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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?

FryOneFatManic Tue 12-Feb-13 11:49:47

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.

craftynclothy Tue 12-Feb-13 11:56:14

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.

ScarletLady02 Tue 12-Feb-13 12:51:52

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

LauraShigihara Tue 12-Feb-13 14:25:40

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>

WillieWaggledagger Tue 12-Feb-13 14:25:57

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!'>

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