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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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    May 27, 2011, 08.08 PMby LauraClaire89

    I like having a skill that actually produces something. I absolutely love dresses so being able to make my own is a step above just buying them.

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    May 27, 2011, 05.10 PMby misslivia

    I sew because I love to create a 3D something out of a 2D nothing. I sew because I don’t fit store bought clothing. I sew because I love to create beautiful, unique garments, as what I chose to wear reflects who I am.

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    May 27, 2011, 02.38 PMby Mandy A

    lol am i sexy when i sweat so much while sewing? lol

    i have only been sewing for a year, but i have already learned so much and there are still lots to learn

    seriously though, i love sewing, i love designing my own stuff, altering patterns, using my brain, using my hands. and the great satisfaction that comes from finishing a project that i love or someone else loves.

    although, sewing doesnt always mean cheaper, with the mass produced clothing out there, one can get a dress for 10 bucks, but it’s mass produced, not unique.

    so i’d say i like the uniqueness of it as well

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    May 27, 2011, 02.14 PMby katexxxxxx

    I cannot imagine NOT sewing. Any day without sewing is incomplete!

    I’ve been at it now for 50 years (OK, I started young!), and it’s so much a part of me now that I’d find it difficult to exist without i. There are no 10 best things for me: sewing is sewing. My work, chunks of my my social life, personal ecconomics… All are related to sewing.

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    May 27, 2011, 02.07 PMby Peter Lappin

    Great comments, everybody!

    1 Reply
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      May 27, 2011, 09.00 PMby lolaaa

      sure!!

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    May 27, 2011, 02.01 PMby greenstyle501

    Sewing enables me to wear something that I know no one else has. Plus anything i sew always fits my body and my style perfectly :) Yay sewing!

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    May 27, 2011, 01.49 PMby bestmakeupbrushes

    haha, this is awsome. :)

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    May 27, 2011, 01.41 PMby zsyzu

    I sew because I believe it’s exercising another side of my brain and it’s relaxing. Plus, my clothes fit better if I can tailor it myself.

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    May 27, 2011, 12.13 PMby Stitchgirl78

    Peter, I was really surprised to see that you’ve only been sewing for two years. So glad you found your creative outlet! Thank you for sharing your passion, knowledge, projects, etc., through your columns.

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    May 27, 2011, 12.08 PMby missycas17

    I started sewing about a little over a year ago, I finished my first pattern project and could hardly believe that I did it myself. To start with these materials, and terminology that were so foreign, and actually being able to finish a project was such an amazing feeling! Shopping for clothes is less tempting when you know you can make it yourself, although sometimes it may look like a “Gordon Gartrell” (Cosby Show).

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    May 27, 2011, 11.21 AMby tessi

    Fabulous article, as usual. I and I agree with everything you said! I just don’t feel like ME if I don’t have a sewing project to work on!

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    May 27, 2011, 10.45 AMby Micah G

    I love to sew because I wanna be a fashion designer, creating a line that people will wear and be part of their everyday lives. I love the fact that when you sew, you make the abstract ideas into concrete work of art. Plus, sewing is a very practical thing, I express myself well when I wear what I sew because that style is what I really wanted to wear that is not actually in the market. :)

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    May 27, 2011, 10.29 AMby urbandon

    The best thing about sewing is making clothing (and cushions or whatever) out of a couple of bits of fabric. Also self expression ranks pretty high.

    Great post and images! Love your cousins outfit!

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    May 27, 2011, 09.56 AMby ShellyS

    Right on! I agree with you on all points but “sewing is sexy”. Not sure about that one.

    1 Reply
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      May 27, 2011, 11.18 AMby tessi

      I think that if you feel amazing wearing what you have sewn, then yes, it IS sexy!

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    May 27, 2011, 08.48 AMby qerran

    When I sew I feel alive. Be sure that does not happen at my actual work. I’d like to sew for a living…

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    May 27, 2011, 08.18 AMby hdk100

    At first I started because I was curious if I can make something out of almost nothing. Then I realized it calms me from all the day’s stress, it’s my own, it’s a retreat. Then I found that I wear clothes that others don’t have, I wear unique things, so it makes me special in a way too. And I have to admit, that my love language is “words of affirmation” so getting a compliment makes my day! Sewing is :))))))!

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    May 27, 2011, 06.47 AMby loulourosa

    Nice post! and lovely (fun) pictures. I think I sew for most of the reasons you come up with. Other reasons for me are: 1.Because it is a fun thing to do, browsing trough pattern books and fabric stores, working on my own (or with my mother) while I sing along with the radio. 2. Because the clothes in shops don’t fit, or are too sad. 3. Because I can’t remember myself not sewing, my whole life there have been piles of fabric in my house (or my parents house), as my mother was a seamstres. At a verry young age I allready helped her. When I was 3 I “helped” my mother while a customer came to fit her dress, I took out the pins and pushed them back in, in the customers thighs,…

    1 Reply
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      May 27, 2011, 09.02 PMby lolaaa

      thanks you for talking to me as i am small and love fashion but its really my hobby or would become more than a hobby .really thank you!!

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    May 27, 2011, 06.47 AMby carolyn-s

    You articulated really well all my reasons for loving sewing!! ABSOLUTELY, to all ten… Sewing is sexy…? Well, it depends what you are sewing ;) and also if you count that one nearly always ends up at some point sewing in one’s underwear….

    (And I was pretty thrilled to see my dress as one of the cover pictures of this article, thank you!)

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    May 27, 2011, 04.27 AMby luluxo

    great post, and all reasons are spot on! creating something everyday keeps the blues away…… i’ve been a musician, an actress, and now a sewing addict as well. you are very inspiring, and your collection of sewing machines are fabulous, by the way <3

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    May 27, 2011, 02.36 AMby rogue-cellist

    It is my creative outlet. It is also my way of getting clothes that fit, avoiding the cheap and nasty but affordable clothes that I’d have to buy otherwise and providing for my family with my own hands. While I’m planning and creating I get a massive boost to my mood and reduction in stress. I feel such a sense of achievement when I complete something and I feel so much more competent as a mother when I’m dressing my kids in clothes that I’ve made them… it’s amazing just how much of a psychological effect it has on me (and most of the other sewers who’ve replied) really.

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    May 27, 2011, 02.20 AMby pink-cornelia

    I agree with all of your reasons, especially with sewing is sexy jajaja. I like to sew because It makes me smile and when I’m not sewing I’m thinking of project to sew. What can i say, I’m a sewing addict.

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    May 27, 2011, 02.09 AMby lennert

    I agree with all of the above!

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    May 27, 2011, 01.51 AMby kelseykay

    I love creating something from nothing and calling it your own, it is a step towards making myself become more than a nobody in this wold of fashion I’ve thrown myself into.

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    May 27, 2011, 01.42 AMby designerroya

    I have to say that I agree with you and really liked this post! BTW, #9 really made me laugh!

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    May 27, 2011, 01.12 AMby jadedwish

    As a lady that has curves in all the right and when I am in not the best of moods, not so right places, clothes that FIT is always a great reason to sew. Another reason I sew is I like the idea of wearing something that no one else is wearing.

    1 Reply
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      May 27, 2011, 07.37 AMby loulourosa

      I agree, In the shops there are allway nice things in small sizes but for us curvy girls, there are only one or two sad looking black skirts. Fortunatly we have the possiblity to make nice things, and look great! how clever we are :-)

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