Text by Rick McVicaqr
If you have ever wondered where in the world you can use algebra, then maybe sewing and quilting can provide the answer.
The argument for using algebra to sew is made by Rosemary Faigler in her article, “Sewing: An Improbable Match of Math and Creativity,” July 9, 2021. The article is published on American Sewing Guild’s website.
Faigler, a former algebra teacher, notes, “Thanks to my math ability, when I look at the (sewing) patterns, the logic and the sequencing of algebra helps me anticipate the steps in construction.”
Several key tasks required by sewing can be conquered with the use of math, such as determining the size of fabric needed for an article of clothing. Math can help tamp down the fabric budget. Fitting requires skill at handling fractions. Further, math is essential if someone wants to design their own patterns, Faigler writes.
However, sometimes the logic of math can come into conflict with ideas of creativity. For instance, setting an embroidery design off-center can be a bit frustrating for a math person. Sometimes sewing requires striking a balance between logic and creativity.
“Don’t just think outside the box, sew outside the box,” Faigler states.
The use of problem-solving skills has almost always been a part of sewing, according to Clare Hunter in an article published by The Guardian. Hunter describes some of the history of sewing in, “The Calming Effects of Sewing Can Help People Express and Heal Themselves,” Feb. 23, 2019.
Hunter tells of English women sewing quilts while being detained in World War II POW camps. Incarcerated British men have also taken advantage of sewing programs in prison. Sewing was first used therapeutically during WWI to calm soldiers traumatized by combat.
Hunter touts the benefits of “the mesmeric immersion in crafts as a relief from inner turmoil.”
The writer includes her own personal stories of how sewing has helped her during times of depression and grief.
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