Intentional Sewing PT 1: The Switch Up

Hey there readers, I have so much to catch you up on, indulge me? This year’s been a crazy one but it’s no secret that the night is always darkest before the dawn, pressure makes diamonds and all that jazz. Basically… Dark times produce the most beautiful results and I believe I personally have felt those words ring true.

If you don’t follow my Instagram, I announced that I’m starting a business soon. What is it? It’s a handsewing apparel kit company called Thimble and Snip and I am so stoked to share it with you. In a gist, it is a kit that teaches how to handsew garments (though there’s also a tote bag pattern as well). This business has brought out the worst and best parts of me and taught me so much of myself. It’s also taught me to be kind to myself, be ok with making mistakes, and just be along for the ride at times where pressure may loom. Throughout it all I’ve received so much positive feedback and amazing support that I could not be more grateful for.

Starting this business got me deep into the habit of handsewing of course and it caused me to see things a bit slower which is what I want to talk about today. I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, changes I feel need to be shared and that you may personally be able to resonate with. So as you read this I hope the words and the experiences hit you with some profound thoughts and feelings as to how you approach the world of making, creativity, and just life in general. This is a 3 part post. The second will be posted tomorrow and the third will be posted Friday. Let’s get into the good stuff now shall we?

The Creative Block

I don’t know about you but I personally experienced a lull in sewing motivation for the past few months and I saw many others have the same issue on social media. Some were depressed due to the pandemic, others because of summer, others because of the racial injustice seen and/or faced in real life and on social media (shown very much in the sewing community as well). For me it was all of the above. As a black female #creativepreneur who despises summer with a passion, I went through a lot of emotions and the stress of planning a business added to those feelings as well.

I found solace in handsewing and saw it had me naturally moving at a slower rate in everything I was doing. I’m used to moving quickly through projects but I found myself lingering, falling in love with fabrics, stitching, and details. It expanded into our apartment and we started getting rid of stuff we just weren’t wearing or using that was taking up space. This led me to stop making stuff I knew I was not going to wear.

When I started onto the Instagram scene everything I made was for show. Then it progressed further into modeling for show and creating clothing that was made to be seen on social media. It felt very empty after awhile, and a majority of those clothes I wore only for those photo shoots and never again because they weren’t practical. On the flip side, I avoided practicality because it made me so much less excited about sewing. I find many others going through the same thing currently. Creating beautiful lovely clothing only not to wear it more than a couple times. Thus the subtle feelings of guilt, wasted space and the like come in, and when it’s time to thrift or donate, these pieces we spend so much work on go straight to the donation box.

If this is you, or you feel like impulse buying is leading you to have a lot of fabric, patterns and even clothing that you do not use or wear, please understand I resonate with you. Here’s why this is such a problem: it’s potentially wasting time, money, and resources. Time sewing things we don’t intend to wear or actually put to use, money spent on fabric by the yard and notions etc., and resources in terms of energy and everything you just put into that garment. Now if you donate your clothing, of course these things are going to a good cause and not wasted per say, and none of this is to form a sense of guilt. I am literally changing these habits myself as we speak. Sending three trash bags of handmade clothing and fabric was a depressing reminder of all the money I wasted. I personally am working to change the narrative of this.

Finding the medium between clothes I wanted to make AND would actually wear was no small task but once I started being honest with myself, my lifestyle and my wardrobe I found that if I really wrote down the things I liked, places I went, etc., then it was easier for me to make a wardrobe I could fall in love with. And so it goes with intentional sewing. (NOTE: a good help with this is the book Dressed by Deer and Doe Patterns which outlines how to sew a wardrobe based off of your lifestyle and stop living on impulse)

Being intentional, learning to live slow and finding one’s needs in a wardrobe are not new things. They are the thoughts behind many movements and drive people to make lifestyle changes for the better, which I personally am experiencing. So I want to tell you how I’m changing the game for myself in this post series. In part two I’ll share some suggestions on how you can stop wasting money, time and resources yourself by changing up the way you view sewing. In part three I’m sharing all of the ways I personally am making changes, turning to slow living and being more intentional.

If you’re going through some of the same feelings above I strongly encourage you to ask yourself why you sew and what you’re wanting to change about the way you buy, make, and create? Are you wanting to change the way you create less waste? Help the environment? Do you want to just start enjoying your hobby again and slow down to be able to do that? Do you want to revel in the details of your handmade garments? Any reason you come up with is a great reason because it’s YOUR reason. There are so many resources and ways to start living your best intentional life or you may have a way you’ve been wanting to implement but haven’t had the chance to yet. In any case let’s go on this journey together and enjoy the process, k?

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Part 2 tomorrow!

Alexis

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