In theory, you don’t even need electricity to make things with fabric and thread–in fact, humans did it for thousands of years! But today, there are so many fun ways to blend technology and creativity. We have sewing machines that remember our buttonhole sizes and repeat them, make consistently perfect stitches, and have whole libraries of decorative and utility stitches. That’s just the start of where sewing and technology intersect; the digital world offers much more. Today’s devices are easier than ever to use, so if you have a little technophobia, it’s a great time to take a small step toward combining your love of fabric and craft with the benefits that technology offers. Here are a few places to begin:
- Read sewing blogs (or write one!). Blogging gives us the same happy opportunity to get to know our neighbors as quilting bees once did, or weaving on looms in the village courtyard long ago; now our neighbors live all over the world, but we can still share ideas, comments, techniques, and stories. Along with this blog and our sister Quilting Arts blogs on this site, there are many excellent blogs that focus on quilting, garment sewing, and fabric. There’s a big list of sewing blogs here that will give you a lot to look at!
- Download patterns and tutorials. Sewing bloggers and fabric companies are often very generous with free information and patterns, or patterns that can be purchased for immediate download (these may require some taping together if you print them at home). In fact, Stitch offers a few of our most fun projects for free here! Try Tricia Waddell’s Waterfall Scarf, at right, or Meg McElwee’s super-cute Baby Quilt and Playmat, shown above left.
- There’s an app for that! If you have an iPhone, iPad, or other application-ready smart phone, look for an app that will help you manage your fabric stash and keep track of the patterns, fabric, and notions that you have at home. Fabric Stash, made for the iPhone, has many wonderful features for cataloging your stash. You can find more at the iPhone app store or the app store for your device.
- Go back in time to learn sewing techniques. If you missed out on having a mother or grandmother who could teach you the fine points of sewing and fitting, just click on over to VintageSewing.info. From the somewhat spartan-looking home page, you’ll find many entire sewing texts, now in the public domain, that have been uploaded by the site producers, with many more to come in their queue. You’ll find basic sewing texts, but also unusual books such as this 1922 book on hatmaking. While the language is a little old-fashioned, the techniques still work, and if you love vintage inspiration, you’ll find it at this fun resource.
- Buy fabric. Whether you’re looking for a wonderful cotton print or a rhinestone zipper, velvet ribbon in a particular color, lining fabric, unusual tailoring materials or specialty interfacings–well, it’s all available online. Dressmaking supplies that used to require a trip to New York or Los Angeles can now be delivered to your door. We know that you want to support your local fabric store, and there’s no better place for hands-on shopping, but for the hard-to-find, your mouse is your best friend.
- Talk to each other. Whether you use social networking sites like Facebook (Stitch has a page here), comment on blogs, or join in the forums and submit reviews on patternreview.com and similar sites, you’re never far from a sewing friend online.
Now send us a comment and tell us your favorite way to use technology to make sewing better. We love to hear from you!