Let’s put out the obvious first: when learning how to sew, you develop many skills such as understanding a pattern, operating a sewing machine or getting to grips with the specialist terms🙂 But there’s so much more to sewing!
Think about it. Besides sewing specific skills, there are some invaluable life lessons you learn along the way too. Don’t believe me? Well, keep on reading! Below are the 5 main things sewing has thought me for life👇
1. Planning Is the Key to Success
I remember my first sewing project outside of a course. It took ages! Why? Because I didn’t plan ahead🙈 For most sewing projects, just ordering the fabric and the pattern isn’t enough. You might also need interfacing, elastics, buttons, a zip – you get the idea. So, when I wanted to start my project, I quickly realised that half of the things I needed were missing. Add delivery delays on top and you’re way behind schedule…😔
Also, it’s so easy to get lost in the sewing world full of beautiful patterns and fabrics. Let’s look at an example: there’s a pattern you like from a super cool independent company which would match perfectly with the fabric you saw recently on Instagram. But hang on – where did you spot this fabric? Which company was it again? Good luck trying to remember…😅
So my lesson learned: planning is everything. Without a plan you’ll lose your path and focus. We don’t want that. Especially, if you’re sewing a dress for a special occasion like a friend’s wedding.
My tip💡: create your own spreadsheet to keep the overview. I know, a spreadsheet doesn’t sound fancy or cool but it will help you organise your sewing projects. List future projects you want to tackle and include columns for linking the pattern, potential fabrics and haberdashery needed.
2. Good Things Take Time
We live in a fast-paced and hectic world. Everything is always urgent and we’re used to having things available at our fingertips whenever we want, no matter if it’s food, music or the laundry collection service⏱️ Don’t get me wrong, it’s great and I’m using many such services myself. However, sometimes it’s nice to have a deeper connection and to understand more about the work behind the scenes in order to appreciate what we have.
And it’s the same when it comes to clothing👚 You can order a new top with a few clicks online or within seconds when tapping your credit card in the store. However, when you actually sew one simple garment yourself, you realise how much time and effort is needed and you will see your wardrobe with different eyes.
Sewing taught me to be patient. That good things take time. When I’ve tried to rush something while sewing, you can be sure I’ve made a mistake and learned my lesson right away when unpicking all the stitches🙈 Also, working my way through a project one stitch at a time is such a nice contrast to the rushing world out there and helps me to switch off.
3. Attention to Detail – Why Precise Working is Important
Working by the rule of thumb can work in many cases. After all, my perfectionism has held me back more often in life than I wanted to. But it can also go totally wrong if you don’t pay attention to the right details. Especially when it comes to sewing, taking a shortcut usually means that you have to accept that your finished garment might not turn out the way you’ve intended😆
If you want to have the dress which is pictured on the pattern cover, you need to follow the instructions closely. Let’s look at an example: not in the mood to press the seams? You’ll regret it soon. Pressing seams controls the seam allowance and ensures that the thread melds into the fabric and doesn’t sit on the surface of the fabric💨 This is important if you want your garment to look professional and finished.
Being detail oriented is really important when sewing. Every notch, every stitch and every cut contributes to your garment and an imprecise approach will be clearly visible in your end result✂️
4. The Importance of Taking a Break
You get up in the morning, had a shower and just finished your coffee☕ You’re at the peak of your productivity level and feel like you could continue for ages and nothing can stop you. While it’s nice to be at such a high, there are also times during which you’ve been staring at an issue for ages without making any progress. But you don’t want to let it go – you want to finish whatever it is you’re doing and you won’t rest before it’s done.
Been there, done that. It can lead to catastrophe, frustration and mistakes you’ll regret.
Also when it comes to sewing. What usually happened when I really needed a break and didn’t take it: irreversible mistakes. You know the really stupid ones like following the wrong instructions🤦♀️
Let’s look at the other option. What happens when you take a break?
A proper one during which you relax, take your eyes off of the problem and clear your head. When you look at the issue again, it’s likely that you now know what to do and that you can continue your work more productively. Or in sewing terms: with less unpicking🙈
To put it in a nutshell: sometimes you have to take a break. Simple as that. Side note: the perfect sewing break usually consists of cookies and tea😉
5. Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out the Way You Want
You’ve got the perfect picture in your mind of you dancing around in your new handmade garment. Expectations are high and you carefully follow the instructions.
While the fitting, you still believe that things can turn around and that everything will be fine once you’ve stitched the hem. But then it’s the end stage, your dress is ready and reality hits you: it just didn’t turn out the way you wanted it😔 Maybe it’s the colour that doesn’t look good on you. Or the shape just isn’t right for your figure.
Even though such lessons suck, they are important for life. Failures happen and we have to learn to move on.
Maybe you can give the garment to a friend of yours who would look stunning in it? You could also give it to charity or find a styling option that it would still look good on you, e.g. a belt, a t-shirt below or a jacket over it.
Just accept the fact that things can turn out differently than you wanted💁♀️ It happens. That’s life and we move on.
There would be so many more life sessions sewing has taught me which I could list here but the above 5 are my top ones. Are you sewing as well? What are your lessons learned? Let me know in the comments below⬇️