pants patched. It seemed everyone could at least darn a sock, hem a skirt, or mend an armhole. Textiles were never wasted, but creatively upcycled into something functional for the family. There was a spirit of resourcefulness; a commitment to long-lasting items, a deep understanding of the hard work needed to sew clothes, and a joy that overflowed out of the process.
Creating your own clothing can feel like a way of the past. Home sewing is no longer the norm. In this often chaotic world fueled by online shopping and instant gratification, there is little room left for making. We have constant access to so many cheaply made clothes. We buy and buy and buy, without much thought given to the hands that made it. We are disconnected from the makers; therefore, disconnected from the human stories behind the clothes. Perhaps the most disheartening, we are missing out on the joy that comes from working with our hands.
As more people become aware of this gap between maker and wearer, a movement toward slow fashion has begun. There is a resurgence of mending, altering, and reusing textiles. There are more people interested in creating their own garments tailored to fit their bodies. More people learning to sew, knit, weave, crochet, quilt, and hand-stitch. More people slowing down and enjoying the process.
I like to call it a return to making.
Maybe you have been part of this change? From DIY workshops to online sewing communities to the rise of ethical fashion brands, more women are interested in sewing again. They are setting down their phones and picking up a pair of shears. They are dusting off the cobwebs on grandma’s sewing machine, trading screen time for creative time.
So. I’m wondering, how would your life change if you learned to sew this year? Or if you picked it up again?
Over the past few years, I have committed to sewing more of my own clothing, which sounds silly coming from a professional seamstress, but I have intentionally carved out the time. I have focused on making quality pieces that function well in my wardrobe.
On the practical side, sewing my own clothes has saved me money, made me money, and improved my skills. More importantly, it has inspired me to take care of the items I own, to be grateful for what I have, and to appreciate the time in my studio when my hands are busy at work, just as other women around the world are doing the same. A return to making has created a deeper connection to the people.
Have you dropped the phone in exchange for shears?
Have you joined the movement?
Tell me your ‘return to making’ story in the comments!