Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why I Sew

This Halloween, I decided to make the kids matching trick-or-treat bags, as one does when they have too many things going on.  My mom had made my next older sister and I matching bags when I was younger, and I LOVED them. Also, while Finn inherited my old bag, I had nothing for Enna.  Previously we had used a wee knit bag that came with some of her stuffed fruit.  This was fine for a 1 and 2 year old, but I knew it would not fly this year.  (See picture documentation.)

See Enna's wee bag.  Finn is holding my old trick-or-treat bag
I got quite excited about the project.  I figured out a pattern I could use (the drawstring bag from "Little Things to Sew"), I added appliqued cat and ghosts, and I tried a new-to-me technique of free-hand embroidery to add the words, "Trick or Treat" to the other side of the bags.  It was while doing this new technique that I inadvertently broke my machine.  I was able to finish the embroidery part, but my machine was seriously skipping stitches and needed to be fixed.  I could not actually construct the bags in its current state.

I was so bummed!  The shop gave me an estimate of 12 working days before it would be fixed.  They had the day before received a huge influx of machines that needed servicing.  In a final plea, I asked the women in my congregation via a Facebook post if anyone had a machine that they would let me borrow so that I could finish the bags.  I just really wanted to be able to finish the project before Halloween, less than a week away.

One woman responded.  She is a mother of 9(?) kids.  Her responses were along the line of, "Why are you even doing this?  Why don't you just use pillowcases?"  And yes, I can see that as a mother of nine, sewing trick-or-treat bags for your kids is probably not the best use of your time.  And if it was just her, maybe (ha! probably not), I could have let it go.  However, I also detected a bit of resistance from Mr. F. in regards to my sewing.  So, I felt there were at least a few people who were silently or not so silently questioning my decision to sew and whether my time could be better spent elsewhere.

I felt people were missing the point, but I hadn't really articulated in my mind what that point was.  I spent a lot of time thinking about my desire to sew.  Finally, it hit me.  First of all, sewing is a creative outlet.  This point is valid, but could also be viewed by people as extraneous--something to be indulged in when one has the time.  However, sewing for me in my current situation is also an intellectual outlet.  Yes, I could read scientific journals and brush up on my statistics.  But I currently have no application for this knowledge.  Ultimately, I would forget most of what I read.  Sewing provides a lot of new material to read up on, especially in regards to alteration and fit.  I have to educate myself on different types of fabrics, construction methods, etc.  I then get to use that information to make useful, wearable clothing for myself and my kids.  There is the challenge of taking a two-dimensional drawing and making it fit on a three-dimensional person.  And as I am pretty much a novice to all of this, I have loads of stuff to keep me intellectually engaged for a long time.  Making meals, cleaning the house, breaking up arguments, etc: none of these activities really provide me with a whole lot of intellectual stimulation.  They are worthwhile activities and need to be done, but they do no fill the void of wanting to learn, apply, and create.

This is the point that I made to my husband as he was stuck, prisoner in the car for an hour on our way to the pumpkin patch last month.  He gets to go to work, think about useful, practical, intellectual things and then apply them.  He gets to associate with colleagues and have adult conversations with them.  No, he does not have any time to pursue any of his hobbies that he is interested in.  And for this, I think he perhaps felt a bit resentful that I was pursuing my interest of sewing.  However, I think he finally understood, that it was more than just a creative hobby of mine.  That, currently, sewing is filling an intrinsic need for me as an adult to stimulate my brain.  Are there other venues for this?  Certainly.  In the past, some of this need has been met by photography and even blogging.  I am sure that the activity will change as my situation does.  

Luckily, I was able to find someone willing to lend me their machine so that I could frantically finish the bags prior to all the Halloween festivities.  I felt a lot of satisfaction seeing them being toted around and filled with candy.  And, hooray hooray, my machine is back from the shop so I can start attacking all the projects I have in mind.  



  


1 comment:

RFamily said...

I love how they came out! Also this was interesting to read. I spent some time trying to figure out my whys bc I don't really enjoy the challenge you describe. I think for me I like saving money, being able to get something just the way I want it, and being able to gift kids something I made myself makes me proud.

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