I am so excited to bring you all part 3 of the Self Care Sewing Series! If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2 yet, I highly recommend them! I explain more of why I wanted to start this series, and why I feel so lucky to have met these 4 amazing women on the internet and am so happy that they have agreed to share some of their sewing and self care journeys here with us, but also so happy that they have all argeed to become my friends!
Today we have Mac, of Macs Make Space, Harper & Lu, Sew Altered Style and oh yeah, full time working mom to two adorable cuties. I so admire everything she creates, her incredible style and how she truly makes time to make the people in her life: her family, her online sewing friends and herself, a priority! Here she is!
Sewing is self care
I wanted to start by sharing how I define self-care. For me, it’s simply about providing my soul with what it needs to feel complete. Sometimes, self-care means leaning into chaos - getting my hands dirty and rolling up my sleeves to tackle whatever life hands me. However, as a working mom of two littles 5 and under - it usually means finding ways to set my mind at ease. I’d love to share with you four ways I have done this recently and would love to hear if any of them resonate with you in the comments below!
Jumping head first into the sewing community
When I first started sewing 3.5 years ago, I knew very few people (if any) who sewed in real life. As a serial hobbyist with a long trail of failed attempts at getting crafts to stick, I made minimal investments in my sewing arsenal initially. I thought sewing would be transactional - I will make this one thing and then put this sewing machine up on a shelf. I shared more of my backstory here if you are interested in learning more.
But, as I began making and sharing - I started to build relationships beyond mutual admiration for what we made. I built true friendships based on common interests - that amazingly went beyond the computer and phone screen! I was traveling quite a bit for work the last 2 years, and had the opportunity to meet sewing friends every time I traveled! In fact, I met Katie - my Sew Altered Style co-founder through a Facebook Group where she is a moderator. For this I am forever grateful.
Similar to Amber’s story, going from social media friends to real-life friends has been hands down one of the best ways for me to self-care. I feel like I have found my tribe and respite from the craziness the world throws at us every.single.day.
Sewing as a creative outlet
The second way that I have self-cared is in going through periods where I allow myself to create with reckless abandon, but also in finding comfort in the space in between. The times that I can sit back and elicit inspiration from others, that I can allow myself to just be - and still have my ‘maker’ title in tact.
Sewing is one place where I can throw all the balls in the air, and when I drop a couple - it’s ok. I really don’t have too many places in my life where that is ok. Where the unevenness of my process - the false starts and abrupt stops - is completely and totally acceptable. I can 100% be me with all the ebbs and flows; peaks and valleys; highs and lows - and it is not just accepted - but it’s expected. This process is one that many of us experience, and it’s cathartic to experience each part of that journey, matching your output to your life season - and knowing that it will all be there waiting for you when life allows the space for it.
See, for me, through sewing - I learned to carve out ME time. I set aside time to plan, to create, to photograph, to edit film, to blog, and now to create videos and tutorials. And I am unapologetic about making that space - and my family respects that boundary. Before I had this outlet, it felt selfish to make that kind of space - now I’ve made it a practice.
The process of making this Hey June Key Largo Top from this GORGEOUS light wash chambray in the shop highlights this process perfectly. I had a large cut of fabric slated for a Hey June Cheyenne Tunic and after a period of intense fitting and muslin making (I made three muslins my friends), I needed to just make something simple. So this is what I came up with from my remnants. In just a couple hours, I could have a new top that brought me immense joy, allowed me to change course freely without judgment and gave me a reason to create space for ME time - both to make it and to photograph it!
Making my health a priority
After a 5 year hiatus - I decided enough was enough - it was time to start prioritizing my health. As a maker - I am far more attuned to my body. Sure, when I was younger, I would weigh myself occasionally - but now that I’m sewing fitted makes - I am keenly aware of the tiniest fluctuations. Between this (my ever fluctuating size/dimensions) and my poor diet, I’ve decided its time to get back on the bandwagon. I started a 30-day challenge for myself in August, PROMISING myself that if I could JUST get through 30-days of exercising - that I would have built a habit... I think it really helped! Also helps that my internet friends are so supportive (see my first point).
Getting a handle on the chaos
Lastly, the recent feelings of overwhelm have been fairly intense for me. I felt like life has been happening to me - rather than feeling like I was in the driver seat. I love to have a lot happening at the same time - but with working, momming, family, sewing projects, and business ideas.... it’s all been a bit more than I can bear without better systems and processes. So I’m trying a new (to me) form of self care: using a “life planner.”
Back in the 90s I used a planner and was METICULOUS about it. I would painstakingly scribe every activity, deadline, and plan I had. It was my mental dumping ground - and I think helped me have better control of everything. And then the internet became a big thing (yes I’m a dinosaur 🤣), and smartphones and apps took over - and I somehow lost my connection to the process of mapping out my thoughts through writing them down and reviewing them regularly.
I recently bought an Erin Condren Life Planner, and am thrilled to get out of this place where I have both digital and written lists augmented by a ratchet post-it notes system. I think organizing my thoughts will be good for my well-being - cross your fingers for me on this one!
Thank you so much for reading! I am thrilled Grace asked me to share my reflections with you and that you stuck around to learn more! If you are interested in looking me up, I can be found on Instagram either at @macsmakespace or @sewalteredstyle and on our blog by the same name: sewalteredstyle.com.