5 Reason to Learn to Sew This Year

Welcome to 2017! The year you learn to sew or improve your sewing skills!

Now I know you probably have quite a few resolutions that you are trying to stick to but hear me out on why learning or improving your sewing should be one of them. Here are 5 reasons why acquiring sewing skills can improve your year. 

1. Fix Things

Lost a button? Need to shorten a pair of pants? If you don't even have basic sewing skills then small issues with your clothing can make them unwearable. You don't need to make Vogue worthy clothing in order for sewing to improve your wardrobe. Being able to do basic alterations and fixes to your clothes will not only make you look better but can save you money too. How many times have you had to buy a new shirt because you lost a button? Wasteful!

A great book to start you on your 'fix it' sewing path is Make It, Own It, Love It by Matt Chappel. 

Even if you never sew anything from scratch and only do small alterations on items you already own then you will be saving money. Our culture has become one of 'don't fix it, just buy a new one' but that is an expensive and environmentally destructive mentality. Ten cents worth of needle and thread can save you $30 or more on a new shirt.

And many of these small fixes and basic sewing projects can be done by hand and don't require a sewing machine. Although you can get a sewing machine for less than $100 it might be prudent to start out with a needle and thread for less than $5. Once you can hem a skirt by hand and sew on buttons then you can progress to machine sewing and you will have a better understanding of the mechanics of sewing and what you will want in a machine. 

Start small and work your way up!

2. Customized Clothing 

If you are anything like me then off the rack clothing doesn't always fit you the way it should. Or you might not like the prints or fabric types they use. A great way around this is to make your own clothing. You get to pick the pattern and the fabric and make adjustments so that your finished garments fits you just the way you want. 

Customizing clothing does take quite a few learned skills but if you start out fixing your busted clothing then over time you will start to understand basic clothing construction. There are many great beginner patterns for skirts and blouses as well as video tutorials for just about any aspect of sewing you could imagine. Books like No Patterns Needed by Rosie Martin can help you start making simple clothes that are stylish. 

If you do decide to jump into sewing your own clothing do a little research on fabric types. The easiest fabric to sew with is cotton which makes great summer dresses. Leave pants, jackets and anything from Vogue patterns until you have some experience under your belt. 

3. Decorate Your Home

Every room in your home can benefit from your sewing skills. Curtains, pillow cases, dishtowels and much more can easily be custom made by you. If you really get into it you can learn to make beautiful quilts, sew slip covers and even pet beds. 

Many people make pillow cases as their first sewing project because they consist of just a few straight lines. Choose a fun fabric and in an afternoon your sofa could be overflowing with bespoke throw pillows! If you need an idea of where to get started with sewing home decor then check out Sew Home by Erin Schlosser. 


4. Be Creative

Sewing is not limited to making clothing and home decor. So many more fun and wonderful things can be sewn. Quilts are one way to be creative but also make something useful. Art quilts use a variety of sewing techniques to create images with fabric. They can either be functional like a traditional quilt or hang on the wall as art. 

Think art quilting might be for you? Then get some inspiration from Art Quilt Maps by Valerie Goodwin. 

Other ideas include costumes, gifts (particularly baby gifts), toys, games, bags, organizational items, electronic devise protectors, holiday or special occasion banners, and the list goes on and on. 

But sewing doesn't have to be limited to fabric. Sew some paper together and learn how to make a book. Anything you can pierce with a needle can probably be sewn in one way or another. How creative can you get?

5. Feel Accomplished and Self-Sufficient

Learning to sew is an easy way to give yourself a sense of pride. Even if it is as simple as sewing on a button, if you have never done that before then you have accomplished something. You have stepped out of your comfort zone, learned a new skill and can now use that skill to better your life. You no longer need to rely on other people to sew the buttons back onto your clothes and are, therefore, self-sufficient. As your skills grow so will your personal pride. 

I'm not saying that learning to sew will to make you a better person..but it might. It certainly won't hurt (aside from perhaps the occasional needle prick on the finger).

I learned to sew as a child. Throughout my life, being able to sew has given me the ability to show my creativity, receive adulation from friends and even random people on the street (it feels great to have someone stop you and ask where you got that fabulous dress which you designed and made) and even give quality gifts that I would not have had the financial means to purchase ready made. I can't imagine not being able to sew since it has been such a useful skill. 

So instead of setting arbitrary new year goals, why not be specific about what you want to do. For example,  in the next two weeks mend an item of clothing. In a month, make your first pillow case. In three months, make a simple skirt or other clothing item. In six months, learn to read patterns. Before you know it you will be sewing up a storm! 

Sewing is a skill that needs to be practiced but if you do so you may reap many rewards. 

Happy Sewing in 2017 and beyond!