Northside SF  

Start sewing now!

By Alicia Pucci

Some may consider sewing a lost art or an old-fashioned hobby. But the contrary is true – there is a sewing revival happening in our society for several reasons. And if you think sewing skills are gender-specific, put that thought aside, and read on.

You may be wondering, just who is sewing? Well, that would be everyone from young professionals to parents to students, all inspired by Bravo’s reality television show, Project Runway. Due in part largely to the show’s success, sewing is now considered cool and has lost its image of a required necessity due to budget constraints. Ironically, while that may still ring true in this dire economy, the hipness factor of being able to create stylish, high-fashion-inspired items, seems to have elevated sewing’s perhaps once-perceived stodgy image. Practically speaking, sewing is a life skill, so even a little bit of sewing knowledge is invaluably helpful – yes, you can easily hem your own pants and at a substantial savings.

Many find sewing appealing because it’s a creative, right-brain activity that’s refreshing after a long day of engaging in logical, left-brain tasks. There is a different kind of accomplishment achieved from sewing – it’s rewarding to see a pile of fabric transform into a fashionable piece of clothing to liven up your wardrobe or, say, a pair of pillows to spruce up your living room.

With only a few basic sewing skills, existing textiles can be recycled and redesigned into something new and fabulous by extending their functionality. Taking up a hem redesigns a garment and keeps it in fashion for another season. Or consider this item featured recently at a major department store at a three-figure price: A long sleeved knit T-shirt with fasteners on the sleeves and hemline allowing for conversion to a short-sleeve, shorter length, cooler-weather garment – all very easily accomplished with a few basic sewing skills, and at a fraction of the cost.

Here are some more examples of recycling and redesigning items for a second life: a young bride and groom recycled the fabric runner from their wedding into a set of curtain panels for their new apartment; a mother-to-be used the fabric from her cherished T-shirt collection to create fabric blocks for her new baby; another turned her late mother’s mink stole into fashionable throw pillows. Recycling and redesigning garments and other items not only updates your wardrobe or your home interior, but can also be considered eco-friendly by subscribing to the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle.

This is a wonderful time to start sewing for yet another reason – the holiday season. We all know personal time is priceless, so receiving a handmade gift is even more appreciated because of the valuable time spent making it. Why not sew a holiday stocking for a special someone? One woman made lovely tapestry and velvet creations for both her soon-to-be husband and herself, which continue to be cherished years later.

So how do you get in on this growing trend? Although there are step-by-step tutorials available online as well as self-instruction books, the best way to learn how to sew is hands-on with formal instruction on the basics. City College San Francisco offers Community Education classes in sewing as do several studios throughout the City. Not only will you walk away with skills, but a group sewing class promotes community spirit where friendships form and networking occurs – along with wonderful new creations for your home.

Alicia Pucci owns Sew-it-All studio in the Marina and is a credentialed home economist with nearly 20 years of teaching experience. Contact her through 


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