Friday, April 07, 2006


By Christina VanGinkel

Sewing is a hobby that many people, both men and women, participate. It has been around since long ago, when it was a necessary skill of life. Today, people sew for many reasons, including making clothing, accessories, quilts, crafts, and even just for entertainment and relaxation.

I have been a crafter as long as I can remember, but sewing has never been what I would refer to as a hobby that I loved. I can sew if I have to, but it has not been something I purposely set out to do. So when I have recently been drawn to several projects that would call upon moderate sewing skills, I will admit I have been both surprised and a bit disappointed in myself for not keeping up with what little sewing knowledge I did acquire long ago.

While my mother was an avid sewer, and always owned a top of the line machine all the years I was growing up, and into her retirement, I actually learned the basics of both hand and machine sewing in school through a home economics class. I remember coming home with my needed list of supplies, which included a pattern of my choosing. I chose the ugliest jumper pattern I have ever seen up until that day and since. Maybe I knew deep down even then, that sewing was not going to be something I enjoyed, or maybe it was the opposite. Maybe I was destined to be a sewer all of these years, and that one bad pattern choice turned me away from a craft that I really did love. The more I ponder this thought; I am starting to think it was this second one all along!

I am a huge fan of quilts for example. Not the type you find mass produced on a store shelf, but the kind that a person labors over for hours on end, with the work to create it done both by hand and machine. Before the person making the quilt gets to that point though, they have to choose a pattern, pick out the fabric, both top and bottom, and then cut the fabric into pieces that they will reassemble into a quilt. Even the names of the quilts are like candy to a quilt lover. Names like Wedding, Honeycomb, Pinwheel, Garden of Eden, Honey Bee, Black Eyed Susan, and Jacob's Ladder are just a tiny sampling of the names many quilters have given the quilts they have made over the years.

Quilts are not the only thing you can sew though. Of the many project that have been piquing my current interest in the craft of sewing lately, scrapbooking is right at the top of the list. I have seen some layouts that include both paper and fabric embellishments that are sewn. I am not talking just a straight stitch or two either, but fancy stitches and assembly that relies on the knowledge of sewing skill. When I saw these, I was in love. What a better craft to meld with scrapbooking, then one that has been around since the beginning of time, and that is sure to hold up for years in a scrapbook. The two crafts were obviously meant to go together.

I have also been intrigued by many of the embroidered designs I have been seeing more of lately. Even a basic sewing machine these days will include a few embroidery built-ins, but like everything else electronic, machines that are made specifically for embroidery are dropping in price like other electronics. Just a few short years ago, you could not choose a true embroidery machine for less than several thousands of dollars, essentially pushing them out of the price range of your typical home sewer. Today, you can purchase a machine that with the aid of your computer, will embroiderer any design you can imagine, and all for less than even one thousand dollars, much less actually.

Sewing is a hobby unlike many others in that it is so versatile, from clothing to crafts, to outdoor gear, quilts, accessories, and much more. If you are in search of a hobby that you can fall in love with, then check out sewing, you might just be as pleasantly surprised as I was after all of these years!

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