Welcome to Fuller by Design, where we explore what it means to lead a creative life. Because the truth is this - life is what you make of it. So let's make, every day. For life.

Let's Put an End to Selfish Sewing


Buzzwords – they’re everywhere - you can’t avoid them. Sandwich generation, click bait, solopreneur, amazeballs, I could go on and on (but I won’t, I promise). But of all of them, there’s one buzzword that I’d like to strike out of usage.

OK, it’s two words, so maybe that’s a buzzphrase? (look at me making up a new buzzword – how meta). You know what it is?

“Selfish sewing.”

Because really? SELFISH sewing? Since when did sewing become selfish?

If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s been floating around sewing circles on the internet for a few years now. It’s used to describe when you sew something for yourself rather than making something for your kids or partner or to give as a gift. There are selfish sewing blog posts and sew-alongs and hashtags and probably more.

Say what? How did sewing for yourself turn into a selfish act?

Truth be told, I sew a lot of things for other people for selfish reasons. I make gifts instead of buying them because I love the process of creating and working with my hands - I’d much rather spend three or four (often more!) hours making a gift for someone instead of driving to a store to shop or even sending a gift on its way with a few keystrokes from my laptop. I do, in fact, do both of those things from time to time, but store bought is definitely the minority of the gifts I give.

So that’s my own definition of selfish sewing – making gifts for people because I find it to be more satisfying than shopping.

But back to this “sewing for yourself is selfish” crap.

Very few people who sew today do it out of necessity – long gone are the days when there was little choice but to make our own clothes, kitchen items, and bed quilts. Not only is it more convenient and efficient today to buy what we need, it’s often cheaper too. So why do we sew?

Because we like to.

And there’s absolutely nothing selfish about that.

People have a wide variety of passions – running, watching sports, traveling, reading, etc. They’re pastimes plenty of people enjoy, and do we begrudge them for it? I don’t think so.

When’s the last time you considered a woman selfish for going to her book club? Or to the gym? Or to a baseball game?

You probably didn’t, because it’s generally seen as a well-deserved chance for her to kick back and have some time for herself, doing something she enjoys.

So although they might consider it novel or curious, I don’t think the non-sewing world thinks there’s anything selfish about sewing for yourself. And that makes me cringe even more.

Because “selfish sewing” is a term that was coined by people who love to sew.

If sewing is something that you enjoy, is something that challenges and stimulates your creativity, and is a pastime that results in tangible results, why should the word selfish ever be associated with it, no matter who you’re sewing for?

The implication is that if you’re doing something pleasurable, then the enjoyment of the process should be reward enough. Forget about the beautiful results! You don’t deserve them!

I’m calling bullshit on that.

Every maker DOES deserve to enjoy the results of their handwork. You deserve to piece yourself a gorgeous new quilt or knit yourself a cozy new sweater or sew yourself a cute new skirt. It’s more than okay for you to indulge in your passion of making and take time out from your busy day exclusively for you. Just because you enjoy the creative process does not mean that you’re limited to making things that are only for other people.

Allowing yourself to enjoy the fruits of your own labors is in no way selfish, I assure you. It’s actually pretty good self-care.

Making a gift for someone else is a way of acknowledging that you care about them. Making a gift for you is a way of acknowledging that you care about yourself. Plain and simple, right?

And that’s a pretty great thing to demonstrate to the ones you love, the ones in your life you sew for the most.

“I sew for you because you’re important to me,”


“I sew for myself because I’m important to me as well.”

I’m not suggesting that you stop sewing for the ones you love. I’m merely suggesting that you add yourself to that list, too.



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