Tilly posed this question over the weekend. And what follows is a pretty long post in response, I've tried to break it up a bit with some photos.
It is something I have been thinking about for a while now, it's difficult to explain how something like sewing can change your life. I started sewing in February of this year, and things are different for me since then, I think *I* am different since then. Things I've stitched in the last five months are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12.
Off the top of my head sewing has affected my confidence, my personality, my taste, my lifestyle, my blog, my spare cash ;-) It has brought me my studio, the discovery of a passion for teaching and it has enabled me to be part of a group of like-minded and very creative individuals.
I have been searching for my "thing" for years, I've always dipped in and out of crafts, I've tried many and been capable of most, but nothing ever grabbed me and kept me interested. It's only been 5 months but I know that sewing is the one for me, it combines so many skills and is often as much about engineering and the mechanics of construction as it is about pretty fabrics and creating something out of cloth. It has awakened in me a passion for teaching and passing skills on to others, I never knew this about myself and don't know if I ever would have discovered it were it not for helping a friend when we were both first learning.
I have noticed a marked increase in my confidence since I first sat at the sewing machine, and not just in knowing I can do things/make something/repair something. I'm less shy because I have something about which I'm passionate to talk about, that might sound weird but it's true. I'm more outgoing, less awkward and more able to talk to strangers because I feel like having a passion makes me more interesting (whether it actually does remains to be seen).
I don't shop in the same way (ignoring the fact that I spend way more on fabric and notions than I did on clothes), I won't buy something that's poorly cut, I now know what it means and understand why some manufacturers do it. I inspect the construction of every garment, I have a much greater appreciation for vintage clothing and know that most of today's high street wares couldn't dream of making it to vintage status, because they will have fallen apart in a few seasons or less.
My spare time is spent more constructively than ever, making things, designing things or reading about what others are making and designing. But it's relaxing too, sitting at the sewing machine and hearing the hum, I have been known to decline social engagements to sew.
Without sewing I wouldn't have my beloved studio and to be very honest I don't think this little blog would still be here. Although I'm not a big part of the sewing blog community at all, I do feel that I'm a very small part of a wonderful circle of people who are able to answer any question and provide endless inspiration.
Something else sewing has brought me is feeling closer to my mum, she died very suddenly last year. My mum was great at sewing (and everything actually, I got all my creativity and practicality from her) but I was scared of sewing machines and never got to learn anything from her, this makes me sad but at the same time I feel happy that I can now do something she was good at. I know she'd enjoy seeing me wearing my self-stitched dress, and she'd probably point out the dodgy stitching too.
Needles and threads are even creeping in to my drawings. Sewing has got me tuned in to my creativity more than any craft before it, not a day goes by when I'm not creative in some way, it's really special.
Last but not least, sewing has given me the basis, the confidence and the power to have new dreams for my future and the courage to take steps towards them.
PS This is not to mention the uncontainable joy when someone compliments something you stitched yourself and you get to burst "I MADE IT".