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Sewing as a safe space
Written by PippaFabric

I think I might have said this before but a sewing class is more than just a class. A place to meet like minded peeps. To learn a new skill. To share the highs and lows of a project. A community. Supportive and generally nourishing in it’s being. A safe space.

All classes are different. The mix of personalities and place makes each one new. Whether it’s a structured course where you’re there to learn specifics or a guided group to share your joy of sewing with others. They all have something in common. The first session it’s always a little quiet, it un-nerves me slightly. As everyone gets to know each other the class becomes more comfortable and the edge of new is lifted. I smile gently and comiserate as darts or seams are sewn on the wrong side or both sides. We hand over an unpick with the prompt of tea and biscuit to sooth the furrowed brow. It happens to us all.

Common ground

The one thing we all have in common, and it’s worth remembering, no-one gets it right first time. Nothing is perfect upon the first go. Even when having sewn for years, if I’m not completely on the ball I get it wrong too. You’ll never not use an unpicker but you do get better as each project progresses. The methods and language used within the patterns get easier to read. Honest.

Friendships develop in classes. As with life, when we’re thrown together into a group of a like mind, we always have something to chat about. Shared experiences and projects made. Favourite fabrics and shops. Why some fabrics or patterns might make life more interesting. Once a group has been together for a while it goes deeper. Lifelong friendships are made and common ground goes beyond the fabric stash. It becomes a support network of a different kind. Over the years I’ve seen that support grow over children, divorce, bereavement and mental health difficulties.

We underestimate the depth at which a simple process of sewing in company can have. Any hobby in fact. It becomes more than a class. It’s a safe space. Frustrations aired and creative ideas shared. Tea, coffee and cake will always help. It becomes a support system for more than just sewing. It becomes a time for you. A gentle escape from the norm with no-one asking for supper and the cat having to manage a couple of ours in their own company.

If you’re ever in doubt about joining a class or going to a sew day, take the plunge. There is always a welcoming cuppa and other sewists to chat fabric with. They really are a sewcial crowd.

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