Monday, October 26, 2009

Would You Get a Sewing-Themed Tattoo?

I got some new ink over the weekend (pics to come!) and I was reminded of this Flickr group of sewing-related tattoos that Sarai linked to several months back. I loved looking through this photo pool (check out the fabulous one above, courtesy of the lovely Kaylah from the Dainty Squid), and obviously I'm no stranger to tattoos myself. It got me thinking . . . would I get a sewing-themed tattoo?

The two questions I get most often about my tattoos are: 1) Did they hurt? and 2) What do they mean? The answers are: 1) Hell yes, and 2) they don't really mean anything. I'm not one of those people who has a momentous life event and then goes out to get a tattoo to commemorate it. Tattoos, while not meaningless to me, are more just . . . art. You know, pictures of things. Pretty things.

So I guess what I'm saying is that it would be out of character for me to take something that's such a big part of my life and make it incarnate it on my flesh for the sake of it having meaning to me. (Not that I think that that's a bad reason to get a tattoo at all.) But . . . I do think scissors are cool-looking. I especially love this work-in-progress from Cherry Pie Vintage on flickr.

So don't count me out completely on the sewing-themed tattoo. I do still have an awful lot of room on my arms . . .

How about you, dear readers? Yea or nay on the sewing tattoo?

P.S. I probably don't even need to say this, but: please, let's make this a discussion about sewing tattoos, and not whether you personally approve of tattoos or not. (Okay, Mom? Ha ha.)

54 comments:

  1. I have a tattoo on my arm and have been wanting another for a very long time. Every time I try to think what I should get a dress form pops into mind. How cool to have a dress with a tape measure like a banner wrapping around it. I can just picture it.
    Can wait to see pics of your newest ink.

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  2. I really admire other people's ink--even though I'm too chicken to get my own (I change my mind too much. haha!). I think, if I were going to get a tattoo, a sewing themed one would be something I considered! For me, sewing is such a part of my life, and the tools you use offer so much artistic inspiration, I'd love to document my adoration of this craft! ;)

    But I have to admit, my first tattoo would probably be an anchor or classic pin up gal (in a sailor outfit). Since I'm married to a sailor, and have a bit of a nautical craze anyway, it only seems right. haha! (Sorry for going a little OT!)

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  3. I have one tattoo and another in the works so I would get a sewing-themed tattoo if a particular design struck my fancy. I really like the way those scissors look in the first image and I like the curliness of the dress tape.

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  4. It would sort of be like a super hero logo, except instead of on a tight spandex outfit you brand your power on your skin. (yes, sewing is a super power).

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  5. I have seen that particular sewing theme tattoo before and I love it! Would I get a sewing theme tattoo like that one? probably not--I am a former elementary ed teacher so that particular tattoo would fall in the same category as theme-based holiday sweaters! I am scarred...
    Although,I would do scissors or other sewing symbols like a thimble or spool of thread hidden in a vine of flowers.

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  6. I come from a "tattoo family," that being said, my measly two tattoos don't even get a blink from my brothers with their full sleeves or my mother with a full back of tattoos. So, I kind of think I could get away with something like a sewing themed tattoo, I think the one in the photo is gorgeous! The problem is, if I ever have enough money for a tattoo...that means I have enough money for another machine! Ah, a cononundrum.

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  7. Yes! I have a sewing themed tattoo - a pair of scissors on the back of my left arm. Like elizabethe said above, I really do think of it as my secret brand or superhero symbol. I'm looking to get a bigger one with some more sewing imagery on my other arm. It's such a big part of my life and reminds me of my ability to make and fix things for myself.

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  8. I love tattoos, especially sleeves... amazing! As to whether or not I'd get a sewing theme? Maybe, but there is so much more to my life right now that while I thoroughly enjoy sewing, it might not make it onto the canvas. That being said, I'm absolutely loving the spools of colored thread ;)

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  9. i ve got a whole sleave planned based on sewing. i have been on a british tattoo artist, Valerie Varga's waiting list since feb 2009. but it will be worth the wait!

    i love sewing and i love tattoos!!

    ais xx

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  10. Gertie, from your pics your tattoos seem rather lovely and very you, but I must admit to finding these sewing ones absolutely hideous for the most part. Garish and gimmicky. It's a bit like sewing themed fabrics to me - there are some nice ones out there, but most are just a bit, well, naff. Sorry.

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  11. No, I wouldn't get a tattoo. It would start out as little 4 inch scissors and then end up (when I'm 75) looking like gignormus cutting shears!!!

    Gertie, how do I politely ask to look at a tat? I saw this amazing tattoo on this girl at Disneyland last spring. I soooo wanted to look at it, but didn't know how to look without looking like I was just staring at her ,hum, attributes.

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  12. Of course, I think sewing tattoos are awesome. I considered getting scissors for a while, but I haven't come upon the right reference images. By the way, I'm in the same boat when people ask what my tattoos mean. I also think, even if they had some deeply personal meaning, I probably wouldn't admit it because who wants to discuss that with a total stranger (which is usually who asks).

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  13. The sewing theme tattoo is so amazing. It wouldn't be my choice for body art. My tastes would lean more towards the subtle and not so in your face. I'm with Cindy on it reminding me of the holiday sweaters. I don't do the holiday sweaters because they make me look like a granny. I don't want to look a granny even when I am a granny, which I guess I'm not too far away from being a granny since my two oldest are 21 and 16.

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  14. I have seen some really bad-ass sewing shear tattoos. I have a tattoo inspired by the pretty scrollwork decals decorating an early 20th century sewing machine in my collection. Not so much directly sewing related, but close to my heart all the same.

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  15. I love tattoos when they're on other people. Especially the gentlemen (supposed to be read in a similar voice as someone slightly creepy would say 'the ladies.') who're like, covered. I personally don't have any (and I'm the only person in my family who doesn't, I think.) but if I did, I could probably do a lot worse than a classy little needle and thread. Or maybe a slightly less classy threader. (I don't know why I think a threader would be less classy, but I do.)

    Garnet

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  16. I used to want a tattoo and now i don't know if i am that kind of girl. but after reading this post, if i did get one a sewing theme might be the way to go. I do like the scissors you posted and i like this button band "http://www.flickr.com/photos/imeanhoneybee/1582387147/in/pool-sewingtattoo"

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  17. Hmmm...never really thought about a sewing tattoo. Like you, if I got one it probably wouldn't have any particular meaning. You never know when you might change your mind about whatever it is you felt meaningful at the time. I do have to say I LOVE the corset string tattoos and piercings (on the back)I've seen. I would think it might be cool to have something like that (a zipper or a seam). The scissors were pretty too, but might not look as much like a sewing tattoo as it would symbolize some kind of weapon.

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  18. I love people's tatoos--the good ones truly are works of art. I myself am far too afraid of needles to go through with it all. If I did have the courage, I like the idea of a dress form. I like food tatoos too--so maybe a carrot.

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  19. I only have one so far but its a larger low back piece. I have a few more ideas in my brain, but never any money to save for them! I quite love the phrase "A stitch in time saves nine" and may get that along with some kind of sewing implement one day.
    Excited to see what you got though :D

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  20. My arms are covered! I would love to get a sewing tat! I have not come up with the right thing yet. I do like the idea of needle and thread, but I think it would be cool to make it look like the needle is sewing through your skin!- Backseat Betty

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  21. I would absolutely get a sewing related tattoo if I found one that I loved. In fact, I have a tattoo on my ankle that I don't like and would cover it up in a second if I found a cool sewing tattoo that would cover it. I've always wanted a tattoo of medusa...maybe I should get a tattoo of medusa using a sewing machine??? Hey, y'know, that's kind of a great idea...!

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  22. I would have said no, then I saw the button cuff that Amy linked to and this adorable tape measure bow from the same pool.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oztheawesomewarewolf/2324104659/in/pool-sewingtattoo

    So I guess my answer now is... maybe? I would consider something like the button cuff because it's got a strong graphic appeal and doesn't feel so theme-y. And definitely no scissors near my neck because the thought of it freaks me out!

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  23. I love and have many tattoos, but I'm so new to sewing I don't think I would consider one! While I'm with you in that tattoos don't have to be meaning, I think the people who have or want to get sewing tattoos are the people who have been sewing for a long time or started during a very formative period, or something.

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  24. I would definitely consider it. I've seen some gorgeous crafty tattoos. Not sewing related, but one that sticks in my mind is a pinup girl sitting on a ball of yarn and she's knitting something. It was super cute and probably on flickr somewhere.

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  25. I really like this one from the Flickr pool: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftybahee/3986184348/in/set-72157621528942826/

    Hard to choose -- there are so many great ones there!

    As for me? I'm so indecisive (and a bit of a chicken) that I don't know if I'll ever get a tattoo, although I love how they look. If I got a sewing related one, it would have to be inspired by vintage pattern art, since I love it so much. I have fashion illustrations that my grandmother did when she was in design school in the 30s, and I would use one of those -- she meant so much to me, and she (and all of the women in my family) are so much a part of the reason that I sew.

    Amy, for your Medusa you could use zippers as hair -- mixed in with the snakes, perhaps!

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  26. My friend has a cool little rosette made from a tape leasure tattooed on her (if that makes sense) like the brooches that Tatty Devine did a while back. Its really lovely and I know people that get things just beacuse their pretty and also because they mean something. All the people I know with sewing related tattoos do have some kind of connection with sewing/textiles though. xxx

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  27. I loved the tatoos on the link you posted. Those girls all look so badass yet under their clothes you find that their hobby is something so very girly! I have a tat and I am pierced and I love surprising people that only see me as bookish Accountant Jill.

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  28. I think a sewing themed tattoo is a really cute idea! I wouldn't be opposed to getting a pin cushion one on my bum! It would kind of be an appropriate placement right?!

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  29. Sewing themed tat? Yes, please.

    After her passing, I inherited my Grammie's old machine. Inside her drawers were sewing treasures from 40's, 50's & 60's. (no patterns unfortunately)

    I want to have one of her wooden spools of thread on my inner wrist w/ a needle tucked in. So I can always see it, and be reminded of her.

    Sadly, my mum despises the ink I have and threatens hari kari if I add more. What to do? What to do?

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  30. I'm not a tatt girl (although I've thought about it...) but I'm really drawn to the very simple thread&needle tatts that are fairly subtle. I like the way they can wend around the body, and the way some people have a needle 'poking through the skin'. It's cool art.

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  31. Hmmmm... I have never considered I could get a tattoo. I find tattooed gals unspeakably cool and awesome. That's why I could never picture myself with a tattoo. I am not cool. I am a bit of a goody-two-shoes. BUT for some reason I would feel totally comfortable with a sewing-themed tattoo. I could picture myself with the Girl Guide merit patch for sewing tattooed on my upper arm.

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  32. I've always wanted a tattoo but could never really decide on one. I gather that once you start, it becomes less important, but for the first...I gotta be sure!

    That said, I've thought for a long time about adapting some blackwork embroidery into a tattoo. I love that with simple lines, you can depict complicated textures. (In general, I prefer plain black tattoos rather than ones with lots and lots of colour).

    Here's an example of blackwork if you're not familiar with it (the horse is a little cheesy but it's a good example of creating shading with pattern)

    http://www.berlinembroidery.com/horsehaflinger.htm

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  33. I have a few tattoos but although not sewing related, I have the words 'warp' and 'weft' on my wrists due to my tapestry weaving... but they also relate to my sewing passion.

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  34. I love this post. You wouldn't believe how many times I've read your posts and thought to myself, 'oh my gosh, I feel the exact same way!' I don't really get tattoo's because they have significance per say, but that doesn't mean I put zero thought into them and just walk in the parlor and point. I usually mull about it for a year before I commit.
    My most recent tattoo I got last spring, and it's a small vintage sewing machine on my wrist, black and gray. I got it because I love the silhouette of old machines, I love that it's vintage, I love sewing...and heck, I just like looking at it, plain and simple. Looking at all the other gorgeous sewing tattoo's, it just inspires me to get more!

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  35. i've been itching to get another tattoo and i was just having this same conversation with my momma! i'm majoring in costume design so sewing is kind of my life and it would seem appropriate to get a sewing themed tattoo but i can't think of anything sewing related that would be aesthetically pleasing. except maybe my little heron embroidery scissors. but i already have a bird tattoo. hmmmm

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  36. Cindy, I love your comparison to holiday theme sweaters! That would have scarred me too.

    Lisa, you asked how to politely ask to see someone's ink . . . Great question! I can only speak for myself and say that if it's something you wouldn't say something about a strangers's haircut or handbag, then probably don't say it about their tattoo. In other words: "where did you get that great handbag/haircut/tattoo?" is totally acceptable, as is "I love your handbag/haircut/tattoo!" But "Can I look at your handbag/haircut/tattoo?" would feel a little strange to say. That's just my suggestion for tattoo etiquette. Anyone else have advice for Lisa?

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  38. Wow! What a fabulous tatoo! I don't have any, but I can appreciate the art.

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  39. i got a sewing machine tattoo over summer. i love sewing and its such a big part of my life that it seemed obvious. it causes a fun ruckus when i got to the fabric store! http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookoorikoo/3847004018/

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  40. If I was going to get a sewing tattoo (I have no tattoos) I think that scissors would definitely be high on my list. I think that work in progress is pretty cool. I like the flowers and the fanciness of the scissors. Also, there is something kinda sexy and dangerous about scissors.... yup. Scissors. On the back of my arm probably.

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  41. Last year I saw a girl working ina cafe who had an amazing tattoo of a needle and thread on her decolletage, which looped about as if it was piercing her skin. It was so simple but looked incredible, I was really jealous that I hadn't thought of it first! I have three tattoos and have plans for many more, like you I tend to see them a decoration, but I do like to get them done at significant times (graduation day, just before I moved to a different country etc.). The sewing tattoos that are a little more abstract, a little less figurative, appeal to me alot. I love one of the other commenters idea of using vintage pattern illustrations, could be a quirky spin on a pin-up girl design! Can't wait to see your new tattoo!

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  42. Not only WOULD I have a sewing tatt, I DO have one! :D

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s281/redclix/DSC06524.jpg

    I love love love dress forms. :D

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  43. I'm a tattoo artist and I've done some tattoo designs which are sweing themed. You can see them at
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybuick/3600728663/

    Love your blog!

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  44. Sunny, your work is absolutely amazing!!! May I ask where you work from? Do you ever come to NYC? :)

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  45. I tattoo sometimes at Daredevil Tattoo on Ludlow street but I'm liking New Jersey more and more. I tattoo at Electric Tattoo in Bradley Beach. I don't know when I'll be there again, but I could let you know!

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  46. Sunny, please do let me know! I'd be a guaranteed client. :)

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  47. EmilyKate - I love that Girl Guide badge idea!!

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  48. im actually about to get a sewing-themed tattoo... its going to have a spool of thread, the thread is going to wrap around my wrist like it's sewing my hand on and then the thread will bow and at the end of the thread will be a needle.... im very excited!

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  49. I just finished a sewing themed half sleeve. I thought about it for a good year before doing so. I work in the apparel industry as a technical designer and also have a clothing line (night job). I feel like I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve because I love what I do so much, and am proud of the things I make.
    P.S. Love your blog! My friend just sent it to me.

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  50. YES I WOULD! My tattoos all have some kind of meaning for me and cannot believe how addictive they are. I have drawn all of my tattoos and don't think I could put something that wasn't drawn by me on my body. I almost walked out from my last tattoo when the artist gave me the drawing he made, which was COMPLETELY different from the sketch I had given him. He said he wouldn't do my idea, I told him I wasn't getting a naked hooker on my arm! He quickly changed the sketch back to my idea.

    I think a sewing tattoo is in order for my next one...Cheers!

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  51. I have been sewing since I was 10 and it runs in the family. I plan on getting a huge collage on my thigh of a vintage sewing machine, a dress form, pins, needles and spools of thread and of course measuring tape.

    I also have half of my head shaved and I want to tattoo thread and needle on the part that is shaved and look as if my head is stitched up.

    I am gonna draw this up myself soon! I cant wait

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  52. No Tattos; each to their own; I prefer my skin (every inch of it) pale white, very clear, and unmarked. I prefer my skin not to clash with my clothing. I'm also thinking of trying to look elegant; and hope to wear my skin beautiful well into old age.

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  53. I would get a sewing tattoo. I love sewing and tattoos. Tattoos are a personal decision. Putting something on your skin that's gonna be there for the rest of your life is something that takes balls. might as well put what you love.Your go girl or boy!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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