Boy, this week has been tough. It has been a very long and trying one. Almost every aspect of life has been stressful at some point. Normally when this is the case I turn to chocolate, biscuits or some combination of the two. However, this week has been different. Instead of reaching for a nearby sugar high, I've been reaching for anything sewing related, no matter how tenuous the link.
I suddenly find myself with three projects on the go. I have cut out my Robson coat and started to piece it together. I made three bodice toiles for the Emery and Winifred dresses (two for the Emery, not three each!) and then cut them out of the fashion fabric. One of them is almost completely finished. This is a lot for me - I'm normally a one or two projects kind of girl. Three actively being worked on is practically unheard of! In addition I've been reading books on fit and fabric, examining patterns more closely to work out how and why they were drafted and have re-watched many episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee and the House of Eliott. So what is going on?
Put frankly, I've needed to claw back some control and sewing has done precisely that. Being able to plan projects, ensuring fabric is on grain (tearing fabric is amazingly therapeutic!), cutting out the pattern and preparing everything ready for construction is incredibly soothing in a world full of noise, decisions and confusion. The gentle concentration needed for hand basting darts and bias binding to seams has a quietening effect on my mind. Working out how to balance three projects and sew them well but efficiently, without any interruption from others, has been a tonic. I've been taking my time, trying to enjoy every aspect of the process - even when I've realised that I've cut out half a dress and am struggling to get the rest of it from the remaining fabric and keep it on grain.
But there has been a bigger revelation this week. When feeling under pressure or low, I also re-establish a close bond with “comfort” clothing. Do you understand what I mean when I say they feel safe? They are like a form of armour when I'm out of the house and warm hug when I'm in. This week all of my comfort clothes have been items I have made. I can honestly say this has never happened before. I haven't reached for my oversized university sweatshirt, my cosy green fleece or my pyjamas. Instead I have worn my Ceylon, Miette, purple Ginger skirt, Cami and my Lady Grey. I have been building an layer that is trying to protect me from life's stresses but this time it is a layer that I have built completely by myself. I have found additional strength and some comfort in knowing this. Does this remind you of Karen's recent post where she describes sewing as providing a coping strategy? I think she is spot on. When you need that extra nudge to help you push on, put on some of your favourite makes and take pride and strength whenever you look at them. And the best part about it? It is completely guilt free compared to comfort eating!
How about you? Do you turn to sewing or something else when you are under pressure? And does anyone remember the House of Eliott?