On loneliness and sewing | Thoughts and how to address it

On loneliness and sewing | Thoughts and how to address it

I was listening to the latest episode of Love To Sew Podcast where Helen and Caroline talk about sewing struggles. They turned to the community to see what are the most common struggles and one of the first things that came up was loneliness. I spend many weekends sewing and I don’t even contemplate going out of the house unless I have to (or my husband makes me). So I can completely relate to that.

And this made me think if, in spite of the amazing sewing community, blogs, vlogs, Facebook groups and Instagram, is sewing making us feel more lonely?

In this blog post, I’m exploring this in a bit more details and also offering some solutions to help you become less of a sewing hermit.

We are very fortunate to be living in a time and in countries where sewing can be just a hobby and many times (not always) is slightly divorced from its practical and economic purposes: to make clothes to cover our backs, as an only option because of lack of availability or incomes.

Compared to even our parents’ generation, it’s easier and cheaper than ever to buy new clothes, so even if I’d never sewed a stitch from now on, I would definitely not go naked. Indeed, sewing is my hobby – a pleasure I can afford to dedicate time and money to pursue without searching any particular practical outcome. And I am incredibly grateful to be in this position, especially in contrast with many people, especially women, around the world, who don’t have this option and must sew to support their families, sometimes in difficult conditions.

But…

The loneliness of the long-distance sewer

Like any hobby, sewing is addictive and I noticed that even almost 10 years later, I am still prone to dropping everything to go sew. That includes seeing people in my wider circle of friends, sometimes spending time with my husband, going to drinks with my co-workers and even just getting out of the house to go walking around town.

In 10 years I have gained a few good real-life friends through sewing (and we don’t just talk about sewing when we meet either), but I have also shed a lot of acquaintance-level relationships that I don’t have the time and energy to pursue, because, well, I’d rather be at home making things.

I am definitely feeling less ‘in person’ social because of sewing, but then again, this might be a question of age, you know, less patience, more cantankerous, more selfish and can only be bothered with people I actually want to spend time with. But sewing is a good motivation not to make the effort.

But then, the question arises, why don’t we just get together with sewing people and you know, sew together?

Well, here’s a few explanations I came up with as to why physical, in real life loneliness can be caused by our beloved hobby:

  • SPACE:  you need space to put your sewing machine to sew with friends and most people hardly have enough room for their own, let alone other people’s;
  • DISTANCE: maybe the people you’d love to hang out with live far away from you and you don’t really know that many people where you live
  • ONLINE LEARNING: many of us learned to sew online or are self-taught, so we never got a chance to meet that group of people that come to in-person classes
  • MONEY: classes or sewing cafes, where you would meet like-minded people, can be expensive and it’s hard to justify the money just for the social aspect
  • HEADSPACE: sewing needs concentration and you need your own space and tools to be able to focus on your project.

The last one is definitely my main reason. I love hanging out with sewing people and if you’ve ever met me, you know I can talk for England, but I really hate sewing anywhere else than my sewing room, where I have my machine, my tools and all I need at my fingertips. Plus, I can’t talk and sew at the same time, I really need to be focusing on the task at hand, otherwise, I will end up unpicking more than sewing.

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On loneliness and sewing - thoughts and how to address it

Alone in an online world full of people

I also wanted to talk about online loneliness. Probably it’s not a real thing, but what I actually mean is the feeling of loneliness when you have loads of IG friends that you talk to on a regular basis, being part of groups on Facebook, reading or writing blogs and recording or watching vlogs.

But how do you truly break the screen barrier and connect with people in a more meaningful way? I often feel that although there are a lot of people online that I like, whom I enjoy following and whose posts I find myself commenting often, they still seem to be part of tribes that are not my own. So you end up with a superficial connection based on ‘likes’ that instead of bringing us together, is only increasing the feeling of loneliness and isolation, by feeling left out of a cool club.

Talking about comparison and authenticity can form an entire blog post on its own, but I think we need to acknowledge that this is happening more an more in our online sewing community as well. And this is also contributing to online loneliness.

I often find myself struggling to find people (who also sew) that are interested in the same things as me: sustainability, style, minimalism. I also do not have kids, am an average size and do not like vintage (or prints). The Venn diagram of that intersects all these things is very, very small…

Before getting too down, I do want to absolutely acknowledge that overall, the online sewing community is amazing, and my heart really sings when more and more of its members are making efforts towards inclusivity, diversity and reaching out to everyone regardless of anything that might make them feel different and excluded. A massive shout out here to Gillian, the wonderful force of nature behind The Sewcialists. The Who We Are series really helped to shed a light and bring into the limelight in the most positive way, all the communities that exist under the mainstream, general sewing blanket.

So, how do we fight this sewing loneliness thingie?

Well, let’s tackle the physical loneliness first.

Go to a sewing meet-up

I will start with a shout out to the great meet-ups that take place in the UK (and I’m sure in other places around the world as well), where you can go and meet like-minded people and maybe it will turn up that some of them live in your neck of the woods.

In no particular order, a few of the big annual meet-ups:

You can also find a monthly regular meet-up that I know of. (Please let me know in the comments and I will update this list).

A few more resources to find local meet-ups:

Organise your own group or local meet-up

If you have the time, how about organising your own local group? This can tackle both the cost part (you can often get a space for free in community halls, libraries etc).

A few resources on how to go about that:

Try a virtual meet-up

If your sewing bestie lives miles and miles away, you could try sewing together, each in their own sewing space, but with a Skype or GoTo meeting or Zoom or even FaceTime window open on your laptop or tablet. You can get on with your sewing but chat with your friend as if they were in the same room. They can also provide opinions on fit, though sadly not possible to help to pin etc. All you need is internet connections and your sewing machines!

Share your skills

I’m not suggesting starting a sewing business, but is there anyone you could share your sewing skills with? If you are retired, for example, have you got a younger person in your family or in your circle of friends that could benefit from learning a new skill? Nobody in my family sews, so when I was learning, I would have bitten the hands of anyone who could have taught me the basics of dressmaking. That’s why I love teaching what I know with anyone who cares to learn. I organised a lot of sewing for charity events where I taught people how to sew and they made projects for charity. I organised sewing fundraisers where I taught beginner sewing classes and the proceeds went to charity. I also often have friends over to teach them the basics of dressmaking and it’s so much fun to share the love of sewing, plus I am being social at the same time.

Sewing incubator blankets for charity in Sept 2017

Try different projects at meet-ups if you don’t like sewing socially

If you have trouble concentrating enough to tackle a bigger sewing project, try something that doesn’t require that much headspace and you can still chat. You can try hand sewing a hem, or bias binding. Or even unpicking. I have a few projects that I keep in my mending pile that pretty much need to be taken apart and redone. They are a great item to bring to a meet-up, as you only need your seam reaper or scissors to get a lot of work done. If there is space available, you can also try copying patterns, like Burda magazines, or even a paper pattern. You can also try hand embroidery or cross stitching if you are good at that.

Find your tribe

The online aspect is a bit more difficult. But my one advice, which I am trying to take myself, is working harder to find my tribe. I have discovered and then met IRL people who are into sustainability as much as I am, who also sew. It’s so rewarding when so many things I care about come together, and we never run out of things to talk about. How to find them? Talk about your passions outside of sewing, and share bits of your life that can make people connect (of course as much as you feel comfortable with) and use hashtags on Instagram, like #sewingrunner to find like-minded people.


I know this is a massive subject and there are so many aspects that will come into play. I probably only scratched the surface of a very big topic and of course, only looking at it from my personal lens. I would love to hear your views as well.

DO YOU FEEL LONELY BECAUSE OF YOUR SEWING PASSION? HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THIS? HOW ABOUT ONLINE LONELINESS IN THE SEWING COMMUNITY? HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR TRIBE? PLEASE LET ME KNOW KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS.

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49 Comments

  1. gilliancrafts
    1 October 2018 / 1:32 AM

    Aww, thank you for the mention! I was going to reply here anyway, because I think this is such a fascinating topic! My closest group of sewing friends are the women I started blogging along side with, 6 years ago. The 5 of us have a years-long Facebook chat going on that is active almost every day… and it doesn’t matter at all that some of us don’t blog any more and so only do occasionally. Like you say, the friendships that go beyond sewing are the ones that last! I’ve also tried Skyping with people, and I always enjoy it… but I”m so happily introverted that it’s rarely something I think of. I’ve made some excellent friends through the Sewcialists, especially amongst the Editor team. Again, once we are chatting every day it’s pretty easy to move from acquaintance to friend!
    I am quite aware though that I’ve made hardly any in person friends since I moved to my current city 5 years ago… and the ones I’ve made are almost all through work! 😛 I just don’t know where to meet like minded people, and I”m too happy at home to bother going out to try.
    Thank your for writing about this topic – you’ve really got me thinking!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 8:45 PM

      I sometime wish for a simpler time when there wasn’t as much social media and so many blogs and vlogs to keep up with…

      But I know exactly what you mean, it’s hard to make friends later in life, isn’t it? I used to be very extrovert, but what worries me most is that I’d rather stay in than go out and meet people.

      And shout out is totally deserved, I think you are doing an incredible job with the Sewcialist! So many conversations that need to be had!

  2. 1 October 2018 / 1:54 AM

    Great article Alex! I do make it a point to attend a once a month meet-up at our local fabric shop. I also take classes every few months (in person) We’re fortunate to have Alexandra Morgan here in Victoria BC who offers fitting classes that are fabulous. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from her and it’s also fun just being around a group of sewists for several hours. I follow bloggers & vloggers and belong to a couple of fb groups and comment 🙂 to engage. I too don’t have children, I’m married, work from home and find like you, that I’m pickier about who I want to spend time with (you think you’re selective now! wait until you’re 63 🙂 ) Socializing is rather minimal in general – I don’t drink, I don’t have family nearby further inhibiting my motivation to socialize. Thank heavens I have sewing! It’s actually been instrumental in getting me out to touch others of like mind – without it I’d be even more of a hermit than I already am for all the reasons I’ve mentioned.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 8:48 PM

      Oh Kathleen, I so appreciate your comments, always so thoughtful and insightful! I think for me it’s also a question of time, maybe when I retire, or reduce my working hours, I might be more inclined to spend my precious free time with people other than just sewing.
      I think it’s great you make efforts to socialise in person too!

  3. BG
    1 October 2018 / 1:55 AM

    Just because someone is alone doesn’t mean they’re lonely. I live alone in the country & enjoy the quiet & solitude. I have a few friends ( they don’t sew or do any craft) that I see occasionally. I follow a few blogs don’t IM, Skype, tweet & am seldom on facebook. I’m retired/disabled & don’t get out like I used to when I was younger & still working. I enjoy sewing, quilting, hand embroidery & beading. Often time including beading & embroidery on my makes. I was into slow sewing before it was a thing because of my abilities or lack there of. LOL. I live in FL where it’s still 90° no sign of fall yet probably wont cool off untill Halloween or later & even then brisk isn’t something we get much of.
    Sometimes I think itdi be neat to have some sewing friends. Then I realize I’m quite content by myself.
    BG

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 8:50 PM

      Yes, that is a very good point! I do enjoy sewing on my own, I really don’t like sewing with other people. My problem is that I do feel guilty for not wanting to socialise more and that I should push myself to catch-up in person more. Though I must admit, I would love to live in a nice warm place away from the maddening world :).

  4. Sue
    1 October 2018 / 2:13 AM

    Hi Alex. I totally agree that social media has changed the face of sewing. It used to be just me, now I sew while listening to podcasts (Helen & Caroline’s Love to Sew of course and Stitchers Brew) or half-watching vlogs. I go to a local sewing group once a month where sometimes I sew but often just talk and learn from others. When I can I go workshops if a designer is teaching (not often enough for us down here in New Zealand). And in the meantime, I love Instagram, where I really feel close to sewing friends all over the world.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 8:52 PM

      Seems to me like you found your tribe :), that’s wonderful! I think we might be a bit spoilt here in London with so many options to socialise, so much so that we don’t really take advantage of them anymore. I think if I lived in a smaller place, I’d be more inclined to take any opportunity!

  5. Michele Gryc
    1 October 2018 / 8:25 AM

    Great post – many thoughts resonate, have returned to sewing after many years -bringing up a family plus a demanding job. I just love sewing now and the huge support of the sewing community. I do attend regular sewing classes for support and have met some lovely people through them

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 9:09 PM

      So glad you have had such positive experience! Thank you for commenting!

  6. 1 October 2018 / 11:30 AM

    Fabulous post Alex. I’m struggling a bit to find my tribe at the moment as I’m like you and not into vintagey styles(popular on IG) florals, or Indie patterns much either…all of which seems to be ‘the thing’ in the UK…talk about being the odd one out, lol. So even if I go to meet ups…which I do. I often don’t feel like I quite fit in completely even though I love a good natter with sewists. If I could find my sewing style buddy I’d be sorted!

    • Cathy
      1 October 2018 / 1:15 PM

      So Lovely to hear this ! I feel 100 percent the same way. If I lived in UK we could be friends !

        • 9 October 2018 / 8:03 AM

          Going to add you to my bloggloving following Diane. I admit I do sew some Indie patterns, but also love Burdastyle and the Big 4. Not a big floral person either ( although again I have some) and certainly not vintage! ( unfortunately I think some of the clothes that would be considered vintage by some of today’s bloggers can be recalled from first time round by me….)
          Many of the indie patterns are just too young for me, and I am really not into the loose unfitted shapes that many of the youngsters go with.
          I love meeting other sewists, and follow loads of blogs, but have made very few real connections with people.
          If you ever meet me , say hello . Who knows we may become sewing buddies! ( I live between London and Brighton. Blog under sewwatts)

          • 12 October 2018 / 7:37 PM

            Aww, bless you! i will look your blog up! I hope we do meet some time 🙂

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 8:53 PM

      I can only wish we lived closer 🙁

  7. Angelle
    1 October 2018 / 11:45 AM

    I have experienced this sort of loneliness. When I’m in the rooms where my sewing stuff is, I’m away from my husband and cats, so I am physically alone. I’ve moved away from my hometown and don’t have friends in my new state; I’ve started a sewing meetup and I pay for the space, but no one comes to the meetup. 🤷🏽‍♀️ I’m about to cancel it because I don’t want to pay for something if I’m the only one there! I may have to go to NYC to meet other sewing enthusiasts.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 8:55 PM

      Oh, Angele, so sorry to hear that! I’m sure that if more people knew about it, they would show up. Have your tried the hashtags on IG, like #[yourtown/state]sews? For example, #LondonSews? Hope you find more like-minded people soon!

  8. Cathy
    1 October 2018 / 1:30 PM

    Brilliant article ! Yes I sometimes do feel lonely but not alone. I do watch some Vlogs/videos on U Tube, I love tutorials as I am new to sewing and love to learn new techniques and methods. I do not live in the UK and in my country an island in the Mediterranean where sewing (sadly) is definitely NOT in at all . When I go to the local shop and I see older ladies I do try to talk and ask them what they think about the fabric I am considering to buy however they do not like to talk that much and it is a huge shame as their wealth of sewing knowledge could help them socialise and help others, even over a cup of coffee. I sometimes wonder if the solitude of sewing hrs on their own turned them to be selfish and lonely persons ! OMG hope not as I do not want to become so ! . I to am not into Vintage or all this competition that is online of buying certain fabrics or certain patterns from specific online shops. I like to learn what there is out there but I do not always follow the heard so to say. Keep on sewing ladies, sewing keeps yr mind sharp and is very therapeutic during whatever is or is not happening in yr life ! So SEW ON ladies .

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 9:05 PM

      How lucky are we nowadays to have so many ways to learn, wherever we are in the world? I am definitely about authenticity and staying true to who you are. And so glad that there are more people like that out there. Also, it helps I don’t like prints, ha ha!

      I love your enthusiasm and positivity! Sew on indeed!

      And thank you for commenting!

  9. Jackie Iosson
    1 October 2018 / 2:46 PM

    Brilliant article, I’ve been sewing for 45 years and have joined various online groups to try and find others who share my hobby. What amazes me is how much people make, when do they get the time to wear all these clothes???
    I feel that indie patterns encourage this trend as they are often quite simple, there is a place for easy patterns but they don’t seem to encourage people to learn new skills just make more of the same. I am thinking about starting a meeting in Sheffield to get fellow sewists together and maybe pattern and fabric swop. If anyone has any experience of doing this I’d appreciate any tips.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 9:08 PM

      So true, I wonder the same, as I really do struggle wearing all I make, even at my 12-15 makes/year.

      Pattern and fabric swaps are such a fab idea, it’s a great way to socialise and also great for the environment. Please let me know if you do, I would like to organise one myself, so any lessons learned help.

      And very jealous you have been sewing for so long! This is one of my biggest regrets in life, that I wasted so much time without sewing!

  10. Elaine Marsh
    1 October 2018 / 5:01 PM

    I identify with some of the ladies here who commented in as far as joining FB groups and looking around for sewing groups to join and how unsatisfactory it all becomes. I must say I am a bit of a hermit when it comes to sewing. If I have a project then I like to go to my sewing room (in my case it is the dining room) close the door and put on radio 4extra and listen to plays or the like while I’m sewing, it’s different when I paint, music is listened to then but thats’s solitary too. I love the solitude and in that respect I guess I must be anti social but it works for me, has done for as long as I have been sewing and that’s a long time. My hubby gets a bit left out but I think it is my time and it’s essential to have me time. I find I solve many issues when alone sewing, it’s sanctuary to me. When my children were young I sewed, mainly household things and toys too so they understood and always came first in the pecking order anyway. My sewing interests now embrace embroidery and for that I am in a group as it’s a bit specialised and requires some tutoring, I joined FB groups for that and found the people too competitive and combative too, which puts me off completely. So I think as long as you get out and walk about and meet the odd person during the day or speak with someone too, don’t worry about being in solitary, it’s good for the soul to be quiet and thoughtful and all’s right with the world. I do participate in other people things as well and village life is never boring.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 9:12 PM

      There is absolutely no right or wrong way, whatever works for you! I listen to 5Live, I like football or rugby, but Ryder cup is the absolute top, too bad it’s only every 2 years!

      I feel too much pressure in being part of the online community, so I try to restrict my online time to reading blogs and really connecting with people.

      And very envious of your never boring village life :)!

  11. 1 October 2018 / 6:32 PM

    Very thought provoking post. Sewing can be a very lonely hobby, sewing groups are definitely helpful to meet fellow stitchers but like you say it’s hard to concentrate. It’s more about socialising rather than sewing for me when I go to one.

    P.S. thanks for mentioning The Sewing Directory.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 October 2018 / 9:13 PM

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Fiona! Yes, I know exactly what you mean, I have to get a more ‘mindless’ project, I just like chatting too much, ha ha.

  12. Tara
    1 October 2018 / 10:02 PM

    This is something I’ve been thinking about more recently. I live in Australia, and sewing is becoming more popular, but being younger I often think about moving to the UK because I feel quite isolated in my hobby. I have found myself being more isolated over time and declining some sociap events because I’m so desperate to sew (and get frustrated if I can’t!). Online definitely helps, but sometimes it does feel superficial liking and commenting on things for people you’ll probably never meet. But your blog post spoke to me so I thought it’d be good to participate ☺

  13. 2 October 2018 / 8:33 AM

    Hi lovely- wonderful post. We set up ‘Norwich Sewcials’ in Norwich UK for these reasons. A monthly meet up for anyone into sewing, just to haveba chat, coffee, meet in real life and take some hand projects to do – all free 🙂 xx

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 1:28 PM

      Thank you, I’ve added the FB page on the blog.

  14. Jo Jackson
    2 October 2018 / 2:32 PM

    I found your article very insightful and well expressed. Also the different comments expressing opinions which I heartily agree with. I find most of my hobbies or shall we say passions are solitary and by their nature would remain so. I do join groups for generic sewing but not the projects I want to wear as it’s hard to find a machine which sew s as well or rethreading etc. Is irksome. But more importantly is that you can’t just summon up the inspiration and drive just because it’s club time. I dabble in art too and have joined numerous clubs groups etc but have not sustained these simply because it’s no fun really unless you have the inspiration and drive to do something and the fire to get on with it. Maybe that’s just me….. 😁

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 1:29 PM

      No, I don’t think it’s you at all. I often find that I just can’t be asked to get out of the house when there is sewing to be had instead. And even if it’s a sewing group, it doesn’t mean you’d still not rather be at home in your sewing room instead :).

  15. Melissa Archer
    2 October 2018 / 3:04 PM

    What a thoughtful, thorough article, Alex! I’m a natural homebody who has learned via the 2018 RTW fast the value of connecting with others who share my passion for sewing. It’s been an enriching experience and my goal for next year is to put in the effort to seek real life sewing connections. Your practical advice for doing so is wonderful incentive to follow through. Your comment about sometimes choosing sewing time over couple time had me breathe a sigh of relief. It’s refreshing to know I’m not alone in that!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 3:34 PM

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Melissa! I am very lucky on two accounts, one that my husband is ever so patient and just lets me get on with stuff and two, that he also has a time consuming hobby that keeps him away at least one weekend every month. But you are absolutely not alone. And I hope you find your offline tribe too!

  16. 2 October 2018 / 11:07 PM

    I completely relate to this, I was thinking about this a while back but in the aspects of me being an introvert bcos I found out that most of my hobbies don’t involve other people,like, reading, watching tennis which isn’t a big sport in my country so, finding company for that is difficult, I even go to the cinema alone and I don’t see anything wrong with that. But I have friend & families complain of my absence so every once in a while I FORCE myself to put down any projects I have & go out (sometimes alone, lol) even if to discover a new bar or eatery, just chill, and I must confess I’ve met new people this way. I’m happy with the effort I put, whether it’s enuff I don’t know but I’m working on it.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 3:35 PM

      Sounds like you have found the right balance for you! Thank you for commenting.

  17. 2 October 2018 / 11:19 PM

    Also, I’ve seen some sewing room tour videos where sewist make space in their sewing rooms or corners for their kids and spouses to hang out with them. It might be challenging for people like me who like to concentrate while sewing but I think it’s a legitimate way to make sewing not feel so lonely.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 3:36 PM

      Hmm, not sure that would work for me, I tend not to pay attention to much when I’m sewing, it will be quite a one-sided conversation if my husband hung around me sewing :).

  18. 3 October 2018 / 10:03 AM

    There’s something about sewing that attracts more introverts than extroverts, I think – maybe the cats (!), maybe that it can be a quiet, contemplative hobby? But as you say, sewing at home alone all the time isn’t for everyone.

    There are barriers to organising groups, taking classes and going to meet-ups, and they’re not for everyone, but I’d love to go along to something once a month or so. As I get older (I’m 40 now) I’ve started to understand more about what I enjoy and who I want to spend time with, but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy to find or meet up with those people.

    One piece of advice that I read about social media that helps me get the most out of it is to make an effort to interact with the stuff that interests you – commenting rather than just scrolling and liking. I have to remind myself to do it, but when I do it feels like a more positive, less lonely experience.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 3:37 PM

      You are right, commenting more and interacting is definitely a great way to build more meaningful relationships! I will definitely try to make myself do more of that. Thank you for commenting!

  19. 3 October 2018 / 6:55 PM

    Absolutely loved this post Alex; you’ve put down what I’ve been ruminating about a great deal recently. Sewing can be an isolating experience with the sewing room seemingly the sanctum of the lonely – it’s almost like a vicious circle. I’ve spent most of this year trying to find a balance…and struggling.

    Anyhoo…loving your new refreshed blog and looking forward to catching up with you in person again one of these days!

    Sarah xxx

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 3:38 PM

      Thank you so much, Sarah! And I would definitely love to meet in person again. Let me know when you are down in the SE again!

  20. Emilia
    4 October 2018 / 5:24 AM

    Oh, Alex! You are me! Despite the fact that I am not very social in general, I also would like to meet like-minded people who are interested in the same things as me (style! minimalism! sustainability!)…and hate prints too (no joke, I thought I was abnormal). It is particularly hard for me because I live so far away, and in such a “particular” place, that even in the rare occasions when I met someone interested in the same things as me, they are here temporarily, so I end up back to square one. I also have a very intense job, besides running a dressmaking business on the side, so my time is limited. So far I am somewhat satisfied with the online sewing community, but it can very quickly become tiring and full of misunderstandings.
    Recently I have realized that I would generally rather spend time with my husband or sewing (or even sewing with my husband…or doing any other hobby really) than go out and meet people. It’s not like I am a homebody by any means of imagination, but getting to know new peeps is so exhausting for me that I sometimes just give up.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that it is difficult to find the perfect balance between enjoying the almost monastic aspect of sewing, and the absolutely human need to socialize, and in particular socialize in a manner that does not look like you are “wasting your time”.
    Hope this all makes sense somehow!
    In any case, you are awesome. Thank you fro writing this post.

    Emilia

    PS: By the way, I contacted you months ago about doing a guide of Tokyo fabric shops. I am so sorry, I did not forget, but life has been very busy this past year #gradschool life. Will get to that eventually!

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      5 October 2018 / 3:41 PM

      Hi Emilia, I know what you mean, I have a lot of foreign friends that left London and big holes behind them. I am lucky that I got adopted by my husband’s friends. Meeting new people is indeed exhausting!

      Don’t stress too much about Tokyo guide, when you get around to it. And very jealous you are based there, it’s on my bucket list!

  21. 8 October 2018 / 3:08 PM

    Wonderful, provocative post that really hits home. Thank you for broaching this very real subject.

    First, being alone is not being lonely and I really do think that distinction needs to be made. I enjoy being alone, plain and simple. I came from a very large family of eight boisterous sibs and for me quiet and being alone were a very rare commodity. I am much older now and still treasure that feeling of quiet, private space. My husband respects that which is really lovely and I am not lonely in any way, shape or form.

    I also thing there are various levels to participating in social media, some platforms being far more shallow of content than others. I love blogging and have been doing so for over ten years now and have made amazing cyber friendships with other passionate sewists. Blogging allows in depth conversations and tutorials so it is my preferred platform. I do participate in FB groups, forums, as well but I really love how blogging allows comments and a real sharing of thought.

    I also would like to share a personal experience. I retired quite early and my husband and I moved to a new to us area of the country. He makes friends standing up. I don’t and it really takes effort. But part of the deal of this move was a big and new sewing space and I got that. For the next five years I sewed at least forty hours a week and blogged all about it. I loved how my creativity had a full throttle to speed into all the spaces I dreamed of it going. After about five years I realized it was all about me and I felt guilty and selfish, not lonely. I knew I had to make a concerted attempt to make friends and set that goal. I will spare you the details but know I tried everything and nothing worked. I lived in a beautiful but rather underpopulated area filled with quilters only. I do mean only and that was not my thing. I tried and tried, no luck. I offered to teach, to help fit, you name it, no interest anywhere. I felt that this lack of human contact was not good in the end and made the decision to go back to work. It was the best thing I ever did. It gave me a place to wear all my lovelies and meet and make lots of new friends. The feedback and acknowledgement I got from non sewing friends felt so good. Sewing became mostly weekend work and the productivity declined but the guilt disappeared and i rejoiced in that feeling. We just moved again back to our longtime previous area and once again, being much wiser, I immediately looked for a part time job. I found it, love it and am still sewing quite happily. That means that I do spend tons of time in my studio and love every minute but I have made new friends and that is wonderful as well. I still seek out other sewists and have had a meetup with some which was lots of fun. I feel I now have the best of both worlds. Being older and wiser has its advantages.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      8 October 2018 / 8:52 PM

      Hi Bunny, thank you for taking the time to write such a long and thoughtful comment! And for sharing your story too.
      I completely take your point about the difference between loneliness and being alone because we have a desire to do so. But I think I empathise the most with the guilt you were talking about. My husband was away for two consecutive weekends and I did not get out of the house for sewing (and blogging). And I felt guilty to myself, like I did not know how to do something else that did not involve sewing. I think socialising is a bit of a muscle that needs to be exercised and we sometimes forget how to use it.

      Our life plan is also to retire as early as possible and we are not planning on having kids, so we might end up moving away to a new house with hopefully a big sewing room. It’s such a great advice on making sure I mix sewing and some work that makes me happy (maybe teaching sewing, that’s my dream one day).

      Very best wishes, Alex

    • Cathy
      8 October 2018 / 10:00 PM

      What a lovely inspiring post – THANK -YOU !

      • sewrendipityalex
        Author
        8 October 2018 / 10:28 PM

        Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  22. 9 October 2018 / 8:15 AM

    Love your posts! Just caught up on this one and your wardrobe wear project. They are all so thought provoking . I understand the wish to connect, but agree it’s really difficult to find people you click with beyond sewing. Not sure being over 50 helps either! Whilst no one is overtly ageist so many of the bloggers are young. Whilst I may have a common interest( sewing) and ( I think) a youngish outlook on life, the reality is that many of the indie patterns just aren’t age appropriate, or my style. And I am at a different stage in my life and interests.
    I’ve just joined the SewOver50 Instagram feed. Who knows I may find more likeminded people….
    In the meantime I attend a sewing club which is great fun. I pay for the teaching, but do it for social sewing interaction. I’m certainly not lonely ( too many other interests and activities!) and do enjoy the peace and complete immersion I get when I sew alone…..but love the interaction that bogs give and the occasional meet ups I manage to find / attend.

So, what do you think?

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