It's not about sewing

When people see or hear about my kids sewing, most think it's pretty great, everyone comments on their creativity and no one says, out right, that it's a waste of time.

L's first dress, designed and sewn herself
They don't point out any obvious flaws and seem genuinely impressed with the finished product. They want to be supportive and encouraging. And, for the most part they are. I love the feedback my kids get and they grow immeasurably in the light that the wonderful people in our lives shine on their hard work. Most of our friends and family, this is what they give, in endless waves, building and encouraging.

 K and her cousin made a playmat for a teacher's first baby
Inevitably, though, there's that one person who, as the kids walk away, or occasionally just before, turns the conversation to the usefulness of such a skill. There is almost always someone who, in essence, says sure it's a neat thing to know how to do, but it's so much more costly to sew your own clothes nowadays. You can buy stuff so cheap and fabric is pricey. Or maybe they imply, there aren't many good jobs in the field of fashion design, seamstresses aren't paid high wages. Oh, but maybe they could work in costume design for movies! In fact, maybe, there have been times when that person was me.

C's first time solo at the machine, a gift for a cousin's birthday
 But, here's the thing...It's not about the sewing. Sure, if my kids choose a job in the fashion, sewing, fabric, or textile fields (of which I am quite sure there are opportunities) they may have a leg up being exposed so young, but maybe not and, really now, they're kids, we're not planning career paths just yet.

B's first sewing project a tree decoration we still use every winter solstice.

No it's not about the sewing. They sew because I sew and it's accessible.

What it's really about is taking that thing in their mind and making it real. It's about seeing an idea, turning it over, looking at it from every angle and figuring out how to share it with the world.

They do this in other ways too. They do it with their drawings, their stories, their Minecraft worlds, the small businesses they start, the skits they perform for us, the movies they write, direct, film and edit, the dances they choreograph for family get togethers, and the video game designs and animations they dabble in.

K designed and sewed herself a medieval costume
So while I'd be proud if any of them chose to pursue a career that put the sewing skills to good use, it's not about the sewing. Instead, lets talk about the research, the trial and error the figuring out when to ask for help and when to plow through. Or about setting deadlines and falling short, all the times it goes wrong . The tears and tantrums and try it agains.

Lets talk about that feeling you get when you add that small detail or find the perfect ribbon that makes all the hard work so worth it because the finished product is even better than you ever could have imagined it would be.

L attaching her first zipper, an invisible zipper. A squeal worthy accomplishment.
Yes, I'd much rather, after we build my kids up, filling their buckets with our beautiful comments, if we could then talk about learning how to learn, learning we are capable, learning we'll mess up and it'll still be fine because that right there, the process, that's what it's really about.


  1. beautiful — and so well said! <3 <3 <3

    1. Thank you, and thanks for all the inspiration :)

  2. I love the part where an idea in my head becomes reality. That never gets old. ;)

  3. This is the best. And I agree - it's a wonderful way to go through the process of seeing an idea come to life.

  4. What a wonderful post and I agree with everything you have said. It teaches us to trust ourselves whether we are children or adults. Art in action!

    1. Thank you for the nice comment Melody! And you are so right, adults or kids and with any art medium the same is true.