So, why sew?


Hello!  Hope your week is going well?

    Mine has in some ways improved enormously: I don’t have to go to work for nearly 3 weeks and 2 of those will be spent at Walt Disney World in Florida with all of my family, children and parents.
    On the one hand this is obviously incredible. Finally some sun plus, hopefully, some pretty amazing memories to balance out the inevitable tantrums (ours and the children’s!)

    On the other hand, I’ve found myself feeling increasingly anxious about spending 2 weeks with absolutely no chance of any sewing time whatsoever. I’m really feeling quite unhappy and nervous about this which has kind of taken me by surprise.

    And it’s got me thinking a little more carefully than usual about sewing and why I do it.

    The fastest answer is, I love new clothes. Always have, always will. I’ve found myself increasingly unhappy with the quality and style of things in high street shops for some time and, whilst I really can’t for see a time when I don’t shop for clothes, I certainly feel good wearing something I’ve made and getting compliments. 

    I’m not the world’s most confident person by a long stretch and have always struggled with how I look so the crutch of clothes I feel good in is invaluable.

    But I’ve just spent the last few weeks in a proper sewing frenzy,resulting in a suitcase more heavily laden with handmade clothes than bought ones (let’s not discuss shoes!) So I am definitely not in need of anything for the next fortnight which I don’t already have, even though there are things on the to do list which just didn’t get done in time.

    So that’s not the reason behind my anxiety then, is it?

    I think it’s fair to say that over the last year or so, I’ve been finding life harder to cope with. There have been many changes, many crises large and small and many things going wrong all at once. Now don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the many good things I have and the support I’m fortunate to get from family. There are many worse off than I. But between one child’s behaviour issues, repetitive illness leading up to another surgery,settling into school for the first time, car crashes, severe migraines followed by severe mental side effects of the migraine medication, a very timetabled life, the general  chaos of 2 small girls and declining health elsewhere in the family, I have been struggling.

    Sewing has become my escape.

    I’ve read quite widely about this recently.  There’s a general acceptance that activities like sewing which focus the mind and hands leads to a calmer state of mind. 

    I can relate. I’m writing this several thousand feet up in the air on the aeroplane and even here,where there is nothing else useful I could be doing, I can’t just sit and watch a film. Somewhere over the years of motherhood, I have lost the ability to just. Sit. Down.

    And so I sew. And the worse my day, the stronger my need to sew.

    I may be addicted?

    Thankfully I have an understanding husband who recognises how hard I’m trying to keep everything together and bears with me most of the time.

    When I sew,my mind slowly turns off. I stop turning things over and over in my head, finding the points in the day where I said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing, upset someone, upset myself, committed to something I don’t know whether I can deliver, scarred my children for life in some way, offended my parents, didn’t get in touch with a friend….. it all drifts away and I can rest.

    There’s also the social / instant ego boost side of things from the online community. I love Instagram. I love commenting, discussing, gathering likes, collecting followers. I’m blown away that this week I topped 1,000 followers. I mean, seriously? How? The feeling of there being people who are even a little bit interested in what I’m posting is slightly surreal, if in a good way.

    So. How will I cope with 2 weeks away from my mental crutch? And will it be good for me to take a break from the constant, self imposed pressure to sew more, finish faster, get to the next project, use the pretty fabric, make it fit better….?

    See you on the other side.

    Becca x

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    18 thoughts on “So, why sew?

    1. Such an open and honest post. It is so good that sewing has become such a good release for you, and you have such wonderful outfits to show for it. Hope you have a fantastic holiday and enjoy the time off! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Enjoy your holidays, sounds exciting!! I would say it sounds like you need a proper holiday with no pressure, self-imposed or otherwise. However I also know what you mean though about missing sewing, in fact I took handsewing on both my recent holidays. To Spain I took a Brumby skirt which I needed to finish hand-sewing the waistband on then to Scotland I took a baby quilt that needed binding. I have to say I really enjoyed still having something creative to do so I do understand where you’re coming from. It is calming, and I think so much of what you do everyday as a mum is hard to quantify or see that the act of sewing and creating something is very calming and cathartic.
      I hope you enjoy your break, and maybe some sewing related activities – like planning future makes, maybe even some fabric shopping?! – could be undertaken if you’re really missing it!

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    3. Hope you all have a fabby holiday. When I came back this year from 10 days away I forced myself to learn to knit socks. Satisfying and portable. I can’t sit anymore either. Don’t forget the IG location photos K xXx

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    4. Enjoy your vacation! I totally agree that sewing helps me forget about life’s worries. You will so enjoy being away from work for almost 3 weeks. I took a roadtrip across the US a few years ago and was out of the office for about the same amount of time. It did wonders for my mental health! And I’m super jealous if you are going to the Harry Potter park! I need to make it down there one of these years.

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    5. Great post! I’ve just done my 2 weeks away from the machine cold turkey! I really missed sewing but it gave me some time to do some planning and thinking about what I want to sew for the rest of the year. Totally agree with you about beating stress with sewing, I had a tough health year and sewing has nursed me back to health both physically and mentally. Have a great holiday πŸ€—

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      1. Sorry you’ve been having a tough time too, I think sewing seems to help a lot of us through the tougher times. It’s a case of finding what works for you, I guess: bonus for us is a better wardrobe and a calmer mind! X

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    6. What a wonderful post. I’m sorry to hear of your difficulties and wish you all the best. The joys of motherhood, and just life in general come with so many caveats, don’t they. Enjoy your time away with no guilt, and know that you’re in good company! πŸ˜‰ (During my years raising children I was away from sewing altogether, I’m sure it would have made a huge difference.) You’ve made some very lovely outfits, keep on stitching on!!

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    7. Great post Becca. I also have found sewing gives me rest and a sense of achievement that is frequently missing in life with small children! I can’t seem to just sit!! Even when I’m supposed to be having a night off watching a film with the hubby I have to have my hands busy with something…

      It sounds as though you massively need this break with the family and I really hope you get to relax and enjoy so that you’re re-energised to tackle that (ever growing!) project list once you get home. Enjoy wearing all those lovely hand crafted clothes!

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    8. Thanks for posting this Becca, it really made me think about the why. My initial reaction was I dont need to, I like to… but when I thought some more, and read through your post, I realised that it brings lots of benefits to my life. And I have to agree, if I was faced with not sewing for two weeks I would struggle with this too. You have inspired me to write my own blog post around this topic, thanks for inspiring me, I will of course link to your post πŸ™‚

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    9. First of all: enjoy your holiday with all of your family and the children and for being so honest. We are on holiday too. I’ve a sketchbook and a notebook with me. Whenever I’ve an idea I’ll write it down or make a sketch. And life is so easy with my phone at hand I can photo’s of interesting garments in the shop windows. I’m also searching for sewing patterns, sewing magazines and fabrics in the shops (my souvenirs).

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