Get Inspired

inspired to sew

I’m honored to kick off Bari J.‘s Inspired to Sew blog tour today. Her new book is a beautiful work filled with her signature style and projects I can’t wait to make (and I think you’ll want to sew them, too). Bari’s asked each blog tour host to share what inspires us to sew. Here’s my story:

My mother and daughter share a dimpled chin, a love of crafting and a huge part of my heart — and credit for inspiring me to sew. They have never met — can never meet — but I like to think my sewing brings them a little closer together.

I remember growing up and thinking my mom could make anything. Time and again she’d prove it by turning piles of fabric into my favorite outfits. I’ve combed through family photos again and again, trying to find ones that showed the skirts, the tees, the dresses, the Halloween costumes she made but it seems my memories are really all I have.

After I became a mom, my mother turned her talents to sewing for her grandsons, happily creating blankets and costumes for the boys who stole her heart. She satisfied her desire for a granddaughter by sewing for my much-younger female cousins, whipping up doll clothes and dresses.

And then she was gone.

Which led to me convincing Honey our family might not be complete after all. And three years later we brought home the sweetest, silliest, most amazing baby girl, who fills our home and our lives with so much joy. How could I not give her the same kind of love my own mother showed me? I bought a new sewing machine and began to sew for the first time in years — and the first time ever that I could not call my mom and have her talk me through a problem.

I’ve sewn countless yards of fabric in the past six years, enough clothes to fill a closet (or three) and even written a book — all inspired by my mother and daughter. I sew with love, the way my mother taught me, and the way I hope to teach my daughter, too.

Are you Inspired to Sew? I hope so — and I hope you’ll comment on this post so you can win your very own copy of Bari’s book. Tell me why you’re inspired to sew between now and noon Thursday, Feb. 3. I’ll draw a winner from the comments and announce it here on the blog and probably over on my Twitter, too. And be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour, too:

Feb 1, Jennifer Paganelli: Sis Boom!

Feb 2, Jona Giammalava: Stop Staring and Start Sewing

Feb 3, Rashida Coleman Hale: I Heart Linen

Feb 4, Sarah Fielke: The Last Piece

Feb 5, Jenny Doh: Crescendoh

Feb 6, Cara Wilson: Cara Quilts

Feb 7, Deborah Moebes: Whipstitch Fabrics

Feb 8, Monica Solorio-Snow: The Happy Zombie

Feb 9, Susanne Woods: Stash Books (giving away a stack of Bari’s Full Bloom fabric!)

P.S. That cool I’m Inspired to Sew blog badge is available on Bari’s blog. Go get one for yourself!

81 Replies to “Get Inspired”

  1. It was lovely to read your inspiration I’m inspired to sew for family also. I love to think that when I’m gone they will still have something there of me made with love

  2. My mother also sews and has kept my kids in the cutest outfits. I’ve tried my hand a little and was always less than pleased with the results. Then one day I decided to make a baby quilt for a friend and I haven’t stopped since. My teen has her own sewing machine but she doesn’t use it much….but I’m just happy that it is there and available and we encourage her when we can. She is much more likely to sew when grandma is around as grandma has so much more knowledge and patience. My youngest now wants her own machine so I’m thinking of putting her on my grandmothers feather weight.

  3. My mom also sewed my dresses and costumes as I grew up. These days she is a fiber artist doing mainly art quilts and postcards. I have always loved fabric and combining colors but I think up to this point I have been intimidated to sew because I felt like I couldn’t live up to the standard that she set, I tend towards perfectionism and struggle with the little skills that make sewn projects look “finished”. Having my own daughter has given me a little push to try harder and I am trying to learn to be ok with mistakes and less than perfect results and enjoy the journey itself.

  4. My Grandmother and my mom have both been very crafty through the years. I did a bit of embroidery as a tween, and some cross stitch as a teenager. My grandmother broke her hip 3 weeks ago. I am now sewing her a lap quilt. She is 81 and I am a 12 hour flight away. For all of the lovely jerseys she knitted for me when I was young, I really want to give her something handmade from me, to make her feel loved!

  5. I have sewn since I was 8 – my grandmother who is turning 89 in March taught me … grandma gocker…hence gock’s frocks! she inspired me as a child and today I take my inspiration from all the beauty I see around me, especially the smile on her face when I surprise her with her own gock’s frocks!

  6. Wow – I so miss my Mom and all we shared. She taught me to sew as a child, something my older sister didn’t care about. I now sew for my grandchildren and get special requests from my step daughter all the time. Must get back to the machine as I have another grandson on the way March 5th or so and must finish up his gigantic doggy rag quilt. Thanks for the memories Mary!

  7. Awwww, my story is pretty similiar to yours. Sewing is generational for me. My Grandmother supported her family as a single mom in England in the 30s and beyond by sewing.
    My own Mother also was a single Mom. Money was tight so I wore my brother’s handmedowns. EXCEPT – My Mother made me a red dress with tiny white flowers on it, with a matching pouch purse, and a cream twirly skirt with little blue flowers and lace trim. They were my two girly garments that I adored, lovingly handstitched by my Mother.
    My Mother and Grandmother have long since passed away. Now I have a daughter of my own and sewing her dresses and skirts connects me to them in an awesome and surprising way.

  8. What a wonderful story about your inspiration. I am insprired by color combinations and the happy looks from the people that I sew for. Still miss my mom but think of her when I make something in the colors she liked.

  9. The actual process of making something inspires me to sew. I love watching piece of fabric- become cut up & put back together to actually create something. I think this is why quilting fascinates me.

    Thank you for this lovely blog stop tour!

    hooray Bari!

  10. I think what inspires me most to sew is that I really enjoy the whole process. From selecting the project, fabrics. sewing, and seeing the finished project. I also really enjoy the beauty of color, especially when it all comes to together in that oh so special way. Thanks Bari!

  11. What wonderful memories. I too have memories of shopping for fabric and sewing with my mom and my brother. Now it’s my turn to sew fun costumes for Halloween and elaborate ones for dance. Just this past year, my daughter has taken a greater interest in sewing and jumped in with both feet by designing and sewing most of her own Gr 8 Farewell dress. It’s wonderful knowing that my creativity has spurred my daughter’s.

  12. What a lovely story. I am inspired to sew by my own mother, too, and I think I need to tell her that NOW. She made such pretty dresses for me and my sister, always matching but with just a bit of individuality on each one.

    I taught my own daughters to sew as well and so the cycle continues…

  13. I was inspired to sew by my mom and grandma. Now I’m inspired to sew by my sons. They request things like ‘guys’, alligators, bats, ammo belts, and pjs. Not exactly what I pictured myself sewing, but their joy makes it worth it.

  14. I guess my children and my mother-in-law are really what have inspired me to sew. My mother-in-law made a quilt for my son when he was a baby, but passed away when he was only a year old. When my youngest daughter was born, I decided that although she couldn’t have a “granny blanky” like my son, she did need a quilt of her own. It took me about a year to actually finish it. Now, after a friend of ours had a baby in October, I’ve caught the bug again and have really started sewing and haven’t been stop!

  15. I was initially inspired to sew by my need for a creative outlet. My inspiration now comes from the new fabrics and all the great blogs with such beautiful work in them!

  16. Oh, your story brought tears to my eyes! What a sweet tribute to your dear mom. I’m so sorry she’s gone, but so thankful for your memories. How precious to have a little girl to bring into your home.

    My mom also sewed for me, partly out of necessity, because I was so thin and tall. For years she would just add a ruffle to dresses to make it long enough. Our long standing joke became with any article of clothing, “Just add a ruffle to it.” She and my MIL both sew, so when I had 2 baby girls (2 years apart) who were VERY active, they sewed when I had no time. Now I’m inspired to sew for my girls. I want to make them more than just clothes, but I’m learning to quilt so they can have a lasting treasure. My MIL has a quilt her mom made her. She’s one of 8 children, the only girl, and she was the last to get a quilt because her mom wanted it to be special.

    Thanks for this giveaway!

  17. I love to sew and am inspired by beautiful fabrics, my family, my animals and the world around me. I love to sew for all of the above and for myself – I love to wear things that I know no one else in the world is wearing.

  18. I sew for sanity. With three children, I feel like there are times when my head is overloaded with information and demands. Sewing allows me room to breathe, refocus, and come back a better mama when I’m through in my studio.

  19. I am inspired because of all the beautiful colors used! I’m such a straight edge, stripes and solids kind of gal….I need to branch out!

    Thanks so much for the fun!

  20. I, too, was originally inspired by my mother to sew- I can remember sitting at her feet while she made dresses and costumes for me when I was really young. Then, on a field trip in 3rd grade, I was further inspired by the pioneer re-enactors and the old quilts, and bought my first quilt kit that day. Sewing is like therapy to me, and it only gets better when I give a hand-made gift and see the response.

  21. I just combed my local quilting shop looking for Bari’s Country Lane line. I’ve been coveting that fabric since I meet Bari at Quilt Market! She and her fabric inspired me today to start a new project. I can’t wait to get my hands on her beautiful new book! Congrats!!

  22. Since before I was born, my mom has been into sewing, quilting, knitting, spinning, and stitching of all kinds. She bought me an ancient Kenmore sewing machine at a garage sale when I was 8, and ever since I’ve been mangling fabric bits and pieces with it. Now that I have my own little girl, I’m inspired by the matching outfits my mom used to sew for herself and me when I was little. I’d better whip up as many as I can before my girl gets big enough to stop me!

  23. You must believe me when I say that YOU are my biggest inspiration to sew. I think you know that I owned a sewing machine for over 4 years without so much as touching it. Then your book came out! The first thing I ever made (two weeks ago) was from your book. Thank you so much for giving me the courage to start something wonderful.

  24. I watched my mother sewing as a young child. By 9 I sewed polo shirts for all of my brothers and sisters. I also had a fabo collection of 1950’s Barbie clothes that my grandma had made. As for inspiration now, fabric inspires me the most, it really gets my gears turning. Blogs work too.

  25. I LOVE to sew! I mostly quilt, which my grandmother used to do by hand. I didn’t inherit her patience, thus I get out the machine!!

  26. Like so many, I learned to sew from my Mom. She, however, was the most utilitarian sew-er I’ve ever come across. We learned to darn socks, sew buttons on properly, mend holes. She boasts that there’s not an artistic bone in her body. I’m not sure whether I believe that fully or not… However, I did get some artistic inclinations from my Dad, and my mom certainly taught me skills. And now I sew and create because I can’t not. It’s in my blood, and I love it.

  27. I love to sew, especially by hand. I was bitten by the crazy quilt passion several years ago and I love it, along with making things from recycled denim. My earliest memory of ‘sewing’ was being able to push the treadle on my grandmother’s machine while she sewed quilt patches. Sure do wish I had that machine now!!

  28. LOVE Bari J and this post ๐Ÿ™‚ I inspired ,yself to sew. I actually find it very off that i didn’t get it from anyone…a teacher, parent, aunt etc… Nope. I just picked it up while in art school and just started. and stopped. and started. and stopped. You can see the pattern. Until my daughter was born and I was inspired again…..

  29. I am inspired to sew to utilize beautiful fabric and create beautiful things. Constantly learning new skills and playing with color is a joy to me. Thank you for a great giveaway.

  30. I’m inspired to sew because I sell fabric and teach at “Make It Sew”. I love fabric because the colors and patterns are so inspiring and uplifting. I think this will be a wonderful book, and I’d be excited to own it. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  31. Love Bari and her book looks fabulous! Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

    I’ve been inspired to sew since receiving my first “sewing” machine t five years old. I loved creating pillows and little blankets, doll clothes and regular clothes as I got older. I turned to quilting once I became a mother and haven’t looked back since … still sewing as many gifts as possible for family and friends.

  32. I am inspired by fabric and colours. They are just so beautiful that I can’t help myself. At the moment I am also inspired by Teacups and yes that is just weird but what can you do *shrugs*

  33. My Mom inspired me to sew. She made all of our special dresses(all 6 of us girls)and I started to sew as soon as I could(I’m the only one of all of us girls that sews). Made my own clothes, then as an adult made it my career. My Mom and I had our own business sewing bridal and formal wear. She has since passed away and as I continue to sew, I feel I still am inspired by my Mom.

  34. My Mom who passed 19 years ago, always wanted a hand-made quilt. I wasn’t a quilter when she was living. Every quilt that I give away has a part of it that is for Mom. Wish I could have made her a quilt.

  35. I also had a mother who sewed. She made my sister and I lots of skirts and dresses. She even made my dad a few ties! I am inspired to sew when I see all of the beautiful colors in quilting stores. I have made clothing since grade school, and when I had children, I made them really cute Halloween costumes. Now, I love to make quilts and other gifts for family and friends. I also make quilts at our church that we donate to Birthright. I just love the feel of fabric and the hum of the sewing machine!

  36. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, it must have been hard for you and brought a tear or two to your eyes. Your daughter is just stunning. What inspired me to sew? Well I get bored easily and I don’t do good when I’m bored. I was diagnosed with MS 20 years ago and my neurologist saw I was bored and suggested I went to university here in England. So I did for five years and got a degree in computer science. Then I was bored again and I picked up a cross stitch kit and one thing led to another and instead of stitching large things I was stitching things that needed finishing with fabric and 2 1/2 years ago I went to the quilting show, bought a new sewing machine to finish my pincushions etc. But the more I bought fabric the more I fell in love with it. So I took an unsuccessful course then started to learn via the Internet which is amazing because you can watch the lessons again and again until it clicks. So the end is I am now teaching myself with the help of the Internet and all you wonderful Quilters exactly what I should be doing. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
    Patti xxx

  37. I’m inspired to sew everytime I pick up a book or read a sewing blog or walk into a fabric store. I love seeing finished projects and thinking, ‘I can do that.’ I like creating original patterns and projects that didn’t exist before I created them. And I’m inspired to sew because I think it inspires other around me… funny who gets excited about creating when they fall in love with something you’ve made!

  38. Beautiful post! Very inspiring!!
    I love sewing, I could sew all day… if only I had the time ๐Ÿ™‚ I love watching my girls twirl around in a dress that I made, to know it was made with love, by me…

  39. I am struck (again!) by the sewing ‘bug’. I used to sew quite a bit when I was first married but then took a break when my kids were small and I was teaching.

    When I was recently laid off, I had lots of time to revisit sewing and what a wonderful walk down memory lane it has been! Have you ever taken a big wiff of a new box of crayons and been instantly transported back to kindergarten? Well, I got the most wonderful ‘wiff’ when I pressed some fabric! The wiff took me back – I was eight years old again – I was right there – with my mom and we were pressing our fabric and sewing our hearts out! Miss you mom!

  40. I watched my Mom and Babci (grandma) sew from the day I was born. My Babci made her own patterns (even bras) from newspaper and sewed on a treadle machine. I remember playing on the floor with the treadle when I was very small. I made my dresses for high school and college with my Mom and Babci helping me with the whole process. I made all my children’s and my own clothing when they were small — many years ago. It’s in my blood and always will be!

  41. To take a flat piece of fabric and turn it into a beautiful article of clothing for one of my grandchildren or new curtains for the family room is an art form to me. It brings such joy.

  42. I started sewing maybe 7 or 8 years ago. My daughter asked me to make her some Bratz doll clothing…wedding dresses and other ball gowns…LOL. The rest is history!

  43. I learned to sew from my grandmother when I was a kid. She was an amazing sewer….she had 6 kids and made all of their clothes, wedding dresses, everything! I think I am the only one of her 13 grandchildren that ever showed any interest in sewing. I went to school for Fashion Design and sewed every day for 4 years and got totally burned out. So now after my having my daughter almost 2 years ago I have started sewing again. So my little August is my inspiration!

  44. Thank you for sharing your inspiration! I love to sew for my kids. Not just because it’s fast ๐Ÿ™‚ but because I love that I can make something totally unique, 100% my perspective, and something made with love. Its also so relaxing. I usually have to sneak it in either very early in the morning (the hum of the machine in the morning is just gold… very zen) before the kids wake up or during nap time, but I feel so fulfilled finishing something after a couple of nap days!

  45. I was really touched by your story.
    My grandma made most of my clothes as a girl and taught me a little sewing too. My mum made me a few special dresses as I got older and she had a little more time to be creative. I’ve dabbled with knitting and cross stitch over the years but not really done much sewing until recently – inspired by my sweet baby girl.
    My grandma and mum are both gone but I feel a connection to them as I stitch love into things for my daughter and I want her to grow up knowing how to knit and sew for herself – to be inspired.

  46. I’m inspired to sew by my mom, who died when I was 16. She made a lot of my clothing when I was a child. I specifically remember a pair of overalls out of a Peanuts characters print that I adored – I remember her sewing the buttons on quickly before church so I could wear them, and also a blazer out of blue corduroy with little rabbits, which I think I got permanent marker on one of the first times I wore it. I also remember bathing suits she made for my sister and I. Who makes bathing suits???

  47. What a sweet story. I am inspired to sew for my little niece. My grandma taught me how to sew, but I have no children of my own, so I am hoping to pass the tradition down to her. ๐Ÿ™‚ Love this hop and thanks for the chance to win!

  48. I was inspired to sew by my Grandmother, who taught me to quilt, and by my Mom, who used to sew Barbie clothes for my sister and I. I sew a lot of clothes for my little girl and I am currently working on a quilt for my son for his 10th birthday. Thanks for the chance to win!

  49. I sew for much the same reasons you mentioned. I love to pass on the love of creating that my grandmothers and mom passed on to me. Although I sewed for my nieces and nephews before I had my own children.

  50. I’m enjoying this blog hop. I am inspired by the love my Mom showed also. I’ve only been quilting since 2008, but my Mom taught me to sew when my two girls were small. She made clothes and barbie doll clothes for me when I was young. She also made my bumper pads and blankets for my three children when they were born. I miss being able to share with her the things that I am doing now with my two young granddaughters. I really enjoyed your site. I live in southwest Georgia and it is nice to be in touch with someone from the area. Thanks for the giveaway.

  51. I’m always inspired to sew, I have like 10 projects going on at the same time right now, instead of getting inspired, I should get to working! Great giveaway!

  52. I was inspired to sew by my mother as well. She was one of the only mothers in the neighborhood who could sew. She would do work for many of he other mothers and sewed costumes along with many of my clothes she altered to fit because they were hand me downs. I also sewed things for my little sister for fun made her toys and such and mom encouraged me to do so. I always continued to love sewing.

  53. I’m inspired to sew right now because of my wonderful 22 month-old daughter and my other little girl on her way, due in March. I love to make things for them and it is so gratifying to watch my first-born use/wear the things I make. I’d much rather take the time to make something extra personal and with love than go through the hassle at a store trying to find something close to what I had in mind.

  54. I’m inspired to sew by the great scrap fabrics I’ve been collecting. I was given more fabric last year than I bought and have lots to play with. The book looks great – thanks for the giveaway!

  55. I am inspired to sew as my college daugther says she is freezing and needs some flannel pjs for up at school! thanks for the chance to win such a great looking book!

  56. I’m inspired to sew because I have to. It’s a part of me, my creativity and who I am. I love putting things together, handing someone something I made just for them is so personal and fulfilling.

  57. I just started sewing at age 41. It is really cool to be inspired by the clothes I see that aren’t in my size and think I could make that! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Cheers, Nanci

  58. I’m inspired to sew because I have two girls that adore anything that I make them ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE the warm fuzzy feelings I have when they get a compliment on their outfits and their response is “Thanks, my MAMA made it!”

  59. Your blog post was so beautiful it left me in tears when I read it. My Mom too encouraged me to sew (and bought me my first sewing machine when I was a young wife and mother). I’ve loved sewing and fabric ever since I was a little girl sewing doll clothes. Color, texture, fabric, nature, beauty — all of those things inspire me to sew. I’m just happy and relaxed when I’m in my sewing “zen” as my daughter calls it when I’m sewing. Thanks for sharing your story and for the opportunity to win!

  60. I have been sewing since I was 9 — over 44 years ago! I am soooo inspired by all of you lovelies who share your talents and creativity on your blogs, in books, fabric designs, etc. I always felt like the odd-ball when I was young because my friends did not sew or craft. Now, I feel like I have a new group of “friends” through all of you! Thank you for sharing and for the opportunity to win this book.

  61. I don’t know what got me started sewing. I know I keep sewing though because it makes me feel good to surround myself with handmade things. ๐Ÿ™‚

  62. I’ve been sewing since I was about 12 and I’ve always liked it. I started off making clothes for myself, then household stuff when I got my first apartment. Now I still sew for my home, but mostly I like to make quilts. It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment to make these things yourself.

  63. Your story was really touching. Every time I sew I think of my mom (whom I lost last year) and her patience in teaching me. I loved sewing my own clothes for years and always wearing something different from anyone else. Then I sewed for my girls and boys and was so happy to do that until they decided they were beyond “homemade” clothes. Now I can sew for my grands and their friends and have rediscovered the fun of choosing fabrics and patterns to make something with love. All the blog love out here further inspires me!! Thanks for it all!

  64. I love to sew things that we could buy, but that I know I could do better. So, I’m inspired by giving my family lovely things!

  65. I love to hear about why people started sewing……..I did sewing at school and while I enjoyed it then I am so happy now……….school sewing was more clothing………always wished I learnt much more about patterns and drafting them etc………….love stitcheries and quilting and cross stitch now…………and making bags……..

  66. I am inspired to sew by all of the projects I see out there in blog land. There are so many great designers and sewers sharing their work. I love it!

  67. My mother taught me to sew when I was 6. She believed that everyone should know how. Not necessarily for pleasure but for the need to know how. She did however love it as I do to. She sewed most of my clothing as well as some for my brothers as well including a complete BOBBY’s (policemans) costume with original english bobbies buttons. It is identical to my uncle’s uniform in England. My kids have worn it as well as my grandchildren now. I love how a needle and thread feel in my hand. I’m very inspired by blogs,magazines and books.

  68. Thanks for sharing your story. Like you, I have the memories of my mother and grandmother in every stitch I sew. I would love to get my hands on this book as I have always been a fan a Bari J’s fabrics. Thanks for this opportunity to win!

  69. I realise the competition has already closed but I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. My Nan was a very creative woman who taught my mum a few things but died when I was very young. My mum is also an amazingly creative woman who makes the most beautiful and amazing things. Now I have a little daughter of my own and I am learning everything I can from my mum while I have the chance so that I can teach my daughter a love of sewing too. It is such a blessing to stitch with love for the special people in my life and those hand made gifts of love are always so much more precious than anything money could buy.
    Thank you for reminding me how precious it is to have my mum there to teach me.

  70. I am inspired to sew by all the beautiful fabrics. I can’t resist adding to my stash. My daughter and I sew together, and have a great time teaching her girls. Thanks for your inspiration!

  71. My answer to this question is probably silly – but it’s a serious one to me. My mother died when I was 20. MY father died when I was 10. I never met any of the grandparents, so I have no “dear tokens of love” that would have normally been passed down to a child/grandchild. At the age of 62, I find that I long to own and be able to touch things that have been stitched with love. There is something eternally special about holding something that was stitched by a loved ones hands. I do some stitchery and hope and pray my daughters will get to the age that it is endearing to hold moms stitchery. I dream of fabric and colors 24/7. Silly, huh…………

  72. Sewing for me is an outlet. It’s a way for me to focus my energy on something positive and not stew about things I don’t need to be stewing about! =) It’s also a way for me to connect with my Mom and my friends as well as make new friends. It doesn’t hurt that I love fabrics, and math (I Know!), and love to be organzied doing things step by step.

  73. Like you – I love to sew for my daughters. I started smocking and heirloom sewing 20 years ago and often felt like I was really sewing for angels – Sewing is a joy for me and I love to share that joy !

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