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If you adore fashion like me, chances are that the thought of learning how to sew has crossed your mind once or twice. Given that you’re here, it might be safe to say that you’ve abandoned that desire to sew, through the fear that it would be too difficult, too complicated, or worse — that you wouldn’t be able to do it.

I’m here to tell you that all of that isn’t true.

Amongst my quarantine boredom in early 2020, I decided to finally start sewing on a really old machine that’s been sitting in my parent’s house for years. Ever since I was little, I dreamed about designing and constructing clothing, but I was petrified of the possibility of finding that I would be below my childhood expectations. Year after year, I would come across one opportunity or another for sewing classes and I would shield from them every time, convinced that it was because I was too busy or that it was too late to start. I let that fear grow for almost a decade of my life. 

It wasn’t until I learned how unbelievably harmful the fast fashion industry is to our environment and society that I stopped questioning my potential and started realizing how I could combat the problem in my own life: to revive secondhand clothing. And so the fears faded, and the sewing began.

For the past year and a half, I’ve shared my journey of teaching myself how to sew and upcycle clothing publicly on Instagram, with the intention of encouraging and empowering my audience to challenge their fears as I did, and to fight the fast fashion industry through upcycling and buying secondhand. With a lot of time on my hands and a little bit of patience, I learned everything I know about sewing from trial and error — and many, many YouTube tutorials. So here are the reasons why you too should start sewing.

it boosts your confidence

I’m telling you: having the ability to either alter or entirely create something that you can strut wherever you go will transform your self-esteem. Wearing something you’ve made is incredibly fulfilling, and it’ll leave you feeling proud and energized. If you ask me, it’s a time investment in improving your overall wellbeing.

you can save money and become your own tailor

Knowing the bare minimum sewing skills (sewing somewhat of a straight stitch) will unlock countless opportunities for altering and repairing your own clothes to save money and keep your garments looking cute on you instead of in the landfill.

It activates your creativity

Feeling out of touch with your creative self? Sewing is an amazing way to reconnect with your artistic side. Even the simplest of alterations or clothing flips grant the opportunity to get creative on the fit or silhouette of a garment.

You can become more eco-friendly

Once you know the basics of sewing, you can repair holes, rips, or fallen buttons with ease, instead of tossing out the garment. On top of that, for any of my fellow avid thrifters, buying secondhand is a whole new game-changer. Anything found in a thrift store can be altered and snatched perfectly to your body with a beginner’s understanding of sewing. No more worrying about those jeans being a little bit too big around the waist or that shirt being a teeny bit too long for your liking. 

Rule of thumb: when in doubt, buy a size up, as you can take away fabric but you can’t easily add it! (Although, it is possible! The opportunities truly are endless when it comes to sewing.)

Ready to up your fashion game and start creating? Look out for my next article, “Guide To Becoming a Sewist” or check out my Instagram page for tips! 

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Anna Tempestoso

U Mass Amherst '23

Anna is a junior honors student at UMass Amherst with a double major in Sustainable Business Practices in Fashion and Communication. Apart from being a college student, she spends her time hunting for thrift finds, upcycling bed sheets and drapes into clothing, bird-watching, and hanging out with her dog Enzo.
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