Sewing Makes You Love Yourself!

Posted Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my second blog post. Today, I would like to share with you my
most recent make, this being my contribution to Sewing Makes You Love Yourself.

Better known as the #SMYLY challenge, I prefer to think of #SMYLY as a movement, celebrating body positivity and the freedoms that we have through creating. I don't think that people will stop using the hashtag once the challenge end date has passed (that's February 28th). If you haven't already, look it up on Instagram. The SMYLY concept is the brainchild of Hattie, Athina, and Lisa. I encourage you to go follow them on Instagram (though this isn't a requirement of the challenge) and also take a look at their #SMYLY stories, shared on their respective social media accounts.

Aside from the beautiful organisers, so many ladies have been generous enough to sew something special and share meaningful experiences and lessons learned through sewing. It's inspiring and so very heartening to see people coming back to happiness and contentment through needle and thread. I get all tingly thinking about it!!!! I know I've left sharing my make late but hopefully some of you might have a garment almost finished that you feel would qualify for inclusion. It can be as simple or magnificent as you want it to. You just need to FEEL GOOD wearing it.

The kimono is half-lined which makes it a touch special and provides lovely weight to the sleeves, enhancing the drape.

Anyway, my make! I chose to sew a kimono (the peppermint mag kimono robe to be precise). This is because once I started thinking about what sewing meant to me, I couldn't help but realise that sewing is something that I do primarily for me, making it so much a part of my identity. From when I wake up, to how I view myself even away from the buzz of the machine. I needed to make something which reflects that. This kimono is my first foray into loungewear. I haven't been avoiding it for any reason, other than the fact that I like to show off my makes in public! This kimono is something that won't be worn anywhere fancy, but for me.

I also started thinking about how my attitude towards dressing myself, clothing, and my "personal style" (something that everyone seems to be talking about these days!) has developed. Growing up in a church-going family, the idea of sustainable clothing and considering the people who make our garments has never been too far from my mind. I'm not saying that that's everyone's experience - that has just been mine. It's a complex issue that I won't delve into too much here, but I find when I sew for myself that circumvents some of the ethical issues surrounding who made my clothes? (another great hashtag and movement to follow, check out Fash Rev for more info). Of course it doesn't fix things, but if it's one less questionably produced $2.00 RTW (ready-to-wear) t-shirt bought, then I think that in a very, very, small way that is useful because it decreases the demand for that sort of garment. That contributes to how sewing makes me feel good.

Wearing this headscarf/loungewear combo makes me feel like Frenchy of the Pink Ladies!

Regarding clothing and style, the satisfaction I get from producing something to my specifications rather than fork out $$$ for something I could make myself is a special sort of warm glow that only a maker would know. If it's made from a vintage pattern, then all the better! (So exclusive, isn't it?!)

Sewing has also helped me to make peace with my body in many ways - looking at patterns I've sewn and the sizing I'd selected from a few years ago to now, I can see how I've changed and any adjustments I've made to my sewing to suit that. It's not the traumatising experience of going to the shops and trying on clothing, reading the labels and exclaiming with shock "Oh no! I'm a XX!", which it so easily could have been. Much less of my identity is attached to a number than it once was, or could still be, were it not for my obsession with needle and thread.

Obligatory full-length shot - sorry, it's a bit dark!

P.S. No one tells you how much your body really does change as you go along through life. There's those throw away lines about how "your body is ever-changing" but WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I used to think it was ever changing due to quantities of cake consumed in direct proportion to calories burned. I had to learn the hard way that that is not always the case. Sometimes it just changes and that's it (they say your body regenerates every 5 years, but again, this did not help me). I mean seriously, I turned 25 and it was almost as though I had a second puberty. The boobs, butt and waist (i.e. "feminine" features) I thought I'd missed out on suddenly appeared and it was AWKWARD! Up until then I'd been happily wearing some of the same clothes I'd shipped off to the navy with when I was 17. No joke. It wasn't thrilling, it was confusing!

Enter my sewing machine. I've essentially been starting from scratch wardrobe-wise, although I'm still quite reticent to let go of favoured dresses from my hip-less, boob-less, waist-less days.

Oh, and I couldn't not mention that sewing has made me fine with my pregnant self. It's a whole new set of adjustments I'll need to tackle, with measurements that I'm sure will be ever-changing.

Thank goodness for sewing. My solace as I am once again waist-less.