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Why do you sew ?

ctirish | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi, I am trying to write some text for a website on sewing and I wanted to include why people sew today? I searched the internet and then I realized the best place for information would be here at Gatherings. So, If you could tell me why you sew, I would really appreciate it. Thank you, jane


  1. sewchris703 | | #1

    Because I have to just like I have to breathe.


  2. GailAnn | | #2

    Same two reasons I learned to sew in 1964:

    1 - I can't afford the clothes I want.

    2 - I don't want the clothes I can afford.

    In 2008, however, there is a 3rd reason:  Everything in the shops, the malls, the catalogues, and on line, all looks alike.........  I call it: "Disposable Casual".

    My complaint. the same as everyone elses, fewer and fewer Fine Fabric Stores.  Gail

  3. Crazy K | | #3

    Over the years I have had many different reasons for sewing........first was out of necessity because as one other posted said, I couldn't afford the clothes I liked and I didn't like those I could afford. 

    The next stage of my life was early marriage with no money for the maternity clothes I found I needed!  The next stage was also out of necessity......sewing items for my kids.....many of them being Christmas gifts, etc. and having fun sewing for the daughter that I finally got after 3 boys!

    Now on to the present stage.........new husband (well, 20 years now....if you can call that NEW!), more spendable income but a blended family of 9 kids and 20 grands.  I sew for fun mostly..........lots of things for the grands, and throw in a few home dec. items,  things for DH and myself and now that I'm retired, I even do some sewing for charity........baby items and warm things for the homeless.

    Guess that about sums it up.........and perhaps a little of the poster that said 'because I have to'..........my theme is "my soul is fed by needle and thread".............


  4. katina | | #4

    I echo all the reasons given so far, but also because I'm picky. I like finely made clothes, even though most of my garments are casual now; I like to be different, not in a look-at-me way, but in my own individual style; I like to use ethnic fabrics, which are not always found in ready-to-wear; I like to use unusual fastenings, buttons etc, so I'll make an item to showcase these; I like my clothes to last, be timeless, so I'm not driven by fashion trends. I love to sew for my small family and my friends; I love to make unusual items as gifts. My husband buys off the peg, but he loves the linen Nehru-style shirts I make for him. And finally, I just love it!


  5. tricone | | #5

    I sew because
    * The satisfaction of making something and seeing the creative results is a fantastic feeling. Its an opportunity to put my own creativity on my clothing. Ie nice buttons, zips etc

    * I am a 5ft2" and a large lady!!I have found it impossible to find clothes that fit properly in shops. So its easier to make clothes that fit properly than wearing ill fitted clothing from "big clothes shops".

    * An energy booster when im feeling down.

    I could go on and on. But hope this helps .

  6. LindaG | | #6

    In addition to the reasons noted above, I sew because:

    1. Something is done when I say it's done (unlike projects at work)
    2. clothing expresses something about me, both artistic and a different view of the world
    3. I want a physical representation of how I spent my time. Reading a book is also very satisfying but its pleasures are in the mind.

  7. jatman | | #7

    Hi Jane!

    I sew because after having a career in accounting I wanted a creative way to express myself that was also practical (ever the accountant!).  Creativity in accounting is frowned upon!


    1. sewchris703 | | #13

      LOL I read your post to my dd. As a recent graduate in accounting, she found your post amusing (in a good way).Chris

      1. jatman | | #14

        I'm always glad to provide some entertainment!  Hope your dd enjoys her accounting degree.


        1. sewchris703 | | #30

          She graduated last month but hasn't found a job yet. Her goal is to get her CPA and possibly her Master's. In the mean time, she has taken up knitting.Chris

  8. ctirish | | #8

    Thank you so much for your help. I sew for many of the same reasons, now if I could finish some of them it would be great. Thank you again, jane

  9. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #9

    My reasons for sewing echo these other fine ladies reasons, however, I have one other. I hated spending good money on poor quality. I could make better clothing for dollar value. $80.00 worth of fabric makes a much finer dress than an $80.00 dress. Cathy

    1. GailAnn | | #10

      Amen!  Well said.

  10. sewelegant | | #11

    Why do I sew? Let me count the ways!  It makes me feel good to be able to use the things I craft.  There is such satisfaction in perfecting my techniques and I never get enough of reading magazines and books about sewing.  Or talking about it with another enthusiast.  I could spend hours in a fabric shop and I have always loved poring over the pattern books.  I made almost everything I wore ever since high school when I found I could make a skirt or blouse for so much less than I could purchase it.  When I did start working and had the money to buy clothes I found I could never find the fit I enjoyed in my own garments so kept on sewing, but with more elegant fabrics.  I too am short with a matronly figure so my greatest disappointment is that I can no longer figure out how to fit myself to my satisfaction and spend a lot of time in A line or patio dresses.   RA has limited the hand sewing I enjoyed so much, but I still spend hours in my sewing room working it out! 

  11. Ralphetta | | #12

    I sew mainly for 3 reasons. First, I like to create and it is a means to an end. Second, I've never had a lot of money to spend on clothes and felt that I could make something a lot more flattering and unique for the small amount I could afford. Third, like most people, (whether they realize it or not), almost any RTW I buy looks better with some tweaking. Most nonsewers wear ill-fitting clothes or pay someone to alter them.

  12. meg | | #15

    I sew (and quilt) because it's a creative outlet for me, as well as most of the other reasons already posted.

    A woman I know asked me if I sewed my clothes because it would garner praise and attention from others... But really, my tastes are more expensive than I can afford in RTW.

    1. katina | | #16

      That seems a very odd question to ask you!

  13. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #17

    Bingo! That is exactly one reason I sew, only I never really realized it . It is the puzzle and challenge of it. Cathy

    1. User avater
      Dianna | | #18

      Have you ever participated in a "alteration on steroids" exercise?  I helped out with the Cinderella Affair in Tempe Arizona.  Two days and a long line of high school jrs and srs needing hems, straps adjusted, etc.  Most fun was inserting waist stays into 2 dresses and a three button thing-majiggy that ate up extra strappage (convoluted dress with multiple straps across the back).  I'm looking forward to next year.


      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #19

        Wow, that would have been an amazing experience. No, but I have done 3 proms for my daughters, and ended up doing a few minor fixes in a hurry to their friends dresses at the last minute, shortening straps. I am the makeup Mom at these things, helping/doing the girls makeup. That is really fun. I just loved making the girls look really pretty and feel like princesses. Cathy

      2. ottonpantherbaby | | #32

        I love to wear what I create and it a way to show an a express of love. You put your heart and soul into a garment you made someone. It also can be passed done in the family to future generations ex christening gown.

        Thank You

        Terry Schock

    2. starzoe | | #20

      Ah yes, the challenge - it is something that I would put at the top of my list of why to sew. I love to try different techniques and design features, rarely sew from a pattern, almost without exception alter anything I buy in RTW. Have to admit though that once in a while I can't resist an idea and end up with something I can't or wouldn't wear even if it is a success. Luckily I have friends who stand in line for these one-of-a-kind productions.

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #21

        I have gotten lazy over the last dozen years, and mostly sew from patterns, but cannot leave them alone. I have to change something on them, or use a fabric that is not one of the recommended ones. My shape changes so often cause of the meds I'm on, even my fav patterns have to be mucked with every time I make them. I send my OOPs garments to the local Church run thrift shop, as they are desperate for plus size garments. They are always happy to see me, and have several ladies who love my stuff and really need them. Cathy

  14. damascusannie | | #22

    Clothing I sew because I want something I can't get in RTW. I'm not a clothing snob and I'd prefer to sew historical costumes than modern clothes, so I'll usually shop before I'll sew clothing. Now quilting--that's another kettle of fish altogether! I quilt for business, for pleasure but mostly because it's an amazingly satisfying creative outlet for me that isn't a hazard to my health like the oil paints I used in the past. I love twisting traditional patterns to make my own versions and free-motion quilting is virtually an obsession for me.

  15. rodezzy | | #23

    I've been sewing since I was a teen.  I have a passion inside me to make things.  To be creative.  As a teen in a small town, I couldn't afford many things in the better stores.  So, I took home economics in the last three years of high school and made clothes for every special occassion at high school for me and my best friend.  We wore look alike outfits in different colors, and I did some of my best sewing then.  Later I started sewing for my home needs.  Curtains mostly.  Then I did some sewing for my son when he was little.  For his father and others periodically through life.  

    Now I mainly sew quilts and home dec.  I make outer wear for myself because I rarely find coats that I like in the Plus-size stores.  I am pear shaped, and it makes life difficult in the clothing department (giggle).  Besides, I'm a bit of a show off, and like being different!  I rarely make traditional clothing.  I can buy that, if I'm going to make a coat, it's going to be very different and colorful!

    1. katina | | #28

      Hi Rodezzy! Good to have you back - you've been 'missing' a while

      1. rodezzy | | #33

        Thanks, I've missed this forum and the people.  It's like being away from your daily co-workers and friends, and creative sources.

  16. immc | | #24

    I've been sewing since I was 2; it's as essential as breathing.

    Self expression; I have no desire to wear cookie cutter clothes even when they're de rigeur at work; can't afford designer fashions unless I make 'em. 30+ yrs of training, education, honing skills cannot make me conventional. I will sew flamboyant, slightly outrageous clothes just to show off the fact that I can.

    Desire for self employment, so I don't have to depend entirely on others for earnings and/or job security. Had one home based sewing business, want to return to refined ideas of what I should be doing in that area. I can work out how to combine my tastes for accurate historic costumes, ethnic attire, and my own designs as I go. And I love solitary work, whether it's for myself or as a job.

    Custom fit for myself, 3 family members over 6'2"

    Saving money - a very subjective, personal thing. I can't afford fine fabrics, but thrift stores have other's leftovers, upscale natural fiber clothing that can be creatively repurposed, obscuring their origins.  

  17. Teaf5 | | #25

    Because I can, and because I have ever since I can remember!  Also, because I am impatient, and I can usually make something faster than I can find it in a store.

    Originally, I sewed because I couldn't afford RTW, and now whenever I can't find RTW that I like.  I also copy a lot of RTW that I like, but in different fabrics and colors to expand my wardrobe options.


  18. User avater
    sew2go | | #26


    I sew for self-expression. It provides me with the opportunity to express my style in an unique manner. In a way, it's like being a designer where I can direct where the attention will be focused, in the color, fabrication and desire silhouette. It's so rewarding when it all comes together and the compliments, are just the frosting on the cake ;) 

    1. SewistKitty | | #27

      I sew because it is always difficult to find tall pants sizes that fit my body. While there are tall sizes in many mens' departments for my husband, tall clothing if it is in stores is made out of
      polyester or other non-breathable fabric. I live in the desert and need cotton, linen, rayon, and silk clothing almost all year. Polyester clothing is never comfortable on me.
      I like to sew classic clothing mixed in with a few trendy pieces that are age-appropriate.
      I belong to our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild and i can talk sewing with them as well as online.

      1. ctirish | | #29

        Thank you all for responding to my question. I knew many of the answers would be similar, but I am surprised by the amount of repressed creativity out here. I don't think of myself as creative but I can't sew anything without changing it is some way. To make it mine, in some small way. My mother was a great seamstress although she was a nurse by profession. My school didn't have Home-EC so she sent me to classes at the local Singer Sewing Center. I stopped sewing when I was working full time, just not enough time to sew and be a mom. When I left work due to health issues, I decided to take it up again. My daughters helped out by giving me 4 grandchildren to sew clothing for and that is great fun. Your answers have been great!! Would you mind answering a couple more for me? I will post them in a separate posting so I don't lose track of the questions and answers.
        Any help is appreciated, Jane

  19. sewchris703 | | #31

    I forgot about that. The best days at work for me is when I get to sew all day with no fittings. And I got a sewing room when our 3rd moved out. It's heaven after so many years of sewing in the kitchen/dining room/living room.


    1. User avater
      Dianna | | #34

      I had a studio space in our current house but lost it when my father-in-law moved in with us.  My daughter took over the studio as her bedroom.  My fabric and sewing stuff migrated to the master bedroom.  My husband built a glorious bird-eye maple storage unit for me.  There is a planned matching 'work space' for the other side of the room.  

      So you can have the 'studio' then loose it;  I am happy that my daughter is still at home.  She heads off to England in the fall for her Masters, then who knows if she returns or heads into a career overseas. 

      During 30 years of marriage I have never heard one cross word about my addiction (of course his are tools and wood). 

      Right now I am in Indianapolis and will be cutting/sewing (g'baby dresses) on a kitchen table with a borrowed Bernina and borrowed scissors. 

      1. sewchris703 | | #35

        I might be losing my sewing room temporarily. Our oldest dd and her family are staying with while they find work. Her dh has found a job but she is still looking. Chris

    2. Lazybug | | #37

      I sewed in the early years for two daughters because it was less expensive for me to sew for them than buy RTW. Although I used RTW as a spring-board for designs, especially during the "must have" teen years.
      I also sewed everything for myself, dresses, blouses, etc. Everything but pants !Then I took a sabatical from sewing, bought RTW for several years, but one day it suddenly hit me that I looked like everyone else. I wasn't used to that!So its back to sewing again -- I love it now without the pressure of having a deadline as I did with events in daughter's lives. Its relaxing, creative, fun. Can't imagine my life without sewing.Joanne

  20. Ckbklady | | #36


    I've really enjoyed reading about everyone's creative drive here. I feel the same, and sew for that reason too, but also a big part of it for me is enjoying interacting with the machines. I have a dozen or so machines spanning 1887 to 1991. I enjoy learning how to use them properly, how to tune and repair them, but most of all, to enjoy the whir of a perfectly functioning machine as it links two pieces of cloth. I know little or nothing about the history and provenance of most of machines, but I imagine what the owners through time made with them. These machines have secrets!

    I know I feel this way, because hand sewing does nothing for me - I actively avoid it and all other hand-crafts. Working WITH the machine instead of simply USING it gives me a thrill.

    :) Mary

  21. Susan -homedecsewing | | #38

    I sew because I love fabric, colors, textures, designing anything that pops into my head, being an artist. I sew to make a living doing what comes natural to me, and at the same time bringing joy to other people with my creations. What a wonderful job it is when delivering to my clients and they do the happy dance! Also sewing keeps me busy and out of trouble. I've been sewing since I was eight years old, just turned 53 and still having a great time doing what I love.I find not so many people have the gift, so we must pass it on. Happy sewing, Susan

  22. sewhappy123 | | #39

    Hi, for me I was a crafter and liked sewing little things that took straight stitches. Then I was thumbing threw a Threads mag. and stumbled onto a page where it showed how to make 3 different shrugs from pretty much the same pattern and you did not have to buy a pattern. It had all the details right there. ( I love shrugs!) I thought I could do that and from then on I was hooked and started buying more magazines on sewing and books and teaching myself to sew and now I just want to keep learning and enjoy whatever others have to offer. I am addicted and I have since tought myself crochet and knitting. I am on a roll at 56yrs old. It makes me feel young too!When I am sewing, I am in my world and Dorthy, we are'nt in Kansas anymore!

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