Acquiring skills has always been something I have found to be imperative.

Sewing is a trade that offers me catharsis, utility, applicable skills, plus joy, which evidently has me enthralled.

I was initially intrigued by the concept of sewing when my mother showed me old garments her mother had made for her. Custom tops and skirts that were undeniably cute and one of a kind. I was in middle school at the time and I constantly found myself in her closet looking for more old clothes that my grandmother had made. Although I was riveted, I felt intimidated by the challenge of creating something ornate and would not begin my real sewing endeavor until a later age. 

My sister gifted my sewing machine to me a couple years back and I began making small items to help get the hang of operating it. A popular first item that I still make today are scrunchies.

I then began upcycling, which is the process of using existing apparel to make something new. Upcycling seemed appropriate because I was still intimidated by creating something from fabric and ultimately having to discard it because it turned out a disaster.

I know that probably sounds irrational, because it is the order in which we learn – trial and error – but at the time, I was content with reusing fabric.

Now that I have made multiple, successful, upcycles, my time has been consumed with creating my very own garments.

I love using Pinterest, Reddit and other DIY websites and forums for ideas, but I have always used my own measurements and patterns in my pieces. I am no longer intimidated by yards of fabric; truthfully, I can’t refrain from over purchasing it. Spending hours in the fabric department of craft stores has become a favorite past time of mine. Peering through several aisles of rich designs and color is half the fun.

Something about creating with your own hands is intensely gratifying. Trying on a new article as soon as it is completed even gives me a preferable sense of self-esteem.

I think it is in everyone’s best interest to find a creative outlet that offers fulfillment. The knack to create is a challenging one that has brought fruitful opportunities and patience. Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful the outcome of a piece is, new methods are constantly being learned.

I am glad to have found a love for sewing at such a young age; the space for development is generous.

Andrea Vivanco is a 21-year-old beginner seamstress interested in expanding her horizons in the art. She fosters an empowering approach embedded within every stitch and hopes to one day create a line that will help individuals acknowledge their own unique, beautiful qualities. The views expressed in this column are her own.

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