I’ve debated whether or not to write this post, questioning whether anybody would find it useful, meaningful or remotely interesting. But I’ve always reasoned that if I am here to document my sewing journey, I owe it to myself and any Reader to portray that journey honestly; to not prettify it or make it ‘Instagram-worthy’ only. As a WYSIWYG* type person, I’m not great at that anyway!
Back in the autumn of last year, I was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis and underwent two surgeries to correct my blocked kidney. I’d been feeling unwell for the longest time, constantly tired and seemingly unable to pick myself up. Paradoxically, every time I tried to get healthier by, say, drinking lots of water and eating more vegetables or salads, I’d be bed ridden within days. After a particularly agonising bout I was admitted to hospital, diagnosed and treated in record speed. Thank goodness for the NHS eh.
Once recovered, I got stuck straight back into my sewing plans. However, as time went on, I began to feel increasingly frustrated with the results, noticing issues I hadn’t really had to deal with before. Bewildered by gaping necklines, shoulder seams that were too long and armsyces that were too low, I began to question my sewing. It wasn’t until much later that I finally stepped on the scales and realised just how much my weight had changed. Being able to eat anything I wanted without feeling ill afterwards had simply meant I had automatically made healthier choices.
My body may have changed then but my self body image was taking rather longer to catch up. It was dispiriting to realise things I thought I knew about my body were no longer strictly true; I was having to seriously re-evaluate how I approached fitting sewing patterns. You can find frustrated comments to this effect peppered throughout my posts in this period. All the clothes I had lovingly sewn but which no longer fit, I donated (to my Mother, she’s delighted! Truthfully, as a to-the-core selfish-sewer, it was hard handing over my Me Mades; thank goodness for visitation rights!) Then, overwhelmed with feeling I was facing a massive fitting learning curve together with the mammoth task of practically resewing my entire wardrobe, my sew-jo understandably took something of a nosedive.
But this hiatus gave me the opportunity to have a word with myself; it shocked me to realise that, even as a Stitcher, I’d paid so little attention to my own body, which no doubt contributed to ill health. The culling of my wardrobe has allowed me to re-evaluate and plan properly. It’s been liberating learning to look at, and think about, my body objectively rather than emotionally. Now, rather than feeling stymied, I feel energised. My sewing plans are more considered; I’m selecting the patterns I want to sew based on the idea that I can justify taking the time to fit them properly; patterns which I will want to sew multiple times knowing that they will fill a core gap in my wardrobe and that, ultimately, they work for my body.
Which brings me onto Me Made May (#MMMay17). This is a fantastic yearly sewing challenge set up by Zoe that has been running strong for a staggering eight years now! If you haven’t already done so, you can read all about it over on Zoe’s blog So Zo…What Do You Know? but, in essence, Zoe states that the Challenge, which works on a personal and community level, is simply about “…improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and perhaps also learning about yourself and your creativity...” Never has that felt more apt than now. I’m going to participate with a very limited pledge and I’m completely fine with that:
I, Sarah Smith of www.sewsarahsmith.wordpress.com and @sewsarahsmith, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to fit, sew up and wear at least one new handmade garment per week for the duration of May 2017.
I’ll probably wear more than that but this pledge represents my focus right now. I’ll be posting my fitting, sewing and #MMMay17 adventures over on Instagram, although this is by no means a requirement of the Challenge itself. Which is good to remember for future years as the idea of standing in front of a camera daily would, in all likelihood, have me running screaming for the hills!
Are you in?
Until next time,
(*Wysiwyg = what you see is what you get)
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