Selfish Sewing – Can’t we find a better name?

Look, this isn’t a dis on anyone… and we’ve all got terms we love/hate/ignore. For example, I know there are people turned off by the word “sewcialists”, and I get that… but I use it because it fulfills it’s purpose and aptly describes our online sewing community!

The idea of “selfish sewing” though… it just really gets under my skin! Like I shouldn’t sew for myself most of the time, or like I need permission to do it at a certain time? Uh, no. I can spend my free time however I want – watching tv, sleeping, or sewing, and I don’t have to justify that to myself or anyone!

Look at the definition:

selfish_Snapseed

Now of course, that’s not how people mean it. I get the sense somehow that it came out of blogs where mothers were sewing for their kids all the time, and wanted justification to spend that precious time on themselves. (Am I imagining that? Where do you think the phrase originated? Someone on Twitter suggested it might have originated form the Selfish Seamstress blog, which would make sense and puts a different spin on the word!)

The thing is though, the vast majority of the 500 sewing blogs that I read are people who sew for others sometimes, and for themselves mostly. (One exception might be Mercury Handmade, who is the most generous sewing mama for her gorgeous daughters!) I don’t think that the idea of designated “selfish sewing” makes sense when it’s the core of what we do! We sew what we want, when we want. We take joy in sewing for other sometimes, but it’s not the expectation always.

Instead, how about:

  • #sewingforme
  • #sewingforsanity
  • #ilikesewing
  • #sewwhatyoulove
  • #happysewing
  • ___________?

(True fact: My blog was very nearly named “Crafting for Sanity” ’cause, well, it’s more fun than therapy!) 

What do you think? Does “selfish sewing” work for you, or rub you the wrong way? I”ll be disappointed if we don’t have some disagreement on this… I hope we all feel free to say our thoughts and not feel judged! As I say to my class often, “Can you convince me?”

(Thanks to Sew Busy LIzzy, Malora AnnJeni and FunnyGrrl for suggesting hashtags and shoot the sh*t with me about the idea on Twitter!) 


78 thoughts on “Selfish Sewing – Can’t we find a better name?

  1. Maybe it’s just me being a Parks and Rec fan, but if you’re really making a point of sewing for yourself over others as a special treat I like the idea of “Treat Yourself Sewing”. It still makes sewing for yourself seem like a special event, but makes it sound a LOT less self-deprecating! (And thanks for the shout-out- this is actually something I’ve been mulling over myself, so I’m glad others are thinking about it!)

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    1. You know, I’ve never watched Parks and Rec! But at least I get the reference, sort of… Thank you, internet memes!😉 I like idea that any time spent sewing should be celebrated.

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  2. Always happy to shoot the sh*t with you! LOL
    Sometimes I think my sewing is selfish – not because the tangibly sewn object is for me but because of the time it takes away from my family… however the flipside is… and the important part are the intangible things that sewing brings me. I am a happier, more creative and kind soul because of the peace and stress relief I found in sewing. So therefore sewing = not selfish for me🙂

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    1. That intangible gain is SO important… and for me, it’s really the main reason I sew. I’m plenty creative in my day job, so that’s not what sewing offers me… I have a stuffed closet, so it’s not really that either. But the meditative quality of sewing is priceless!🙂

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  3. That phrase has always bugged me a little too. Mainly because the only type of person I run into in real life who would call sewing for myself “selfish” are the kind that want me to sew for them for nothing in return. You know, the “favor” sewing because you have an artistic talent and should share it for free with those can’t sew for themselves. Those types are also usually the ones who don’t want me to teach them how to sew either. Sorry, mini soapboxing over.

    I’ve always called it “personal sewing” and I even use that as a category on my blog (“personal projects”), but that’s probably because that’s what I’m used to hearing it called among my coworkers since we all sew for a living. But I do think that the phrase “selfish sewing” came about as an online sewing community thing.

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    1. Yeah, sewing for a living puts a whole different spin on sewing for yourself or others! Personal sewing makes perfect sense in that context. Thank goodness people don’t ask me to babysit for free just ’cause I’m a teacher!

      You’ve be part of the blogging world longer than me – when do you remember hearing the idea of selfish sewing?

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      1. hmm not sure where I first heard it, but I think it’s something I noticed on blogs written by younger women. I think too many women feel the need to justify every little thing about themselves (and what they do), not only to themselves, but to everyone around them so they can alleviate feelings of guilt. So it probably originated as a tongue-in-cheek embracing of a negative term to make it seem like less of a guilty pleasure.

        (And really? I’ve been part of the blogging world longer? I thought you’ve been blogging at least as long as I have.)

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        1. I started in late 2011 – How about you? I guess i figured you’d been blogging longer since you know so much.. and now that I type that out it’s utterly ridiculous because blogging is not where you got your skills! Silly brain.

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          1. First blog entry was November 30, 2010. Didn’t really get involved in the online sewing community until maybe 6 months later. Most of the blogs I read were non-sewing before I started mine (which was to replace my boring “business” website). So I started just about the same time as you did. =) But I have been sewing for… ack! 29 years now! Now I feel old…

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            1. Well you beat me slightly there… my mom started teaching us to sew when I was about 7, so… 25 years!😉 But with some big gaps in between, and not much garment sewing.

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  4. I always took it as a tongue-in-cheek term. Since it seems any time women aren’t doing things for others they are considered selfish.
    I’m shocked to think some use this term seriously.
    The Selfish Seamstress (1st sewing blog I read) used it as a joke since she didn’t see for children or gifts. At least as her blog persona.
    I know new moms are even harder on themselves. Like a shower is a luxury! So, sewing for themselves is likely to cause guilt.
    I like the term as a joke but hope no one uses it seriously. A happy woman/mom is the heartbeat of a home! And sewing makes us happy!

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    1. You are so right – I think the idea of “selfish sewing” makes perfect sense in the context of her blog, or for stay-at-home moms… I hope I was clear in saying that I think it’s different for sewists like me though!🙂 Do you have any idea when you started hearing the term, or when it went from being one woman’s blog to a whole week theme elsewhere? I’d love to track the development!

      I wouldn’t say I take the word “seriously”… but I do think words hold a lot of power and influence how we feel about things. (Maybe that comes from teaching? Lots of talking about how people feel when they are called a name.) We’ve renamed tons of things in our community (with terrible sewing puns, mostly) – Maybe this idea is due for an update too?

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  5. I pretty much always sew for myself. I made the decision to make my own clothes rather than buy them, and I have never felt bad or thought of it as selfish. Is that weird? Do you think people use this phrase out of modesty or because they really have a bunch of time/money to sew for others?

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    1. I’ve never met the person who felt like they are extra time or money! Not even retirees. I do think there are times in our lives (like early parenthood) where being selfish is something you have to remind yourself to do… but for most of us, it comes quite naturally!😉

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  6. It seems to be a prevalent phrase in the knitting community, too- if you knit mainly for yourself you are a “selfish knitter”. I guess I have been sewing so long, I just think of it as “sewing” without the need to differentiate if it is for me or someone else. My mom sewed for me until I could sew for myself, but for much of my life sewing was how I got clothes. I wonder if the selfish idea came from the fact that so many people think we should just whip them up items because they ask, as if we can just point a wand and poof! So if we won’t do that for them we must be selfish.

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    1. Is it used by knitter too? I had no idea! Knitting is so time consuming – I feel so lucky when my sister knits for me, but it would never cross my mind to criticise her for spending months of work on herself!

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  7. Hmm, I really haven’t had a negative reaction to the phrase. But now that you point it out I can see the negative connotations. I guess for me it’s just a easy, short hand way to convey that I only sew for myself (with a few limited exceptions). I’ve found it works well to stop people from pestering me about sewing for them.

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    1. Ys, I could definitely see myself using the term when I’m tying to subtly convince people I won’t sew for them! On the other hand, I’ve sewn at least 1/4 of the clothes my sister wears, so I must not be THAT selfish… but I sew for her because I want to, which is entirely self-centred!

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  8. Ever since we moved and had a baby I do feel selfish when I sew but that’s only because it gives me less time to do housework and so my house isn’t always spotless and my laundry is never completely done. Those things don’t really bother me or my husband but it does call for comments by both my parents AND my in-laws and since they come over multiple times a week, they make me feel bad about it. Like I should dedicate more of my free time to ‘useful’ things instead of frivolities. (My house isn’t a complete mess, but even a bit of dishes or a bit of unironed laundry calls for comments) That being said, I mostly sew for myself but I don’t feel selfish because it’s for myself I just feel selfish in general. So I don’t need a special week to ‘remind’ me.

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    1. Do they really comment on those little things? I always feel exactly the opposite when I see mothers start sewing after having a baby – I think, “Oh phew! They must be doing ok, and not feeling entirely worn into the ground!” Like for me, I know I”m settling into the school year when i finally have energy to do more than collapse on the couch after school!
      Your daughter is going to be proud of her sewing mama!

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      1. Yeah they do🙂 The other day my mom came to babysit and she managed to do ALL of my laundry (including ironing and folding). I never get that much done when I’m watching the baby or even when I’m not but I like to relax when I’m at home. Of which she makes me feel guilty again. She doesn’t seem to think relaxing is allowed. (Does make me happier and less angry than she was when I was little)

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  9. I first came across the term on Ravelry a few years ago, where there are groups of ‘selfish knitters’. To me it means not feeling obliged to make something for a person who really doesn’t appreciate the time and skill involved. I love making things for friends and family who appreciate the effort and the end result, but I won’t make for someone who thinks I should just because I can.
    For instance, a quilt lovingly made and gifted – only to be used as a dog blanket – that would make me not sew for that person again🙂

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    1. So very true! I sew a little bit for my neice, and I love that my sister-in-law makes sure to send me pics of her wearing what I make! I saw them today, and she was wearing leggings i’d made her last fall… which was perfect, since I’d spent the morning making more baby leggings! Makes the effort seem totally worth it.

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  10. I just call it “sewing”! I’m full of admiration for people who sew for others, but it is so much work, and I worry it won’t fit or they won’t like it. So I don’t – apart from small children, ‘cos they’re cute!

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    1. Small children or people who wear the same size as me – those are the people I’ll sew for!😉 Also my husband, because bless him, he wears the underwear I make him!

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  11. I mostly make clothes for myself so one might call me selfish but it doesn’t disturb me. Recently someone wanted me to sew a woven dress for her. I told OK but it would cost her 10 € the hour plus the fabric. She wasn’t interested anymore🙂 I didn’t felt selfish at all. Now, I do feel a little selfish because my husband has been asking me for a “officer collar” (I don’t if the the right espression) shirt and I still haven’t sewn it.

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    1. Good for you! I bet she was shocked – but your time is worth that or more!
      Maybe you need to make a deal with your husband – he’ll cook or clean for all the hours you spend on the collar? Then you’ll both be happy!😉

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  12. I totally agree with you. I don’t like the term. Technically the bulk of my sewing is selfish. However the bulk of my time is spent doing things for other people (as with most sewists) so I don’t feel my sewing time (which is something I do for me and my sanity like you said) needs to be spent on others too. I do sew unselfishly from time to time but I expect serious levels of praise and thanks for it! Selfish sewing makes me feel like I should feel guilty for sewing for myself and I don’t and don’t intend to!

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    1. I really like your point about spending most of our time doing things for other people. Very true! (Well, less true for me because I’m not a mom or a diligent housewife, but I do spend all day looking after kids!)

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  13. I will occasionally sew for others, but I rarely want to. I prefer to spend my sewing time on myself. As a matter of fact , I lose all interest with sewing, when I sew for others; which sounds selfish to me.

    So yeah I like #sewingforme better. But why not call a spade a spade?

    Btw, I heard selfish people live longer.

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    1. Hehehehe – cheers to a long, selfish life!😉

      I”m like you in that I lose interest in projects for other sometimes… like hemming pants for a friend, or even sewing wedding gifts. I tried selling sewn items at a local store once, and I begrudged all the time I spent on making those things! It’s why I know I shouldn’t go into business sewing.

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  14. I don’t particularly like the term, but if used in a tongue-in-cheek way it’s fine. What I’m not that keen on is a dedicated week for it, because invariably that’s when I’m completely unsure of what I’m making for me & will be sewing up something for the girls.
    I sew a lot for them because
    a. They are not standard sizes (aren’t we all) & shop bought stuff doesn’t fit the way it should.
    b. Unless they’re buying from new Look or Primark, I can make the right stuff that fits & looks fab for less than they can buy it. At the moment Daughter No1 is into draped stuff made with silk & jersey & wants loads from the Pattern Magic books… That stuff in the shops is well beyond her uni student budget.
    c. When I don’t feel like making for me (even though I need to make for me) I can get my sewing fix by making for the girls & I know they’ll wear it & look fab! 🙂
    As far as a new hashtag goes, I like #sewingforme, because as I rarely sew for other people, I regard all my sewing as selfish! 🙂

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    1. It’s really nice to be able to help other people have well-fitting clothing made just for them – it’s definitely why I sew for my sister, my husband, my mom and my niece! Plus it’s just such a nice way to show you love them. And your daughters always seem really happy and appreciative, which must be good incentive. The stuff you make yourself is great too!🙂

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  15. I rarely sewed for my kiddies because they received so many beautiful clothes from a particularly generous grandma who didn’t have girls and made up for it on mine. So I made clothes for me and our home. Drapes, pillows and quilts are clothes for the home…right? I never felt guilty. Maybe because my husband and family are so supportive but I never even thought about it…

    Until…two things happened. One was I started blogging and following blogs, where I first heard of selfish sewing. Before that, I was oblivious. I get it though, Mom’s by nature of their job, feel that their time should be dedicated solely to the kiddies. Sewing does take a lot of time. The other was when someone close to me said to someone else..in front of me and about me….
    ” she has nothing but time to sew pretty dresses for herself”…Yuk. That’s how it made me feel. YUK. My heart sank.

    Mom and my man gave me enough “therapy” that I got over it. Some people shop or watch TV or write or take pictures or, or, or…. you fill in the blank. Not that these things are bad…they’re not. They are just not my thing. My hobbies are running and sewing. Both good for ME.
    Sorry (not sorry) for the ramble here! Thanks again Gillian for yet another thought provoking post. Love it!

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    1. Wow, they said that IN FRONT OF YOU? Not cool!!! Someone was mentioning to me in another context today that we only see a part of peoples lives, and often only the “pretty” part… and clearly that person only saw the pretty clothes and not the things you gave up to find that time! It would cost you a fortune to buy RTW as sharp as what you make yourself. Would spending so much family income on clothing be a less selfish option? Glad your family has your back though – they are clearly all really proud of what you do!🙂

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    2. totally agree here! I would love to sew more for kids, but they get SO.MANY.CLOTHES as gifts and then they just grow out of them. No reason to feel guilty-I think being a Mom and a partner are 2 of the LEAST selfish things you can do! Gotta do stuff for yourself too!

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  16. You always have such interesting discussions on your blog Gillian! I don’t use the term selfish sewing myself. Like you and others have said, for me it’s an outlet, relaxation, creativity. I love some of the hashtags #sewingforsanity #ilikesewing #sewwhatyoulove #happysewing. I mainly sew for myself though I also like sewing for others, mainly because my wardrobe(s) are full and I just love to sew. That’s the only thing that bothers me, accumulating too much, but then it’s such a fabulous hobby there are worse things to be addicted to.

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    1. My wardrobe is getting pretty full too… I’m really going to have to clear out those early quilting cotton dresses to make room for more recent makes! But you are right, it’s a glorious way to spend time, and I’m in it for the fun of sewing more than the pretty clothes at the end!

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  17. I call it ‘sewing for me’ because I’m not particularly creative. I don’t like selfish sewing either – I’m a SAHM, and I see lots of others in my positions feeling guilty when they’re not occupied with things for others every moment – to the point where it becomes unhealthy. Making my own clothes allows me to build a well fitting, long lasting wardrobe instead of buying many many things trying to get something that fits.

    I also sew everything for my son, but he’s only 2 (and growing slowly at the moment) so it’s my nice, quick, get something done in 30 minutes and feel good about myself sewing🙂

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    1. The guilt that gets pushed on SAHMs seems really intense! Especially with the advent of mommy bloggers who are by nature presenting just a manicured part of their lives… yikes. No one can live up to that! (Same reason I occasionally enjoy makeup blogs, until I suddenly start feeling worse about my appearance…)

      I”m glad you can sew for yourself and your son – sounds like a happy balance!

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  18. I don’t particularly care one way or another about other people using the term. But by ‘selfish sewing’ standards, as a single person, living alone, everything I do is ‘selfish.’ If I’m not selfish sewing, I’m selfish cleaning my apartment, or selfish grocery shopping, or selfish reading a book. So I never use it myself, because it would be ridiculous.

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    1. Hehehe – that makes me giggle. The image of “selfishly cleaning the apartment” is great. Personally, I selfishly don’t clean mine…🙂

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  19. Huh, interesting discussion. I haven’t actually noticed the term all that much, and I think of sewing for myself just as sewing. Honestly, it’s a hobby, and my boyfriend tinkers around on his computer, other people go jogging or whatever, it’s always for yourself. I mean, that’s what hobbies are for.😉 I guess my connotation/gut reaction for the term is also a bit different, because in German the term is “egoistisch”/egotistical and selfish in my had just sounds like “for myself” if that makes sense?
    I have used the term “selfless sewing” on my blog when sewing for others. I guess that way around it’s just a bit nicer.😉

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    1. I use “selfless sewing” in my head sometimes too… seems a little more positive, somehow? I started thinking about it all because this week is “Selfish Sewing Week”, and it’s been popping up in my blog reader. I just really don’t like the idea that I should only sew for myself one week a year!

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  20. I don’t like ‘selfish,’ either. To me, it implies that you’re doing something wrong and sewing is never wrong! LOL! Most of us sew for ourselves almost exclusively and there’s nothing wrong with that, it should be celebrated, I think.

    #celebrationsewing
    #celebratesewing
    #sewforme

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      1. LOL! Sewing is part of my persona and while I can be selfish about some things, sewing has always been a creative outlet and, at times, a lifeline.

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    1. oops… hit post too soon… personally, i don’t like the term because of it’s obviously negative connotations. it just reinforces mommy guilt, which lots of SAHMs deal with anyways. rubs me the wrong way for sure!

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      1. Ahh, yes, I could see how the idea or promoting “selfish sewing” actually just pours on the guilt! I figure a happy mom is a good mom, so everyone needs some personal time in some form!

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  21. I’m sewing (ironically?) a shirt for my husband right now, but it’s ultimately self-serving because I’ll get to look at him wearing it all the time. “Selfish sewing” is business-as-usual for me and most of the blogs I read so the phrase isn’t very meaningful to me.

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    1. As it happens, I spent the morning sewing for other people too! But only because I wanted to, which, like you said, makes it self-serving in it’s own way. Your husband is lucky though – the best my husband has had from my sewing machine is some underwear and a blanket!🙂

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  22. I’m not particularly fond of the term “selfish sewing”, mainly because despite the snappy alliteration, it sounds negative. It’s hard enough to justify spending my time sewing without calling myself selfish on top of it. If I didn’t make my clothes, I’d be running from store to store searching for things that might more or less fit. Would I call myself selfish for shipping for needed clothing? No, I wouldn’t. I do divide my sewing time between stuff for me and stuff for my kids (and others). The kids have to be clothed one way or another, so it’s not so much altruistic motives that make me sew for them as much as it is necessity. I like the #sewwhatyoulove. I could pretty much use that for everything I make.

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    1. Kids clothes seem like a mixed pleasure. Small with limited fitting? Sweet! Quickly outgrown? Uh, no thanks! I always wonder if I’d sew for my kids if I had any!😉

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  23. We discussed this briefly and I just read all your 51 comments because this is so interesting to me. I love word and word play and communication (my BA in writing has to be useful at some point!) and sewing is dear to me. I have been ruminating on “selfish sewing” and feel it is almost a point of how people (women) present our activities and ourselves. This is almost a point of women’s liberation, or maybe it is entirely a point.

    I want to live in a place when women (and men) take pride in taking care of ourselves. The stereotype is women are nurturers and the pressure is to take care of others needs first. This applies to sewing, wether you have kids or a pet of a house or none of that at all. Women dominate the sewing community, and I want us to represent ourselves in a positive “we are worth it” light where we sew however we want because we can and deserve to do what we love.

    Maybe I take this to a farther political level than is meant, and I know the selfish sewing week is truly to help instigate a sewist to do for themselves, some need help without guilt or obligation and enjoy the camaraderie of sewing for themselves in a group. While this is a great goal and a wonderful thing for all sewists, I hope we can find a way to call general “selfish sewing” something more inspiring that pushes society to recognize people with skills and crafts and knowledge deserve to make for themselves without remark.

    I was shocked to read that some people are actually insulted and critiqued for sewing for themselves! This pushes it even further in my mind that we should call sewing for ourselves something positive and affirming to help the world around our sewing community understand the value of doing for oneself, what one loves most to do.

    Great conversation you have going here Gillian. I appreciate you bringing it up.

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    1. I completely agree with your passion about the topic! When I was first drafting the post I made a comparision to how I’d never allow students to use derogatory slurs like “gay” or “retarded”, or even jokingly call themselves stupid. I thought that comparison might be a bit harsh-sounding, so I took it out… but that’s definitely how I feel! We all start to think of ourselves they was we are described, so why trash talk ourselves, however gently?

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  24. I understand where you’re coming from but I can’t say that the phrase particularly bothers me. I guess maybe it’s only because I don’t really care whether people think I’m selfish or not, even though +95% of my sewing would fall into this category. Maybe going a little deeper than you intended, but a few years ago I learned that there is absolutely NO point trying to tell myself what other people are thinking- really, that’s just me judging me. I guess my point is that I know I’m not a selfish person, so the term selfish sewing just feels kind of arbitrary.

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    1. I wish I could get over wondering what people think of me! Professionally it’s such a big deal how staff and parents think of you, that I get nervous about being criticised because I feel like it will make life harder for me in the future. Online criticism though – well, it stings, but it’s easier to ignore!

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      1. Maybe I should clarify by saying that I’ve realised that what other people think doesn’t alter the truth of what is. This realisation has definitely made it easier to remove emotion from situations that I can’t control. I can totally see how it would be more difficult for you given your profession though. Teachers must be under so much pressure & scrutiny from all sides that you must feel like you’re constantly on defence

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  25. I never really thought about it before. The definition of selfish has a negative connotation. But when I hear someone talk about “selfish sewing,” I don’t take it as negative. I guess I just sort of considered it said tongue in cheek. Interesting conversation here!

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    1. It’s really fun to see how different people interpret the idea! The idea of “Selfish Sewing Week” bothers me a lot more than just the idea of selfish sewing… unless, of course, it’s only people participating who don’t sew for themselves most of the time and need that extra permission or push! For those like you or I, who sew mostly for ourselves but often for others, it just seems odd.

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  26. I have to say that when I first heard this phrase it did really bother me – I thought to myself “But all I do is selfish sewing!” And I felt instantly guilty that I wasn’t sewing for others. But I’ve come to realize that all my life all I ever do (and have ever done) is take care of everyone else, and put everyone else first. Now that my step-kids are grown and off at school, I have more free time, and sewing is where I put myself first. I still struggle with it, my husband has been bugging me for a shirt, and I eventually want to make my boys something, but there are so many things I want to make for myself first! (Plus I am nervous about fitting someone else.)
    So I kind of wish there was a different term, but I get that it was most likely invented by someone who sewed a lot for their kids – but I also think in this day and age, sewing is a choice, not a necessity (fabric is expensive) so isn’t it a sewist’s choice to sew for her kids/spouse/family all the time? Do you really have to devote every single second of your life to your family to be considered a good Mom/wife? Unfortunately, I think that’s what a lot of people think and that’s sad.
    Anyway, I’m babbling and probably not explaining myself very well – but I agree, we need a new term!

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    1. I think one of the reasons the term rubs me the wrong way is that I’m right at the age where I have to decide if I’ll have kids and be selfless for 2 decades, or stay self-indulgently childless. It seems like such a horribly selfish way to think about a major life decision, but there it is! I love my life, I love my husband, and I love my free time. I always feel like in our society being childless is a statement that has to be explained and justified, since having kids is far more the norm!
      I’m glad you are finding more time for yourself these days – you deserve it!🙂

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      1. I totally agree Gillian. It was a tough decision for me too! And I hate having to justify it to people – I chose not to have kids for the same reasons. I love my husband and we both love our life! When I was young, I always assumed I would have kids because that’s what you do, but once I got to the place where I could have, I didn’t want to. I know I would have been a good Mom and that John and my kids would have been great – but we decided that we liked our life and the freedom we experienced as his children grew up (they are all off at university now). Maybe I’m getting too personal in the comments here, but I think it’s wrong for women to feel guilty about choosing other things in life than motherhood. Motherhood is great – don’t get me wrong, if you want to have babies, do it! But if you don’t, you shouldn’t be shunned. I chose to look after my husband, his boys and my pugs, and I’m happy with that – that’s what really matters.
        Anyway, as far as I am concerned, you are already a selfless person because you choose to shape other people’s children everyday.😉

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  27. Well, it didn’t really bug me until I started actually thinking about it and reading all of these comments, and actually looking at the definition of selfish. I think sometimes words become used so much that their meaning gets watered down. For me, I don’t actually think of myself as dictionary selfish (even though I sew mainly for myself-no one appreciates it like I do, let me tell ya!) but its an easy way to describe the fact that I’m making something for myself. I think in the future I’ll just refer to it as “sewing”🙂

    I do like treat yo’self sewing too. but then I may be having too many treats. (no such thing?)

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  28. Super interesting post,Gillian! As a participant of the aforementioned Selfish Sewing Week, and as someone who sews only for my self 99% of the time anyways, I don’t really have a strong connection to the phrase. I am all for getting a pattern from an indie designer to try out and blog about, but as most of the bloggers are young, child-less seamstresses, I think it has really changed from the original idea. Perhaps it could be called “Sew Indie Love” week or something, if the focus is now on Indie designers more than moms taking time to sew for themselves. And really, this one week is the only time I use that phrase, as I don’t really need to distinguish any of my sewing as selfish, since it ALL is!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya! Your top for Selfish Sewing Week was lovely, and who would say no to a free pattern? I’m proud of you for getting picked to participate! It’s only the term I find strange, not the people who use it.❤
      I found it interesting looking at Rae's initial post this year about SSW – as far as I could see, there was no definition of the term, or discussion of what the week meant… it was basically just "Hey, it's on again!" I think that means that the term is so widely used that it doesn't need to be explained… which is part of why I wanted to talk about it! Shouldn't we parse the idea a bit before totally accepting it into our "sew for ourself all the time" corner of the blogosphere?
      Anyway, that was rambly… but I'm glad you had a good experience taking part!🙂

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  29. The term ‘selfish sewing’ doesn’t sit right with me either.. Even though it might have started tongue in cheek, it just pushes the idea that women should only take care of others and taking care of themselves is very selfish.

    If I were to propose a theme like this, I’d say ‘self-love sewing’ instead. Everybody can use an extra dose of self love.

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  30. I’m totally with you, Gillian. To me, the phrase strikes me as sexist–as if women should always be doing for others, and to do anything for ourselves is “selfish” rather than “human.” I can’t imagine that a guy who took up sewing would be expected to churn out endless amounts of gifts or kiddie clothes.

    And that was a hang up I suffered from for a long time, particularly when my daughter was born. If I was awake and had free time, surely I should be doing something for her? It took me a long time to realize that it’s actually ok sometimes for her shirt to come from the shops and mine to be handmade; it wasn’t selfish, I was perfectly entitled to reserve some of my time, energy, money and happiness for myself. And I personally refuse to call that selfish.

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  31. Interesting post, G (AS ALWAYS… you are ON POINT, dude)! I agree that words are powerful and that we may be reinforcing something that we don’t mean to be when we use terms thoughtlessly. It’s hard enough to be a woman and to navigate the many decisions we have to make about work and home life without facing judgment from outside surrounding those choices. I would hate for something like sewing that should be a creative outlet to become a joyless chore for women that are already heaped with guilt and strapped for time. Sew what you want to, when you want to, and do what works for your family!

    Regarding the comment you made above about being in a position where you have to justify not having kids… well, I hear you! I get flack from people sometimes about it (including a comment from my brother about how “it’s great that [I’m] just being selfish right now, but eventually [I’ll] need to turn it around and have kids”. Not having kids (yet, at least) has never been about me being selfish. I’m a freelancer married to a freelancer, 1000 miles from the nearest family member, and without the resources to take care of a child… wouldn’t it be more selfish to HAVE a kid I can’t really take care of? None of us should have to justify our choices to other people- it’s hard enough to make peace with your own decisions even without outside pressure!

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