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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Friday, January 6, 2017

Love hate relationships

I have a question for you.

What do you love to sew and what do you hate to sew?

Even the most obsessive sewers among us have these feelings.

I know I do.

For instance I love to sew knits and outwear. I sew pants because I can, but I hate, hate any kind of home decor sewing. I just lose sight of where the edges are on those massive yardages. Sleeves I can recognize.

I have also decided bra-making leaves me cold.I can buy in 5 minutes something that fits me just fine for the same price it would take me to make one. And those pieces are awfully small and fussy. Case closed.

I think that the www makes the question of what you really love to sew and don't even more pertinent.

It is so easy to see pictures of things other, some seemingly continuously productive, sewers churn out and think, gee I should make that.

I have learned to be alert to the moments when "should" crosses my mind. Life provides me with enough shoulds already.

More and more, and this might in fact be my sewing resolution, I want to sew only the things that I am just dying to make.

No shoulds.

No have tos.

No working my way through a to-do list.

Now over to you, what do you really enjoy sewing and where is your own personal line for feeling you have crossed into sewing drudgery territory?


kim nath said...

I enjoy all types of sewing but I absolutely hate to mend anything. I would rather buy something new than replace a zipper!

Sox said...

I prefer my home made underwear to store bought. I like sewing it, production-line style. I just hate getting the production line ready; all those fiddly little pieces. I plan to take a day and make a squajillion (or so) pairs and then be done with it for awhile. Then I get what I want with minimal fuss.
Like you, I have enough 'shoulds' and I plan to only sew the things I want. I'm lucky I have the choice.

SilverMom said...

*Can't think of a kind of garment sewing I DON'T like, although, to be fair, I have never made a heavy wool coat, so the jury's still out on that one.*Love sewing with a TNT pattern block, including pulling a new design out of the block.
*Love making shirts for my guys (each with a TNT shirt block!) - just enough fiddly detail to be challenging, but virtually guaranteed success.
*Love helping others solve their fitting problems. (Still working on mine, though.)

*Hate sewing under any kind of time pressure, especially if there is a special event involved. Volunteered to make a MOB dress for a DF last summer, and the experience has caused me to swear off ANY sewing having to do with a wedding.
*Hate mending, especially jeans and other heavy, bulky items (like backpacks, tents, sleeping bags...you see where this is going). Luckily, my city has a great outdoor gear sewing and repair company, so I now just send DH and DS there.
*Hate home dec sewing.
*Hate sewing for money. In the rare situation when I do sew for something other than love, I ask the recipient to make a donation in my name to the women's day shelter where I volunteer.

Interesting question - good food for thought.

Teacherann said...

I made one small baby quilt and it will be my first and last quilt even though I come from a long line of aunts who made gorgeous quilts. All those little pieces and straight lines. Ugh! I don't make pants anymore because it is too easy to buy them. Sad to say most of my sewing is now little girl's dresses or embroidery.

KS_Sews said...

Analyzing my sewing leaves me so conflicted!

I love instant gratification so I like sewing knits a lot! But I also love sewing jeans. All that topstitching - mmmmm! lol!
Also because of the process I like sewing shirts.
I love sewing light-medium weight wools. So well behaved. <3

I don't like fiddly things - fiddly fabrics like chiffon or fiddly items like bras.
I do not like 'sewing rectangles' aka home dec.
I do not like alterations or mending. I have 2 places in town that I take stuff to.
I dislike sewing for others. Even my sweet, sweet daughter.

garnet128 said...

Love sewing my hubby's dress shirts, sport shirts, embroidering his golf shirts or anything for him....because he appreciates it sooooo much and really shows it. Love sewing and embroidering for the granddaughter cause it is so cute. Garment's for myself. Such a sense of pride when wearing me made items.
Dont mind home dec cause it does not occur all the time.

Hate sewing for someone else....too much like work. That is not why I sew. And deadlines do NOT work for me at all. I have learned to just say NO and not feel guilty about it.

Nice topic, you seem to be in my head lately.

LynneSews said...

I love sewing garments except those with lots of hand sewing - that gives me cramps in my wrist. I've made curtains and blinds but also find them very fiddle, and slight deviations in straightness (due to the boredom of sewing miles of straight seams) always show. Grr. I also hate mending and alterations. I'm also good at sewing up hemmed garments of all types, and letting them wallow in my WIP pile until I can make myself hem them. Hoping my new hem marker will get me more motivated. Give me a nice knit, an interesting knit top pattern and I'm a happy girl!

theresa said...

Don't hate home dec sewing, just don't love it. It's boring, repetitive and I'd rather do something else but at times, it is necessary. I love sewing jackets. Ditto for shirts and jeans when there is a TNT pattern. Hate sewing anything fitted as it usually means many muslins to perfect the fit. Don't really like knits, don't wear them much, but can muddle through the occasional swim suit, yoga pant or bike short. Haven't fallen down the quilting rabbit hole but can see the attraction. Mend only when I must - the knees in jeans must be mended type of sewing.

And a Christmas present of a Ditto Form has me anticipating some more adventurous sewing. I have two Linda Lee, two Louise Cutting and two Sandra Betzina patterns I want to try. Also have the Paco Peralta's (highly envious of Tany's Paco outfits) but lack the polished, urbane lifestyle to wear them. Ours is a jeans and workshirt lifestyle.
Theresa in Tucson

Karen Lyon said...

I don't like hand sewing. I do it because it looks better, not because it fulfills me. Good example was Christmas. I gave my nephew a couple of pairs of chinos AND hand hemmed them before he could go home. That is real love. He was very grateful, because he would never go to a dry cleaner for hemming. I would really like to master pants - woven through the various stretch fabrics. As you age, your body changes in wierd ways for the purposes if fit.
Most people give up and buy stretch everything. I am determined not to give in to the "knits are so forgiving" rationale. I like wovens.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I know what you mean about the web "inspiring" you to sew outside of your comfort zone. I just remember that while I like/love it on someone else, it probably will never work for me. And I have gotten to the place that I only sew what I like ~ why make your hobby something you want to avoid! Finally add me to the hate sewing home dec list!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Interesting.....I frequently don't know what I am going to not enjoy until half way into it when I suddenly think "meh....." and a UFO is born. I've learned to predict that I won't like home dec unless it has some great plus (like, for one of the kids! or very quick and easy! or best yet both, quick and easy for one of the kids.....). I started hating my MOG dress about 3/4 the way thru, but was able to decide it didn't matter and press on, and this last summer was blighted by a MOB dress for a neighbor so wedding sewing should be a red flag. So in summary, I like things for me that are successful......


Jean Shaw said...

Love hand sewing (to the point of doing some Alabama Chanin projects); enjoy almost all mending. Really dislike quilting, although I have done some small projects without too much drama or gnashing of teeth. Not that interested in home dec (though there again, I've done some projects over the years that didn't kill me).

Am determined to make most gifts and clothes this year. We shall see!

bbarna said...

I love sewing clothing, quilts, home dec, and even doing mending. I easily lose patience and give up if the fit is not going well. In my late teens and early twenties, I was a perfect pattern size 12, but after 3 babies, and now post menopausal, fitting fills me with dread. I have no sewing buddies to help either and my dress form was so far off the mark that I sold it. Now days I mostly sew for family and do quilts. I have made lots of knit garments that a more forgiving, but haven't gotten brave enough to do anymore woven items yet.

Carol in Denver said...

I love home dec sewing but it took me years to complete one Roman shade: it went to the slanted ceiling and was made from a fabric printed diagonally in a crossed bamboo pattern. Printed off-grain of course, and Roman shades must hang on-grain. Love knowing that I can sew any high-end decorating look I want. I love to sew when exploring a new idea: just completed a 3-part drapy scarf, we'll see how that works. I love to take things apart, very relaxing.

suitsmejournal said...

I have a SWAP for a wardrobe that I am loosely following and I enjoy bouncing from pants to jacket to tee to blouse. I think pants are the most satisfying in terms of labor vs. outcome.
I have a bodice and pant sloper and now draft my own patterns WITHOUT a MUSLIN! Woohoo! Love to geek out and draft patterns!

Hate hate hate home dec, but sometimes a girl's just gotta do it or pay a fortune.
I thought i would never sew a bra; too many special fabrics and findings, but after trying on a ton of them last week and just making do with the closest fit, I may try it someday.

wendy said...

I like to try sewing most things, but agree with you on the bra thing! Life is too short. Although I said that about knitting socks and now I love making those. I love sewing anything that excites me, if that leaves me and I'm finishing something just because I started it it's unlikely that item will be loved. It makes me very happy when I really love the thing.

Patricia said...

What a great topic! I love making my own clothes, and prefer working with wovens. Hate sewing clothes for others though, and avoid it as much as possible (not always easy) - no fun if you make a mistake with their fabric. Hate making curtains or other homewares, no interest in underwear, although did a bit for the kids in the 70s. Made quilts for about 10 years then lost interest. Hate mending, in fact send HBs jeans and trousers to a mender rather than try to do it myself. As for other people asking me to do their alterations - no way, Jose!! My sewing is my artistic relaxation :)

MindLess said...

I love setting in sleeves and sewing coats and jackets. I hate hand sewing and pants. But I'll try and work on that. If I can sew corsets and highly decorated victorian skirts, I should be able to defeat pants, right?

Anonymous said...

I love sewing, the process of creating something 3D out of a flat piece of fabric. But I dislike cutting pattern pieces, and I hate fitting problems and adjusting patterns. So I never sew for strangers. Never. It is allright when my own creations fail, I just give them away. But having to cut a whole new pattern for someone with a different size and then sewing something that has to fit, that takes away all the fun. I would also say no if someone asks me to sew curtains for his or her house. Not fun at all!
Hilda from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, aka Barkcloth

Gwen Van Kleef said...

Since we started a haunt attraction with our business, I have become the free seamstress. I rather enjoy whipping up a Dead Riding Hood costume in less than an hour and putting zippers in zombie wedding dresses. That said, I enjoy shorter projects for myself - knit sweatshirts, cotton tops, sleeveless dresses. Home dec - meh.

Bunny said...

I love to sew something challenging, whether that be fit, technique or perhaps a challenging fabric. What I don't like to sew are things that bore me and I know that what bores one doesn't bore another. I have no interest in making the perfect tee shirt, at least not yet or to work with "basics" and the solid, plain colors they utilized. Yeah, once in a while I do, but it is not my preferred type of sewing. Give me difficult designs, challenging fabrics, involved techniques. Watch me curse my way through the process, take the no wadder pledge, and enjoy the journey, as frustrating as it can get some times. All that challenge puts me in the zone, refocuses my head and in the end brings me joy.

SuzieB said...

I HATE the cutting-out process! Hate my folding table, hate my shears, hate my pins, hate the backache from leaning over the folding table, etc. so it's hard to make myself do real garment sewing anymore - just the occasional simple top or dress. I do a bit of re-fashioning & find it incredibly satisfying to take apart a garment. I also like making corded throw pillows with invisible zippers - instant gratification. (Use the down inserts from thrifted throw pillows.) Duvets & simple drapery panels don't require a fiddly cutting-out process & then its just ironing & stitching a straight line so I do some of these. No slippery fabrics or tailoring techniques anymore. I've become old & lazy!

JustGail said...

I can't think of anything I don't like sewing, including home dec items. That might change if I ever do drapes, or try outerwear bigger than jackets. I don't mind minor mending like a seam that's let go or missing buttons, but really would rather not ever mend thin spots on jeans or replace zippers ever again.

What I don't like is fussing with the patterns making needed alterations. I'd love to be able to buy a pattern, take it out of the package and cut it out instead of spending hours tracing and making alterations every time. Fussing with learning new machines, or new technique also give me angst. It's not that I don't *like* learning new things, it's more the time taken away from the already too short real sewing time.

Patty said...

"I have learned to be alert to the moments when "should" crosses my mind. Life provides me with enough shoulds already". Amen!
Nope, won't sew bras, or jeans I don't think. Love to sew dresses and tops. Want to sew coats and jackets.....Happy New Year!

LinB said...

Greatly dislike home-dec sewing, but I'll do it for my own home. Hate sewing for others, but there are a few friends for whom I'll do basic hemming and mending. Greatly dislike the actual cutting-out process, but realize it is a necessary step. Love to sew knits but almost never wear them -- I knit my knits, at least socks/hats/scarves/mitts/sweaters. Am still on a quest for the perfect all-woven bra ... wore them in my youth, but no one makes them anymore.

Nelba said...

There are a couple of things I've never tried doing such as bra's and quilting. But I also prefer sewing clothes to home decor. All those long straight seams are just so boring. For the same reason, I doubt that I would like quilts. Bags are also....I don't enjoy making them. I don't really see the point, I guess...

badmomgoodmom said...

I don't like alterations, but will do them only for myself and DD.

I tried tailoring, but it was too much effort for something I wear too seldom.

I would like to try casual jackets with lots of pockets. Though they take longer, they are incredibly useful and worn frequently.

Anonymous said...

I find this list fascinating, so diverse! What I love: sewing beautiful fabrics, simple shapes, easy fit, wovens. Don't mind alterations, mending, hand sewing, pillows. What I won't sew: things that I know won't look as professional as I want such as bras, underwear, jeans, tailored jackets; rainwear; quilts. Would love to sew more for family but they prefer off the rack clothing.

Mary said...

The specifics of what I love to sew do evolve, but I am always most in love with projects that challenge me, creatively and technically. Right now I love quilting and I am deep in the challenge of free motion quilting. I also love sewing for my children. The challenge there is to make something that we both love!
I hate sewing any project that involves me relinquishing executive power. I don't mind collaborating, but I really need the final say. If I want to compromise, I'll just get back to every other aspect of my life. :)