Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7 Things to be Thankful for as a Modern Seamstress

Hello my lovely readers! When sewing it seems it can be all too easy to get caught up in the things that are going wrong. I am all too guilty of complaining about things when I sew. Sometimes, I need to take a step back, remind myself that sewing is a hobby-which should be fun- and then restart my journey into whatever task was giving me a fit. So, here are some things that I am thankful for as a modern seamstress.

1. We sew because we want to, not because we have to. I would venture to guess that the majority of us who sew, at least in the modernized world, do so because we enjoy it. Sewing is a hobby;something that we find pleasure and happiness in. In times gone by, women sewed because they had to. I can't imagine being solely responsible for clothing my family of 12 children while only being armed with a treadle and a few hand sewing needles. I'm thankful that sewing is now a hobby, not a necessity.

2. Modern Irons. Sure, from time to time, we all complain about the job that our iron is doing.They don't get hot enough, they don't give us enough steam, they spit on our fabric, those misbehaving little irons are always doing something to earn our wrath. We forget that about a hundred years ago, seamstresses had to build a fire just to heat up their irons! I cannot imagine having to build a fire to heat up what was essentially a chunk of cast iron, grab a potholder, and then ferociously press before my iron cooled back down. While my iron might be a cheapo one from Wal-mart, at least I can plug it into the wall for heat and it steams.

3. Access to the world of sewing blogs and other sewing websites. Sewing related sites are such an invaluable resource for the modern seamstress. I think it is reasonable to say that there is more sewing information available to the modern seamstresses than any seamstress of years past. If a particular sewing technique has you stumped there is about a 99% chance that you'll be able to find an answer to your problem on the internet. There are also boards, such as Pattern Review, where many lovely and experienced seamstresses are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. The world of sewing blogs is just a big happy family that I am quite thankful to be part of!

4. Access to Sewing Patterns. Prior to Ebeneezer Butterick, most seamstresses just made their own patterns for their clothing. If I had to draft all of my own patterns from scratch, I can assure you that I would not sew. Patterns are easy to obtain in today's world. Most of us can waltz into our local store, flip through a pattern catalog, and walk out of the store with a whole handful of goodies. If vintage patterns are more your cup of tea, there are an overwhelming number of online resources to help you acquire what you desire. Since we're living in the digital age you can also peruse sites such as Burdastyle, click print, and one roll of tape later you'll have a pattern. So, as a modern seamstress, I am thankful to have access to commercial patterns.

5.Modern Sewing Machines. Now, when I say modern sewing machines, I really mean machines made in the last 70 years or so. I love that my sewing machine is powered by the outlet in the wall, not my own foot. I like the zig-zag function, reverse, and perhaps the best thing of all is the one step buttonholer. Modern machines features little luxuries that seamstresses could only dream about a hundred years ago. So, I am thankful that my sewing machine is powered by electricity, and makes my buttonholes for me.

6. Access to fabric and sewing supplies. Before the crowds erupt into protest exclaiming that the only sewing store they have access to is Joann's, allow me to explain myself. While in the recent past there may have been many more local options for obtaining sewing goodies, your choices pretty much stopped there. Sure, mail order catalogs such as Sears did offer some fabric choices, but many times the pictures were in black and white. Today, there are quite a few online resources for acquiring whatever fabric or sewing notion tickles your fancy. Shopping online may not be the quickest option, or the cheapest in many cases, but you can rest assured that you can acquire most any sewing item your little heart might desire.So, I am thankful that I can acquire sewing supplies, even if it requires patience while waiting for the goodies to arrive in my mailbox.

7. Most stigmas related to sewing are gone. If you're of a certain age, under 30 or so in my opinion, and you sew you are certainly not the norm, but you're not a complete oddity either. In past times it was possible that you would be labeled as poor if you or your mother sewed your clothing. Being able to purchase one's clothing at a department store was, at one time in American history, somewhat of a statement of one's socioeconomic status. Just one look at a handful of sewing blogs will yield a diverse mix of people of differing ages, races, religions, genders, and economic backgrounds. No one would ever dream of reading a sewing blog, and then think to themselves, "gee, I'm glad I can afford to buy clothes".  (At least I hope they don't think this.) So, I am thankful that modern seamstresses can sew as the please without having various labels slapped on them.

So, there you have it; a list of things I am thankful for as a modern seamstress. I'd love to hear from you readers. What are you thankful for as a modern seamstress?


  1. I love this post! This is a lot of fun. I think you should submit this to Threads.

  2. Sarah C- How do you submit something to Threads?

  3. Interesting! You bring up some great points, and it totally would make a great article in Threads (although I have no input on how to submit - maybe email someone from the mag?)

  4. What a great blog entry!

    Closures, which is the page in Threads where personal stories appear, has this at the bottom: Email your story to TH@taunton.com and you could be our next Closures author.

  5. Oh yes, electric irons are wonderful things. Although after I started having issues with mine spitting dirt, I too Nay's advice and quit using the steam setting in favor of a dry iron and spray bottle. So far, so good, with that.

    And thank God for FabricMart! lol

  6. thank god for modern seamstresses! :) :) lol

  7. What a great post! It's so true, as much as we complain we really are lucky! I especially agree with number 1. Can't imagine having to make my clothes instead of choosing to make them!

  8. Wonderful and I agree completely!!

  9. Right! so you are!!!,,, am 41 well soon to be any way and in my early 20's I made most of my clothes did not had enough dinero to buy what I like and when some one complemented me on a dress or skirt and I said I made it myself,, the look on their faces was of uh? now i sew mostly for my 3 little girls and they are starting to show an interest in the sewing thing.