Sewing and Story
One of my goals for the year is to revive this blog, both as a way to practice writing and as a way to better contribute to the sewing community. I recently began listening to the Love to Sew podcast and the stories the shared on their Sewing Makes You Love Yourself episode gave me the inspiration to write that I was looking for.
So, to introduce myself: my name is Sarah. In my head, this is what I look like:
And things haven't changed much since that photo was taken. I still primarily wear jeans and t-shirts, my hair is still cut in a bob, and I've been recently considering buying another pair of Doc Martens. Here is a more recent photo:
Twenty plus years later I am married, a mother of three pre-teen/young teens, the office admin at a local church, and someone who appreciates sewing for its blend of puzzle solving and creative expression.
I learned to sew from my mother and from countless sewing bloggers around the world. I began with sewing clothing, then drifted to crafty sewing for a number of years before returning to clothing and costumes. I started this blog back in 2006, but the sewing focus came after my mother's death in 2009. Back then, I was active on PatternReview.com and followed maybe 20 blogs. (I remember Gertie before she had a book deal!) Many of those bloggers are still writing about and sharing their creative endeavors and I am incredibly thankful for Erin, Summerset, Renee, Trina, Carolyn, Peter, Dawn, Carolyn, Shams, Steph, Ann, Karen, Elaine, and Ms. Hunting Creek.
From those bloggers I learned that there are reasons why some sewing projects don't work out, that sometimes a little time away from a project will restore your love for it, that there are a few simple practices that will make all of your projects turn out better, that you can reinvent yourself, and that you can make clothes that make you feel good. I was also constantly reminded by these (extra) ordinary humans that life is full of ups and downs: illnesses, break-ups, disorienting moves, tantrums, career switches, etc; but that sewing (and creative endeavors more generally) makes things better.
I have come to understand that sewing is a point of intersection. As Jasika recently wrote and as the Sewcialists often demonstrate, we cannot separate our craft from all the other significant aspects of our lives. Specifically for me, sewing is a physical expression of my feminism, a source of life-long learning, a way to tell a story, an act of resistance, and above all, a great gift. So many of us have grown up believing that there was something wrong with our bodies - and maybe something wrong with us if we were not interested in changing our bodies to match the ideal.
Some folks may argue that studying proportion, color theory, and body shape simply capitulates to society's norms. I believe that one must understand the rules before breaking them. When we know why certain fabrics/shapes/prints/colors/garments have certain rules or associations, we can intelligently and mindfully choose something different for ourselves. And that choice is a great gift; a gift of feeling good in our clothes.