The eight remaining contestants in our Super Online Sewing Match are working on their Round Two Marianne Dresses. We can’t wait to see the final dresses! In the meantime, each round we ask a question to get to know the challengers a little better. Here’s what they had to say about learning to sew, and now we ask why each of our contestants sews. What provides the spark to turn sewing into a creative passion?
Michelle from Sewnhenge
- “There are so many reasons why I sew. Sitting down to actually think about it is pretty eye opening! I think a huge part of it is, being a stay at home mom, my attention is pulled in 100 different directions at all times which is very distracting. When I sit down to sew, I can just focus on ONE thing, which I find completely relaxing. But it also makes me feel excited! I don’t know what it is, but the act of creating energizes me. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, giving myself the time to sew makes me a better person and mom later. But there are so many other things I love about it! I’ve always loved learning new things, getting my brain juices flowing. So every time I find a new technique, it gets me so pumped! That is one of the reasons I started to be obsessed with sewing for myself. Understanding different ways to fit a pattern on a body verses just sewing up a pattern straight out of the envelope is so awesome. I’ve learned that I don’t have a weird body at all, I’m just not 5’5 with a B cup. Being aware of that information has made me feel SO GOOD about never fitting into ready made clothes, and not having those body issues is pretty darn freeing! Plus the thought that I can dream up any type of outfit, then MAKE it is amazing.”
Shannon from Adventures of a Young Seamstress
- “When I first began to sew seriously at the end of grade 11 it was mostly for sustainability. That year I had taken an environmental studies class, and we focused a lot on consumption and its effects on the environment and human rights. Over the course of the year, we were given lots of freedom for independent projects, and for mine I focused a lot on clothing– everything from textile production to sweatshop manufacturing. After doing these projects I realized that if I just took up sewing again, I wouldn’t have to struggle to find ethically-made, environmentally friendly clothing that would fit me. When I sew, I try to use natural and environmentally friendly fibers whenever possible, and I focus on classic, versatile and high-quality pieces that I’ll wear for many years. I still love that there are more and more clothing companies that are focusing on sustainability, but they can be hard to find, and it can be quite challenging to find anything to fit me.
This leads me to other reasons that I sew, reasons that I discovered after picking it up again. When I sew, I can have clothes that fit me well, rather than always having to take in side seams, wear belts and pull up necklines of tops. I can also have clothing that is exactly the way I want it– I love vintage styles, but I’ve realized that I don’t wear super-full skirts with crinolines every day, so lately I’ve been focusing on incorporating vintage elements into classic, wearable clothing. Through sewing, I’ve managed to create my own style in a way that I never could have while wearing only RTW. That’s the last reason I sew… I love the creative process, from planning and shopping for fabric, all the way through to having something new to wear. As a science student, it’s a great creative outlet for me, and my way to control the environmental and social impact of my closet.
(The photos [here] are of two very environmentally-friendly outfits: the first is of a pair of pants I made from surplus fabric I bought from an eco-fashion designer and a blouse that I made from a muumuu that I bought at a thrift store, and the second is of pants that I made from fabric from Our Social Fabric, a textile recycling initiative and a top that I made from organic cotton.)”
Teresa Behr from Dandelion Drift
- “I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom, so my days are filled with taking care of my kids, either normal motherly duties or teacher duties. Something that is mine, totally mine, is needed in my daily life! And that’s what sewing is. It is my ‘me time’ where I can relax and unwind. I have a math brain and I love the math behind sewing. I love seeing pattern pieces match up perfectly. I love taking pieces of fabric and sewing them together to make something new! And I love the creative outlet sewing provides for me. I believe we all have a desire to create something, whether it be writing, drawing, baking, website building, woodworking, etc. My desire to create is expressed through sewing and it brings me great joy!”
Cheryl from Red Knits
- “I’m currently working on my PhD, and my dissertation can feel like a massive, abstract project. When I make something with my hands, however, I always know when I can declare it ‘done’ and move on to the next exciting thing. During my time in grad school, I’ve found that it’s really important for me to work on making something each day, both for this sense of measurable progress, and also for a creative outlet. Sometimes that’s knitting or baking, but more often than not, it’s sewing. While I obviously love the process of sewing, I also love the product: garments that are far nicer than those I can afford in ready-to-wear. This has been especially useful for outfitting my 6’4″ tall husband, who has a hard time finding clothes that fit him well and suit his style. He is thrilled to have coats and shirts that actually cover his wrists for the first time in his adult life!”
Lori from Sewing Myself Stylish
- “My mother went back to work full time when I was 11, and it was at this time that she really started to teach me to sew rather than to sew for me. During my tween and teen years, ready wear clothing was limited in price and quantity by my mom, but fabric and patterns were not. I obviously figured out sewing was the way I was going to have interesting and unique clothes. When I was a mother of young children, most of my sewing was for them. I loved every moment of creating unique and adorable outfits for a fraction of the cost of similar upscale boutique children’s wear. I am sharing a photo of my daughter from Easter 1996 in a handmade dress.
I have always sewn an occasional garment for myself during the last three decades, but I only began sewing for myself again regularly 1 1/2 years ago. As an empty nester, I allowed myself to focus my talents on me. I started my blog as a way to stick to this new sewing commitment. Additionally, what began as ‘selfish sewing’ 18 months ago, has evolved into ethical sewing for me. I have joined the slow fashion movement, and cannot bring myself to buy even a t-shirt at stores like Target or Old Navy.”
Leah from Sew Spoiled
- “When people ask me, ‘Why do you sew?,’ a moment like this pops into my mind: I spent two days embroidering and sewing these four cute zipper hipsters. Then, I gave them as Christmas gifts and [my friends and I] went shopping together. We shopped, walked and laughed with each other.
Making special accessories for my family and friends is fun but going out together, sharing time with each other, that is what makes it all worth it.”
Barbara from Zibergirl Sews
- “Sewing has always been a part of my life. I’ve found it to be essential, creative and rewarding. As a teen, it was a way to be stylish and unique at half the price of retail clothing. We lived in a small town in rural California where fabric stores outnumbered expensive retail stores. I spent many evenings and weekends contentedly sewing and then wearing my creations. When I had children, I loved to make little dresses, bathing suits, PJ’s, halloween costumes, twirly skirts… Well, you name it and I’ve probably made it. I loved sewing for myself as a young mother too. At that time in my life, you could actually save money if you made most of your clothing. With the changing times, imported cheap clothing became available and the need for anyone to do much sewing, or even learn the basics came to an end. Home economics disappeared from high schools, fabric stores became few and far between, and suddenly there was a whole generation of non-sewers. Happily I kept at it, despite the high price of fabric and the lack of apparel fabric. I am a real bargain hunter when it comes to fabric and, for the most part, I have used quilting fabric for just about everything. It wasn’t until the era of the internet that sewing came back in a big way. Suddenly, there were online sewing communities, resources, tutorials, PDF patterns, free patterns, sewing bloggers and great online fabric stores! All of this is very inspiring and makes me want share what I do with others who appreciate the skill and art of designing and working with textiles.”
Tanya from Mrs. Hughes
- “For most of my life, sewing was just a hobby that included other textile arts and was a means to express my creativity. I sewed many historical garments and learned beadwork and embroidery, spending months on just one item. In recent years, I decided that I wanted a wardrobe that is filled with my own personal style rather than mass-produced commercial clothing. I don’t sew merely to recreate ready-to-wear styles, but to showcase my individuality. I love to mix vintage and retro inspired styles with modern prints and I have a love for kitschy, colorful designs alongside fine quality fabrics. I love turning fashions designed in my imagination to fruition through fabric. I sew because I am a unique individual and I want my clothing to represent me.”
Round Two of the Super Online Sewing Match is sponsored by Fabricworm, your source for modern, designer and Japanese import fabrics, perfect for crafts, quilts and home decorators. Fabricworm specializes in modern cotton fabric for quilting and many other craft items, and they also carry one of the largest selections of Japanese imported fabrics online. Our Round Two Challenge pattern is designed for knits, and Fabricworm carries a large selection of knit fabrics, including the full range of Birch Organic Knit Solids.
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of creating something by yourself and putting it to good use. At Fabricworm, whether you’re a professional or a beginner looking to get into the wonderful world of quilting, there’s definitely something for everyone. They carry a wide selection of modern fabric from top designers like Alexander Henry, Moda Fabric, Timeless Treasures and more! Each of their designer fabrics is sure to spark a fire in your imagination, so you can let loose and create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces for your personal home decor, fashion or quilt collection.