To wonder if sewing is a dying art?

(113 Posts)
NotHerRealname Tue 12-Feb-13 11:10:37

The sum of my sewing ability is to;

Sew on a button
Repair a small hole or split seam
Take up (very badly) a seam.

All these I can do to a pretty low standard. About the same as my Dh. We share these jobs between us!

My mother can use a sewing machine, make clothes, invisible stitching etc. as well as knit and crochet! So can my Mil.

I could have learnt a bit more as a child but I didn't really see the value in it. I do wish now though, that I was a bit handier with a needle and thread.

Would it be very nosey to ask how much you lot can sew? and also do you think lost people now just throw stuff away without trying to repair it?

valiumredhead Tue 12-Feb-13 11:14:05

I can -

use a sewing machine
sew buttons
make a simple garment like a skirt - a top I would find tricky.
make curtains and cushions
knit - just about, not very well but am learning.
I do tapestry, patchwork and used to do x stitch.

bedmonster Tue 12-Feb-13 11:16:55

I think at a push I could sew on a button. And possibly repair (very very badly) a little hole on a seam. But more often than not, I just throw the clothes away and buy new.
My DDs ask their Nanna to repair things they want fixing. She is magic.

bedmonster Tue 12-Feb-13 11:17:31

In fact, thinking about it now, we don't even own a needle or thread. Lazy slattern? Definitely!

SavoyCabbage Tue 12-Feb-13 11:18:45

Where I live in Australia lots of people can sew. The people I know did it at high school. They are quilting all over the place. There are many, many fabric shops.

RubyGates Tue 12-Feb-13 11:19:29

I learnt to sew from my Grandmother, who was a tailor.
I now make corsets and historical costumes (and a have a huge basket of mundane stuff that I should be doing blush ) .
I'm not terribly good at fancy embroidery.
I own 8(!) sewing machines.

Most of my froends both male and female have basic sewing skills and many are can make museum quality costume replicas or do historically based embroidery or needlework.

There is a huge burgeoning re-enactment and craft scene. It' not a dying art at all.

NotHerRealname Tue 12-Feb-13 11:20:58

I am the proud owner of my very own sewing kit! (bought for me by my Dm)
I am ashamed to admit that I feel quite pleased with myself when I manage to sew something. Makes me feel all mumsy. grin

I can knit and crochet. I can also use a sewing machine and I technically have the skills to follow a pattern to make clothes but prefer to use it for simpler straight seam tasks such as a bit of patchwork or curtain making. I can hand sew and can sew on buttons, take up a hem or repair a seam.

However, I have two teenage daughters. DD1 saves up all her sewing tasks until she sees me (away at Uni). DD2 is having sewing lessons at a local fabric shop and can use a machine, make her own clothes and hand sew. Both girls have had the same lessons at school - DD2 just seemed to have more interest.

I think as a society we repair less and throw away more because high street clothes are more affordable and fashions change so rapidly. It is seen as a status symbol to be dressed in the latest look. My mother and MIL were teenagers during the war and clothing was rationed and mending was the norm.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 12-Feb-13 11:23:06

I sew fairly well.
And yes, fewer people can than used to be able to, but there's a fairly big subculture of people who can do it, and most kids leave the primary school where my kids go able to sew on a button.

It's a shrinking art but it's not going to die any time soon.

I am struck, though, when I watch old newsreels, by how beautifully fitted women's clothes used to be. If I make a fifties dress I don't put much attention into perfectly levelling the hem, but I'm sure if I went back in time people would be pointing and muttering!

BelleEtLaBaby Tue 12-Feb-13 11:23:23

I learned to sew from my mum when I was a little girl, on a very old singer sewing machine which you had to turn by hand - no electric! I now make wedding dresses as a sideline, and bridesmaid dresses. I can make/alter/adapt my own clothes. Saves me an absolute fortune. Saying that, I'm the only one out if my friends who can - keeps me busy smile

I love it. It's so soothing. I wish I could do it for a living, but I'm not sure it's cost effective.

CMOTDibbler Tue 12-Feb-13 11:24:33

I can make dresses, skirts, trousers, curtains, cushions, quilts; embroider, smock, do all kinds of invisible repairs.
I don't knit or crochet, but thats to do with no functioning left hand and an aversion to knitting generally.

My 6 year old can use the sewing machine to make cushions, do simple hand sewing, and sew a button on. I hope he'll be able to do more soon

DeWe Tue 12-Feb-13 11:25:47

I have a sewing machine, which needs servicing, desperately.

I regularly sew, dressing up stuff for school, clothes to wear, coats (love making coats), theatre (am dram stuff) costumes, dolls clothes, stuffed toys, curtains (boring).
Currently finished chorus costumes for one show, just making a 1950s style dress for dd2 (her choice) and probably about to start on a couple of Tudor costumes for another show.

Sew on buttons, I can hand sew buttonholes-it's very relaxing, although my machine has an automatic buttonholer so that's a lot quicker.

I sew hair ribbons/hair bands.

I have done cross stitch, and I can knit, although I tend to be too loose in the tension unless I'm very careful. Can't crochet, never tried,

I darn or patch clothes if it's worth it. Will always repair seams and hems, or alter to fit if needed.

I did not have any sewing lessons at secondary school at all, a few basic things at primary (like those tapestry mats on aida(?))

I own 2 sewing machines (used to be 3 till I threw the non working one out)

Ruby I am envy at your 8!!!

I have done pantomime costumes for 8 yrs, made full dresses for weddings and balls, and took up quilting (have about 3 on the go)

I think sewing is actually in the midst of a revival (look at the sewing sections on Pinterest and Craftgawker) but more as a specialist interest than as a family skill being passed down from generation to generation?

Having said that, my mother makes curtains, made her own wedding dress, (that she then made into a christening robe for me and DB and Dsis - which DD was then also christened in!), dolls outfits for the grandchildren's toys, and we go to the Knitting and Stitching show together every year in Dublin.

Startail Tue 12-Feb-13 11:28:38

I have made boned ball dresses, but my button still fall off.

Oh I can knit and crochet too (learnt knitting and basic hand sewing in school)

I taught myself to crochet from my mum's old Golden Hand's magazines when I was 9 or 10. I always wanted to learn macrame from them (as it was the v late 70's and macrame potholders were all the rage) but we didn't have any nice string or wooden beads or rings for me to use. I reckon if I had learnt I wouldn't have kept it up - it's not the most useful of skills!

When we learnt to knit in school, my dad joined in at home - he had learnt to knit at school himself and wanted a refresher.

DeWe Tue 12-Feb-13 11:31:36

Ruby can I come and live with you? grin 8 sewing machines <swoons>. I thought I was doing well with 2.

And do you do WWII reenactment? I'm trying to find some not too expensive fabric for an RAF outfit for my ds? I found the official place but haven't got £40 per m for it.

I can sew, crochet and do many practical DIY tasks around the house.

One of the lads in work paid €5 last year to have a coat button sewn back on. 10 mins work - if I'd known he needed it done, I had a needle and thread in my desk and would have done it for free...

Obviously the tailor has overheads, rent, power etc, but it's such a lot to pay for such a basic skill!

Librarina Tue 12-Feb-13 11:33:12

I can hand sew - enjoy pieced patchwork, applique and quilting and I embroider beautifully, I especially love blackwork.

However I don't own, and can't use, a sewing machine which rules out making clothes.

I learned how to knit recently and like doing it in the winter, but only straight things (scarves, legwarmers, wristlets)

My Mum can knit anything, and sews well on a machine, as could her Mum. My paternal Grandma embroidered very artistically.

I think nowadays sewing is more about creativity and leisure than practicality. I wouldn't bother darning a sock, I'd just wear a different sock!

In the past month I have made 2 full circle can can skirts, assisted in the making of another 2, ATM there is a skirt hanging on my dressmakers dummy that I have designed and will hopefully complete in the next week as I have 2 pairs of trousers and 3 shirts to make before march. By the time I've finished I'll be sick of sewing for a few months.

I can knit, cross stitch and crochet (basic).

I have taught my DD and DS how to sew and knit both of them enjoy it

valiumredhead Tue 12-Feb-13 11:33:35

My ds made me laugh the other day when he had sewing at school and said "Ooo mum I can 'wire up' a sewing machine now." grin

alemci Tue 12-Feb-13 11:36:18

I can sew but don't bother now. when the DC were young i used to do loads of dressmaking. I have a sewing machine.

Used to do cross stitch as well.

I can also knit and crochet. Crochet is my thing as I can put it down and pick it up.

I have a small Janome sewing machine, which I bought when I was quoted £45 to shorten two pairs of trousers and take in 1 skirt. The machine was only £55 or £65 so paid for itself quickly. The joys of being 5'3.

I can sew on buttons, add patches, turn up hems (one of the few things that i learned in Home Economics at school which was useful) and sew up tears where DH catches his shirt on the door handle hmm.

I'd love to be able to do more though. I've got a kit from Clothkits still sitting in its bag from 2 years ago, because I have a 3 year old and no craft room to get the sewing machine out away from family life. I keep looking at blogs like this and wishing i could do similar things. I've asked DH to sign me up for a Beyond Beginners course in Leicester for my birthday in the summer, so I can get on a machine away from my DS "helping" me with the foot pedal. Linking shamelessly to another thread I started at the weekend, I'd like to do more sewing crafts from the Your Home magazine site, like this, as they seem relatively easy but not too twee.

I can crochet, but struggle to knit.

I have heard tales from teachers of parents throwing away school blouses when the buttons fall off and buying replacements, but I just thought that was an urban myth. I justcan't believe that people can't do basic repairs, however rustic they look, any more.

I'm only in my 30s but sound like a right old gimmer, don't I? sad grin

redexpat Tue 12-Feb-13 11:39:51

Well I was the same as you, then got pregnant, didn't want my child to be the child-who-never-gets-any-help-from-his-parents when it comes to fancy dress and what not, so did a weekend course in London. Learned SO much in such a short space of time. I think there has been a resurgance (sp?) because it's one of those things that you dont realise you need until you realise that you cant do something.

Last weekend I made a dragon costume for DS. Am V V proud of myself.

exexpat Tue 12-Feb-13 11:46:29

Sewing is a really popular optional activity at DD's junior school - mostly girls, but a few boys do it too. She got a sewing machine for Christmas when she was 8 (she's now 10) and loves making stuff: bags, cushions, doll's clothes etc.

I learnt on a hand-turned Singer machine when I was about her age, and sometimes made my own clothes as a teenager, made curtains for our first flat and so on, but I'm not really a crafty person so only do essentials now.

DS has never been interested in arts, crafts, DT etc, but learning to do basic repairs (mend hems, replace buttons and so on) is on my list of essential skills he needs to learn before going off to university.

I can do basic sewing, repairing stuff and buttons, etc Have got a machine and plan to learn more to get the use out of it.

I taught myself to crochet and am probably at intermediate level now. I'm finishing a blanket for DS, based on crocheting together some squares knitted by MIL and adding a border.

I can't really knit, beyond the basic knit stitch. DD bought a hank of that wool you knit to make a frilly scarf and persuaded me to knit it. It's okay but not fantastic.

I can x-stitch and am designing something on behalf of a friend.

I can make costume jewellery (and have seen articles on crocheting metal wire, that could be interesting to try).

And there's also a craft shop in town, mainly fabrics and wool, that is now offering courses, so hopefully there'll be one to get me using the sewing machine soon, as Mum bought me a voucher towards the cost of a course at Xmas.

I can crochet. I can knit but very slowly and not very well so tend to stick to crochet.

I can sew and I go to a weekly sewing class so if/when I need to do something I don't know how to do I can learn there.

I also quilt and go to a monthly quilting class where I'm learning some new techniques.

I also do cross stitch a little bit but it has to be a modern sort of design, it's too slow/dull to do something unless I really love it iykwim.

sashh Tue 12-Feb-13 11:59:47

What I can actually do is limited by my arthritis but what I know how to do.

Follow a pattern to make dresses, skirts, trousers, blouses, a shalwar chemise to attend a wedding.

I know how to knit and crochet and I find things like lacy knitting more interesting than plain.

I know how to do embroidery, cross stich, tapestry, tatting and applique.

But apart from my hands seizing up is it now so expensive. It is cheaper to buy clothes.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 12-Feb-13 12:00:51

Actually, you know what, I quilt and I live near the Quilt Museum and one thing that has surprised me looking closely at historical quilts is how quite a lot of them actually aren't that good.
Obviously many are very skilfully done and there are some works of genius, but there are also lots where the stitches are massive and uneven, the lines wonky, etc.

I think we tend to idealise how good everyone used to be at it, based on the fact that for the most part the things that have survived are high quality or professional work. I think with handpieced quilts they take so long that even if your quilt is crap, it still gets handed down.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 12-Feb-13 12:01:32

I don't find sewing more expensive than buying readymade clothes. Knitting, yes.

NewAtThisMalarky Tue 12-Feb-13 12:24:26

I don't think it is dying at all - there is a bit of a resurgence. Places like craftsy have some great courses, some of which are free, to teach people sewing skills.

I can sew (hand or sewing machine) and knit, I can do basic crochet. I can make jewellery and other stuff.

Sewing and knitting doesn't have to be expensive, it depends on where you source your materials.

ConferencePear Tue 12-Feb-13 12:35:47

TunipThevegedude wrote
"I am struck, though, when I watch old newsreels, by how beautifully fitted women's clothes used to be. If I make a fifties dress I don't put much attention into perfectly levelling the hem, but I'm sure if I went back in time people would be pointing and muttering!"

I absolutely agree with this. Most of us these days seem to wear clothes that don't fit very ( I include myself in that). I notice it everywhere including on men: I think people just don't know what a good fit is any more.

The only thing I make with confidence is curtains.

amillionyears Tue 12-Feb-13 12:35:51

Agree with New. Definitely a resurgence amongst the youngsters around our way.

jcscot Tue 12-Feb-13 12:47:00

I own a sewing machine and can make/alter/repair my own clothes. I make my own curtains/cushions/bedlinen. I make a lot of my own clothes (most recently a vintage style ballgown) and dresses for my daughter.

I knit - everything from simple jumpers and cardigans to lacy beaded shawls.

I can spin my own yarn (on a spindle).

I have made all sorts of things for my children - patchwork quilts/throws, fabric applique artwork for their bedrooms, a rag doll for my daughter.

I also embroider. I make a Christmas decoration every year, I have designed and completed several samplers and other small things. I designed and embroidered altarcloths for an historic chapel and have repaired/refurbished vestments. All my embroidery is done by hand - none by machine.

My Mum and Gran were good with their hands and I learnt from them.

I've made dresses, lined bags, skirts, I can knit, felt and crochet, I make jewellery and hair accessories, I make dread extensions, I de-construct t-shirts (SO easy, no sewing involved).

My mum is really good at stuff like that as well so I was always taught to do things. I was the envy of my Alt friends at school, as I used to customise all my own stuff. We didn't have shops like Hot Topic back then grin

atthewelles Tue 12-Feb-13 13:07:18

My mother is brilliant at sewing and made all our clothes when we were children. I also learnt to sew at school but was absolutely crap at it. It is a skill I would absolutely love to have but I seem to have no innate ability for it at all.

WowOoo Tue 12-Feb-13 13:12:01

I am utterly hopeless at it. I have tried. I don't like it.

We have a lovely neighbour who enjoys doing bits and bobs for me.
I've screwed up so many things - she finds my attempts at taking up trousers or whatever hilarious.

She won't accept money, but she glady accepts wine. grin

FairyPenguin Tue 12-Feb-13 13:14:56

I am really not very good and wish I was. I can sew on a button badly. I wish I could do things like take up my children's trousers that are too long, take in the waist a bit, take up trousers and jeans for me, etc, etc. Maybe even make very simple costumes for the children (and I mean simple!). Any courses I've seen advertised are for how to use your sewing machine to make clothes, whereas I really want to learn how to sew to alter or repair.

redexpat - where was the course that you did in London? Would it be the kind of thing I need?

EddieVeddersfoxymop Tue 12-Feb-13 13:47:04

4 machines in my house, plus one small sewing business. My mum taught me to sew, and I'm teaching my dd.

Miggsie Tue 12-Feb-13 13:51:26

I make a lot of DD's clothes - becuase she is so skinny we can't find shop designs that fit, also most of them are horrid, limited palette of colours and badly made.

I am just going back to making stuff for myself as I cannot find a shop now that consistenly does my sort of style clotheres.

I made DH shirts out of mad material- like kittens, teddies, pink panther, scooby doo etc - he wears them occacionally to freak out his clients.

KateSpade Tue 12-Feb-13 14:09:23

I'm a fashion student, final year, making a full collection. I love sewing, I'll admit it's tricky and takes lots of practice to get to a good standard, but I hope my dd will have the same passion for it as I do!

DrCoconut Tue 12-Feb-13 14:18:45

Ruby, we do reenactment. Are we likely to know you?

CaseyShraeger Tue 12-Feb-13 14:20:40

I can sew, have a sewing machine, can follow an easy-intermediate pattern. I would hesitate to tackle something advanced (e.g. tailoring). And I darn socks (and some other things). Generally I sew for the DCs rather than for me because I'd need to take the time to do proper adjustments (FBA, sway back, etc.) on patterns for me and I never seem to have the time (of course, the fact that I need those adjustments is precisely why I should be sewing my own clothes rather than buying ready-to-wear).

I do find sewing more expensive than buying ready-made, partly because if I'm not sewing the DCs clothes I tend to buy them second-hand on eBay. I really need to inherit a huge stash of fabric from an eccentric relative.

I own a serger, but it scares me and I've never actually used it (only owned it a few months; it was a birthday present bought second-hand). I probably need someone to give me a few lessons in using it with confidence.

MummytoMog Tue 12-Feb-13 14:23:16

I am a sewing demon. If you look for sewing blogs online(tilly and the buttons, did you make that, Kestrel Finds and Sews) you will see that there is a large community of crafting/sewing/knitting young women. I make most of my work clothes and a lot of my daughter's stuff. I suck at boys wear though, poor DS only has a couple of pairs of trousers and some t shirts.

lljkk Tue 12-Feb-13 14:23:48

yanbu, I know so many people who are astonished when they see me doing minor sewing, even simple things like Brownie badges. "Ooh aren't you good, I couldn't do that, I have to ask my mum!" is the usual sort of statement. I would be useless at making clothes, though.

I didn't realise that British kids learn to use sewing machines in secondary school; my mother tried to teach me on her treadle machine (fail; she made most our clothes until the early 1970s). I only learnt to use a machine last year.

BeCool Tue 12-Feb-13 14:24:13

I have a sewing machine and I can sew. I have made a strapless ballgown in the past (and wore it to the ball), which had internal boning etc and was quite complicated. I'm an OK sewer and can follow a pattern.

I have forgotten how to embroider though I used to know how to.

Poor knitter. Can't crochet.

I learnt from my DM, DSM, DGM

I learned to sew stuff a couple of years ago and I really enjoy it. It's a fab feeling, looking at something nice and knowing that you made it. I own a basic sewing machine but want to upgrade it soon.

I remember having lessons at school but loathed it and learned almost nothing. In fact, I spent three years making the same skirt, as it had to be taken apart so regularly ( the quick-unpick tool was always on my desk)

I have surprised everyone who knows me by having this new hobby as I was always the kind of person who couldn't sew a button on - as in, 'Ooops, my button's come off, it's such a shame to chuck it as it's my favourite shirt but never mind...' wink

<waves to all fellow fabric fiends>

i can do simple sewing (cushion covers, patchwork, simple clothes) and have a very good sewing machine, but have signed up for a dressmaking evening course later this year at hte local FE college because I want to learn proper techniques rather than just fudging it and hoping for the best!

i knit a lot and love the fact that I can make myself a custom-made item of clothing of good-quality fibre at just the cost of the materials, and would like to be able to do that with sewing too.

BeCool Tue 12-Feb-13 14:26:01

I like upcycling. It's quick & easy.
My DD's have a gorgeous & quirky collection of nightwear made from men's tshirts.

I am about to make them a teepee .....................

Longdistance Tue 12-Feb-13 14:26:20

I can sew on a button.

Repair rips and seams. Also hem trousers, skirts etc.

I can embroider following a pattern on the material itself. I was taught this by my dm, as she is Hungarian and can embroider the most beautiful flowers.

I own, and can use a sewing machine.

I can basic crochet, and knit.

I'm 37 and would like to teach my dd's, but they're only 3 and 19 mo, so a little time left.

It seems to be a dying skill in the Uk, but I also live in Oz like pp, and there are loads of haberdashery shops here.

< begins to sound like Mr.Humphreys in Are You being served 'I'm free!'>

aldiwhore Tue 12-Feb-13 14:26:37

I thinking sewing, knitting, crochet etc., are experiencing a huge revival personally.

I'm getting a new sewing machine for my birthday, and plan to upcycle all the cheap clothes I've bought over the years... my old singer won't cope.

sydlexic Tue 12-Feb-13 14:28:57

My DM could not sew. I was making clothes for my dolls from the age of 6.

I would say that it is one of those things you have a natural talent for or not.

People very rarely repair things these days and clothes are much more affordable so there is no great need for being able to do it.

I sweded this grin

Or sewed. Not sweded. What the bollocks is "sweded"?!

wow goths that is amazing!

is it your own dress? if so i would be getting it out to show everyone, even the postman "look what i did"!

if there is a revival i think that it's taking a while for shops to catch up

CaseyShraeger Tue 12-Feb-13 14:46:04

There are a lot of lovely fabric suppliers online. But lovely fabric isn't cheap, by and large.

wonkylegs Tue 12-Feb-13 14:46:12

I'm 34
I can sew by hand and with a machine currently finishing off new full length lined silk curtains. Most difficult thing I've ever made was a black silk full length evening gown without a sewing machine (I was a student at the time, I couldn't afford anything that fitted & my machine was at my parents)
I do fix stuff (when it's worth it) and adjust stuff a lot (I'm a short arse)
I can also do embroidery and beadwork although I no longer can knit, time & arthritis have combined to make that too difficult
My mum gave me the sewing machine but I'm self taught. I'm teaching my MIL how to make curtains & lampshades

ouryve Tue 12-Feb-13 14:46:48

It's never too late to learn.

yy casey, but it is quite nice to feel things in person too. i would like the variety of choice of shops as well as online. but then i know premises are expensive etc etc and other difficulties too

ouryve Tue 12-Feb-13 14:51:43

I've been sewing since I was a child, but haven't had as much opportunity to do it, recently, so I'm a bit rusty. I used to be able to make myself clothes, but I don't really wear the sort of clothes I'd make myself, now. I used to be able to do lovely freestyle embroidery, but my hands aren't so cooperative, these days, thanks to arthritis. I taught myself to knit just 5 years ago and I'm always well wrapped up when I go out in the cold, as a result. I had no real success with crochet because it hurts my wrists too much.

But it's definitely never too late to learn!

CaseyShraeger Tue 12-Feb-13 14:52:29

Oh, yes, I'd like plenty of bricks-and-mortar shops too (I can't really complain as I have several near me that have lovely stuff) but I do think the rise of internet shopping is the reason that the boom in sewing for fun hasn't translated into a boom in real world shops.

dawntigga Tue 12-Feb-13 14:56:16

I can block patterns and create from scratch, The Cub will also be taught these skills. I can also tat which is the most colossal waste of time so I'm not surprised it's dying out, I was taught how to this (along with knitting and crochet) by my grandfather, it was seen as a boy thing to do in his family apparently. I only sew though and DO NOT DO alterations or make wedding dresses, corsets however are a doddle.


i'm sure you're right (i just want it all grin)

I did some sewing this morning in a local cafe. I used the time while my cuppa was cooling down to turn up two pairs of trousers and mend a seam.
I can sew on buttons and use a sewing machine. I made a double sided fleecy blanket for a christening present, and appliquéd felt onto a blanket.
Last week I made a load of finger puppets.
I cannot knit thoughsmile.

Adversecamber Tue 12-Feb-13 15:03:43

I can use a sewing machine
Sew on buttons
Make button holes
Put in zips
Hem by hand
Do a few different types of embroidery stitches, your lazy days, French knot type of stuff

I can make hats and though I don't knit now I can turn the heel of a sock.

I don't do much these days but have decided to have a go at turning a collar on one of DH shirts. I actually like sewing by hand. I am not a good dressmaker.

I learnt to use a machine by using a singer hand machine, now that was a skill.

Adversecamber Tue 12-Feb-13 15:06:23

I taught my DS to knit when he was seven, he made a few squares.

Theicingontop Tue 12-Feb-13 15:13:30

I can knit and crochet, but I prefer to crochet. Amigurumi is so much fun, I've made DS an entire play kitchen full of crocheted food.

I know how to sew basic things, making cushions and quilting to a basic standard, as we learnt in school from a brilliant art teacher who was an ex clothing designer. She taught me how to quilt and pintuck, sew in zippers and piping. I'm saving up for a sewing machine so when we conceive #2 I'm going to try and deck out their nursery handmade. I was working so much when I was pregnant with DS that I didn't touch a needle and thread!

And that's the main reason I think, people are busier. I know if I wanted to crochet something when I was working, I'd have to do it on the train to work and suffer the stares from people apparently shocked to see a 23 year old get yarn out of her bag rather than an ipod. Now I'm a sahm I'm getting to enjoy more of my hobbies. Unfortunately not every mother has that sort of time on their hands.

calandarbear Tue 12-Feb-13 16:16:10

I can sew, had my first sewing machine for christmas when I was 9, My mum helped me make some bedcovers.
I can make pretty much anything I put my mind to (except coats they are my nemesis).
I don't tend to bother very often now because the cost of clothes is so low it isn't really worth the effort.

calandarbear Tue 12-Feb-13 16:19:02

Oh yeah, I'm not bad at embroidery, I know how to do tapestry, crochet, etc most handicrafts but I can't knit.

dawntigga Tue 12-Feb-13 16:27:01

We should have a project club wink


Squitten Tue 12-Feb-13 16:30:42

I can stitch by hand and I do cross-stitching as a hobby. I'm having a craft party for my birthday and we're going to learn how to crochet, which will be great.

My Mum got me a sewing machine but I still haven't used it. It looks scary!

Bearbehind Tue 12-Feb-13 16:36:09

My sewing ability is summed up by the fact my lounge curtains have stapled turn ups at the bottom blush

Flisspaps Tue 12-Feb-13 16:38:35

Since Christmas I have taught myself to crochet, and cast on knitting. I am knitting a temperature scarf smile

Naoko Tue 12-Feb-13 16:38:44

I used to be completely hopeless at all 'soft crafts', because my mother, although she learned as a child, firstly never liked it and secondly by the time I was born was no longer able to do it for health reasons. I'm 27 now, and in the last two years I've learned to knit from friends. Same friends have recently been teaching me to sew, and I'm really enjoying that. I really want a sewing machine now! It'd mostly be for live roleplay costuming projects, but of course it'd be really good to be able to do my own repairs and adaptations too.

Flisspaps Tue 12-Feb-13 16:41:00

I've made DD and DS patchwork quilts as their 'poorly blankets', am renovating DD's dolls' stuff (buggy, doll blankets, car seat cover etc) so it all matches and then I'd like to make some skirts. I'm using my mums old 1960s Jones sewing machine that needs a new motor.

Ooh, I made cross-stitch tie backs for DD's room too!

Flisspaps Tue 12-Feb-13 16:42:06

There's an Arts and Crafts board on here (in fun and games) for anyone who'd like to pop over but hasn't found it smile

Shesparkles Tue 12-Feb-13 16:51:21

I first learned to sew when I was about 7, my mum always sewed so I picked it up from her.
These days I can turn my hand to just about anything, wedding dresses, curtains, blinds, etc, but I seem to spend my time altering things for my super skinny kids!
I take on paid sewing jobs now and again, curtains and children's wedding outfits mostly, but I can't get over the number of people who are willing to pay to have a hem turned!
What I'd really like to look at doing is corsetry, but I'd rather learn from somebody rather than a book

I make costumes and occasionally my own clothes, and little bits and pieces for my mindees, it's not as difficult as you might think. And I know loads of other late teens to early twenty-somethings that can sew well too.

I think it tends to skip a generation, my grandmother was an excellent seamstress but my mother would eat the fabric before she'd attempt to sew.

nickelbabe Tue 12-Feb-13 16:57:54

it is in a way.

I can sew like a daemon (when I take the time to actually do it properly)
I can also crochet (sort of)
but i can't knit (i can knit in theory, but I can't follow a pattern)

My mum always sewed and hated knitting (although she can do it very well) and she also mainly crochets.

My little sister can't do any of it - i'm sure she can sew on a button or something like that.
my big sister can now sew and loves it. but she only started doing it a couple of years ago, and took a course in sewing stuff. she makes all sorts of useful things like bags and purses and needle rolls etc.
I made her make me a needle roll for my crochet hooks because I couldn't be bothered, and I was very impressed by the quality of the sewing.
she's now obsessed with it - has her own machine and little shed etc. and I bet she wishes she'd done it years ago.

MothershipG Tue 12-Feb-13 17:11:04

My DS has just come home with the waistcoat he made at school, it's fab and I'm very proud. grin So not a dying art.

I can make clothes with a pattern but patchwork and quilting is my thing, I only have 2 sewing machines but fantasise about the day I win the lottery and can afford a long arm quilting machine. [sigh]

Not in my family. Everyone can sew and my boys have their own machines.

oldraver Tue 12-Feb-13 17:42:42

I can sew pretty well and used to train people to sew, my OH can sew is pretty handy at sewing as well as he trained to be a sewing machine mechanic.

Neither of us really likes sewing on buttons

mrsjay Tue 12-Feb-13 17:46:48

I can sew a button and erm put dds guide badges on I really wish i could sew and make im useless blush

CoffeeandCremeEggs Tue 12-Feb-13 17:50:58

I can sew pretty well both by hand and on machine - I am good with a pattern but get a bit panicky if I need to adapt it. I have one machine but would love to buy an overlocker to be its friend. I love sewing - I find it incredibly rewarding. I rarely throw something away without trying to mend it (disclaimer - if it is something I actually like!)

I have made a corset or two, too, and would again, it was definitely worth the effort, even if trimming boning to fit is a bit of a hassle.

I can also cross stitch and embroider, and quilt a bit. I cannot knit to save my life although I keep trying. I have never tried to crochet. I did try lacemaking in my teens and was awful at it...

My mum can sew, knit, embroider, quilt and smock (smocking! is insane!) and used to make clothes for me and my sister when we were little, but never really taught me. I picked it up from doing Textiles at school and from costuming theatre groups at uni.

MrsMushroom Tue 12-Feb-13 17:54:10

I can embroider, make clothing and soft furnishings and my 8 year old DD can make a basic skirt and a bag and she is just beginning embroidery and cross stitch. So Yabu!

NotMostPeople Tue 12-Feb-13 17:57:03

I've just made a dress today (although I had already cut it out), I've got three sewing machines I started off by teaching myself but have done lots of courses in sewing and pattern cutting over the years. There's still lots to learn. I've done an online course from Craftsy recently, which was great.

I can knit, but haven't done any for a long time and I love to cross stitch, but lothe the awful kits so haven't done much.

queenofthepirates Tue 12-Feb-13 18:18:17

I can sew and knit and after I had my DD, I set up a company teaching other ladies how to do it! I really enjoy it and get to meet plenty of like minded souls.

Oddly though I can't crochet so I employ a very nice lady to run my crochet classes for me. I feel a little ashamed....

GetOnYourDancingShoes Tue 12-Feb-13 19:51:53

I can sew by hand and using a machine. I can do patchwork, applique, embroidery, cross-stitch etc.

I knit, crochet and can spin yarn using a spindle or a spinning wheel. I can weave using a peg loom.

I also like to make jewellery using various beading techniques. One craft seems to lead to another and I am currently decorating the boxroom to house it all grin.

I teach knitting once a week at DS's school to a bunch of enthusiastic Y6, so am passing on some basic skills. We are sewing puppets next term.

MrsHoarder Tue 12-Feb-13 19:55:39

I'm mid-twenties and can sew. Do repairs ( always carry a needle and thread) and have a few dresses and skirts I made myself. Can knit too.

andubelievedthat Tue 12-Feb-13 20:39:51

My bloke insists on sewing all his own stuff ,inc. zips .>bloody modern ?guy.

CaseyShraeger Tue 12-Feb-13 20:41:12

Which Craftsy course did you do, NotMostPeople? There are a few that I keep hovering over the order button on.

freddiefrog Tue 12-Feb-13 20:47:48

I thought knitting and sewing were supposed to be making a bit of a come back

My mum used to make wedding dresses when I grew up and she taught me the basics, but I have to say, I wasn't all that interested in it and probably didn't take it up as much as I should.

I can make a pretty simple child's summer dress, draw string bags, that sort of thing and replace zips, sew on buttons, use a sewing machine and an over-locker etc.

I'm making costumes for a school performance at the moment - simple tunics and wide legged trousers on an elasticated waist band and I'm whizzing through those ok. The more complicated dresses were beyond me though

I was taught to knit by my grandmother and can knit to an ok standard

Viviennemary Tue 12-Feb-13 20:48:00

I can sew but never mastered making a garment from a pattern though I did try several times. I couldn't get on with the tissue paper as it kept tearing. It would be a nice skill to have though. I do knit and can do basic crochet. Everyone should be able to sew on a button though and take up a hem.

dawntigga Tue 12-Feb-13 20:48:49

If you're looking for courses try Alison Smith in Ashby-De-La-Zouch she's expensive but VERY good.


queenofthepirates Where do you run your courses? Am midlands based and I do want to learn to use my sewing machine and make stuff.

dikkertjedap Tue 12-Feb-13 20:54:08

I can knit and sew very well and crochet reasonably well.

I make our own clothes, dressing up clothes for school plays and lots of other stuff, anything really.

I have an ordinary sewing machine (which can do decorative stitching) and an overlocker.

I also do embroidery.

I really enjoy making things, and luckily enough my dd is also really keen to learn how to make things.

lurkerspeaks Tue 12-Feb-13 20:58:12

I can knit and embroider well. I'm currently in a knitting phase. It is quite a hidden craft though - lots of my existing friends knit but I only found out when I started to knit again. The number of shops on the highstreet isn't representative of the people doing it and the purpose has changed. I don't knit because it is cheaper (like my Grandmothers did) I knit for fun. The yarn to make a handknitted childs cardigan or jumper usually costs me around 30 quid as I don't like working with synthetic fibres.

I can also sew although my machine skills are rather rusty. I have/can make simple curtains and roman blinds. I get scared about joining widths of fabric especially if it is expensive stuff so I would outsource large curtains/ those with interlining.

Dressmaking I have to confess I've never really seen the point of but the posts above about school plays are scaring me. Maybe I should have paid more attention in Home Economics at school.

I do little repairs myself but hate hate hate taking up trousers and always take them to the sewing shop up the road. Usually about 6 months after I first bought the bloody things.

I've just agreed to remake my Grandmothers peg beg in new fabric (she is 90, and it is one you hang round your neck so is much easier for her to use). It will probably only take me a short amount of time once I dig the sewing machine (I share it with my aunt for occassional projects).

I teach all children who show interest how to sew or knit. I'm only teaching myself to crochet at the moment so I'm probably not quite ready yet to pass those skills on.

longdistance Dublin has had a passmenterie shop for the past two years!

That is just ribbons and braid and buttons, I can browse quite happily there at lunchtime.

However we've lost a haberdashery and 2 fabric shops in the same time.

So I don't know how they are making money (particularly as they are in the most expensive shopping centre in the area.)

Does anyone realise we all sound like Tiffany Aching in The Wee Free Men when she lists her skills ("cheese making, spinning, weaving")?!

lurker I hadn't made anything for years when I started out doing costumes for the school panto. Skill was definitely not required - the ability to put in a wisely placed safety pin was usually all that was needed!

I once made 6 mermaid's tails using laminate flooring underlay as stiffening - v cheap and cheerful - there was a budget of about €500 for 100 children and 20 adults...

my ds has just revealed (aged 12) he is doing sewing in D and T. he learnt to knit and simple sewing in primary. my mother made lots of our clothes. i learnt to sew and knit by osmosis. but have def let it fall.

Tanith Tue 12-Feb-13 22:09:06

I can do running repairs, alterations and buttons and zips by hand. Never could get on with sewing machines.
I also do embroidery, blackwork and cross stitch. I can do tapestry, but not overly fond of it. Applique, quilting etc, I'm not so keen on.

steppemum Tue 12-Feb-13 23:06:39

I like sewing and do quite a lot, especially curtains cushion covers etc

I am currently making a quilt for our bed in Indonesian batik fabric.
I used to make a lot of clothes, but fabric is pricey now.

But I have to have a little boast about dd1. She asked for a sewing machine for her 7th birthday, and got a proper small one. She can use it properly and sewed a proper pencil case for her teacher who left at the end of last year. I did help her, but she really did pretty much all of it herself including design.

It was awesome. Good enough to sell grin

I"ve just this minute sewn up DS1's swimming trunks, 2 minutes before he had to leave for the school bus. Luckily my machine was switched on and threaded up after I made an owl hand warmer yesterday!

If anyone has access to Ikea, it seems that they have a range of interesting fabrics that can be used to make clothes (warning, this link contains some dreadful photos of a blogger posing for photos of her finished garment. Not sure she needed quite as many images as she included). I'm actually quite tempted to make my own copy of this skirt.

Dragon, as the OP of the "owl hand warmer" thread, it's good to see you made one so quickly. That's determination!

Fire, dedication or chore avoidance...wink

Ikea fabrics are fab btw.

catyloopylou Wed 13-Feb-13 15:24:02

Last night I sewed a button back on DH's jacket and stitched a hem up on his tie. He would have taken them to the dry cleaner otherwise at a cost of £10 or so; it took me 10 minutes and he did the cleaning up after dinner in return!

I've made a few skirts, shorts and shirts but they took me ages so stopped bothering; also found fabric expensive. But for a Christmas party I designed and made a Dorothy from the wizard of Oz outfit and it inspired me to buy a sewing machine in the Christmas sales. I've not used it yet as have to declutter first in order to have somewhere to set it up. But I'm planning on making things like applique pictures from a huge bag of fabric scraps I have, quilting and making soft toys etc. I recently bought some fabric from Ikea (black printed pictures on white) with the intention of colouring it in with fabric paint and making cushion covers for DS's room so they can be really personal.

I'm not great with alterations and repairs but will have a go. I can't knit or crochet but can embroider and do cross stitch.

My DM used to make lots of our clothes and taught me to use her machine, and my DGM did lots of beautiful embroidery but by the time I was old enough to learn she wasn't able to sew any more. I have lots of her work and it is almost as good on the back as the front, and far superior to anything I can make. I dream of being industrious but am too lazy to do much!

webwiz Wed 13-Feb-13 15:52:26

I think all things crafty are having a big revival at the moment and you can get magazines with stuff in that you might actually want to make.

I can sew pretty well and made my own wedding dress, christening gowns for the DCs, first communion dresses and then prom dresses. I've made curtains, blinds and patchwork quilts and more school costumes than I care to remember.

I can knit very complicated patterns and I taught myself to crochet about a year ago so both the DD's have throws that I've made at university with them. I tend to crochet while watching tv (and mumsnetting at the same time). I think its a bit of a confidence thing as well once you've mastered one thing you're more willing to have a go at the others.

NotMostPeople Wed 13-Feb-13 18:45:27

CaseyShreager - I did the couture dress class on Craftsy (got it at half price), there was lots of hand sewing which I hate, but I still enjoyed it. I've also bought a trouser one, but haven't started it yet.

CaseyShraeger Wed 13-Feb-13 21:06:58

The couture dress and the two trouser classes (fit and construction) are the ones I've been dithering over. I've seen a lot of good reviews of the couture dress class, but then again I do have big fit problems with ready-to-wear trousers.

crocodilesmiles Thu 14-Feb-13 16:03:40

I can't sew. I did make a P.E. bag (drawstring style) whilst at school, but I look at it now and don't know how I managed it.

Seeing this sort of thing always makes me wish I could sew though. I love the idea of upcycling old clothes! Some of the stuff this lady's done is lovely - and totally unique to her LO.

Arcticwaffle Thu 14-Feb-13 16:35:47

I used to be reasonable at sewing, I used to make some of my own clothes. Then I discovered it was as cheap to buy them and I stopped forever. I suppose I could still make clothes if I could be bothered. But I'd rather read a book.

I can't really knit, I have several time started and lost interest. Sewing is much more satisfying.

All 3 of my dds have taken to sewing with great enthusiasm, so now the house is full of sewing kit and projects, and small stuffed homemade animals, and appliqued cushions.

DP is quite good with a sewing machine too so he'll make curtains on occasion. Otherwise I would do that.

I like bags, and once I have more experience with my sewing machine, I plan to use some free bag patterns I found online. These patterns are great and the finished bags would easily retail for more than the cost of making them. I even found a great messenger style bag that could do my DD for school, especially as she goes through her bags often with the volume of stuff she requires for school.

I have a stash of waste denim pieces that I think will make a great tote, so I'm looking for patterns for that.

I really ought to start looking at the arts & crafts board grin

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