Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Instant Sewing!

I picked up this funny little book at the thrift store this week, published in 1968.

It's very concerned with time-saving, with convenience and speed.

As I looked through it, I realized it's just focusing on the way most of us sew today; not too complicated, use one pattern to get used to it and have fewer alterations, along with giving various tips on the easiest ways to add to or reduce a pattern, or accomplish basic techniques. It's really a booklet, only 116 p. at paperback size, and an encouragement on the final page to order more as prizes for your clubs!

But it made me think -- do I want to instant gratification with my sewing? Or do I want longer projects that take some time and are made with extra details?

The Love to Sew podcast just recently had a show on the topic of Speedy Sewing.

I agree with them that sometimes it's just fun to choose an easier pattern and sew it up without many issues,  and have something new to wear right away. But if that's ALL we do, we are setting up our own little sweatshop and producing clothes at a rapid rate that we don't need or wear.

It's very difficult to figure out where you land on this continuum.

I'm a slow sewer. Not in the sense of a careful, always environmentally aware one, but literally a slow sewer. It takes me a long time to make things. I watch the Great British Sewing Bee and think, cripes, there is no way I'd even finish a single item on that show! I just move slowly. So I like to find tips and tricks to streamline and speed up the sewing process, so that I can hit regular speed on mine!

If I seem to have a lot of finished projects, it's just because I have spent a lot of time sewing. I see some sewing bloggers who can cut out a dress one night and be wearing it by the next night. Not generally the case for me. And yet, if I have a project that takes TOO long, that has too many details that will take me longer than even my usual, I get a bit sick of that project.

So I have to find a balance. Not to want instant gratification with my own fast fashion factory in my basement, but to find things I can manage to make in the time that I have. Whew. I've just accepted that I move slowly in most things, and can't change my default speed very easily.

What about you? Do you find that you move quickly or slowly in general? Does this show up in your sewing habits as well? And do you have an opinion on "Instant Sewing" in general?


  1. Mainly I like to sew fast, for the instant gratification that in days past I would satisfy by nipping into a shop and buying a few things. However, I also start to find it boring, so like my challenges and crazy makes. Steampunk satisfied this for a year or 2, but I have more than enough now, so making theatrical costumes has stepped back up. This gives all the fun, and lots of planning and design, but does not require the loooong slow work of a wedding gown. My sewjo is currently lacking as I'm having such fun making all these masks etc

    1. This is a good idea - have some variety to keep things moving but not overwhelming for your closet or your habits! Love it.

  2. Very good question! I like the feeling of competence when I can cut out and sew something really quickly. Generally that’s because it’s a pattern I’ve used before and tweaked. However, I think that I’m alternating these sorts of sews (excuse made up word!) that I do for instant gratification/fill obvious clothing gap, with more challenging projects.

    I do think you are onto something though. Trying to be sensible about sewing what is needed and not being wasteful (of fabric and time) is not always compatible with wanting to exercise one’s creativity and skill. Demented Fairy... you are lucky to have another outlet!

    Also, I do wonder if we have reached ‘peak indie pattern’ for basic/simple garments? I am seeing so many come out that are pretty much the same.

    Thanks again for a very thought provoking post.

    1. All of these points are really interesting. It's true, I love a good TNT that I can make quickly and feel good about the level of competence I now have after sewing for so long. And I like to try new and challenging items for that creative outlet that you have mentioned.

      As to the peak indie thought -- I've been starting to wonder this myself. There are a lot of simple and easy patterns out there. I have enough patterns that I can tweak that I don't really need to ever buy simple patterns again.

      So many things to ponder.

  3. I like to alternate between TNT and new. The TNT's can be prepped, cut and sewn with minimum fuss. I'm taking a "Jackets" class again this fall so sewing will be more involved. I'm not particularly speedy as I need the tactile handling of fabric and process so I never sew with an eye on the clock. That would make it too much like a job.
    Theresa in Tucson

    1. I think that's it -- I get so involved with the tactile experience that I don't watch the clock. And I like to relax in my little sewing room in the evenings to decompress from work, so don't want to rush anyhow.


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