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Readers, sometimes I get so caught up in the drama of whatever sewing project I’m involved in that I forget why I’m sewing in the first place. Does this every happen to you?

Here are my personal top ten reasons why I love to sew.

1. It feels great to make something out of virtually nothing.
It still amazes me that I can turn ordinary fabric and some thread into something I can actually wear. If the fabric is cheap, even better, but it’s not essential; I’d sew even if it weren’t!

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2. Sewing is a fantastic creative outlet.
I have always been interested in the arts, be it film, theater, music, fashion, or dance. For me there is nothing more fun than choosing a project (ideally some long-forgotten vintage pattern), finding the right fabric for it, and then slowly watching it be transformed into a three-dimensional garment.

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3. I love the challenge.
Sewing is challenging in countless ways. As I mentioned, it feels great to start with something mundane (bedsheets!) and see what I can turn it into; it’s fun to push ourselves and go beyond what we think we can do. Isn’t that part of the reason for the popularity of shows like “Project Runway?” (What will they be asked to sew with next: packing peanuts, cardboard, and bottle caps? Go for it!)

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4. It’s exciting to work with my hands.
Most of us are no longer doing work — let alone earning a living — that involves making anything. But there are few things as satisfying; it seems to be part of our human DNA. I don’t entirely understand why, but it is.

5. When you’ve finished a project, you — or someone you love — has something new to wear!
What could be more thrilling after spending hours sweating over a sewing machine and fussing with pattern matching and buttonholes than to have a brand-new outfit — or two!

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6. Sewing feels like self-sufficiency.
To use a sewing machine most of us depend on electricity, which we’re probably not providing ourselves, as well as on the people who weave the fabric, create the notions, design the patterns, etc. Still, doesn’t being able to sew feel like taking care of your needs yourself? For me it’s up there with growing your own tomatoes or drinking milk from your own cow (something I have never done, mind you, but the idea appeals to me).

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7. Sewing stimulates the mind.
There is SO much to learn when you start to sew: To read and, if necessary, alter a pattern. To understand fabrics — what they’re made out of and how to work with them. How to use a sewing machine. How to assemble a garment, to give it those professional touches, and so on. What could be more exciting than learning so much?

8. Sewing connects you to others.
Granted, compared to knitting, sewing is solitary (with the exception of quilting, perhaps), but think of all the fantastic sewing communities out there, like BurdaStyle and Pattern Review. In the past two years I have met so many talented, inspiring, intelligent people through sewing, not to mention through blogging about sewing!

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9. Sewing is sexy.
OK, I’m kind of reaching a bit on this one and I can’t back it up with hard evidence. But sewers, I ask you, isn’t it kinda’ sorta?

10. Sewing is resourceful.
You get to have the clothes you want and nothing you don’t. You’re not lured by the 40% sale at Gap, from which you return home to find that you’ve spent your hard-earned money on something you care about very little. Who hasn’t got caught up in the frenzy of a sample sale and lived to regret it when you tried on your purchases again at home or, years later, discovered those pants (with tags attached) that never did fit right, still hanging in the closet?

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In closing, why do you like to sew? What are some of your top 10 reasons? Have I left anything important out?

Do tell!

~Peter

When native New Yorker Peter Lappin bought his first sewing machine two years ago to hem a pair of thrift store jeans, little did he know he was initiating a journey that would bring him fame and fortune. While awaiting his fortune he stays busy writing “the world’s most popular men’s sewing blog,” Male Pattern Boldness, and now contributing to BurdaStyle.

“For more than twenty years I’d lived on the edge of the Garment District without even knowing what a seam ripper was. Now I rip daily!”

110 Comments

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    Jun 3, 2014, 07.03 AMby pyjamas

    I only signed up to comment on this column – (2014! 3 years later) it was awe-inspiring and that’s exactly how I feel about sewing, couldn’t have said it better. Thanks Peter! Happy sewing y’all.

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    Jun 6, 2011, 07.46 AMby rochelle49

    Peter, everyone- It is great that there are so many that love to sew their clothes, like I do! I don’t know anyone else in my area that sews! With all these comments, now I realize there are many people out there!

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    Jun 6, 2011, 07.35 AMby rochelle49

    I love to feel the fabric and know I can make something out of it. I get a great deal of pleasure in having the clothes I make fit! I am not a standard shape. So, I can make what I want when I want for less than I would have to pay retail. There are embellishments I can add. Even pressing is not a chore because it brings out the beauty of the project. This is a great topic, Peter. It motivates me to get started on another outfit!

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    Jun 5, 2011, 08.12 AMby kiesja22

    Wow wee!! I have just made my family each multiple pairs of drawsting Pajama loungers. Hectic crazy brush cotton eighties design fabric, black background with hot flames all over them. My family simply rave over them and have ordered more for their friends.

    So, whats so great about sewing…Creation, Fun, Love and giving and of course Zen of mind!!

    Heres to the eighties!!!!

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    Jun 2, 2011, 03.51 AMby Idlebird

    Peter, I Love Sewing because it makes me feel special. I sew for my family and some friends. The embroidery helps with the income, now that I am unemployed. folaafua, I know what you mean about “fabric” speaking to you. When I see a fabric, I see a pair of pants or a nice suit, or something. Needless to say, I have a lot of material and UFO-unfinished objects. I tend to finish most of them now—lots of time on my hands. My family is enjoying the things that make for them. They are encouraging me to open a small business. I just might do it. I enjoyed reading the posts.

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    Jun 1, 2011, 08.37 PMby Paula Lucas

    I originally started sewing to save money. Now I sew because I love the feeling of accomplishment of making something wonderful out of “nothing”. Of course, fabric and all the accessories isn’t nothing, but sewers, you know what I mean. And I admit it, I love it when I tell someone that I made something and they are totally amazed. It makes me feel good! And I LOVE fabric! All of those colors and textures – I can never get enough! Paula http://www.learnhowtosewnow.com

    1 Reply
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      Jun 2, 2011, 02.54 PMby Peter Lappin

      I know just what you mean, Paula!

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    Jun 1, 2011, 05.09 PMby missbehavin

    I love to sew because it gives me a chance to create something new, and forget about everything going on around me. Nothing beats coming home after ANY type of work day, sitting down in front of the sewing machine and making something out of nothing is the most amazing way to spent my time. its fantastic to release the tensions of the day and turn something wonderful out of it

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    Jun 1, 2011, 02.41 PMby patkichinko

    Sewing is my moment of Zen. I am one with the fabric. I am one with the machine.

    Seriously, I love to sew, and I’m always happy when I’m in my sewing room, creating or altering something. I especially love to sew children’s clothes as they take so little fabric to create a one-of-a-kind look!

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    Jun 1, 2011, 01.18 AMby bootycrewqueen

    Absolutely-can’t really add to it. For me it’s a way to be the trendsetter verses the trend follower You NEVER run into someone with the same thing on as you You know it is well made and won’t fall apart like the mass merchandised pieces.

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    Jun 1, 2011, 01.05 AMby arflurer

    1. I like having a piece that no one else has, and especially saying, “I made it” when someone asks me where I got that piece. 2. It’s useful: I got my start hemming my work pants (the joys of being 5’2"). 3. I like the challenge of designing a piece, drafting a pattern to that design, redrafting the pattern, redrafting the pattern again… lol… until I get a functional piece. It keeps my brain sharp. 4. I have a hard time justifying buying a piece at the store that only kinda fits and costs me a lot. 5. As a historical seamstress, I see a lot of Renaissance Fair outfits that aren’t historically accurate, and I like being able to show off not only that I’m wearing something accurate but that I know how to construct it. 6. I like helping people. My best friend is getting married this fall but didn’t have a lot of money for a wedding dress, so I’ve custom-designed and constructed one for her that she loves. 7. It’s a connection to the past: my dad’s mom got Alzheimer’s and I don’t remember her when she was well, but he says she loved to sew, and I like having that connection to her. 8. It’s something I can do quietly by myself. I’m not a real social person, so I like running my costuming business from home, with my pets, without kissing ass for a paycheck at a job I hate. 9. I like helping people get their historical costumes right. I’ve seen far too many “historical costume” websites that sell stuff that’s downright wrong. 10. I’m always learning something, especially with historical costuming. I’m always doing research on historical clothing and mentally dissecting every piece and reconstructing it in my head.

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    Jun 1, 2011, 12.09 AMby sheila Fulks

    1.For me I think sewing is hereditary, it is all in the genes. My grandmother loved to sew, I love to sew and design . I love all of the arts. I have been sewing since I was about five years old. 2.I love fabric and the design of it. I have enough fabric at home to start a business. I have four children. One daughter has a four degree in fashion design, second daughter teaches art, third daughter is a professional ballerina and my son loves to build homes and buildings, he is attending engineering school. My husband is an art teacher. 3. I love seeing the end result of my project. 4. Sewing is a type therapy for the brain. 5. I love making childrens clothing. 6. I particularly love creating and sewing formal wear. 7. Sewing is relaxing, it is my me time. 8. I love coming up with designs. I even see new designs in my dreams. 9.Sewing is stimulating. 10. I love using all the different sewing machines and experimenting with different stitches.

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    May 31, 2011, 11.30 PMby sewheavenly

    Peter I love your 10 top reasons especially about sewing being sexy. It is so sexy to see a man sewing and showing that men and women can do each others jobs and still mantain thier own personality. I started sewing in high school and hve done so off and on for the last 27 years. When I was on dialysis I had very little energy to sew or do much of anything else, but now that I have a new kidney (5 years and counting) I have found a renewed joy and love for sewing . Sewing is my therapy, when I feel down or bored I just sit a my machine and the joy feels my soul. I sew mainly for pleasure but I do some alterations for a small fee. I wish my son would learn to sew he loves fashion and is always turning thrift store bargins into his own creations even though he does not sew. When he wants something sewn he calls on me. Keep on being an inspiration to the sewing world!

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    May 31, 2011, 11.19 PMby Ross Feldkirchner

    I like to wear things from other time periods, both as costumes and for everyday. I rather make them myself rather than pay another crafter, mainly because I am cheap. Many modern day clothes lack a certain style or panache that I want to express in my everyday life, when I am not having to conform to others standards.

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    May 31, 2011, 09.22 PMby supercalla

    I probably sew just because its challenging and fun. Also the end results usually make me feel awesome when people are like WHOA COOL ____ WHERED YOU GET IT and Im like Oh I made it and theyre like WHOAAAAAAA

    1 Reply
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      May 31, 2011, 11.03 PMby Peter Lappin

      LOL! I’ve had the experience too.

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    May 31, 2011, 09.10 PMby Buoysngirl

    Sewing is part of living just like cooking, making your own bread and having a wood fire. When I sew I am totally absorbed in the challenge of doing a good job. It is the same as when I play in the brass band it is time where deadlines and stress don’t intrude. I can then take that state of mind back to my professional life. Lately I have sewn a beautiful dress for my sixteen yo daughter, it gave her and me such pleasure. Mostly I sew curtains but having just bought a high quality overlocker and machine I hope if time allows to make all my own clothes. Burda looks like a great resource.

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    May 31, 2011, 08.38 PMby mom2harley

    Besides all the obvious reasons already given, I sew as a form of therapy. I’ve been known to have a rough day at work and I can go home and make myself something new to wear. By the time I’m finished, I’m “all better”. Hey – it’s alot cheaper than a prescription.

    I also sew as a matter of necessity. I’ve had two mastectomies and it’s really hard to find anything to wear that fits and/or disguises what needs to be covered up.

    Then, ofcourse there’s the vanity factor….I NEVER go somewhere and someone else has the same outfit.

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    May 31, 2011, 07.57 PMby annawilliamson

    I do it to stimulate my mind creatively and intellectually- people tend to scoff at the idea that fashion is anything more than a shallow hobby, but they couldn’t be more wrong! It takes a great deal of thought and understanding to make a really excellent garment.

    It gives me the opportunity to express my personal style, no matter what’s in stores at the moment. Every new trend gives me inspiration, but I almost always have something I’d like to tweak to make it fit by body and my personality better. Then, I get to wear something nobody else in the world has.

    Sewing is so sexy.

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    May 31, 2011, 04.25 PMby bigblockhemi

    MY # 1 ~Sewing is versitile! One day I can be making a dress w/o pattern, the next day I can make a dress from combining two patterns (or three if I am gutsy). Then the next week I can make a rag rug, and do a recon on a friends dress. The next week I can start a quilt… my options are endless! I have even made a stereo cover in our 67’ Barracuda to hide all the wires. I LOVE Sewing!

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    May 31, 2011, 01.37 PMby mponterio

    My bank account would be larger, but my soul would feel empty if I could not sew. It is a creative outlet for me. I have this burning need to create. Whether drawing, painting, sewing, cooking, or writing I have a need to be creating that is deeply rooted.

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    May 31, 2011, 10.46 AMby 1sewingprincess

    For me it’s fun to make something with my own hands (and sewing machine, mind you!). I love the engeneering process that goes into sewing and crafting in general. I love the feeling I get when something I made turns out nice and I wear it with pride. Like you I love the community around sewing, I just wish I could share it with more people around where I live.

    1 Reply
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      May 31, 2011, 11.04 PMby Peter Lappin

      I think that’s a challenge for many of us.

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    May 31, 2011, 10.31 AMby Amanda Loschiavo

    Great Reasons! I love to sew because: 1. I’m sick of mass produced items, it makes me sick! I want to be a unique individual, not a promotions person for some large brand. 2. Dont want to be seen in the same as everyone else 3. It sends me to my zone, some people mediatate – I sew. Some people go for a run, I sew.. its my thing. 4. Rewarding. Its really a process you need to appreciate, its not something like 5 mins and you have a new outfit, its a real process – designing, make a pattern, source the fabric, test the fit, sew the item, get it ready and its amazing. 5. I’m abit old fashioned and I admire how the ladies of the 40s-50s done it. These ladies were in tough times of wars, and rasioned fabrics and limited resources, they couldnt afford to buy new outfits so they made their own with their own resources.. I admire it, and love the idea of make do and mend, rather then buy cheap clothes and fill land fills.

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    May 31, 2011, 04.00 AMby The Tropical Sewist

    Mum says sewing has FINALLY cured me of my shopping addiction. I used to rush out to all the sales, take leave to go to MNG and Zara, etc. Now I have no desire to shop for anything apart from shoes. And with my new-found ‘austerity’ I’ve even managed to fit all of my shoes into the closet, and have no desire for more! Now it’s my fabric closet that’s bursting ;)

    And I never loved my garments as I do now. I had lots of stuff chucked in my wardrobe with tags still on. But the stuff I make – I groan over ripped linings, cry over fading colours, and sit up after the babies have slept to re-fit a dress, or repair a hem.

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