Joining the slow sewing revolution

I experienced something unusual this weekend. I found myself at home with a lot of free time on both Saturday and Sunday… and I didn’t want to sew.

At one point I actually got my sewing machine out and then instantly put it away again. I just could not be bothered.

I know, right!? This has never happened to me before.

I thought perhaps I might be starting to feel a little depressed. Many people claim that sewing and other stitch based crafts can help their mental health. And there has been a significant amount of research in the last few years on mental health wellbeing and craft.

“The emotional and educational value of stitch based crafts’ was the title of my undergraduate research project in 2010 and, as someone who has been prone to episodes of depression and anxiety since childhood, it is area to which I feel a strong connection.

 

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Missing: Sewing mojo
I know lots of people feel that sewing and other crafts can help them cope with mental illness. With me, one of the warning signs is that I no longer gain enjoyment from the things I normally love, including sewing.

But in this case, thankfully, I don’t think that I am depressed and I don’t even think that I have lost my sewing mojo (I am not calling it a sew-jo, absolutely not!), I think what I am experiencing is complete and utter exhaustion.

I am experiencing burn out and when I feel like this I start questioning myself, my choices and my reasons for doing things. My lack of enthusiasm for sewing at the weekend gave me a chance to step away from everything and ask some questions about my sewing and why it was not, at that particular moment, making me happy.

1. I have a wardrobe full of clothes – why am I making more? It sometimes feels like I am churning out outfit after outfit without giving it much thought.

2. I have loads of patterns that I have never made – why am I constantly buying new releases?

3. I have a sizeable fabric stash – why do I feel the need to scour websites daily looking for fabric bargains.

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Daphne guards some of the fabric stash (Any excuse to post photos of my cats)
I decided that I don’t want to be creating a wardrobe of disposable fashion items made of cheap fabrics that are rarely worn and, gulp, thrown away. That’s not how I shop for ready-to -wear garments so it makes little sense that my sewing is like this.

I want to make fewer garments, from better quality fabrics. I want to really take my time on the fit and finish of the garment so that it is perfect in every way. I want to take my time choosing patterns rather than be influenced by latest indie releases that might not suit me. I might even stop using patterns all together and start drafting my own designs – something I have not done since I was in my teens.

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My most recent ‘speedy’ make, a Deer & Doe Hoya
So it might mean that I make just a handful of garments in a year and, once I’ve worked through my backlog of posts,  you won’t see as many makes on this blog. But that is OK. I’m still going to keep blogging each week (currently every Tuesday, FYI!) with tutorials and sewing related articles. I am a sewing teacher and a trained journalist – I’m sure I could find things to write about sewing every single day!

But for now I am slowing my sewing right down and I feel less exhausted already.

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14 comments

  1. It sounds like you have a plan and have really thought about it. I still have some big gaps in my wardrobe but I can see once I have a full wardrobe that I will slow down too. I love any kind of craft including crochet, felting, paper stuff etc but I think some of the reason I don’t have the ability to do nothing (which means I can’t watch films unless the light is on and I’m doing something, Hubby is not so keen!!) not sure why I’m like it but have stopped trying to fight it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Wendy, Daphne is adorable. I had two cats too- Titlee and Shonu. Titlee would usually assist me in my sewing quite faithfully, and Shonu at my study desk. I miss them.Someone very close to me told me a few weeks ago that i should stop sewing, one of the reasons I started a sewing blog- just to keep myself motivated and to fight my depression. it’s great to get acquainted with people like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been going through the same thing recently! Making fewer things but taking time on them, doing more complex details and finishes – things that I used to avoid before because they’d slow me down! I am now making a summer coat out of silk dupion off-cuts, so lots of panelling and detailing, and to combat the fraying I’m doing decorative stitches. I’ve been at it for two weekends now, and am only half way, while normally it would all be done and dusted in a weekend. But it is much better this way, I feel it is a lot more satisfying and hopefully the result will be worth keeping. πŸ™‚
    I can’t do nothing either! I’ve got emergency knitting in my bedside table draw for in front of the telly or if I wake up in the middle of the night. :-O

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Firstly, well done on recognising how you feel. I’m with you on this post 100% Especially as a blogger/instagramner it can sometimes feel you have to make in order to just produce content … but that’s not why we sew us it. I’m slowing down too for the same reasons. Statistics be damned at the end of the day taking care of ourselves is much more vital xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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