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Why everyone should learn to sew

Why everyone should learn to sew

Sewing is one of my passions and it is one of the most useful skills you can learn. Once you have the basic technique you can make pretty much anything from just a piece of fabric and some thread. It is a creative and technical skill, but is so easy to learn.

Sewing will save you in a tight spot more than once. Holes in your favourite clothes will no longer be a cause for despair, since you now have the power to fix them! Wake up the morning of a wedding and find a rip in your dress or suit? Sew it up! It’s a great feeling to be able to swoop in like a sewing superhero and save someone from a clothing disaster with a few carefully placed stitches. Be careful though, once word gets out that you are a sewer you will likely be inundated with requests, but treat each one as a challenge and it will never become boring.

A quality, handmade birthday present is the best gift you can give, and you can guarantee it will be treasured forever. There are so many things you can make, and the fact that your gift is homemade means you can tailor it completely to the person you are giving it to. Think a quilt made from t-shirts from your sister’s favourite band, or a cuddly toy version of your best friend’s favourite TV character. The possibilities really are endless.

Refashioning - the making of new clothes and items out of old ones - is one of my favourite things to do. This is where you can really let your imagination run wild. Look around charity shops for items with a cool pattern and a lot of wear left in the fabric and try to redesign them. Keep a lookout for large men’s shirts (they have lots of fabric to work with and are usually good quality cotton) and bed sheets that aren’t worn out in the centre. Once you have refashioned them into something you would wear or use, you will feel a real sense of accomplishment. Some refashions are so dramatic they feel like magic! The pictures show a refashion I did over a few days in the Christmas break, of four free promotional t-shirts that had been in a drawer for years, and I made them into a Christmassy red dress that I wore for a Boxing Day party.

Sewing is a reasonably cheap habit to get into. Charity shops and fabric store sales can keep your craft supplies stocked, and if you decide you want a sewing machine you can pick up a mini one from a well-respected brand like Janome for under £50. Making your own clothes always works out cheaper than buying them – for example the pair of shorts I am currently working on cost me about £5 to make (for fabric, elastic and trimming) and I recently found a very similar pair for £28 in Topshop. You can use this to your advantage if you decide you want to start making money from sewing – if family friends need new sofa covers, cushions or curtains, start offering your services for a reasonable price. Then they can get exactly what they want and you can boost your pocket money! Just make sure you’re up to the job – if they’re paying you they deserve a quality product. Luckily, there are hundreds of free online guides to teach you how to sew almost anything.

I hope you stick with sewing through the knotted threads and sewing machine jams, because nothing feels as good as being asked where you got that great shirt and being able to reply that you made it yourself!

Images: Amy Wheller

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