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The Benefits of Learning to Sew:

This is quite challenging for me to write as I have been sewing for most of my life. My mum made clothes for me when I was little and soon I wanted to learn this creative skill too. l was also taught sewing in junior and secondary school as part of the curriculum. Sewing is so ingrained in my habits that the benefits are just part of my life. However it has been proved time and time again that there are many benefits of learning to sew no matter what your age. Whether you sew by hand or use a sewing machine, this ancient craft will do you good.

Me-Made Wardrobe:

Originality was the biggest appeal to me when learning to sew; I could have clothing that looked just how I wanted it. When my mum made me dresses, she would do matching knickers, when she made me shorts, I could choose to do one half pink and one half yellow...just because I could! And no-one would ever have what I had, each piece is unique when you sew it yourself. At plain-clothes-days at school I often wore outfits the I had made myself and had a side line business selling handmade backpacks to friends.

The skill of sewing also saw me though my children's youth and now into their teens (...well my daughter at least!). I make clothes for my hubby, my daughter and myself (my son is onto "name brands"...I can't compete there!). Also sewing has seen us through every "world book day" and fancy dress day at school or at kids parties. My children have been Wolverine, Pipi Longstocking, Goldilocks, one of the three bears, a card from the Queen of hearts' army, a wizard and even a jelly fish! And the list does go on!

Sustainable Fashion:

"Sustainable fashion" and "sewing" have always been close cousins. If you learn to sew, you can repair and mend all manner of rips or broken buttons and zips. This is also cost effective as you won't be throwing clothing away or paying a tailor to fix it for you. My husband is constantly getting holes in his pockets from carrying his vape pipes! He also loses buttons or rips pockets, all which can be easily fixed with needle and thread.

When word gets around that you can sew, you may find yourself quite popular too! I have nipped in waistlines, taken up hems, and fixed ripped seams for friends and neighbours, and this is asides from dressmaking. When you can sew, you can achieve better fitting clothing by doing a few nips and tucks.

Customising clothing has always been popular and sewing adds another element to this by stitching on badges, ruffles or tassels. As a teen I loved to bleach or dye store-bought clothes then usually shorten them and stitch a few tassels on the hem. I also have an old coat I bought from a budget clothing shop and added interest by doing a contrast blanket stitch around the collars and pockets. If you want to be even more unique, browse a charity shop and see what you could up-cycle.

Sewing and Wellbeing:

Now more than ever we need to take care of our mental health and the mental health of our children and sewing is a great skill to aid wellbeing. Hand sewing and machine sewing have been proved to help people with dementia as it keeps the brain active and focused. For children, sewing is a great skill to improve hand-eye coordination and fine tune motor skills. It also gets the creative juices flowing as you choose a pattern then match it to your fabric of choice. This also instills patience (which I know my children could do with more of!) as you work though a process to get to the finished article. What you put into it is what you get out in terms of fit and finish.

Whatever your age, there is a great sense of achievement when you have sewn something yourself. This also inspires others around us to be more creative. Since the start of 2021, I have had two friends take up knitting and they are both so inspired to keep at it, because not only have they felt the benefit of having a creative hobby to de-stress, but they have something beautiful to show for it.

What?! You made it yourself!

This takes us onto another benefit of learning to can make gifts for friends! I believe I have at least one knitted scarf on the way from one of my two above mentioned friends. Although I have already made myself a new fleece scarf this winter, which took about half an hour start to finish. Ah the benefits of sewing!

Another well known method to release mental tension is quilting. You can start small and quilt a tea-coaster, or quilt your own double duvet or even a unique wall hanging, the opportunities are endless. Quilting uses small piece of fabric precisely cut and stitched together to form unique patterns, and the final result is always beautiful. Quilting can be done by hand stitching or sewing machine and you could even selvage fabric from unworn clothes or cushions to make unique patterns, so no excuses!

A truly inclusive craft:

Sewing is non-exclusive. It can be done by male and female, young and old, way out creatives and methodical meticulous types. There is a sewing craft for everyone and it is an all-seasons hobby. I think that sometimes sewing can be seen as an outdated skill for older women, but consider that most tailors are men, and many of the top couture fashion designers are men. Why would girls and boys not want to customise their clothing or make something unique to wear themselves? As mentioned, sewing is not only for clothing; the most wonderful homeware, gifts and accessories can be stitched.

I had a client who loved making hand made items but stitched everything by hand. She was nervous to use a sewing machine, but after a short lesson she was confidently machine stitching. Both methods are beautiful and affective. Don't doubt yourself, give sewing a go.

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