Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Sounds of Sewing

Last night, I put the finishing touches on my Champs-Élysées skirt (Simplicity 2215). Hooray! What makes it even better is that I didn't mean to finish it so quickly. I've had it cut out for a week now, but just started construction on Tuesday night. Yesterday, after dinner with one of my favorite people, I sat down just to finish the waistband. I had a good book to read (Dog Gone It by Spencer Quinn), so I wasn't really in the mood to sew for more than an hour.

Three hours later, the skirt was complete.

Often, when I'm writing, time passes like that - so quickly that hours have passed in what seem like minutes. My mother, an artist, has always called it "being in your right brain." It's that creative force taking over, leaving the logical time-keeping parts of our brains to twiddle metaphorical thumbs. Not going to lie, that rarely happens to me when sewing. All those little details to keep straight usually make it impossible for me to have a proper creative bliss out. Last night, I wasn't in my right brain...I was just listening to a really awesome podcast.

There's my big sewing secret. Part of the fun of constructing a garment is that I can plug in my headphones and listen to the latest episode of Stuff You Missed In History Class. I'm totally addicted to Sarah and Deblina's discussions of history's best stories. While sewing, TV is out of the question, since I can't focus on the screen while folding pleats. If I'm hand-sewing, you can bet I'm in front of a BBC period drama, but at my machine? The set is off. Music is the logical solution, but as much as I love it, I crave something more stimulating while sewing.

Podcasts are perfect. Delightful, interesting discussions and programs in small digestible time frames. My favorites are the whole line of How Stuff Works offerings, with History Class being my absolute go-to. Part of what made sewing up the crazy dress from crazytown bearable was that I listened an entire series on the Bourbons while doing it.

This another one of those idiosyncrasies that comes with a creative pursuit. In my mind, the personal rituals surrounding the creativity are just as interesting to talk about as the awesome dresses that result. It's another one of those everyone-is-so-gloriously-different sort of things. What do you do while sewing? Do you crave silence only broken by the hum of your machine or do you listen to 80's punk at full volume?


  1. I can't wait to see your completed skirt! And I'm definitely a podcast listener too. Love, love, love NPR podcasts!

  2. Oh, Carolyn, I totally forgot about the NPR podcasts. Those are completely wonderful, as well! NPR is actually a recent addiction for me. I just started listening to Fresh Aire last year and now my radio AND my computer are constantly tuned to the station. Too, too interesting.

    It's nice to know you're enjoying podcasts while you sew too!

  3. I just found your delightful blog through PatternReview. If I were a bit (a bit? more like a chunk) younger, I would imitate your adorable creations. Also, my teenage daughter and I bond over the History Class and especially Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me podcasts. Not to mention BBC period dramas.