I’m sure I’m not alone here. I love sewing, as you probably have gathered by now, but I don’t really like being asked to sew… I often wonder why it is that when people know you sew, they automatically think you’ll sew ANYTHING? Like altering curtains or dresses, fixing rips and tears, or sewing on buttons…
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that so many people would rather fix, mend and alter things rather than buy new, but I think some of these tasks people should know how to do already, or learn to do them, like sewing on buttons for example (happy to show people how to do this). Other tasks, like more complex alterations, I think are better left to professionals or more experienced sewers, rather than hobbyists.
I do like the feeling I get when I fix or alter an item of clothing, knowing that I’m extending its life. (I especially enjoy telling my daughters that some of my clothes are older than them…) But to be brutally honest, I don’t actually enjoy this type of sewing.
The reason is that I have so little ‘spare’ time to do the sewing I want to do, I don’t really want to spend the little time I have on mending clothes. Also, I’m not an expert on alterations or clothes-making so I really wouldn’t do as good a job as a professional.
For instance, a few years ago I started making a dress. I was making good progress, but then I got stuck on the zip; I kept meaning to get to grips with it, but I never seemed to have (or find) the time to do it. The unmade dress ended up being draped over my dressmaker’s mannequin (yes, I do have one) for 3 or 4 years (maybe more, I don’t know, I don’t care anymore…)
When I finally got round to redecorating my sewing room a few months ago, the unmade dress and mannequin had to be removed from my room, together with everything else. The mannequin made it back, but without the dress…
I decided to put it away. Keep it out of sight. I now no longer have the daily deflating reminder of an unfinished garment project… (I have plenty of unfinished quilts, but funnily these don’t cause me any distress!) Part of me would like to finish the dress one day, but now I’m not even sure if I like the fabric or pattern, or even if I’ll fit into it anymore!
Anyway, I digress.
Saying ‘No’ to a recent request from one of my colleagues to mend a pair of heavy duty work trousers was greeted with bemusement. I did feel a little guilty and a tad selfish in declining, but I am pleased I did not budge. I wouldn’t dream of asking a friend who’s into gardening to come round to my house and mow my overgrown lawn… or someone who enjoys painting landscapes to come round and paint my kitchen walls… (Both of which, by the way, need doing.)
But this left me wondering, how do my fellow sewers/quilters/crafters feel when asked to mend/alter clothes/furnishings? Do you accept – happily or begrudgingly – or decline, or swap skills/tasks? I’d love to know – drop me a line in the comments below.
Till next time!
Addendum: Of course some repairs are ESSENTIAL, especially when it’s to hide a tear in a quilt! A few years ago, I accidentally snipped a quilt top I had been working on for 10 years. I was gutted, but quickly realised I could easily mend and hide the tear by cutting out a fabric patch to pattern match the fabric on the quilt top. I decided to cut a flower-shaped patch and turn it into a feature. The finished patch looks good and is almost invisible.