Why do you make? #WhyIMake

Recently my reasons for making have featured a lot in conversations with people I'm talking with; it's something I've noticed more now that I knit as well as sew. When someone comments on something I'm wearing and I get to say those words we all look forward to "Why thanks, I made it actually", people mainly respond with a 'oh right' and move on (sometimes it does lead to nice comments or a shared interest, but that's rarer). I think it's partly because they don't see the process behind it. Now, if someone sees me knitting, that tends to generate more conversation than anything (sewn or knit) that I'm wearing. I have a feeling that there's something about it being unexpected that prompts curiosity. As I've been drawn into these conversations it's made me think more about why I am making and I have found different reasons behind both of the crafts that I enjoy. Then Love Crafts went and put it out there as a question as well so I thought I'd start out with my reasons and put it over to you to add in your comments as well.....


I've probably written before that one of the reasons I started sewing was because the nature of my job changed. I didn't realise it at the time but what I had been doing required a different type of creativity to what I needed in my current job. What I do now is also a lot more pressured as well so having a vehicle to provide a creative outlet keeps my mind stimulated and gives me something to think about other than work. I find both sewing and knitting provide that break from screen time and opportunity to become absorbed in something for its own sake. Knitting is particularly helpful for this because it's so portable, creating opportunity for a little bit each day (I don't have a dedicated sewing space). It's quite meditative and has made a difference for my overall wellbeing.

It's fun

I really do enjoy all aspects of both crafts. I have always enjoyed learning new skills and there's ample opportunity to master lots of new things in sewing and knitting. For me, the planning of a project is as big a part of the project itself. I love to see what other makers are up to, gain inspiration from them and begin to think about what I want to make. I've usually got multiple projects on the brain and not all of them make it into finished objects but creating something that isn't a commercially available product is something I enjoy. I even have a few items that I haven't worn yet, more because they were something that I wanted to make rather than something I needed...the ultimate dream is to make something like one of the dresses I saw at the Dior exhibition (glorious, but certainly not practical!)

It's practical as well!

Lots of people find their way into dressmaking because they couldn't find what they wanted on the high street. It may be fashion related or to do with never finding clothes that fit! Both of these apply to me as well. Although my main reason for learning to sew was for the learning of the craft itself, I was drawn to the benefits of knowing that if I had something specific in my mind that I needed, and it wasn't in stores, I had a means of still ending up with that item by making it myself. Not only that but it would fit. I've even now been able to go back and alter clothes I bought from the high street so that they do fit better and I get more wear out of them now as well. 


How wonderful is the sewing and knitting community? There's a real welcoming and supportive feel to any community that I've engaged with. This applies to real life and social media (which can be fraught with issues, but not my experience at all when it comes to making). People love to share, which I find incredibly helpful and interesting. I'm completely addicted to blogs and videos from makers because it's all about shared interests and celebrating what has been achieved. They also are so ready to come to your aid if you have a problem too. I do like getting involved in sewing challenges or knit a longs because it's nice to feel that there are others with you even when you are essentially doing something quite solitary. That said, I'm lucky to have a few members of my family and a couple of friends who either sew or knit and sharing what we are up to, or going to an event together, is a great way of spending time together that's a bit special and different. 

Giving is good

I love how you can also give somebody something handmade and it immediately feels like you've made a special effort for them. Now, my husband is always quick to call me a selfish sewist. I kind of am because my success rate in sewing for others isn't great to be honest (focusing on quilting rather than garments seems to be a way forward there). I am much more generous with my knitting though, and those gifts seem to be more well received, so I tend to make more of those (Nan is loving her fingerless mitts so much that I think almost everyone she has met knows about them!). I also feel that the wider community is incredibly generous - people give time to share tutorials, and even patterns for free, which means that it's so easy to feel that you can join in. And, although I don't do a ton of sewing for other people, I do offer where my skills can help out and I like that I have something to give.

Virva Fingerless Mitts from Laine Magazine

So, why do you make? Is it for all the above or is there one over and abiding reason why you make? (It doesn't have to be sewing or knitting - that's just me!)

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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