“What inspires you to sew?” Most Annoying Question Ever…

….or, “Why do you sew?”

Dear readers, you may not find these questions annoying, but I do. I’ll try to answer the question in the title anyway.   Below are my top 5 answers, starting with #5 when I’m least inspired.  #1 is when I’m most likely to approach the sewing machine (which is almost everyday).

5 – I’m least motivated when asked to sew for others (not counting family). I have actually been asked by non-family to sew up or repair something for them when they find out I can sew. No deal.

Completed dress pictured against the backyard ruins
Some unselfish sewing: Completed little black dress pictured against the backyard ruins

4 – I’m a maker. Sometimes I get the urge to make something. Even so, it’s for the end result more than the process that excites me. That said I do love the sewing process and use the skills to make things I want, not just for the sake of using my machine.

Eve bag
Lantern bag (Vogue pattern)

3 – I want to (and need to) reduce the fabric hoard. I’m not afraid to call it a hoard. The hoard formed over many, many moments of purchasing weakness; that, over a period of a decade or more.

Fabric stash pantone 2

2 – Motivation comes from an exciting item or detail in the fashion and craft press; or seeing a live person in a gotta-have-it item. We’re sewers, people. We’re all about details. I’ve been saving this image of the mitered detail by Fendi for two years!

Fendi Spring Summer 2013
Fendi, Spring 2013

1 – Biggest reason I sew: to clothe myself in better clothes than are available in stores. The items can be as utilitarian as pajamas or something purely needed for an event (or upcoming weather change). Let me add though, that everything I make is not perfectly successful.  Such as the newly made “butterfly” top below. It just does not suit me.

Easy to make, McCall’s 6510

Another version of the above top is beginning to take shape, but not because I like this grey version that much 😦 . Upcoming blog post will tell all.

So, are there sewing related questions or comments by non-sewers you just do not like? Please share!


18 thoughts on ““What inspires you to sew?” Most Annoying Question Ever…

  1. Great post – #4 is the best description of us “I’m a maker”……it’s in our blood, it’s our talent. I’ve been making things with needle and thread since I was 5 and have never stopped! What inspires me? Vintage fashions from the ’30s and the ’40s. Not only the designs but the way they were constructed and the attention to detail – like a pop of color for a jacket lining, unusual buttons or seaming detail. I sew or alter because manufactured clothing doesn’t fit well; I sew because my home needs a quilt or pillows or table linens to express my personality. My great grandfather came to this country as a tailor and every woman in my family either sewed, knitted or did needlework – I sew to carry on the tradition and to leave a legacy!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Charlene! I didn’t know your grandfather was a tailor. Yep, you have it in your blood. One of my ancestors must also be a tailor or something related because as far as I know, my maternal great-grandmother, grandmother and my mother, were all makers.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The question that riles me is related to this, but not exactly the same. People seem to like to ask me “how do you find the time to sew?”. Sometimes this feels like an implication that I must be neglecting something important in my life, like my marriage or my spirituality. My answer is usually along the lines of how I use the time I would otherwise be spending running from store to store searching for clothing they fits and I like and that I can afford, and how I feel that time is better spent sewing since I am fairly assured of getting the desired result when I do. At least even people who don’t sew can relate to this reason for why I do.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh I agree! I work five days a week and I ALWAYS get asked that – by people that don’t sew. It’s as if they are implying they have far more important things to do. Then again, in comparison I’m often the happier, more fulfilled person.
      I’ve always been a ‘maker’, I’ve sewn since I was a child. I can’t stop it’s just what I do & I make no apologies for that.
      I always get asked “do you take up hems” to which I reply… “Yes but not yours!” as it’s generally asked by the people who ask me how do I find time to sew!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! Good reply to the hem question, Lizzy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I agree, that we makers just cannot stop making things. Occasionally it may turn out to be really bad, but we sewing enthusiasts are quick to move on to other things. Too much to sew…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for leaving a comment! I wonder if the same people ask a man the same question. “Where do you find the time to golf (or play some other sport) ?”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do sew for other people: for $20 an hour, plus materials. That does not clear everyone out of the room. It does pay for the stash accumulation, maybe not the storage fees….(when you never move, stuff …finds a place to burrow).
    The butterfly top seems to have multiplied this year; every other pattern in the books seemed to be a variation on one. On me, it is a circus tent, not what I was going for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m giving the butterfly look another chance. If the next one is also disappointing, I’m moving on from it………


  4. I sew because I am a “maker” as well. If it wasn’t sewing, I would be making something! I sew because I love the whole construction process – from pattern tracing to hand finishing.

    I ask myself this question a lot – because I still work and I manage to sew about 20 hours or more a week – that is a huge amount of free time to spend when I can afford quality RTW and I can still find clothes that fit well.

    I don’t mind sewing for others – actually, I try harder and learn more when I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Cindy! 20 hours! You definitely love to sew. I wish I was spending that many hours on just sewing. I find that as I’m getting older, I can’t sit as sew for many hours at one time. I have to move away from the machine. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  5. When I made the mock-up of the Thread Theory Newcastle cardi, which was way too small, for my husband, he asked, can’t you just make this bigger? As in, couldn’t I just magically size up the thing I just sewed? Uh, no, I have to make another one.


  6. 5) I like to hand make things 4) I enjoy fun and pretty fabrics 3) end product more practical and useful than other needlework 2) enjoy the stimulation of learning new skills 1) can’t find the fabric, style, and fit I want in the store.

    I don’t find it an annoying question. I’ve only had a sewing machine in the house for a few years, and I even enjoyed repairing a shirt pocket for a neighbor – so much faster than hand sewing and perfect results.


  7. Uh, oh! I think my stash is a hoard! Even moving didn’t pare it down. I tried a top that I thought was going to be a good one for me. It wasn’t. Tell me why I haven’t thrown the pattern away!

    One of my sewing guild friends has adopted a routine of setting a timer for the amount of time she is going to sew and only sews during that time, no computer, no phone calls, just time in the sewing studio.

    I love your blog, Samina.


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