This little anecdote from my journey through motherhood made me think about why we should teach children (and adults) to sew and the many benefits that can be gained from this wonderful skill.
- Make do and mend - everyone should be able to sew on a button. It's wasteful not to be able to wear a garment anymore just because a button fell off.
- Make adjustments - I'm only 5' 3" and while shops are getting better at stocking clothes for the vertically challenged not all trousers come with short legs. It's boring to have to do it but it's good to be able to buy the style you like and make them the right length. You can make many more elaborate adjustments (watch the Great British Sewing Bee to see some amazing transformations) but this is a useful basic skill.
- Creativity - sewing is where my creative imagination takes flight. I see a piece of gorgeous fabric next to another one and I imagine what I might do with them, what other embellishments I might add, how I will cut them, sew them, press them etc. You never know, sewing may be the home of your, or your child's, creativity.
- Problem solving - to my mind problem solving is really a type of creativity, but I'm driving at the more practical types of problem solving here. How are you going to put that zip in? How are you going to fit that sleeve? How are you going to make this piece of fabric that's just an inch too narrow stretch to do the job? If you can solve these types of real problems in sewing you can probably transfer your problem solving prowess to other areas of life and work.
- Mathematical skills - measuring and estimation are used constantly when you're sewing and they are important skills in mathematics that any primary school curriculum will try to develop. You could be working out if you have enough of a lovely piece of fabric in your stash to make the item you have in mind, or converting a pattern that's written in centimetres to inches. All of this is practical and useful maths.
- Planning skills - a good sewer will at least have an over-arching view of how they think they will complete each of the steps in a sewing project before they start. You need to make sure you've cut fabric with allowance for putting in the zip, or you've added the applique to the front of the cushion before you sew the back to the front. Sometimes there is fun in seeing where a project takes you but the more experienced you get the better you will be at planning it out.
- Dexterity - you may naturally have nimble fingers or you may be a bit clumsy but using your fine motor-skills can only improve them, and you'll see benefits in other things you try to do e.g. planting tiny seeds or decorating the Christmas tree.
One of my first peg bags
- Creating useful things for yourself and others - believe it or not the seeds of my handmade business started when I made three peg bags - one each for me my mother and my sister. I worked out a pattern and off I went. They were delighted and I thought - 'How exciting, I could sell these,' and, the first creation I sold online was a peg-bag. My business has evolved since then but this act of making something I needed was the beginning.
- Opening up career and work opportunities - my lifelong passion for needlework has led me to having my own creative business which is an absolute delight! It may open up similar opportunities for others.
- Making friends and deepening relationships - teaching someone and sharing knowledge,
- Giving lifelong pleasure - sewing is something that you do from the age of 3 to the time in your life when your fingers don't work so well anymore (I dread that day). It keeps you occupied on a winter evening, exercises your mind and allows you to fill your world with beautiful things. Who wouldn't want to have a go?
Other posts you might like:
- Tutorial: How to sew applique letters with bondaweb
- Colour block baby mittens: Crochet tutorial
- What goes into writing an etsy listing?