Talents and Skills: Sewing

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer.

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wake-boarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story.


Description: detailed tailoring of clothing or assimilation of cloth using a sewing machine or needle. Sewing is one of the oldest textile arts, with needles being fashioned by ivory, antler and bone in early times, using thread made from veins and sinew. Sewing is a hobby to some, a skill for mending and re-purposing one’s family’s clothing to others, as well as a thriving industrialized business. This skill is used by those in the clothing and upholstery industries, and is used in the manufacture of many different types of cloth (sails, tarps, shoes, etc.). Sewing can also be applied to artistic ventures to creating art pieces, tapestries, embroidery and high fashion, and is used in medical fields during surgery and while attending to cuts and wounds.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: Strong eyesight, good hand-eye coordination, steady hands, strong attention to detail, calloused fingers

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: Focused, meticulousness, creative, calm, efficient, thrifty, patient

Required Resources and Training: Depending on the type of sewing, training and tools of the trade will differ. At bare minimum, a character requires a needle, thread and cloth to bind, but pins, a dressmaker’s measuring tape, scissors, a sewing machine, access to different thread colors, safety pins, embroidery hoop, etc. are all accessories that will make the job easier. Keep in mind different time periods and income levels will dictate what tools one might have. Sewing is an art that is often passed down through mentoring and requires practice, patience and intuition to excel at it.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • That people who sew are women & homemakers
  • Those who sew have patience and are quiet and thoughtful
  • Sewers are unskilled or unsuited for more athletic or educational pursuits pursuits
  • High energy or rebellious individuals are “punished” and taught to sew in hopes of quelling their behavior and energetic personality

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • In an isolated environment when someone is hurt and hospital care is not readily available
  • When a fashion disaster hits and time is short
  • If one makes one’s own clothing, either by choice our out of financial necessity
  • At sea, maintaining equipment and sails
  • If one wishes to make a handmade gift for someone else
  • As a means of gainful employment, either fashioning or fixing items for other people

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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4 Responses to Talents and Skills: Sewing

  1. Jade champion says:

    How about a male theif being good at sewing but is a tailor. Would that be sterotyped?

  2. Thank you! I’m working on a book series with a strong, female lead who really breaks character by being an excellent seamstress.

  3. Pingback: Monday Must-Reads [11/4/13] - YESENIA VARGAS

  4. Jemi Fraser says:

    Good list. My mom always said sewing required no talent just patience. I proved her wrong on that! 🙂

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