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The transformative power of learning how to sew
Each Saturday this past month I’ve been dragging myself out of bed early to head into my 9-5pm intensive pattern-making and sewing course. It’s been mentally exhausting (who knew there’d be so much maths involved!) and quite physically exhausting. Friday nights are limited to dinner and a movie at most, while Saturdays nights mean crashing at 9pm. Bye bye social life!
But as exhausting as this new Saturday routine has been, it’s also been incredibly invigorating. My work has always involved a desk, while my leisure time is usually spent my consuming something – whether it’s food, the latest TV show, or a new travel destination.
Creativity and craft have been excluded from my life for the longest time, and it’s a revelation to re-embrace the joy of learning something new and making something with my own hands.
Sewing as an act of resistance
Beyond the delight of finding a new creative outlet, I’ve also started to viewing sewing as a powerful antidote to fast fashion.
We’re buying and getting rid of clothing at ridiculous rates. It’s never been easier to pop into a shop like H&M and buy an outfit for £20 that we’ll maybe wear three times before deciding we want something new.
High street shops are feeding our frenzy for the latest trends, changing up their collections every few weeks, instead of twice a year as it was in the past. Despite knowing the environmental and social costs of fast fashion, I’m not immune to walking past a shop and spontaneously buying a new top I don’t need just because it seems too irresistible a bargain.
But by learning to make my make my own clothes, I now have a massive appreciation for the huge amount of work that goes into making one garment. I’ve started paying attention to details – the cut, the seams, the fabric – that I had no interest in before.
I’m definitely not going to make every stitch of clothing I wear for the rest of my life. But I am going to think more carefully about what I buy and how to take care of it. This has so many other benefits I’ll reap over time:
Saving money on clothes
Making less of an impact on the environment
Contributing less to the exploitation of other women
Liberating myself from the tyranny of fashion trends
As you can tell, I’m finding learning how to sew quite empowering. But I also understand that the ready-made garment industry has also done us huge favours. Thankfully most women don’t need to be hunched over a sewing machine making clothes for their family like back in the day. We can buy the clothes we need even when we’re on a tight budget (although this does come with a cost we don’t immediately see on the price tag).
While sewing, crafts and other DIY may not change the world, I do think these small efforts can help us become more intentional about how we consume, and give us a greater appreciation of material things.
Overall I’m glad that I’ve re-discovered the joy of creativity, and that this new hobby perfectly aligns with my other passions and goals – environmentalism, minimalism, and saving money.
How about you? Have you discovered a new hobby you’re excited about? Do you love or hate DIY and crafts? Comment below!