So, this week it is 'Selfish Sewing Week'. I understand that the idea behind this is that people who often sew heaps of clothes or things for others - predominantly their children - don't often make things for themselves and that during this week they focus on doing just that. It seems fair to redress the balance, and to take some time to think about oneself. And I'm all for that, in fact I only occasionally sew for other people. But I'm not sure that makes it or me selfish? I don't think it's selfish at all.
I mentioned being uncomfortable with this phrase in a previous post and I was interested to see that it started a mini (very mini) discussion on Twitter, Claire-Louise of The Thrifty Stitcher mentioned it was 'essential for sanity' and another comment described sewing as a 'gift to our soul'. I really like that idea: Soul Sewing.
'Selfish' has incredibly negative connotations; of lack of concern for others, or being interested solely in pleasing oneself. Whilst sewing is generally a solitary pursuit and provides huge amounts of satisfaction (and frustration / tantrums!) for the stitcher, I don't associate the negative side with sewing at all.
Whether for someone else or for yourself, sewing clothes, bags, quilts, curtains, stuffed animals, whatever, fosters many positive human characteristics and can be good for the soul in so many ways.
It can lift your mood; enhance a memory; provide escapism; allow you to constructively let off steam; be a nod to history and to mothers and grandmothers who sewed in different circumstances; be an awareness of the fashion industry's failings and an acknowledgement of those that sew in less than human conditions; it can be a way to reduce household outgoings; it can be a remembrance of a special person, time or occasion; and allow you to bring a smile to someone's face purely due to the fact that you have taken the time, effort and love to create something specifically for them.
There are a whole raft of sewers out there who focus purely on sewing vintage patterns. And then there are the quilters who use fabrics with special meaning to create memory quilts. And then there are those who love to use vintage fabric and sewing tools. Sewing is nostalgic, creative, fulfilling and meaningful; it is not selfish; even when it is only done for yourself.
If sewing keeps your mind healthy and productive and you elicit pleasure from it in the midst of your crazy life, then it is antidote, it is putting yourself in a good place so that you can be the person you need to be for others in your life. That is not selfish. It is necessary.
As one commenter so succinctly put it, nobody ever says, "I'm just off to do some selfish running."
So as Karen suggested, should we erase the phrase from our sewing lexicon?
Perhaps this week could be renamed 'Soul Sewing Week' and the focus becomes on sewing that thing that makes you truly the happiest, for whomever it is.
Mini-rant over - what are your thoughts? Is it silly to get hung up on phrases like this?