Saturday, 13 February 2010

Boring sewing, and why I do it.

I was whinging in my last post about boring sewing, and there were some very interesting comments about bloke sewing, sewing for other people, and how to make the project less boring, all of which I appreciated. What struck me though, was the very sensible question running through several comments, with maybe me reading between the lines a little, of "Why would I sew something for someone else, if I found it boring?.

I will try to stop whinging about the bits of sewing I don't feel really excited about, but I am unwilling to let the Selfish Seamstress have the last word on this subject, even by one remove. Her snarky hakui about sewing for loved ones, which is sort of funny in context, has been left on my blog as a comment several times by "anonymous" when I show garments I have made for other members of my family. I am not offended by this haiku being left as part of a fair comment on my whinging, but due to my previous exposure to the haiku, I am a little tired of it.

Along with probably every other person who has admitted in public that they like to sew, I have been asked by relative strangers to hem pants, make curtains, make garments and mend by lazy and opportunistic so and so's who think it would be a great pleasure for me to do this. I am not talking about this sort of sewing. "Hem your own damn pants" sums up my reaction nicely. Nor am I talking about volunteer sewing. I have made costumes for school plays, dance concerts and parades. This is not really appreciated, and I find it boring, but other volunteer work I have done, and most people do as part of living in a community is not really appreciated either, and tends to be boring or worse. I would rather sew the costumes than be the backstage minder for 59 noisy 10 year olds!

Mostly, when I sew for my family, I really enjoy it. Unlike the Selfish Seamstress, if I want to sew for a European size 32 ballet dancer, I cannot restrict my sewing to myself. Sewing for my family gives me a greater variety of flattering styles, fabric colours and fitting techniques to use.

I am sewing a boring shirt, with a not very exciting (although quite pleasant)fabric because it will make my husband happy. He will appreciate my time, my effort, and the fact that I made him something rather than buying it. This willingness to do mildly boring things for the pleasure of a spouse is a factor in a successful marriage IMO. I would like to point out that I did not make him a real shirt until we had been married for 15 years, a mere boyfriend would not deserve one yet! (Maybe a really easy t shirt...)
He will also be getting the paisley shirt, because I am a selfish seamstress too. Carol is quite right, blokes (at least my bloke) have no idea how fabric will look once it is made up.

A post without pictures is a bit dull. Here are some things my husband has made for me that I haven't posted on my blog before. I hope he didn't find them boring to make. I have a sneaky suspicion that he whinges less than me.
Sewing notions wall cabinet. The wide angle shot has made this look bowed.
Desk top sewing box. I asked for this one.The top trays slide across for access to the bottom of the box.


Carol said...

What a great post! How right you are that we do things for those we love, even if we don't find it inspiring. Grant would make a point of wearing a sack if he knew I had taken the time to make it for him. Plus, he'd tell everyone I'd made it and how much he liked it. Even if he hated it. For those of us who love to sew, it is the obvious way to show others we care for them. Just like your husband did by making you such a beautiful cupboard and sewing box. It's obviously something he loves to do and he is showing his love for you by spending his crafting time on it. I'm glad you're making him the shirt he wants and I'm also glad you're making him the shirt you want. He will love them both. As for the pants hemming and zipper replacing, I have started to say a loud, resounding NO. In the time it took me to replace a fly front zipper in a denim skirt for a colleague, I could have made myself a whole garment. And I did it for free. And she complained how long it took me to get around to doing it. I look forward to seeing your bloke sewing soon.

rosa said...

wise words. And what beautiful things your hubby has made for you. Such is the give and take of love and marriage. Lovely to see. And lovely that you will make him both shirts! I think that is the perfect solution.

katherine h said...

What beautiful handiwork by your husband.

Jen said...

Wow - that's some serious DIY skills your hubby's got going on! The cabinet and sewing box are so beautifully crafted :-) What's the timber on the main part of the cabinet door?


KID, MD said...

Beautifully stated! I've also come to find that even when it is a little boring, you reap so much when you sew for those you love. My hubby shows off the scrubs I made for him all the time, and while he constantly gets requests for me to make them for his colleagues, he knows the answer, which is always, "No, Katie sews for herself." And making something for him (and my wee ones) is sewing for myself.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous stuff. As a leaver of the snarky comment, I am sorry it touched a nerve, and I appreciate your response -- very nice. I have also sewn for those I love, of course, even stuff I didn't really want to, like pant hems for hubby. And your stuff is very lovely.

RuthieK said...

I loved seeing the things you hubby has made for you, and I think you are wonderful to sew for others, including your own DH. Don't let the selfish people get you down. Boring sewing has other rewards sometimes, serving, loving and blessing others is a very special thing to do. With great respect - RuthieK

Mary Nanna said...

I am so pleased to hear you are going to make up that paisley print because it will be so special. When I was growing up, they used to say, "if you knit a sweater for a man you are going to marry him" - it meant if you could commit to a sweater, and you were prepared to do that much work for someone else, then it was true love.

Maybe the married equivalents are shirts and sewing storage cabinets.

Shelley's Garden said...

I'd read your post earlier and then have thought of it the last two days. I was working on fabric Valentines to give away and then making my husband a fleece pullover and repairing another I'd made for him. Sure, it's nice working on something for myself but people's appreciation for what has been made for them is very rewarding. But it's more than that. It's that the making of the item is an act of love. Thanks for your post.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

What a nice post! I made a pair of boxers for my boyfriend and every time I come over and he's done laundry they are prominently displayed on the top of the laundry pile. It's cute!

Joy said...

well said (: I generally find it very rewarding sewing for my family. One advantage is that you have a better vantage point for enjoying your handiwork if someone else is wearing it!