25 May 2010

Let's make a mix tape!

Recently Alela Diane's album 'To Be Still' has been playing on repeat on my stereo. Apart from the beauty of the music itself, I realised that my obsession might be something to do with the sewing imagery in her lyrics:

The strong spines of valley hills all overgrown in gold
Look softer than a spool of old silk thread
['Grass and Shadows']

I think about the ladies who weren't allowed to sing
Sewing all their pretty rows of thread instead of seed
['The Alder Trees']

Tatted lace frail figure graced
That has since been torn and stained
And put so far away
Oh! So far away
['Tatted Lace']

Mary Van Note posted a comment on one of my previous posts that cited Alela Diane as its soundtrack, saying that she was also listening to Alela Diane as she read it. We got talking by email and I asked her if she could think of any other contemporary songs with sewing imagery in them. She mentioned Joanna Newsom (another musical love of mine, and I believe she's pals with Alela Diane...?), in particular 'Sawdust and Diamonds' which references crafting (or maybe taxidermy?!):

And the little white dove
Made with love, made with love
Made with glue and a glove and some pliers

Maybe we could put our heads together to compile a sewing mix tape! The blogosphere has connected me with lovely, creative people from all over the world, none of whome I've ever met, all with the same passion - wouldn't it be great to all be stitching to the same soundtrack (wearing our sewing machine necklaces!)?.

There seem to be lots of old blues and folk songs about the hardship of working in clothes factories or old grannies burdened with darning socks, but I think we should skip those (unless you know one with a particularly rockin tune or amazing lyrics) in favour of contemporary songs, and preferably stick to songs which have a more positive take on sewing. Or crafting.

Submissions, please!


  1. You're a genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hmm, got my thinking cap on. If I think of a track, you'll be the first to know.

    problem is I mainly listen to hiphop, not a likely source of sewing based lyrics.


  2. How about Buttons by Josh Pyke? http://friendsofjoshpyke.com/?page_id=115

    OH and 'Walking the Dog' mentions 'she broke the needle and she can't sew"

    I'll keep thinking....

  3. This is a fun idea! But I can't think of any sewing songs myself...hmmmm...I'll be thinking about it.

  4. I got here from Wardrobe Refashion. How about "All My Love" by Led Zeppelin?

  5. I also saw this via Wardrobe Refashion-- how about "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap? Not really a song about sewing, but the chorus does mention sewing machines! http://www.last.fm/music/Imogen+Heap/_/Hide+and+Seek

  6. I love this. How about "Soulful Shade of Blue"? I believe it is by Buffy St. Marie but Neko Case's more modern performance of it is my favourite. It's sung to a dressmaker to make this gal a dress in the most "
    soulful shade of blue with a ribbon at the hem" because "I'm singing at the hall/next Saturday/and he'll be there"


    by the way, thanks for introducing me to Alela Diane!

  7. Fab idea for music to sew by...only song that springs to mind is 'Baleeri baloo' by Karine Polwart;it goes 'I know the warp of a thread.Of fibre and filaments silver and red...' but it may be to folky for your taste.xhave a listen away my web thread chum.xx love MelBeex

  8. "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" cannot mend this heart of mine, but I dare not drown my sorrow in the warm glow of your wine.

  9. a song by bart davenport mentions a girl that hes in love with- something about a girl making dress, wearing them until she gets tired of them, "then she's going to make a few more..." eeek. i have to get the lyrics right. i think the song is called lil' bunny- but i should probabaly make sure... it's a sweet and happy song. :)

  10. I recommend:

    "Paper Trails" by Emmy the Great. She has a line about sewing needles and a ball of string.

    And also "Honed, Hemmed In" by Diane Cluck, for the hem reference..

    Amandine has a song called 'Stitches', though I think it's about the medical stitches and not the sewing ones.

    Same goes for 'Stitched to My Heart' by the Black Heart Procession.

    'Needle in the Hay' by Elliott Smith. Needles in haystacks are usually sewing needles, I believe.

    And Owl City with the song 'Hot Air Balloon' where he says: "We wrote a prelude, to our own fairy tale
    and bought a parachute, at a church rummage sale
    and with a 'mean' sewing machine, and miles of thread
    we sowed the day above LA in navy and red"

  11. I copied those lyrics, by the way, and know 'sewed' is spelled wrong. ^.^

  12. Material girl - Madonna
    Sewing machine - Jason Mraz
    Details in Fabric - Jason Mraz
    Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap
    The sewing Machine - Betty hutton (1947 lol)

  13. HI! Great topic, as I am a musicologist and sewing fanatic, I probably will obsess about this topic all day;-).

    What about "Tapestry" by Carol King, not really sewing, but great and crafty lyrics anyway.

  14. I have got one more: Dolly Parton - Coat of Many Colors

  15. Buffy Sainte-Marie — Little Wheel, Spin and Spin

    It's a relentless and strangely moving song - so maybe not for the mix, but an impressive song of another, harder time perhaps.


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