Sewing makes you love yourself

Sewing makes you love yourself #SMYLY comes from Hattie_Van_Der_Krohn, Athinakakou and Lisakisch. A sewing movement to promote body and mind positivity.

I’ve been struggling with my mental health recently. I had a lot of anxiety when I was younger but I seemed to cope better as I got older. In fact I didn’t actually know it was called anxiety until teaching a mental health unit, I thought that would everyone worried like I do. Thankfully I don’t worry as much but the feelings of anxiety have been getting worse.

Work has been really stressful lately, more stressful than it’s ever been before and I’ve been struggling to cope. It’s been hard to put my finger on exactly what’s causing the stress but I feel like it’s a lot of little things adding up that are causing that big black cloud above my head.

I feel that it’s important to talk about this especially in the world of social media and heavily filtered lives. #itsokaynottobeokay

It got to the point where I was seriously considering taking time off but I made it to christmas, had a few days off with Emily back in nursery and felt refreshed. Part of that comes from sewing. When I sew I block out the entire world. I put something on Netflix (was the crown, currently Riverdale) and get lost. Sewing feels like a gift to myself. A gift of time, a gift of self love (not like that) and above all mindfulness. It helps me to reset and clear my mind of all the crap that builds up.

I was teaching about mental health and we were discussing the different definitions of abnormality. Sewing your own clothes is abnormal, it goes against societies norms and values. However it’s not harming anyone (including myself) and therefore would not be classed as a mental illness. One of my students commented that she didn’t know how I could be bothered to sew all my own clothes. I just smiled at her because for me it’s not just a wardrobe requirement, it’s a necessity.

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Making Christmas presents (or presents in general)

(This is a long ass post, get yourself a cup of tea and get comfy!). Also if you’re my mum, dad or sister do not read!! These are your Christmas presents that still haven’t arrived….

If you know me at all you know that I do not make anything for anyone! Gary’s been asking for something handmade for yeeears and I’m still yet to make Emily anything. When I first started sewing and before that, crochet, I used to make presents for all my friends and family. I quickly stopped when the effort I put in didn’t equal the reaction received. You know the, oh thanks, and then to add insult to injury you’d never see it again! My gran actually gave me back the quilt that I spent 8 months carefully hand-sewing.

Also I felt a bit embarrassed giving handmade gifts because my skills just weren’t up to scratch. Let’s be honest it looked a little Becky Homeecky.

Fast forward 4 years and I’ve started making gifts only for those who request it. This year it was my mum who asked for something I’d made. She loves my handmade gifts because she’s also a maker and knows the time/effort/money that goes into making something.

It got me thinking, I’ve got a shed load of fabric that needs using and it wouldn’t take me long to make some presents. I decided to make my mum a Hemlock and my sister too after perusing my stash. I chose the hemlock because it’s supposed to be oversized and therefore fit wasn’t an issue. The pink jersey was from Backstitch and the jersey from Fabworks. Both fabrics bought before I decided what I would make before buying (I find it’s more likely to get used this way!).

My sister has 2 babies under two and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to make for them too…. Then Thread Theory posted about a wallet pattern and bam! I’m making for my whole family in Canada.

I took advantage of the Black Friday sales and purchased a load of PDFs on sale. I bought the Wiksten Harem pants, the thread theory bifold wallet pattern and the Brindille and Twig romper. The harem pants fabric was leftover from the Valley blouse I made (unblogged).

I asked my sister what colours she liked the babies in and specifically requested pink for my niece. I didn’t have anything in my stash and so bought some spotty jersey from Guthrie Ghani (who didn’t have a sale on. Wahhh). The snaps were in my stash and originally from eBay.

Kids clothes are surprisingly addictive to make! I cut the fabric in one evening and in another sewed both the pants and the romper up (in less than 2 hours!). Even though the harem pants are French seamed they still sewed up quicker than an episode of Outlander. This makes the effort of making much less and so I’ll be less offended if I never see it again!

For the wallets I bought a metre of fake leather. I’m not averse to buying leather projects but the thought of buying a hide and handling it grossed me out a little. Not to mention leather is crazy expensive.

This wallet very nearly didn’t get made. This was the THIRD attempt. So much for making one for every male in my general vicinity. The fabric I bought is very, um, springy and it made making the wallet difficult. The first attempt I used two layers of the “leather” and it was far too thick and wouldn’t lie flat. The second attempt I used yet more scraps from my Valley blouse. The stitching was uneven and looked too homemade to even think about gifting it.

I actually gave up at this point and asked my dad what he would like. My poor brother in law will just be getting a voucher as having family in Canada means I have to send the parcels off ASAP and I’d already missed my personal deadline.

Anyway third time lucky – I used my walking foot, put the machine on the slowest speed and pressed the hell out of the wallet. I used some scraps from my coat lining for the inner.

Sorry for the bad lighting I was just so pleased to finally finish it!

I also made Gary a wallet to stop him asking for something handmade!

The last thing I made was an Ogden cami for my friend Lisa. She’s already had a handmade kimono and specifically requested another handmade present so I bought the cami pattern during Black Friday and used a metre of viscose I had in my stash.

phew! Well done if you made it to the end. I’ve never made so many presents before but I really enjoyed it this year.

I’m even planning on making Gary a shirt for his birthday! Who even am I!?