Sewing Makes You Love Yourself….. just a little bit more

So this is me, joining in with another online challenge, in a rather lastminute.com fashion (yes, today is the deadline, why do you ask?) This one’s a little different though and I’ve actually thought really hard about whether I’m in the right place to join in.

The premise of this challenge is to sew something that makes you feel beautiful and to recognise the positive impact that sewing can have on your mental health; hence the name, Sewing Makes You Love Yourself.

Smyly_logo_Taking_part

I have talked in the not too distant past about the importance of sewing for my mental health, referencing the hashtag I use the most on Instagram, #sewingkeepsmesane.  So surely, I am already bought in to this particular challenge?

Actually, it makes me feel like a bit of a fraud.  Because I don’t love myself that much.  In fact, I quite often don’t like myself at all.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling that way about me.

So yeah, I’m a work in progress.  I struggle.

After I posted about #sewingkeepsmesane, I got some really helpful comments, several recommending a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop talking.  I really related to the description in this book; basically, an introvert is not someone who is necessarily quiet (those who’ve met me know I’m not, generally, although I am prone to talking rubbish) but it is someone who doesn’t get their energy from other people.  Someone who may enjoy being around others, but who finds it utterly exhausting.

That’s me.  I crave the company of others, I feel lonely a lot of the time, but meeting new people or even spending time with people I know well can be incredibly tiring. Which is kind of confusing when you think about it. But it felt good to read something that made me feel like I wasn’t the only oddball on the planet.

It means that when I meet with other people, it’s taken a lot of mental effort to get me there.  And I mean a lot.  So that once I’m actually through the door and I’ve managed to start talking to someone, I have no energy left to think too clearly about what I’m saying.  Or whether I should just shut up. And then I spend hours going over everything I said; damn you, whirling brain!

Add to that some really poor body image (not helped by hitting my 40’s , I’ll be honest), a hectic lifestyle balanced around other people and their needs (hello, parent hood) and a track record of just not hitting it off with lots of people and never entirely understanding why, and writing about how sewing makes me love myself feels slightly fraudulent.

So. Why are we here?

Because the counselling I mentioned in my previous post has only highlighted for me the utter importance for me of sewing for my mental health.  I would automatically put everyone else’s needs before my own and tie myself in knots trying to keep everyone happy, but for this hobby where I can switch off and forget for a while about anything but the next seam, the next cut, the next press, the next piece of fabric, the next thing to learn.

So whilst I don’t love myself, I like myself a little more than I would without sewing to hang onto, which has to be a good thing, right?

I know my thoughts aren’t too clear here, and probably aren’t that well expressed, but I hope you’ll forgive me that.  I’m working on myself all the time, I’m trying to counter those negative thoughts, I’m trying to just be a little kinder to myself in all aspects of my life.  Hopefully one day I’ll get there.  Or at least a little closer than I am now.

Anyway, enough mental health ramblings (feeling rather raw here): what about the making something that makes you feel beautiful bit?

Not sure about beautiful, but I feel happy in this dress, so that’s a win.  This is my 4th Nina Lee Southbank dress (see here for my original post about sizing etc) and it’s in the most gorgeously bright red ponte ever! I’m not sure it’s possible to feel utterly miserable in this dress. It’s warm, it’s cosy, it’s bright, it looks kind of cute and I actually get compliments wearing it!

It’s made exactly the same as my other three, except that this time around, I added the pockets.

I’m not sure it was my best decision?  They gape a little and they’re pretty close to the hem, meaning if you actually put, say, a phone in there, they hang lower than the hem band, which doesn’t look amazing. So when I make my 5th (yes, I am obsessed), I think I will go back to being pocketless.

But still.  It’s a good enough dress that I was prepared the brave a brief break in the Beast From The East storm to nip out in snow that came higher than my boots to take blog photos, so that has to tell you something.

Seriously though, I depend on my sewing and on this online community for my mental wellbeing.  I know perfectly well that many of the people I interact with on Instagram I have not met and may never meet.  It doesn’t matter. It’s so much better to have someone, somewhere to be able to share the excitement of a new skill learnt or the frustration of a new error made than to have no one at all and that is invaluable for me.

So thank you for this challenge, Athina, Hattie and Lisa. And thank you Nina Lee for this great pattern!

Let’s all try to be a little kinder to ourselves, shall we?

Becca x

30 thoughts on “Sewing Makes You Love Yourself….. just a little bit more

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  1. I just LOVE your dress. Your whole post reminds me of the saying “If in doubt, wear red”, it’s a great way to feel better about yourself and often works for me too. The way you described an introvert really struck a chord with me and helped me to make my first comment on your blog. I’ve followed it for the last two or three posts and love it x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh still want to give you a hug and then leave you in peace to recover quietly. I’d never heard of that definition of introvert but it is me down to the ground too and would explain why I always have such great plans for seeing friends and then never really get around to it. Take care of yourself, you really are beautiful despite what your brain is telling you x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I find people are very hard to process, since to me they are just another form of stimuli–nothing mean intended, but people are a bunch of sound and energy and emotion and they take a lot of work for me to put up with much less enjoy, even if they are nice and I like them. Partway it could be that I got electrocuted ten years back and my health is more iffy, and yet partway I was always more solo or with a partner only, and with only a few friends at a time as opposed to giant parties going on around me. I think the dress is great, and i think it is good that you are taking time to figure what you like. The part about working on behalf of others all the time reminds me of a book I just reread this week, Codependent No More by Melody beattie, about how living with people but especially those with issues like addictions or illnesses or even teenagers or if we had alcoholic parents etc., can make us give up our own lives and be alive seemingly only to ‘help’ the other. I found it helpful to me even though I am not living with an addict but with someone who has health issues. I guess I rambled, but maybe this book will help someone. Bets wishes to you–I think you’re great even if you feel not so confident at times. Maybe have compassion for yourself–

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that description of an introvert and totally get it too. I think you should view it as positive that you don’t get your energy from others – that means you don’t put the key to your ‘being’ and your happiness in anyone else’s pocket! And thank you for posting so honestly about this – you have described not only yourself but also me and many others I’m sure. We’re all a ‘work in progress’, after all, that’s why we’re still here – we still have to learn and grow from the experience. As a relative newcomer to IG, I’ve found the sewing community such a welcoming and supportive place, which has definitely helped my mental health and how I view myself.
    Don’t be so hard on yourself, your red dress rocks and you look fabulous wearing it!
    Linda x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think sewing is great for the soul, especially sewing for yourself as really you are telling yourself that you are worth spending all that time making something beautiful for you to look great in. And you are worth it, so keep sewing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Wow, we could be sisters! I am going to have to check out the book you mentioned. I too struggle with being an introvert and my weight. I just turned 41 and have a 3 year old. I can’t seem to find time to get in shape, well it’s either exercise or sew. I don’t want to give up sewing so I am trying to find little times just to get some movement, but it is harder after 40 and with a little one with working full time. My husband is a full on extrovert and he doesn’t understand how overwhelming it is for me to be around a bunch of people. He is the opposite of me and gets depressed being isolated or just me and him. He needs lots of people around him. He is always on my case and I try hard to accommodate him, but it is so hard for me. I often wish I was an extrovert. But I am not and I accept that. Sewing has a profound effect on my mental health. You can always tell when a week goes by that I don’t get to do any sewing. Just hang in there and the red looks lovely on you. Remember you are not alone and you are beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You expressed this beautifully. I think us sewists generally have a lot more in common beyond our love and need to sew so we’re in safe company and I hope we meet up again this year…a chance to celebrate oddball-ness…in style! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You really do look amazing in red Becca! That is an interesting definition of an introvert. I’d never really thought about it like that before and I can actually relate to those feelings. Food for thought! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love Quiet. It was the first time I’d felt that being an introvert isn’t some kind of fault to be overcome, but actually a valuable quality in a shouty world. Introverts solve difficult problems; we don’t blurt out the first daft idea that comes into our heads. We’re loyal, we listen and we notice stuff that extroverts don’t – other people rely on us for support. The downside is that a lot of us experience worrying/anxiety/shyness, and that we’re choosy about who we spend time with… But when we find our niche – the right job, friends, partner, hobby – we’re set. I hope you’re as appreciated in other areas of your life as your are here – you deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I learned that definition of an introvert some years ago. It is absolutely me! I get up early so I can have a quiet hour before anyone else gets up. I can go without “my time” occasionally, but I become quite crabby after a few days. I was actually looking at that book in an airport book store a few days ago; did you read it and if so, do you recommend it?

    Your dress is beautiful and red is a great color on you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I like the way you get on with things.
    I like your style.
    I like your red hair.
    I like that you’re a geek and wish I were one too (although I think I’m going that way with sewing).
    I like the way you are with your children.
    I like the way you juggle everything.
    I like that you think of others.
    Hi like that you try and understand yourself and others.
    I like your honesty.
    I like you and hope one day to meet you.
    What’s not to like?
    Those people you haven’t connected with are not part of your tribe.
    We don’t have to like everyone or be liked by everyone. We do our best and strive to be content without doing harm to others.
    Be kind to yourself 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If there’s one major problem about being an introvert, it’s that we overthink roughly everything. I have to say, though, learning about that book and reading all about introversion was one of the best things that ever happened to me: I finally learnt that I wasn’t weird! It’s perfectly OK to be introverted. In fact, there are a lot more introverts around than we’re led to believe.

    It sounds like you’ve made a great start on your journey, so keep it up, especially if it’s going to result in fabulous dresses like this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fabulous dress, it does looks beautiful on you. And i would never have believed you’ve turned 40.
    I’m a weird one, and I’ve decided I don’t like other people. I can get on with others but I connect with only a very few. And the majority just piss me off! I love sewing because it generally doesn’t involve other people, I can do it at home listening to radio 4 and I’m happy as Larry.
    Thank you for sharing your story and congrats on winning a prize. XX

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What an honest account, Lovely Lady in Red, you can just lose yourself in seams and machining and understitching and pressing….to name but a few. Distractions don’t banish dark thoughts completely but they do help to quieten the mind and create a sense of calm. Just keep doing what you do. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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