If you read my last post you will know that I have been going through a bit of a creative slump lately (honestly when aren’t I though?). Every time this happens I feel like the reasons can vary, if I can even pin them down in the first place (sewing pun intended). However, along with the reasoning being different, the solution is often different as well.
Losing my “crojo”
Sometimes when I try to inspire myself out of it, it just won’t work and I simply need to wait it out. Other times, I am able to accept that it is specifically crochet that isn’t working for me, and can then take a break and focus on creative energy on another craft.
To be honest, this method isn’t always the common one. There are a lot of art forms that I enjoy, but my motivation to do them has almost completely run out (ie, not drawing for like 7 years and counting when that used to be all I did, yikes). However, in this case I feel like things are a little different than they are for other art forms.
The entire reason that I first got into crochet was that I was fascinated with the idea of making clothing. Fashion has become a big interest of mine over the past few years and being able to create clothing is the most satisfying part of crochet for me.
Why Don’t You Sew?
So I feel like it goes without saying that most people would ask, ” If you like making clothes so much, doesn’t it make the most sense to sew?”
This is a very reasonable question that I have been asking myself for years honestly. The simplest reason, which could perhaps could have always been an excuse, is that I just have never had the proper resources for it.
Not to say that it isn’t, but I always had the understanding that sewing was a much more expensive hobby than crochet. In many ways it definitely is, but after the initial costs, if you put in a little bit more effort, you can get fabric at fairly affordable prices. In pretty much every case, buying fabric to complete a garment is going to be more expensive than buying yarn for a garment, but I feel the trade off is that you have more options with sewing and it will ultimately take less time than crochet which are still valuable concepts to take into considering.
Now the reason that I only recently started to experiment with sewing is because I now have an actual sewing machine, one of the most important resources since sewing things by hand is a can of beans I regret opening every single time. Full disclosure, I did not go out and buy my own sewing machine, but was kindly lent one by Nick’s mom, so I was fortunate enough to not have to drop a couple hundred dollars on one, which is the main thing that was stopping me (and i’m sure many others) from picking up this hobby.
I was so excited when I finally brought the sewing machine home, and for once I did the responsible thing an actually spent a night watching a bunch of sewing videos and tutorials to try to grasp the concepts before just jumping in and probably breaking something; me or the machine? no one knows, and luckily I haven’t had to find out yet.
As I watched videos and started to get a feel for the process, there were some things I started noticing/feeling before I even sat at the sewing machine…
- 1) Space: One of the things that was immediately clear to me from watching videos: You need a decent amount of space to sew. Nick and I are lucky enough to have a probably larger than average apartment for our side of town, and yet I still don’t really have a big enough open space anywhere to lay out fabric and doing the markings and cutting necessary without it being a huge hassle. I have found way to work around it so far, but ultimately I know that having a designated large workspace is best for sewing.
- 2) Getting a Pattern: Before I started making my own crochet patterns, free patterns were my life saver as I didn’t have very much extra money at the time. There were so many free crochet patterns out in the world, I assumed it would be the same for sewing, but to my surprise, that was not the case. There are a decent amount of free sewing patterns out there, but not many for garments, and none of which were quite the styles I was looking for. As it turns out, sewing patterns are also much more expensive than I had previously anticipated, not all of them of course, but a fair amount of them. On it’s own, $10-$15 for a pattern doesn’t seem too outrageous; however, once it is added to the price of the fabric and notions, it starts to feel like it is cheaper to just buy that piece of clothing instead of make it you know? Luckily, pattern lines such as New Look (available at joann) have a tons of really fun and trendy patterns that are often more in the $2-$4 range which is much more friendly to the overall project budget.
- 3) Choosing a Fabric: Like most new hobbies, I went in not really knowing anything about the materials. You know how you walk into the fabric section of a store and are immediately drawn to, what is usually, the first isle of super fun and colorful cotton prints that saying something like “calico”? Well I always assumed those would be what I used to make garments if I ever picked up sewing, as it turns out, though these can be used for whatever you want, they are technically a quilting material. Now, maybe i’m just an idiot for assuming that I could use them for whatever, after all I should know something about fiber content after working with yarn right? (Guess i’m not always so intuitive). Not that is the fabric that I used for my first dress that I made, and honestly it was totally fine, but I understand that it won’t work for everything. The second I started looking into different fabrics I started getting overwhelmed, there are SO many more types than I ever realized and they all have such different properties how are you ever supposed to choose?? Since all of this initial fabric scariness, I have decided that I will likely stick to 100% Cottons and maybe 100% Rayon for quite a while because I am not ready to deal with the nightmare that i’m sure is knit/stretch fabrics. Now there is a difference between 100% quilting cotton and apparel cotton, do I understand it? Not yet, but luckily for now the fabric stores at least have them labeled and in different sections to help me tell the difference.
As I said earlier, one of my main concerns for sewing was always how much it was going to cost. I’m not going to lie and say that the costs don’t add up over time, but with some patience, the costs don’t have to be as daunting.
I say patience because that has been the main thing I have had to keep in mind throughout this whole process. My default fabric is expensive, so if cost is a concern, you kind of just have to wait it out for the deals that are really going to make a difference.
I used to be a Michaels girl through and through, but since I’ve been interested in sewing, I have kind of been turning into a Joann girl, which makes sense because Joann is THE big name brand for fabric whereas that isn’t really Michaels specialty.
Joann can have REALLY good deals on fabric, and they seem to be fairly often, there is usually a deal on some kind of fabric at all times. The real game changer though is the Clearance Fabric section. There you can often find things discounted from 50% to 70% off, so you can find some really good deals.
This is also where patience comes into play though. For one, there is usually a lot of fabrics to look at and they aren’t organized, so its a bit of a journey just too look through the fabrics, but personally the scavenger hunt is my favorite kind of shopping experience, so I definitely don’t mind. There is unfortunately also no guarantee that you will find the fabric that you are looking for or one that you like, it really is a gamble in the clearance section, but the deals OH MY.
My Experience So Far
I am happy to report that sewing has been a lot of fun for me so far. Otherwise I wouldn’t really be writing about it I suppose, unless it was an ultimate fail post or something of that nature.
It isn’t the hardest craft to learn on a beginner level, but it also isn’t necessarily easy. Personally for me it is hard to know that once you cut the fabric there is no going back, so if often feels like there is more risk involved than there is in crochet haha.
I still have a long way to go in terms of learning techniques, so far I have mostly only made more simple beginner friendly projects, which I really do recommend doing at least a little bit of before you dive in, just to help you get a feel for everything.
I hope any of this information was a little helpful if you are thinking of or are scared to start sewing, it really is fun if you are able to do it!