How Sewing Saved My Sanity
Today’s contribution to the Thankful Blog Tour is about sewing, but is more personal than usual. I don’t have a great project to share or even a terrible one. Just my own reflections about how sewing has saved my sanity and claimed its place in my life. And gratitude that it has. So here’s a piece of my Sewing Story:
I didn’t always love sewing. As a kid, I only learned to sew because it was summer (it seems so long as a kid), Mom let me pick my own fabrics, and it wasn’t really a choice (I guess Mom found summer long too!). Then as a teenager I sewed because I saw value in the skill and was proud of the results. But I didn’t enjoy sewing.
I spent my childhood in one house as the youngest of 6 kids, tagging along, staying out of the way, avoiding my siblings’ mistakes, and copying their successes. For the most part, life was familiar and comfortable. I knew exactly what to do to get exactly where I wanted to be in life. Pretty Sweet.
Well, I graduated high school, moved out of state, started college, got married, finished college, had a baby, moved across the country and found I had no idea who I was anymore. I was in a strange state with spaghetti streets and claustrophobic trees. My family and friends were 2,000 miles away, my husband spent all his time in class or studying, and my clingy baby turned into a toddler demanding constant interaction. Sound familiar to anyone?
That first winter was hard because not much was familiar or comfortable. I was lonely, cold, isolated, pregnant, mentally bored from toddler play, and worried over my husband and our future after his surgery to remove a malignant tumor. Each day was one foot in front of the other, figuratively. Or rather, just stay on my feet.
And then I met Jenna, and she inspired me to craft. I pulled out the sewing machine my parents gave me when I graduated college and started cutting up old clothes to make things for my now two kids.
I started sewing so much I called my machine by name-Bernette. I created a craft blog (hey! you’re reading it even though it goes by a different name now) because my family’s blog (remember when everyone had a blog to share what their family was doing?) was getting cluttered with my projects. At night Bernette and I created while my husband studied or worked and his medical tests came back clear-repeatedly (such a blessing!). Jenna and I carried our sewing machines to each others homes for playdates. Oh, and our kids played together too. I found mental stimulation, a creative output, friendship, a feeling of productivity and accomplishment. Because at the end of the day I had something tangible to show for my efforts and it clothed/entertained my kids. Win-Win.
A few years went by, we moved across a few states, and I again found myself in a strange new state far from family and friends. This time without as many trees or crazy streets, but much more wind and snow. And again I was lonely and freezing, experiencing the unfamiliar and having my feet knocked out from under me. I had days and months where tears leaked all morning and most of nap time was back in bed sobbing. But at least the kids weren’t watching me sob if I was in bed. I remember staring into space thinking I was failing this whole life thing. Emotionally I felt like cold ashes. Why? I don’t know. Go ask Depression.
Eventually Bernette called out, I sewed something simple, and felt a spark. I created something functional or beautiful. And color and warmth began to return to my emotional wasteland.
This cycle has occurred so many times I’ve lost count. Life upheaval. Loneliness. Cold. Depression. And sewing with Bernette as I try to pray and wait for it all to work out. Feeling the spark of hope that life will be okay because that (insert project name) is awesome and it came from moi. As small and insignificant as that seems, it was enough to convince me to do one more day.
So yes. I am thankful for sewing in my life. I am thankful my mother taught me to sew, Jenna and I became friends, and my husband patronizes my desire to make. I appreciate the time I get to create. I am grateful for all of the times making something eases heartache, lifts my spirits, brightens my day, shows me something to anticipate, saves my sanity, or glimpses purpose and value when I struggle to see it everywhere else. When the crazy takes over and I feel lost, sewing helps bring me back.
Well, end of story-for today. And end of my uncharacteristically serious post! Take a moment to enter the giveaways each week during the blog tour and read the other posts. This week the giveaway is $20 at the Simply by Ti fabric shop. I’d love to get some stretch twill to make pants. Many of my jeans are getting holes in the knees…
Intro to the tourNovember 1st: mahlicadesigns Sewing with Sarah
Week 1:Nov 1st: Tenille’s Thread
Nov 2nd: Candace Ayala
Nov 3rd: Hazelnut Handmade
Nov 4th: Musing of a Seamstress
Nov 5th: Sewing Portfolios
Monday Nov 6th: mahlicadesigns
Nov 7th: Seams Sew Lo
Week 2:Nov 8th: Margarita on the Ross
Nov 9th: Stitched by Jennie
Nov 10th: Sewing with D
Monday Nov 13th: 5 outof 4 Patterns
Nov 14th: Tales of a Southern Mom
Week 3:Nov 15th: Hazelnut Handmade
Nov 16th: Octaves of Color
Nov 17th: Kainara Stitches
Nov 18th: Kutti Couture
Nov 19th: The Petite Sewist
Monday Nov 20th: My Heart will Sew On
Nov 21st: Needles to Say
Week 4:Nov 22nd: Back 40 Life
Nov 23rd: Lovemade Handmade
Nov 24th: Sewing by Ti
Nov 25th: On Wednesdays We Sew
Nov 26th: Paisley Roots
Monday Nov 27th: Mermaid Mama Designs
Nov 28th: Sew Haute Blog
Nov 29th: Ma Moose Handmade
Nov 30th: Everything Your Mama Made & More