So......What are the benefits you gain from sewing?

21 July 2018

 Or more to the point................................WHY DO I SEW?

Stranger: Oh I love this your top
Me: Thanks a lot, yeah I love the yellow fabric
Stranger: Yeah it's very lovely, where did you get it?
Me: I sewed it
Stranger: Oh ok, which tailor?
Me: No, I mean I sewed it myself
Stranger: You sew? (Startled face). Please sew for me.
Me: Oh sorry I don't sew for people
Stranger1: (baffled look) You sew? WHY?
Stranger2: (baffled look) You don't sew for people? WHY?

If you sew, then this conversation is not strange to you, especially for me as a Nigerian where sewing as a hobby is not the norm, people don't get it at all at all.

Sewing is a proper business in Nigeria, a very lucrative one at that.

But this is the boat I find myself in and I'm happy with it and the community I have found online. We can all gush over a pair of scissors and our day is made.

But getting back to this post, I find that this is a question I get a lot and have struggled to explain to people.
Some of the reasons/benefits didn't even make themselves clear to me until years later.

Or is the real question, "Why do I need to explain myself and my sewing?" (I've actually been called selfish for not sewing for others, has this happened to any of you?)

I have always been a lover of fashion and style but never really liked most things in the shops(high street).
 I'm that annoying friend you take to the shops and she doesn't like the fabric, or she wishes those pants were just an inch or two longer? etc

Well, since I didn't like most of what was in the shops, the next logical step for me was going to tailors to sew my clothes which is a normal thing in Nigeria.

So, off I went to the tailors with my bright ideas I'd gleaned from high fashion magazines, and, of course, I was met with disappointments.

Now you have to understand, this was many years ago and this skill of the average tailor then was lacking.
No real attention to the details, they were sewing a lot of caftans and fabric choices were very limited.

It was around this time that I came to the conclusion that I'd make my own clothes so that I could wear WHATEVER I WANTED or, mostly what I saw in high fashion magazines.

And I feel that this is the line or bridge if you will, that separates us sewist, dressmakers, creatives etc from other people.
Because I think other people despite bad experiences with any tailor would just continue looking for a good tailor instead of trying to DO IT THEMSELVES.

So, I found a local neighbourhood tailor to teach me how to sew and I've never looked back.

Are there times when I have thought, gurlllllllll go buy yourself this top instead of stressing out trying to draft out this pattern.

Yes, I'm not gonna lie, but as the years go by, the perks of this sewing gig are growing right in front of my eyes and those voices, no longer as loud or frequent.

Here are some of the perks/benefits I get out of sewing and why I feel it's so worth it.

A unique wardrobe, fit for my body

Walking into a room/down the street and wearing the same thing as other people is not something that happens to me anymore.
Some may call it selfish but, what's the point of having this superpower and still look like everyone else.

With sewing, you have a truly unique wardrobe, that reflects you and your style regardless of the current trends. YOU LOOK LIKE YOU WANT TO.

Another thing sewing is absolutely great at is helping/making you come to terms with your body and loving it with all its wonderful flaws. Whether it's one thigh being bigger than the other or one shoulder being more sloppy than the other.

It's just something you have to come to terms with because, if you measure a 44" hip but sew up a 43" because that's the size they were last year, well, it's not going to fit.

But when you know how to sew, you can sew to fit your uniqueness, dress it super fabulous like you feel you should look.
That gives you a shot of self-confidence like nothing else.

Complete design control

So, I don't know about you guys, but, I find that most times when I'm in shops, I pick something to try on and I catch myself wishing it had or didn't have some elements. 
Like when Peter pan collars were on trend so errrrverything had to have a peter pan collar, which I don't care for.

If you sew, you have control over how everything looks and feels. Fabric, colours, embellishments, where your peplum starts etc, all depend on what you want.

You can also nurture your design skills, even if you feel you don't have any.

The thrill of a new challenge

I'm a slow sewer, I'd be the first to admit that, but starting up a new project puts me in a good mood because it means new ways of improving my skills.

If I'm making something I've made before, I find myself doing things in half the time, and I can literally see my skills improving.

It makes you feel like you're in control of things.

The sense of accomplishment

At the other end of that the absolute high you get from finishing a project. 

I promise you, nothing compares to having an idea for a finished item and watching flat fabric transform into a top, skirt, a quilt etc

You don't even need to be a sewist to understand this feeling.
Meeting an official deadline for a project is the same thing.

Mental health

The positive effects of sewing on mental well being cannot be overstressed. Sewing lets us take time from our busy schedules and lives to do something we love, this centers us and stops us from running on fumes.

The busy world around us with smartphones, tv etc can have us multitasking, sewing makes us concentrate on one thing at a time, whether it's drafting a pattern, sewing a curve etc. This concentration and focus on one thing at a time reduces the sensory overload of our busy lives.

Sewing is also sometimes recommended for people who suffer from depression as a coping mechanism. The sense of accomplishment from finishing a project puts them on a healthy path to recovery.

I hate fast fashion

I think this statement speaks for itself. And some might argue that's it's a harsh statement, fast fashion creates jobs for people etc.

I believe it does but I hate fast fashion for different reasons.
I even hated fast fashion before all the collapsed building fiasco, back then I didn't even know what "fast fashion" was.

I just knew that I hated these shops that kept telling me that the clothes I bought last month were dated and not fashionable anymore.

Like seriously, why spend so much money, especially on poorly made clothes.

It's a marketable skill

For most people sewing is a cheaper alternative to buying clothes because you can get cheaper fabrics, I don't personally think so.
Sewing takes time and effort, that I sometimes feel is more expensive than buying RTW clothes.

And the longer you sew the more you realize the importance of good fabrics so that your makes last.
Right from the beginning, I was never interested in getting cheap fabrics, just the skill to make my clothes look as badass as the ones in Vogue magazines.

Where I feel sewing shines is that it's a marketable skill, it can make you money.
I don't sew for money but I won't lie that I've been in a pinch money wise and taken on a job/commission or two to tide me over.

There are so many avenues of making money from your sewing.

 Like you can be in the business of mending clothes and making alterations, you can work as a pattern designer, you can work in the wardrobe unit on film sets or also make custom clothing, home furnishings and even vintage clothing for people.

There are also other things you can do where knowledge of sewing is not necessarily required but it's an added benefit like in being a fashion designer or working in a sewing factory.

It's a lifelong skill

I consider myself fortunate to see family friends and relatives reach retirement age, still agile. 

But, I have also noticed that after the excitement of getting to the end so to speak, receiving all the accolades from your colleges. There's this confusion over what to do with all this free time.

Everyone thinks travel, take a cruise etc but, how mentally engaged does that keep them? This is one of the harsh realities of retirement, there seems to be nothing to wake up to anymore.

At retirement age, the last thing anyone wants is to learn a new hobby, from scratch. Few might, most won't.

This is what makes me so grateful for my sewing skill.

It's mine FOREVER, no one can take it away from me.

So........... RETIREMENT PLAN ☑

Now that you know what answers to give about your love/passion for sewing, how about ways of taking your sewing skills to new heights.

Did you know sewing was this badass? Do you agree or disagree with any of my points? Do you have anything to tell us?

Let's have a conversation in the comment section, I'd love to hear from you.

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