Why I Sew

About a year ago, I was having a conversation on the phone with a friend of mine, and noticing that I wasn’t feeling as anxious as I usually did.  For months up until that day, I had been battling a low-lying but constant nagging sense of worry, of something left undone, unattended-to, like a pot of water had been abandoned while boiling on the stove, like I’d left the house while the hose was running in the backyard.  It had gotten to where I didn’t even really notice it anymore, but it was a small stone lodged above my heart, and when my mouth would open, the poison in the stone would be the first thing to pour out.  My heart would beat faster, but without purpose, and my mind would whir and skip and jump without progress, and my lips would flap and the pitch of my voice would rise and rise and rise, all with no destination.

When she and I would speak, which was a couple of times a week, she was just checking in, being a good friend.  And what would come out of my mouth was wave after wave of anxiety and frustration and fear.  Just fear.  About my business and my life and my worries and…I mean, seriously, I would worry about worrying, it was so bad.  I hated it, hated the sound of it in my voice, hated the sticky feeling it left behind me once the conversation was over, hated the way I felt so lost and undirected for the rest of the day, as if the anxiety had stolen that moment of friendly concern, that moment of human connection, and then wanted to take the rest of my day and my evening from me, too.

Until I heard myself one afternoon, saying something different.  It was spring, and the sunlight was filtering through the window in my studio, making a skewed-square block on the floor at my feet.  I opened the door and let the air brush past me, carrying the sound of a red metal wagon scraping across the lawn as the children harvested rocks.  And the words out of my mouth surprised even me:  “You know, I’m feeling really good.  I think it’s because I found some time to sit down and sew today.”

And it was that moment when you turn the kaleidoscope just the right way, and the tiles all fall into alignment, and what was a mess of chaos and translucent confusion becomes clarity and geometric logic.  I knew that I had hit upon a clue–not the answer, but a clue–as to what had been missing, what had been allowing this cistern of worry to fill to overflowing inside me: I had forgotten to sew.

When I am at a sewing machine, at MY sewing machine, I focus in a way that few other things in this world can call me to do.  My vision is limited, in the best way, to only that which is directly in front of me.  I am not worried about what I will make for dinner, or when I will get the oil changed, or even how I will pay the bills and cover the rent and appease the IRS.  I am not worried.  The task in front of me is enough.  I have spent untold hours of my life wanting to be enough, and in this one place, I always, always am.  Enough for the task, enough for the machine, enough for the fabric–not because they ask so little, but because they meet me halfway.

Sewing can be about control, and I am not above admitting that for me this is true.  We live in a chaotic, broken world that brings me to tears and breaks my heart on a regular basis.  Taking an idea, birthing it and shaping it and seeing it clearly in my imagination, and then tackling the raw materials and making it tangible and beautiful, and even scientifically reproducible–it gives me a space where I can be in charge for a moment, where I am reminded that as ugly as the world can be, it is also a thousand times more beautiful, and as hateful and broken as some of us are, we are also priceless miracles.  I am in charge at the machine, I can conquer, I can make order out of chaos, and when that is done, when the project is complete and before me, I can face the rest of the world with a steadier breath.

I learned to sew from my mother, in the way that many of us learned from our mother: by watching, and in bits and pieces between the frustration that comes from learning to sew with someone who knows you left and right.  I’d been watching so closely, even when I didn’t know I was watching, that I was pretty sure I already knew what I was doing.  So the lessons didn’t go that well–at least, not in the way either of us expected.  I took a sewing class in college, as part of my undergraduate degree, and it was better, but I still wasn’t sewing much.  My step-mother gave me her old Singer sewing machine, and I made an enormous pair of pants out of cheap, flimsy fabric.  They fit so poorly that for years after, I bought fabric and patterns and matched and re-matched them but never sewed anything for fear that it wouldn’t turn out.

I finally got to really sewing in graduate school.  I’d made things for my home and clothing for my daughter, flower girl dresses for a friend’s wedding, some simple skirts for myself, but these were all small projects spaced months apart.  In between them, the machine would sit dormant.  In graduate school, that all changed.  Maybe it was a control thing again, because I didn’t want to face the mountains of research necessary to write my thesis.  But partly I believe it was because my life was full of so many names and dates and documents and pages and files that I ached for another way to view the world, another lens to focus the light.  Sewing really gave me that: I made friends I wouldn’t have made otherwise, I learned things about myself I would have ignored or denied, and I got balance.

I get a lot of satisfaction out of sewing.  It appeals to the frugal home-maker in me: making it for less, building a lovely place to return to at the end of the day, providing for my husband and children, stitching a legacy for those who come after me.  My family sews, they always have.  It really never occurred to me NOT to sew, because that’s just what the ladies I’d grown up around always did.  My grandmother still does cross-stitch and embroidery, at the ripe age of 87.  My mother owned her own design and manufacturing company for fifteen years, sewing out of our basement.  I have very few photos from when I was young that don’t involve at least one person wearing a handmade garment.  We were craftsy before craftsy was cool.  So there is no doubt that there is an element of connectedness that I get out of sewing, an element of domestic satisfaction, an aesthetic pleasure that comes from making just what I’d pictured in my head, a sense of satisfaction and contentedness and rightness that goes beyond a need to control.

I think there is something in all of us that wants to MAKE.  Like there is something in all of us that just knows there is good and evil in the world, that there is right and wrong, that love is better than hate.  There is a part of us, across cultures and climates and economic boundaries, that wants to leave a mark–one that we have made, unique to us, a creative seed that we have planted.  And somewhere in that seed are all those other things: the connection to our families and our past; the satisfaction that comes from simple beauty; the contentment that comes from a well-run home; the relief that comes when we find a moment where we don’t fight to be in control of everything, but can manage just this one small thing.

That is why I sew: because my head is filled with ideas, and each of them meets a need in me that I didn’t know was there.  I don’t want to wake up twenty years from now and look back on conversations that were filled with my own anxious voice, sounding unfamiliar to me.  I think as I get older–even though I shudder when that particular old-lady phrase crosses my lips–I am less worried about what’s in it for me and more hoping that I’m putting enough in it.  And when I sew, I can see the progress, right there in my hands.  I can hear the alleviation of my anxiety, I can see the smiles that my labor produces.  And every day is a new start, a new chance to get it right.  That is why I sew.

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  • Jennifer
    April 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Truly lovely writing. For me the sense of accomplishment is the reason I sew. Finishing a garment or quilt is the sense of control in my life. One of the few things that can be controlled at times.

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm

      Yes, exactly! Even when it seems as though I have dropped the ball in every other department of my life, I can always head to my machine and be the Boss there–it’s such a relief to get grounded again that way, and helps make everything else seem so much less earth-shattering. Thanks so much for reading all the way through, and for your kind words!

  • Cherie
    April 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Very well said! Thank you for sharing. I know that when I sew, my stress level comes down. It is my creative outlet.

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      It really is like therapy! I read today that going to the zoo or aquarium actually produces a reduction in blood pressure, like petting a dog can. I think sewing can be so meditative, and really does the same thing for me. Thanks so much for taking the time to read! 🙂

    • JOanne
      April 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

      this is really sweet. i also sew for a creative outlet. i don’t have the creative job i think i would have loved having been pushed down a more academic route as i was bright at school.

      but it’s also something for me on my own which i can focus on!

      • Deborah
        April 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        I have found that having that balance between academic and creative has been really wonderful for me–that being able to express myself in both ways helps me to see that I have more than one facet to who I am, that in a lot of ways each of us is a compilation of lots of ideas and thoughts and they can’t always be shared in the same medium. I’m so glad you have both in your life, and the time to explore each!

  • Ashley P
    April 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    This posts really hits home for me!

    I too had a time in my life where I wasn’t sewing or being creative and crafty and I did struggle and feel lost. Sewing and crafting make me feel something and I need it in my life. 🙂

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      What’s so strange is how quickly it creeps up on you, and how I didn’t even notice that I had let other things fall away. That’s what my grandmother would call a cautionary tale–if we don’t learn to pay attention to and treasure the things that really matter, we’ll be on the other side without them before we know it.

  • Barb_in_GA
    April 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    This is brilliant. Shared on FB for all my crafty friends to see.

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      Oh, thank you for such kind words! I appreciate the share and the time you took to read it. 🙂

  • Belinda
    April 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Amen! I love your writing voice.
    Sent the link to my 22 yr old daughter who is prepping for an interview at a fabric store in Austin tomorrow as it may help her put words to her feelings about sewing 🙂

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      You’re always so sweet to me, B! I hope she gets the job–I have no doubt she’ll be a great fit. Is it over at Stitch Lab? Super cute shop, if so! Best wishes to her, and giant thanks to you for reading, as always. 🙂

  • Traci
    April 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    It’s funny, but I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have a “real” job where I am seen as an expert in my field, a professional. And sometimes I am embarassed to tell people I work with that “I sew”. But for me, sewing is my creative alter ego from my “professional” life. It’s like it is my own little secret!

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      You’ll laugh at this, but I still get a little embarrassed when people I’ve just met ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I sew. In Atlanta, what work you do is a pretty big part of “defining” you, and I have this odd feel that people are categorizing me in a way I wouldn’t like. Writing this today made me care a LOT less.

  • Kim
    April 26, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    “When I am at a sewing machine, at MY sewing machine, I focus in a way that few other things in this world can call me to do. My vision is limited, in the best way, to only that which is directly in front of me. I am not worried about what I will make for dinner, or when I will get the oil changed, or even how I will pay the bills and cover the rent and appease the IRS. I am not worried. The task in front of me is enough. I have spent untold hours of my life wanting to be enough, and in this one place, I always, always am.”

    You nailed it, sister.

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I heart you, lady. I’m glad you get me.

  • Tiphaine
    April 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    This is a really beautiful post Deborah.

    “I have spent untold hours of my life wanting to be enough, and in this one place, I always, always am.”

    I join you so much on that. So, also, thank you for sharing this passion and being you, a teacher, a sewer and most of all a passioner (don’t know if you say this in english…)

    From here to you….


    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Oh, thank you so much! And no, we don’t say “passioner” in English, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying we SHOULD. I think it’s one thing to call someone passionate, but to call someone a PASSIONER somehow seems more permanent and intimate, as if that’s truly a part of who they are and not just something they are feeling in the moment. I would be deeply proud to be a passioner and known as such!

  • Laura
    April 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I really appreciated this. It articulates so much of what sewing is for me too! Having the vision of what you want to make, creatively picking the fabrics, sewing, and having a FINISHED project is so satisfying.

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      I think there are such large parts of our lives that are *never* finished, and we can’t know while they’re still unfolding whether we’re always on the right path. I love the immediacy of sewing, the instant knowledge that you’ve done it right or screwed it up. And then you get to FIX it, which life doesn’t always let you do. Feels much less scary than the real world–in a good way! A welcome respite from the buffeting winds of reality. 🙂

  • katie@ swimbikequilt
    April 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks for this, Deborah. It is lovely. I haven’t sat down at my machine for a few weeks–sickness, travelling, messy house, sickness, blah blah blah. I did today. And I’m glad I did.

    • Deborah
      April 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      There’s always ONE MORE THING that has to get done, you know? And I really did have to learn the hard way–like you do when you don’t eat right or exercise or spend one-on-one time with your husband–that if neglect that part of you that thrives on working out the puzzle or creating something from scratch, you’re never quite 100%. I’m so happy for you that you had the time today–and thanks so much for making the time to read! 🙂

  • Ellen
    April 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Beautifully said! I hadn’t sat down to sew for a few weeks, but today was the day. It totally filled something in me that was missing! Having an idea in my head, drafting it out, cutting, ironing, sewing it together, holding the completed item in my hands, such a WONDERFUL feeling. Your words hit home for me today. I think it is about control, just a little bit. The world around us can be over-whelming, especially with lots of little ones running around, that we often feel out of control, but when we are sitting at the machine, it feels as if all is well in the world.
    Thanks for this!

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Isn’t it so refreshing when you’re able to sit down at the machine after a while? That’s when I most realize how much I’ve missed it!!

  • Erin
    April 26, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. It really resonated with me. I had a huge discussion with my hubs last night about how sewing wasn’t just a hobby and how using that term was a bit offensive. It’s so much more to me. As a woman and mother I feel I spend so much time appeasing others and that hour or two at the sewing machine are not just for fun but feeding the soul. I’m going to go back and read this a few more times. Thanks so much.

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Well, exactly. I remember the Seven Habits, when he talks about “sharpening the saw”: the things you do that make it possible to do all the *other* things you do. I can’t be a good wife and a good mother and a good housekeeper and…and…and… if I’m always giving and never giving to ME. I love that through sewing I can feed that part of me but also answer those other needs. Never any guilt with sewing! 🙂

  • Melody Miller
    April 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    This is heartfelt and lovely, Deborah. I feel like i know you better. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful piece of yourself.

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      You’re so good. Thanks for taking it and being gentle! Heart you, lady.

  • Patti
    April 26, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    I feel very relaxed and calm when I’m working on a special gift for a friend. I just finished 4 placemats for her birthday and just the idea that it would make her happy, made my normally high stress levels reduce.

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      It really is an unrecognized type of therapy–I’m able to realize things I didn’t want to admit to myself, and ask myself hard questions, and let go of weird hang-ups, all because I have this soothing, safe place to turn. How wonderful.

  • Linda
    April 26, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Your story mirrors my own. The stress of the work day disappears within seconds after sitting in front of my sewing machine. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, the worries of what took place during the day and what awaits the next morning fade away. Thank you for putting it into words.

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      I am really amazed, almost overwhelmed, by how many of us feel the same way–the response to this post is so moving. How funny that we’re all carrying this weight, and how awesome that we can relieve it. Now if we can just find better ways of sharing both the burden and the relief! 🙂

  • Debbie
    April 27, 2012 at 1:47 am

    thank you ever so much for writing this! The first 6 paragraphs were so much me that I actually started to cry. While our paths are not so similar….I think that the act of manipulating fabric and creating makes us the same. I think that I will have to try to write down my feelings about this feeling that you have brought out in me and I think that is a wonderful thing. Thanks from from one Deborah to another….quilty hugs my dear…and happy sewing….

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm

      I admit that there were times as I was writing this that I teared up–it’s hard to admit a lot of these things, and hard to acknowledge my own failure to recognize this need in me until I’d taken advantage of a friendship and found myself almost unrecognizable. I’m so glad it connected with you, and hopeful that we’ll both be more mindful that we must feed that inner heart!

  • agnes
    April 27, 2012 at 2:07 am

    I’m smiling while reading your post tonight because I just spent the past hour sewing instead of working on a paper that I’m supposed to be writing, which I may be avoiding because it reminds me of writing my thesis… BTW, I loved that video you did on Nancy Zieman’s corner technique. If I’m ever in Atlanta I’m coming to your shop to meet you and buy stuff. 🙂

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      Please do come by and visit! It’s a SUPER alternative to writing a thesis. I loooved my graduate work, but really was fed the most by the time I spent sewing during that season of my life. I’ll never really understand how all those pieces fell into place as they did, but man, am I thrilled it happened that way!

  • Cindy Bubolz
    April 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Thank you for a great read as I am eating my morning cereal and getting ready to tackle my day. I have stage 4 lung cancer, which has taught me so many things about myself and life. One of the most important things for me in this battle is to spend my time doing the things I enjoy. I left my job to take care of myself. When I am feeling good, I am sewing. Sure I occasionally cook and clean, but mostly I am sewing. I try to do some every day. I realized when I get too busy to sew, I feel unsettled and sometimes crabby. Well better get going, I have a quilt to finish today!

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm


      What an awesome gift to have, that when you’re ill, there is something that calls you out of yourself and offers you both purpose and solace. I admire you for taking the time to put yourself and your health and your time at the top of your priority list, and for letting sewing be the happy place I think it ought to be. So many of us, even when we’re in good health, make sewing this angry place where “nothing goes right,” but I love knowing that when I’m working at the machine, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed if I throw a little fabric at it. Thank you so much for writing and sharing a part of your story with me–you really hit the nail on the head when it comes to what matters most. 🙂

  • elizabeth
    April 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Absolutely lovely post!

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Thank you so much, and thanks for taking the time to read! 🙂

  • munmun
    April 27, 2012 at 8:47 am

    How beautifully written! so well echoes my person!

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      I think there must be so many of us who have more in common than we realize–thank you so much for reading, and I’m so glad it connected with you!

  • Jen
    April 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

    You have resonated with so many of us. I felt as though you were writing the story of MY life. You’ve articulated what I have wanted to say for so long and so artfully done. Thank you.

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      Isn’t that amazing? Especially that so many of us feel we aren’t ENOUGH, and apparently aren’t talking about that with one another. If none of us feel smart enough/thin enough/funny enough/talented enough/whatever enough, then who on earth are we competing with?? Thank goodness we can always return to the needle and find something timeless there. I’m so glad to know you feel the same way!

  • Helen
    April 27, 2012 at 9:13 am

    What wonderful reading this morning. I have someone I need to share this with – someone very dear to me who is struggling to get through each day with purpose and dignity. She doesn’t sew, but she is very creative and artsy. We have talked about finding a passion, a focus on something that makes you smile, draws you into another place, and allows the stresses of daily life to disappear for a time. So far, she cannot find that passion. Her hopes and dreams have come and gone and your story makes the reason so clear. She always needed the help of others for those hopes/dreams – she could not bring them to fruition without depending on others. Your piece is so beautifully written and it comes from someone who has “been there.” I plan to share it with her today. Thank you!

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Sewing has been such a tremendous, grounding gift for me, and I am so grateful in all kinds of ways that I come from a family where it was taken for granted that we could make things. I hope your friend finds that outlet–it can be such an incredible way to feel power and control when you’re struggling and have a sense of lostness. Best wishes to her, and I hope this post can help, even a little!

  • Debbie G.
    April 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Deborah this is absolutely beautiful. You’ve captured into words what sewing means and how fulfilling it is. I really feel like sewing is therapy for my soul. I feel such a sense of accomplishment. When I sew I’m able to forget about other things. Sewing gives me an outlet to just focus on me for a while.

    My father died very unexpectedly two weeks ago and I have been feeling so broken and lost. I’m so grateful the “Sewing For Your Home” class started this week. It’s been such a gift. It’s helping me heal. Thank you!

    • Deborah
      April 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Oh, Debbie, I am so sad to hear that, and so sorry for your loss! I know this must be a really painful time for you, and am glad that your sewing is giving your heart some room right now. There are few enough places we can go to forget for just a moment–even the movies, which do such a good job, turn the lights on when they’re done. I love that sewing allows me to back-burner my concerns and gives me a little space so that when I return to it, they don’t seem as awful as before. I hope you’re able to “get away” a bit in coming weeks, and know that our hearts and prayers are with you!

  • Sue
    April 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I do not have much control over things in my life. I can’t buy appliances, or furniture or even a throw rug because my husband wants to contol it all. But I learned many years ago that in my sewing room I am in control and it feels good. No one tells me what to do in my sewing room and I am a creater.
    I love sewing and have since I was very young. Thanks for putting it into words

  • jenn
    April 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I am so glad that you sew! Between your book and the e-course on quilting, you have taught me to sew. My mom didn’t sew and I didn’t take any home-ec classes in high school (I wish now that I had). But I love to sew and I’m getting better. Thank you!

    p.s. I love your daughter’s room

  • Heather
    April 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I learned to sew by taking you Sewing for Kids class. I’m actually still up tonight finishing a twirly skirt for my youngest. I also sew for something “creatively concrete”. My grandfather, father and brother are all carpenters and very accomplished at it. When I walk into anyone’s home, I am mentally pulling down walls and adding them, rearranging cabinetry and putting in closets. But I can only visualize – I can’t draw it out or build it myself and I always feel left out of my family’s creative abilities. I write and that’s an outlet, but I can’t touch it at the end of the day and it always means more to me than to anyone else.

    Sewing is a way for me to build and create. I’ve drawn out my own little things – pockets, border hems – and build my skills bit by bit. I’m not a warm and fuzzy mom really (husband always gets to be good cop and I lay down the law) so it’s a piece of me that I use to physically represent to my girls that I care and want to do special things for them. You know, besides the working and cooking and cleaning and laundry and homework checking…..

  • Shalini
    April 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

    What a gorgeous post, really appreciate your sharing so honestly. Interestingly about the anxiety, you are not alone there. I struggle with anxiety myself and have done for many years (there is a family history of it). Having said that, what I love most is that when I sew, its not so much about control for me as letting go of the control. Its so liberating and rewarding to finish something that I know I made out of love. Also I find that its when I let go (of control of the sewing) and give myself space to calm down and come back to the sewing is when I find it suddenly goes so much more smoothly.

    I totally agree about us all wanting to MAKE. I do feel that way too and see that in my kids too…. when they make, they focus, and come out so relaxed and proud later.

    Thank you for teaching me the skills that bring pure joy to me and therefore my loved ones too.

  • Karen Chatters
    April 28, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I love this. You know I’m late to the sewing game but I finally feel like I’ve found something of my own. Something that I can take control of and make mine. I’m an avid reader, and of late, a bit of a runner but there are so few things in life that I can control or that I feel I “own.” When I sit down at the machine or stand there and envision how I need to cut something to get the result I’m looking for, it’s entirely my own (and maybe Google’s there to help). I can get lost in the simple act of ironing yards and yards of fabric or in spending hours on the computer, lost in sewing blogs and actually understanding what people are talking about. I don’t get to sew anywhere near as much as I like but it’s exciting to me that things that I want to make don’t take as long as they once did, so it seems I’m getting better.

    Thanks for not only posting this but sharing this journey with me and making me a bit better when I go to sit down at my machine.

  • jane
    April 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Great post. I can relate to much of what you have written. Thanks.

  • Eileen Keane
    April 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you. I need to get back to sewing. All I’ve been doing is working on other peoples’ quilts. I help to feed their souls, but I think it’s at the expense of mine. Thank you!

  • Suzan A.
    April 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this beautiful post. I love reading your blog and am continually inspired. I am still learning the importance of ‘sharpening the saw’, and words like this really help to bring me back to my sewing machine. I too often forget how it satisfies my need to be crafty and thrifty, and brings me such joy and sense of accomplishment. Thank you Deborah.

  • Yzobela
    April 29, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Beautiful post. I agree, for me, sewing is about connecting to my mothers, and grandmothers who were all stitchers of one kind or another, and it is also definitely about control – in a world dominated by young children and full of constant interruptions and never ending housekeeping, it is so gratifying to be able to think something, sit down and make it, and then finish it – and it’s DONE, I can admire it, but I never have to do it again (unless I WANT to!). Thanks for articulating that so much better than I could!

  • M-R @ Quilt Matters
    April 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

    Fantastic post that beautifully captures why I quill too. 🙂

  • Carol Swift
    April 29, 2012 at 8:59 am

    When I came up with the name for my blog, it was because I was so frustrated that my life never lets me sew enough. What you said here was so beautiful and so true. Thank you!

  • Peter
    April 29, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Very nice post, everything well said. My wife Beverly loves to sew and quilt, and would rather be in her sewing room than any where else. She has made clothing for our children all our married life, and now makes clothes for the grandchildren. Her mother and grandmother were avid sewers and quilters too. She finds these crafts to be great stress reducers as well, and she also hates to have idle time. Like most mothers, it’s amazing how almost all that they do even in hobbies is for someone else!

  • Claudia
    April 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I think we were all born to create. It’s so powerful and a sweet release when we can actualize that compulsion. Sewing is a double blessing, for the one who does it and the one who receives it. Thanks Deborah, your classes have opened amazing outlets to express my creativity and expand my awareness of beauty. 🙂

  • tinafreysd
    April 30, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Some of the things that you can make are drapes, couch and chair covers, accessories for your pets, home interiors, clothes for dolls and so much more..

  • Penny Boden
    May 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I so enjoyed this article that you wrote as it pretty much sums up why lots of us sew and create. We all have our own particular reasons as to why we enjoy our hobbies and it is good to stop and reflect. I honestly feel so sorry for people, especially women who do not have a hobby. Patchwork and quilting are mine and I too want to write a story as to why I create with fabrics. Thank you for your story.
    I recently won a minor competition for a story I wrote all about my first quilt I made which I called “Beyond the quilt” thus the inspiration for the name of my blog. It was no masterpiece but it was fun doing. I will continue following your blog postings. Keep writing.

  • Kelly
    May 2, 2012 at 2:46 am

    This is an amazing post; so much in it. Even for a sewing newbie like me. I used my grandmother’s old Singer (left to me when she passed 8 years ago) for the first time last week. My oldest daughter who has only had a few actual lessons through 4-H helped me get the machine threaded and got me going with my first stitches. It was a….how do I put this?…It was a transcendental moment for me. My grandmother sewed and I believe she loved it. She would always try to get me to try it out with little projects she would have for me. I never took the bait. I have lived to regret that. I was very close to her. She was like a second mother to me. I miss her dearly every day. As I was working with the machine (her machine) and her sewing tools (still sitting in her box how she had last placed them) I felt so close to her. Like I was stopping time or more like time didn’t matter. There was no time. For that hour I worked I worked along side of her. Three generations have now worked on this machine. Sewing love while time stopped. I have rarely felt so much at peace. And now I have half a blanket for my youngest. Wow. How great can this sewing gig be?! I hope to finish the second half tomorrow. I can’t wait to get back to it.

    Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your story here with us.

  • Diane
    May 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I am another one who learned to sew from my mother. She made all my clothes as a child and I thought that is how all mothers are. I have four daughters and sewed for them when they were little. Now they are having families of their own. Unfortunately only one sews but now i get to sew for my granddaughter!

    The reason I sew? Therapy, making good use of my hands and talents that God has gifted me with and the fact that what I make is unique. We all use the same patterns or the same quilt squares or fabrics but each of us has their own vision of what the outcome will be. Just as each one of us is different, so is what we make. It takes all of us to express the creative vision we have been instilled with. My greatest fear is that there will be a time when, because of physical limitations, I won’t be able to sew anymore.

  • Lorraine
    May 19, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Very inspiring post. I sew because it calms the burning in my brain, it thaws the utterly paralyzing anxiety, it helps me to recapture the idea that I am worth something, if I can create something worth having.

  • Sewing Princess
    May 22, 2012 at 10:17 am

    How beautifully you put your thoughts down. You are really talented, Deborah. I also learned from my mom and always had the desire to learn. It was only recently that I had the time to dedicate more time to it and I really enjoy it. I believe it’s nice to have a hobby that makes you focus yet takes you away from your mind wondering elsewhere (like cleaning, cooking and gardening) ;o)

  • Innocent
    May 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    This is inspiring. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. Am just motivated to start sewing even though I never learnt it before. I appreciate you Deborah for being generous with your talent.