“Are you going to wear French fries ???? ?” “No, they’re straws”
“Oh! Well, ok…”
That was the conversation with my mister when the fabric arrived. On that basis I reckon the dress qualifies for #smyly (the acronym rather than the meaning behind it), because, well, I’m a kid wearing chips!
I made this for an upcoming holiday – not that I needed another summer dress – because the child in me really wanted to feel as young and free as little mister (who has a matching outfit). I braved the cold for the photos but chopped off the ridiculous black uggs I’m wearing to prevent frostbite.
On a slightly more serious note, I have been thoroughly moved by so many stories posted as part of #smyly2018. Call me cheesy but my overwhelming thought after an evening of reading the posts with the hashtag was
Everyone has a story and it all matters.
My life has been pretty smooth sailing, so much so that I feel guilty making any complaints. Of course there have been bumps along the way but it has mostly turned out ok in the end. In recent years sewing has had a lot to do with that.
Sewing is my only hobby that stuck
The reason I started sewing was because I moved countries and didn’t have my mum to hem my trousers anymore. My ex husband bought a £30 machine from Argos, but I got interested in using it anyway. I joined a class in 2012 and haven’t stopped since.
Sewing is special to me because it is the only hobby that has stuck. When I was a kid I studied the piano for 15 years, practising up to 3-4 hours a day in my teens. That felt pretty hardcore and I stopped when I realised there was no point for me to go to music college. Even with all the work I lacked the drive, passion and ultimately the talent to be a concert pianist and I didn’t want to be constantly teaching to pay the bills. But I have itchy fingers and since university I have tried and failed to stick to so many things. Gardening, snooker, cake decorating, cycling, drawing, scuba diving, just to name a few. But I’ve never been able to get past the beginner/intermediate stage of any of these, until I started sewing. Sewing hits my sweet spot, it’s a little creative, a little technical, needs a certain a level of accuracy and I get something to wear when I’m done.
Sewing gave me a social life. When I moved to the UK I had a grand total of 2 friends from home. Unlike my old job, my new colleagues weren’t really in my age group / stage of life, and most commuted into London everyday. Fortunately though, I stumbled upon Sew Over It when I lived in South London and found a whole new world. Then last year I discovered Instagram and blogging, and another world opened up to me! I would never have dreamed of meeting so many virtual (and in life) friends otherwise.
Sewing in a time of need
But how sewing really saved me was by being the constant in all times of need and change. It’s seen me through the insanity of a marriage breakup, a new partner, a baby now 18 months, and numerous house moves.
When I was feeling bleak, I could look at a beautiful fabric and think how I could maybe feel more normal again if I made something. When I needed to drown out the depressing thoughts in my head, the whirring of the machine and overlocker was noisy enough. When I wanted to break something, I cut up fabric instead. When I needed to escape, I focussed completely on sewing and only sewing.
Happily those tumultuous years are over, though honestly I would still rather not think too much about them. Some might say that means that I never made peace with it the situation. Maybe that’s true, but I can’t turn the clock back and undo or take back anything I said. So in my mind better to let go.
Anyway, today I still retain sewing as my happy place and something which calms me down at the end of the day. These days with Instagram I have virtual friends and being a part of the sewing community means I have connected with so many people I would never have otherwise met.
Finally, to end of a positive note – I always wanted to do something a bit more value adding (either socially or environmentally) than just my corporate day job. I am so pleased that sewing even lets me do that! If you are reading this or have read anything else on my blog I want to give you a massive shoutout! Still I can’t believe that there are people who actually want to read my posts about sustainability and it makes it feel so worthwhile. I do a happy dance every time a comment arrives and an even bigger one when I see someone subscribe.
My #smyly dress
So here’s the facts about my dress which makes me feel #smyly :
- Fabric: kids organic cotton jersey manufactured by Papu Stories and sold via Faberwood. 1m total, 160cm wide. By the way they are meant to be straws!
- Pattern: Cassandra dress by Valentine and Stitch. Dress has been shortened by a few inches to fit into 1m, and sleeves are also short for that reason.
Thank you for indulging me with this mental health type post – your support and time is definitely appreciated!