Thursday, March 19, 2015

Things I *DO* Like About Sewing

I have been reliably informed that my current ratio of 95% bitching to 5% sewing is not really a sustainable strategy given the amount of sewing that I need to get done in the amount of time between now and the start of reenacting season.  (Translation: My coworkers are tired of listening to me grumble about how much I hate sewing, even though I enjoy the finished product and the events in which I participate while wearing the finished product.)

So.  Positivity.  What do I actually enjoy about sewing, and the process of creating historical garments?  Well, let's see:

Finding Inspiration
Every so often, something will grab me.  It might be a particular dress, or a painting, or maybe even a fabric.  Whatever it is, it nabs my attention in a heartbeat and my brain just goes, "I must have that!"  I like those moments, because it's so much fun to work on a project knowing that you'll end up with something that you really, really want at the end.  It's very motivating, and makes the boring, non-exciting parts more bearable.

I like facts.  I like knowing that I've done things right.  In historical sewing and living history, I find a lot of contentment in having documentation to back up my design choices.  I mean, I was raised by two engineers.  Dad is an electrical design engineer and my mom is a computer programmer.  My husband is also a programmer.  I make my grocery lists in Excel.  I think in straight lines and boxes.  Research is great because then if someone asks me a question, I know what to say.  I like figuring out why things were done a certain way, what methods were used, breaking things down into their component parts, putting things together in ways that make sense.  Those things make me feel happy and satisfied, and it definitely carries over into my sewing!

Sourcing materials
Oh come on, who doesn't like shopping for cool things?  My design process a lot of times depends on finding a fabric that inspires me, so when I find a particular material that 'speaks' to me it's very exciting and often begets more inspiration for the other parts of the project.  It can sometimes be frustrating to have an idea in your head of what you want and not be able to find it, but that can also lead to the following point:

Problem solving
This includes things like having to adapt an idea to use available materials, draping or drafting patterns, fitting, and trimming.  There are others of course, but those are a few that most seamstresses run into pretty often.  I happen to really enjoy fitting garments, usually by draping and tweaking as needed.  I know some people HATE that part, but my spatial reasoning is pretty good and it's fun to see something take shape right before your eyes.  I really enjoy the flurry of activity, pins and seam allowances everywhere, and then stepping back and seeing the lines of a proper period silhouette emerging out of flat fabric.

Seeing progress
Sometimes I get bogged down in doing the little fiddly parts of sewing that I don't find interesting or enjoyable, but throughout the construction process there are various points where you can definitely tell you're moving ahead.  Putting a bodice together and watching it go from little pieces to something resembling a garment, for example.  It helps keep me going through less-fun parts when I can look at the state of things and say, "yeah, it's actually getting somewhere!"

So, see?  I CAN be positive.  When I really put my mind to it!  And now I have more sewing to do...


  1. I love sewing but sometimes I don't. I hate it when stuff does not work out because my stupid head is not able to coprehend the instructions or to put the pieces together. I hate when my fabric choice is wrong and I end up taking everything apart to underline with a different fabric.

    But I love making the last finishing touches. I love wearing the finished dress the first time. I love love love dreaming up new robes. So I sew even if sometimes I don't like sewing...

    1. That's exactly how I feel, too! Fortunately the good parts usually make up for the parts that aren't so fun. :)