The Joy of Slow Sewing: Why It’s Okay to be a Tortoise

Anyone who knows me knows that I am anything but “quick.”  I am a natural “plodder,” willing to work long and hard, but totally unable to do anything fast. (With the amazing and unbelievable exception of me agreeing to marry Bill after dating him eleven days, I’ve never been able to hurry into anything.)   So imagine how happy I was to read the article in Threads Magazine, March 2011, entitled “Slow Sewing,” by Patricia Keay.

Keay’s theory is that doing a project quickly is not always the optimum experience.  In fact, it often takes away from the pleasure that could be found in the actual experience of sewing.

Amen, sister!   My best sewing results come from the few times when I’ve created a project SLOWLY, without rushing for a deadline.(How many of you have ever made mistakes because you were hurrying to get it done? Has anyone else out there ever pushed to get it done quickly only to find out that a piece was in backwards?)

Whether you’re doing quilts, purses, or garments, it’s okay to slow down and enjoy the process.  What’s the hurry anyway?  We have sewing machines that sew hundreds of stitches a minute, rotary cutters that cut layers of fabric and dozens of pieces in a matter of moments, and computers that show us ideas and patterns in the blink of an eye.   Surely we can spend a little extra time on the actual sewing to enjoy the craft.

In the article, Keay suggests that “with time on your side, you become more confident and competent.  By slow-sewing test samples and experimenting with techniques, you front-load future projects and keep the learning curve from becoming an obstacle.”

Hallelujah, honey!  I hear you.   I DO want to master a Hong-Kong finish.  I WOULD like to try a wing-needle hem.  I LONG to spend time experimenting with different threads, different stitches, different materials, instead of completing a project quickly using all the standard “default” methods.

I want to slow down and smell the fabric roses.   Slow as molasses.  Sure as the sun.  The whole idea of “slow sewing” has decreased the pressure I put on myself to hurry up and finish.  It’s about quality, not quantity.  Happiness, not hurry.

It’s understanding that it’s okay to be the tortoise and not the hare.


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