Top 5 Reflections of 2017

Top 5 
of 2017! (7)

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

  1. One of my goals last year was to be more badass, in my personal life and my sewing. To me, that meant asking for what I wanted, taking some risks, and doubting myself less. I’ve succeeded in some areas there (like making more experimental projects, even if they don’t always turn out, and putting myself out there in the sewing community a bit more). On the other hand, I’m not any braver about asking shops or pattern companies about collaborations, giveaways, or reviews, and that was something I meant to experiment with more.
  2. Sewing and blogging are stress-relief, and a source of stress. I’ve always known this about myself, but it has been particularly clear this year. I’ve got a tendency to double-down on things when I’m getting stressed, and channel my anxiety into even more side projects. That’s how the Better Pictures Project started (worried before a job interview), how I ended up at the CSC (burned out from Sewcialists), and how I ended up restarting the Sewcialists (burned out by the CSC FB community)! At some points this year, I felt like a major idiot for pouring hours of work into organising 3 posts a week for the Sewcialists and writing 2 posts a week for this blog, all the while having panic attacks about basic stuff in life!.My husband helped me remind me that my hobbies aren’t silly or a distraction though – they are a major part of how I define myself and what I like about myself. So, long story short, I’m back on anxiety meds after a brief stint years ago, and I’m hoping that I can spend more time enjoying my hobbies and less time obsessing about things outside my control!
  3. Guilt about sewing is bullshit. The topic of guilt comes up again and again in the sewing world online – guilt over our stashes, buying fabric, pattern hoarding, and guilt over sewing too much or not enough for ourselves or others. My friends, it is a waste of time. It’s one of those pressures we put entirely on ourselves, when we wouldn’t ever judge someone else as harshly. My husband spends more time and money on his hobbies than I do, and let me tell you, comic book shops are not full of people saying “I really shouldn’t buy another one until I get rid of the last thing I bought!” Let’s just enjoy our hobby, ok?
  4. The sewing community is absolutely amazing. I mean, we all knew this, right? But the supportiveness and positivity just blows my mind year after year. I’m so grateful that anyone reads my ramblings here, and the comments and pep talks really brighten my day! I love reading blogs and checking Instagram, and having such amazing online friends! Thank you.

I wasn’t sure what to say for my 5th reflection, so I asked my husband, and here’s what he said in a nutshell:

  • I’ve been more adventurous this year;
  • I still feel pressure around deadlines;
  • I’ve been trying new things and revisiting old hobbies and techniques (like sewing felt ornaments for the holidays, which was actually the first thing I posted 6 years ago!);
  • and moving my sewing room from a spare bedroom to the dining room downstairs was a great decision! It means I can hang out with Jamie while I sew, or sew while he sleeps in on the weekend, and I have plenty of space to spread out!

He knows me well! 

Overall, my sewing this year has been more of the same (basic knits in bright prints!) and I’m looking forward to continuing what I love in 2018! How about you?


31 thoughts on “Top 5 Reflections of 2017

  1. You’re bang on the money with all of that girl! I wonder if the self-imposed guilt is the result of our conditioning to being the all-nurturing, self-sacrificing mother figure? I have ALWAYS stood my ground on that, and worked hard at convincing myself I’m no use to anyone else unless I’m in a good place myself. A little self indulgence is VITAL. Now all my kids are grown and long flown, a LOT of self indulgence is vital to catch up!
    For many years I only ever bought exactly the yardage and habby for the latest pattern, then I started making costumes for amateur opera, and learned to start grabbing up useful oddments and remnants whenever I saw them at the market. When I started making clothes for others, I was EXTREMELY economical in my cutting out, and saved all sorts of remnants from that too.
    Then, a little financial freedom finally arrived, the online communities drew me in, and I discovered how to stash. Oh boy did I. Good job I’m also prolific in my sewing or we’d suffocate!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There’s something very liberating about having the economic freedom (and household space) to develop a good fabric stash! I love looking over my fabrics and feeling the sense of infinite possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. THis is why I’m enjoying making garments out of remnants from other projects- you really have to dig about and get inventive to match them up and fit all the bits on. Fun, and a great sense of virtue from making things from scrap!

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  2. I really appreciate your honesty! I certainly use my ‘crafting ‘ to help with stress in my life, but if I’m not careful, it does turn into a stress itself (or rather, I turn it into one!). You have an amazing husband!

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    1. Thank you! I figure we all have our own demons (small or large) around our hobbies, and calling them by name keeps them in check! 😉

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  3. I think this is my favorite of all your #sewingtops posts!! Everything you mention is absolutely spot on!
    I completely subscribe to the idea of letting go of the guilt (although a big stash does make me anxious for some reason), in my case it’s the guilt of dedicating so much time to sewing-related things that is the hardest…
    Enjoy the holidays!

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    1. I’m glad this post struck a chord! I never want to be one of those bloggers who makes life seem all perfect and shiny, so I like to keep it real!

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  4. I find the best way to de-anxiety about my stash is to draw/plan/organize it. I find things I forgot I had or realize are perfect for pattern X. It makes something guilty into joy and happiness for the future and present.
    (Hugs)

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    1. That sounds like a great strategy! I tend to feel the most stress when my stash is running low – like, “Agh, I only have 3 rayon knits I could make this top from!” My goal for 2018 is to keep my stash growing without feeling guilt for money spent!

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  5. I’m wishing you an anxiety-lite 2018, G. 🙂 I have every confidence that whatever you set your mind to you will achieve. Maybe just set your mind to relaxation (she says, not overly competent at that!) Kxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I think overall it’s been good to have a reality check about what my “normal” state of mind is… and satisfying to take some steps to get it back to a better place. I keep telling myself that I lived on 5 continents and now I get nervous for days about meeting people I like for coffee… I deserve a better, bigger life than that!

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  6. I am enjoying reading all of your year-end reflections. We ladies put too much pressure on ourselves, gee, give us a break! You are helping me to be a more interested in my own sewing growth and development! which after many years sewing, I was not brave enough to I made a #makenine plan on Instagram for the first time.

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    1. Oops: I accidentally pressed post when I was trying to edit…. I wanted to say that tackling new sewing skills and more involved patterns was something I avoided for decades. But the past few years I have (with the help of bloggers and online resources) learned so much about different techniques, fitting, etc. It can get stressful sometimes but it’s so great to be able to read about similar struggles by other sewists. Your husband is awesome! Mine is too. He calls it “Investing in our creativity.” When I focus on how good I feel when I am making something, money, time and sacrifices all make sense.

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    2. I really do think that guilt is a gendered social construct! One of the things I like about the sewing world in general is seeing women who take pride in their skills and invest in themselves! I hope that you enjoy your #makenine!

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  7. It is amazing how many people anxiety touches and if we’d admit it, we could rally around it. Remove the stigma. I took a year off sewing, for the most part anyway but I’m going to get back in this year with the cutest pillowcases. Not exactly difficult but I don’t care, it will be fun!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The sewing world is FULL of anxious introverts! So is my family, for that matter! 😉 I definitely agree that there is strength in honesty and power in numbers! I hope you enjoy getting back into sewing at whatever pace is right for you in 2018!

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  8. Don’t knock anxiety meds. The can help a lot. Once you get your pins in order and are feeling calm(er) you can try going off of them. If that doesn’t work, then you can go back on them.There is nothing wrong with being on a medicine that helps you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m definitely not knocking anxiety meds! many of my nearest and dearest live a much happier life because of them. It did throw me for a bit of a loop realising that I might need them again, but that’s more because I’m wickedly stubborn and don’t like asking for help. So far, i’m definitely feeling better!

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  9. I think there are lots of us who enjoy all your posts, ideas and reflections, but maybe we have, in some ways, been a collective demand on your time, by cheering you on with your enthusiasms? Hope the coming year brings a calm aura and lots of fun!

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    1. Oh goodness, I get so much joy out of this blog and the sewing community, so please don’t think that it’s anything negative! Feeling stress about sewing is more of a bellweather of how I’m really feeling, and an indicator to myself of how and when I manage stress! 🙂

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  10. I can empathise with the anxiety and am sorry to hear that you have been bothered by it. Glad that you have a good support network around you. Hubby sounds great and sewing with company will be brilliant! Sorry to hear that you get stressed out by blogging. You really have set yourself a punishing posting schedule. I can really relate to saying about things out of your control. Nine times out of ten I start doing things and get waylaid by work, then I get really anxious as I haven’t blogged in ages. It is so silly. I never ever get anxious about buying fabric or sewing related things though. I don’t go out, don’t buy RTW much, have a pretty frugal lifestyle and not too bad a job. I work bloody hard and always try to buy myself something sewing related every month as it is my reward to myself even if it is just a vintage pattern or two. Thank you for everything in 2017 and I am looking forward to seeing more fabulous colour in the New Year. Xx

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    1. Thank you SO MUCH for all of your excellent comments over the year! I really appreciate it! I hope you have a really wonderful 2018! ❤

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  11. Happy New Year, Gillian! Thank you for your always-thoughtful blog posts this year. On blog-related stress, I’m in the process of tearing up my blogging schedule. For me, those looming deadlines create stress, doubts about the quality of my content, and a rebellious streak I can’t seem to suppress! I’ve had to learn not to go against my gut feeling too often and to organise my life so that my ‘should do’ list is as short as possible. Several of my family members struggle with anxiety in different ways, so I hope you’re getting the support you need from your family and friends. And if you need any more, then we’re here for you too!

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  12. Thank you so much for writing about the GUILT around sewing. Why do we do that? I totally do that! I tend to procrastinate and put pressure on myself to make certain things for other people and feel guilt/pressure/anxiety about the project which gets worse the closer I get to finishing. I also feel guilt about not sewing enough when I have all these beautiful patterns and fabric. I felt so guilty, that I put myself on a fabric fast for a year. It’s been 2 months and it’s not been easy. I feel like I need to use what I have and that comes from that guilty crap too. Meh. In any case…The great thing about a new year is that we can feel the optimistic spirit of potential change and growth. I am ready to make 2018 guilt free. Happy New Year!

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  13. I was just working on “destashing” my patterns because I have “too many”. I don’t know where this came from, my husband hasn’t said anything, on the contrary he’s trying to help me find a better storage solution. I feel I can be more selective in what I buy, but I needed to read this. Somewhere along the road, I’ve taken on an idea that I can be doing better as if what I’m doing isn’t enough, well, it is! I don’ t know why guilt is so easy for me/ us as a community, but I have to do better at positive self talk, I love this hobby! Thanks again for putting it all out there, and for helping me see I’m not alone.

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  14. You are my absolute favourite person in the sewing community. I’m proud to call you my friend both online and IRL. You are inspiring and the first person I think of when u have a question or conundrum about sewing with knits.

    I’ve decided to refer to my fabric and yarn stashes as collections. A collection is something you shouldn’t feel guilty about and I don’t about mine 🙂

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  15. These are great reflections! I’m so sorry to hear anxiety is rearing its ugly, useless head! I hate it when my sewing becomes another source of stress. 😦 which happens fairly often since so much of my sewing these days is shop projects. And I totally wish my sewing room was in the dining room, I have houseguests sleeping in my sewing room at the moment and they’re lovely but I wanna sew! 😂

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  16. I appreciate your post. It seems as women, we feel guilt if what we are doing isn’t for someone else, especially if we’re sewing for ourselves. And yet that is the thing that usually feeds our soul, so we can be better people for those around us. So I have taken to reminding myself that this sewing obsession of mine (even when I’m not actually sewing I’m thinking about it, like everyone reading this!) is good for me, my peace of mind and my family, My collection of fabric and patterns are there when my funds are low, but I need (want) something new, when I’ve gained some weight and need to make something I feel good in. With all those benefits, how can it be something we need to feel guilty about? Usually it’s just us putting that pressure on ourselves. Most of us have supportive family who do see the benefits and joy we get. And as mentioned already in someone’s comments, there are a lot of hobbies that are far more draining on monetary supplies (like rebuilding a 1940 hot rod!)

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  17. I love these. I also feel that guilt should not be a part of our sewing — why do we worry about having “too much”? Unless you are literally a hoarder, there is nothing wrong with making sure you have enough supplies to create and to facilitate ease in our hobby! Can’t sew without fabric, can’t be inspired without something to work with. I agree that other hobbyists don’t seem to worry as much about this as sewists do. My husband is a book collector but he doesn’t seem to worry that he shouldn’t buy another book until he’s read or sold the ones he has (quite impossible anyhow!)

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