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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

TheWoollybacksWife Tue 12-Feb-13 11:22:43

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(?))

OnTheBottomWithAWomansWeekly Tue 12-Feb-13 11:26:47

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.

OnTheBottomWithAWomansWeekly Tue 12-Feb-13 11:30:54

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.

NotADragonOfSoup Tue 12-Feb-13 11:32:30

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

OnTheBottomWithAWomansWeekly Tue 12-Feb-13 11:32:57

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!

Binkyridesagain Tue 12-Feb-13 11:33:25

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.

FireOverBabylon Tue 12-Feb-13 11:37:58

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.

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