The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

When Does Sewing Become More Than Just Techniques

Lots of times in my classes and on boards and profiles around the net, I see that up-and-coming sewists want to learn this or that technique, with their thinking that if they know enough of them then they can sew well.  All they need to do is learn the techniques and then they can look like the cover of the pattern, or that model on the runway or that starlet on the red carpet.

And there’s problems with this….first, the abnormally shaped models are not real life.  Second there are all sorts of shenanigans going on behind the scene.

In 2002, Patricia Heaton (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame), wrote a book Motherhood and Hollywood: How To Get A Job Like Mine and the cover was right on.

….or rather it was the back that was right on.  This just shows all that’s really going on behind the scenes.  She used to say, when she was asked (after having kids and still have abs flatter than pancakes), that she was in the business and of course she had, had her stomach done.  I adored her honesty and her openness about the subject, cause it’s something very few talk about.  And what’s worse, they talk about it less in the fashion business.  Cause if you think that the movie/TV business is the only place where this goes on, you’re soooooooo wrong!


So how does this pertain to sewists?

Several ways:

  1. The first and foremost is that it sets up unrealistic goals/values and often something that can’t be matched.  I mean we all get older – it’s just nature and we change shapes and so why not be up front about it, and let’s make clothes that make us feel good, we can move in and look flattering on us! (And no, it’s not too much nor impossible).  Even great movie stars get older and loose their svelte figures, only they have experts help them dress…we can do the same thing.dench
  2. Learning how to sew is wonderful, but it isn’t all there is.  The techniques and the mechanics of sewing are of course a necessity, but after that, there’s more – so much more and it’s so much more exciting.  Missing out on this part is like only being able to look at the ice cream and never taste it.  But we are told that most of us can’t taste the ice cream, only that we can look at it and that should be enough.



I supposed the first time I heard that, it got my ire up so much that the first thing that hit my head was – “Well, watch this!”


And thus was born my first dress (and later learned why redheads should NEVER wear pink – even if it’s all you can find in the fabric store).  But at the time I felt beyond chic.  BTW, I had a blast that night – had a very special date and I felt magical!!!!


This is what I love about sewing – – not the techniques, not the newfangled method of inserting this or that (although they’re nice to know) – it’s putting these together with a fashionable and stylish look that fits and makes the wearer look beautiful and flattering.


That’s why I like Patricia Heaton’s book cover so much.  She really shows it how it is – it’s all make-believe on TV and in the movies.  It’s even make believe in the photography shoot behind the camera.  This is what we as sewists can do – we can make that dream that’s on the front of the book look good on us, without having to go through the hullabaloo on the back cover.  And that does not mean that it stretches across your body to expose every little ripple and wrinkle – that’s not a fit.  It means you look flattering and well put together.  It means you’re comfortable in your clothing but fashionable.  It means you’re age-appropriate and modern.  I know sounds like a lot, but this is where my love is.  I can’t help it.





  1. Well said! I thank my beloved Mawmaw nearly every day for teaching me to sew. It’s been my love and journey for 56 years and now I’m teaching teens and adults this wonderful and inspiring art form. I want them all to be stylish wearing garments that fit and flatter.


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