Saturday, 18 January 2014

How Sewing And Blogging Fulfill Our Needs

I'm a not so secret nerd, and I love social, political and economic theories. I love reading non-fiction books and learning something new, even if I'll probably never use it. Now that I'm temporarily unemployed I'll have a bit more time for reading nerdy stuff and more time to dedicate to this blog. Don't get me wrong, I'll still be looking hard for jobs, but that probably won't take up all my time.

I recently watched an interesting video about why we play videogames, and thought the theory could easily be applied to sewing and, by extension, sewing bogging.

Scott Rigby and Richard Ryan, co-authers of the book 'Glued to Gaming', put forward the theory that we play video games to fulfill the needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness, and this theory works for almost anything we do for fun. You can take a pottery course to learn new skills or meet new people, you can make your own bread for the freedom or to be able to say, 'I did that!'


How does this relate to sewing, though?


This one's a little obvious. We sew, at least a little bit, to get better at sewing. Finally being able to master invisible zippers or the perfectly turned collar is an awesome feeling, but for some people it becomes a really big thing. Think of master tailors who spend their lives getting better and better at what they do. Sure, it's often part of the job, but you don't put that much time into a skill without getting something out of it.

If you want examples of competence sewers then you could do worse than Mainely Dad and his growing collection of mens coats, or Cindy (The Cationess) and her seemingly constant stream of new techniques.

As for a general and explicit thirst for competence, what about Victoria and her goal to accumulate ten thousand hours of sewing time? If that's not a commitment to practice I don't know what is.


Autonomy is all about freedom and choice. Freedom from the fashion industry, is constraints and prescriptions, and freedom to wear what we want. We want to be able to choose our fabric, our patterns, our style, and to be able to make clothing that fits us, that isn't built around a standard shape and set of sizes. We don't want to be told out butts are to big and our breasts are to small, that we need to fit into the mold.

When it comes to style, sewing seems to attract a lot of people who dance to their own beat. I'd love to think I'm one of them but it's a bit of a work in progress. One woman who I think has it in the bag is Oonaballoona. Looking at her blog makes me want to be more adventurous with different fabrics and bright colours, get out of my shell.

For a wider kind of autonomy, So Zo comes to mind. Her search for autonomy in almost all areas of her life is inspiring, and combined with her ethical and ecological concerns it makes her one of my sewing idles.


Blogging, including sewing blogs, firmly lands in the realm of relatedness. Many people are happy with sewing purely for themselves and not talking about it, but sharing our successes and our UFOs, entering contests and sewalongs, give us a community and camaraderie that can pull you out of a sewing funk and get you energised to finish a project.

The amount of forums dedicated to sewing show us that even if you don't have a blog, you can still fulfill your need for relatedness through sewing.

I hope you found this interesting. Do you think mental wanderings like this are interesting or would you rather I stuck to trying to make pretty dresses?

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