Power is a word with both negative and positive connotations. Putting aside the negative connotations associated with power and focusing on the positive, to have power is to have strength, control, influence, authority or a certain capacity. So, why am I bringing up the subject of power on a sewing blog? Well, because sewing is empowering.
When I’m sewing, I use my physical and mental strength to join pieces of cloth. I need the strength of my hands to hold a slippery piece of cloth as I cut, press, pin and sew it into shape. Through the strength of my feet and legs, my sewing machine comes to life. My brain is perhaps the muscle that gets the best workout in my sewing room though. With the strength of this muscle I can envision a finished dress or jacket before I’ve sewn a stitch and solve problems in fit or construction.
When I’m sewing, I’m in control. I choose what pattern to sew, what fabric to use, what notions I’ll need. After that I can still control whether I change my mind or follow through on my original ideas. As the seamstress, I have the power to decide what a piece of cloth becomes. I control the destiny of that cloth.
When I’m sewing, I’m the authority, the one with influence. I decide what I want and have the authority to shape plain objects into what I desire. But I’m a caring authority figure. I take delight in my influence over these implements, but I respect them too. I treat my tools, notions, materials and those who supplied these items with respect because I know that without their presence I lose my capacity to sew.
I am empowered because I sew. I am empowered mentally by the challenges and problems I have solved. I am empowered materially because the objects I create have a purpose. I am empowered emotionally and spiritually by the sense of accomplishment and joy that I feel when I look at or use what I’ve made or when someone I’ve sewn something for feels appreciation for the item I’ve made.
While I believe that a similar sense of accomplishment can be found in almost any activity, I believe that sewing seems to be growing in popularity because it is so empowering. It’s a great reason to pass on this skill to young people. It’s motivation for experienced sewers to learn something new about their craft. It makes sewing valuable for anyone, male or female, young or old.
So, as you pick up your needles, thread and cloth this week, let yourself savor the power you have because you sew.