why did you start sewing?

I first began sewing at home when I was a kid, where I had access to Mum’s sewing machine and her stash of patterns and fabrics – there is nothing like the raw materials to get inspired!  Like a lot of us I started with fabric scraps and a Barbie doll, and soon progressed to decent yardages and ‘real’ clothes. 

We lived in a rural community with no clothing stores, so as a fashion conscious teenager being able to sew was a definite advantage!  I used to love the days we would go to town and pick out some new patterns and fabrics from the local department store H&J’s.  I know this is why I am so fond of patterns from that era – I even recognise some of those classics online today! 

So why did I pursue sewing?  I really liked the process of creating things, but also being able to make garments no-one else had, bring my own designs to fruition, and create what I needed not what was proffered to me.  And these are the same reasons I still sew today.

I suppose I have to thank my mother for:

  1. letting me near her sewing machine in the first place
  2. letting me plunder cut up her fabric stash
  3. encouraging my creativity by buying more fabric and patterns
  4. lending me the overlocker when I left home for university so I could keep sewing
  5. buying a new overlocker for herself when she realised the old one wasn’t coming home… ! 

So for all the mothers out there – if you want your youngsters to learn to sew, my advice is to provide the environment by doing 1, 2, and 3, – 4 and 5 are entirely optional!

So that’s me – what inspired you to begin sewing?
Was it to mend something, copy something, or create something that you could not find in the shops? Was it to save money, to make garments that actually fit, or to express your creativity, your individuality?  I am sure there are many more reasons we all started sewing – what are yours?

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

14 thoughts on “why did you start sewing?

  1. …but now I know that handmade clothing can be more affordable or much more expensive than RTW. But for children who get a new wardrobe every 6 to 12 months, I think one should try and keep the figures low.


  2. Initially, I started sewing because we had to learn in school. I found that it was easy for me to do. Then I soon realized that my father could be much more easily convinced to buy me a piece of fabric or two, than to pay for an actual piece of clothing. A make-it-yourself clotheshorse was born.


  3. As a child, my task was to sew tailor's tacks on the garments my mum made me and my sister. As a mum, I sewed my daughter's dance costumes. Now I sew her and for myself and is quite addictive. I'm waiting on the day to sew for my grandchildren – it's a life's journey, from which I have learnt so much.


  4. My mom bought a used sewing machine when I was ten to see if any of us would be interested in sewing. (She bought a piano once for the same reason.) I made Barbie clothes, then a yellow rayon dress which I proudly wore to church.

    I can't imagine what a nightmare that dress must have looked. A lady in my church saw it and taught me to lower the presser foot before sewing (a revelation) and a few basics. Since then, no matter what I do, my life revolves around sewing. I've had jobs doing alterations, costuming, urban reconstruction, selling sewing machines, and now teaching.

    I'm thinking of buying my daughter a teeny little Janome for Christmas.


  5. I live in Japan and after giving birth to my daughter I could not find anything that fitted me! So I embraced sewing in 2008. Now that I'm back in my pre-pregnancy weight, I've found out that I wear Japanese L while I used to wear USA XS or European S. I still use my first Brother machine. It's a very basic machine with no stitch length that gives headache when sewing curved collar. 😀


  6. I haven't actually been sewing for all that long – a year and a half, maybe, and regularly only since the middle of the year (when I discovered sewing blogs…). I started out of a couple of the reasons you mentioned: I wanted a nice, 50s inspired circle skirt and petticoat, and couldn't find what I wanted at a halfway decent price – but I figured, it can't be all that difficult. A friend lent me her machine and I got to work, mostly following instinct, and ended up with something actually wearable. I guess I must have remembered some of what we learned in home ed class in 5th grade… 🙂


  7. When I was a kid back in the 60's, I like yourself sewed Barbie doll clothes because my mother would never buy me any but she allowed me to use her Husqvarna treadle machine and leftover fabric scraps to make my own. Those days in primary school we used to have sewing classes on friday afternoons with a Mrs Cooper, this was always one of my favourite subjects. I soon progressed to sewing my first dress from a simple baby doll style pattern which we ordered from a newspaper for a few cents and a pink material from mum's fabric stash. I just followed the instructions and voila a dressmaker was born.


  8. I started sewing so I could actually have clothes that fit me. At 12 years I weighed 60 pounds and was the size of a small child. Any article that fit me was designed for a 7 year old. I HATED my childish clothes especially since all my friends were starting to wear the Carnaby Street look. My mother didn't sew, but had been watching me craft dolly clothes by hand for years. My parents surprised me with a sewing machine on my 12th Christmas, I was deliriously happy! Mother never denied me a trip to the fabric shop. I'll never forget that Christmas vacation, diligently reading the manual, trying to get my first skirt just right. I went back to school with several new dresses, I was so proud! Thanks for letting me relive that wonderful memory.


  9. Even as a young child I was crazy for clothes, shopping with my Mom was one of my favorite activities. I had a Great Aunt Jo who sewed for us and I admired her so much, one time she made herself a cashmere coat. Then and there I decided I wanted to learn to sew – even if it took me years to get to her level. By college I was making all my clothes and sewing for friends. Once I moved into the corporate world I made all my suits and never ever buy any clothes – what fun would that be?
    Now I teach others and really enjoy it. There were definitely some hideous creations along the way but that is part of learning anything.
    A great skill and craft I try to pass on to others.


  10. Like yourself, I was lucky enough to have a mum who allowed me to use her sewing machine when I was a child. Then, as an adult, I was lucky enough to get a free sewing machine from Freecycle when I wanted to re-explore my draw to sewing. Thank goodness for mums and little old women getting rid of their old sewing machines!


  11. Olá, ainda estou aprendendo a costurar, mas posso dizer que não dispunha de recursos financeiros para vestir bem ao meu bebê, tendo em vista que as rouas de crianças são tão caras, depois me empolguei e acabei costurando para mim também. Sorte a sua que teve uma mãe criativa e que te insentivou a aprender.


    Eilane – Brasil

    Hello, I'm still learning to sew, but I can say that it lacked funds to dress up my baby in order that the Rouas children are so expensive, then I got excited and ended up sewing for me too. Lucky you that had a creative mother and calling upon you to learn.


    Eilan – Brazil

    Hello, I'm still learning to sew, but I can say that it lacked funds to dress up my baby in order that the Rouas children are so expensive, then I got excited and ended up sewing for me too. Lucky you that had a creative mother and calling upon you to learn.


    Eilane – Brazil


  12. My mother did encourage me via 1 & 2, and she did buy me a machine when I moved out of our hometown, mostly so that I would give back her vintage Pfaff. I always loved making things, but for a long time the things I wanted to make weren't everyday clothing—a lot of costuming, especially dance costuming. It's only in the last year or so that the bug to produce “everyday” clothes has really bitten. I'm liking it, though, even if my skillz are still pretty lacking 🙂


  13. I started sewing in the summer before tenth grade. My mom only really knew how to sew repairs or buttons on, and only ever did those out of necessity. So when I wanted to make my own Halloween costume for tenth grade, she told me I should ask my Aunt Mary for help. The first items I sewed were over the course of two weeks across country with my aunt on a regular trip to visit the family. She taught me how to use patterns and sew with a machine, but I still am not a fan of putting sleeves into garments!

    That's also the summer that I learned normal patterns don't fit my broad shoulders too well, which has helped me want to develop my skills further so that I can make clothes that fit me properly!


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