It’s been about a year since I got back into sewing (for, like, the 20th time in my life because always REASONS…). This time, it was pregnancy (OMGexhausted for nine months) and recovery and motherhood that put the brakes on my creativity.
Finally, about a year ago, I had a baby who would nap in her crib instead of only on me or in a moving stroller, and I was determined to do something for myself, for what felt like the first time in months. I unearthed my sewing machine from behind boxes of breast pump supplies, already-outgrown newborn clothes, and detritus from a career that already seemed like a lifetime ago.
I started slow and with low expectations, but was soon spending every naptime moment I could snatch cutting, pinning, pressing, and sewing. I don’t think I can accurately describe how much empowerment I got from returning to my sanctuary in sewing. I stitched up more than I could reasonably wear, and gleefully photographed everything along the way, thrilled that I could feel like ME again — not just a walking milk source, or a glassy-eyed zombie or a scared and lonely new mother.
Sewing provided so many of the things I needed: control, creativity, personal autonomy, a feeling of progress and completion, and a way to measure success outside of salary or ounces of milk produced.
I sometimes struggle with the feeling that I shouldn’t spend so much mental energy thinking about, when it all boils down… clothes. Like, shouldn’t I be solving the world’s problems, or pondering life’s larger questions? But regardless of how much time I spent planning, scheming and designing and generally thinking about… clothes…. the true result of my year of sewing was a return to myself, stitch by stitch.
I remember the feeling of greed I had for months after dragging my old Kenmore clunker out — greed for more time to sew, more energy to create — and I recognize that feeling in retrospect as a craving for balance, for a space for me as just myself, and not a mother or wife or patient. Thinking about sewing wasn’t just thinking about… clothes… it was claiming space for myself, both in the physical world and in my own mind.
It’s been an amazing year of sewing — by far, the best I’ve ever had. I sewed more, challenged myself more, tried more fabrics, and absolutely upped my game. The intense need to sew as a therapeutic salvo has quieted, but the thrill of starting every new project remains.
I meant to just write a year-end review (as you do in the sewing interwebs, right?), but there’s not a single garment I made that means more to me than the overall experience of finding joy in creating after months of crushing doubt and struggle.
I wish such an experience for anyone this year who needs it, for whatever reasons. Sew and create and dream and heal and grow.