Version 1. Lena Guilty Seamstress
In 2020, while a pandemic engulfed our world I sewed and sewed and sewed. I sewed a total of 38 garments for myself, actually 39 including the secret make still under wraps because it may or may not feature in a magazine. Wait a minute, there’s one make missing.
I forgot to include this skirt. 40 items of clothing in a year! Did I really need to sew so much? Do I really need all those pieces in my life? I sewed a few glam pieces too in a year where I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, what was I thinking of?!
And if I add to that all the things I sewed for others that would mean that I was probably sewing a garment a week. All that fabric aquired, all those patterns. All those hours and hours spent sewing and researching things to sew and how to sew. What else could I have been doing with all the time lockdown gave me? I could have baked more and eaten more, well I did do a lot of that. I could have exercised more, I did do a fair bit of that. I could have taken courses to help with my work and my general wellbeing, yeah, I did that and spent far more time with my husband and girls. And I got in a lot of time just to rest too, but still I’m not sure whether so much of my time should have been given over to indulging my interest and exploring my creativity. Sounds a bit selfish to me.
Okay, so on the whole I like the new things I made, there’s only one that I really dislike. I’ve worn it twice and that’s it, I won’t be wearing it again.
This skirt just doesn’t suit me and I don’t love the fabric. So that’s a real waste.
The thing about being a maker on social media is that the advertising and influencers just pull you in. They create such a ‘you need this culture’, feeding your FOMO in a way that is unhealthy and unsustainable. And talking of sustainability, I feel such a hypocrite. I’ve written blog and insta posts about taking a break from buying patterns and fabric, not making just for the sake of it and being a fan of slow fashion and here I am with 40 more makes in my wardrobe. And as if to mock me, the past year has seen companies offering me free sewing patterns and fabric at an alarming rate, what’s a girl to do? And I have to wonder, would I have bought as many clothes if I wasn’t a sewist? I don’t think I would.
Version 2. Lena Sewing Boss
What a year 2020 was. I’m pretty sure that this sewing hobby of mine helped me navigate those months of lockdown, restrictions, fears and sadness. I’ve never been a fan of hobbies that require you to collect objects that just sit there looking pretty gathering dust. I much prefer hobbies that I can eat or wear 😊 I made an amazing amount over the past year and loved almost every moment of it. As well as sewing 40 garments for myself, I did my bit for Queen and country in sewing a few scrubs and a huge number of masks. Some of the mask making was paid work, which helped as they were so tedious. I also took the chance to sew for a few friends, most of that paid too. I made some items for my family too including these cute pyjamas for my daughter:
And my first men’s shirt- yay, go me!
My flurry of sewing taught me new skills like sewing a flat felled seam through a sleeve tunnel. It helped me pratice things like topstitching. It has generally made me more adept at sewing and increasingly I can go off piste when following a pattern and sometimes just need to skim through the instructions and I’m off. One technique where practice has happily paid off is inserting invisible zips, I no longer fear them, they go in straight and invisible and I don’t need the safety net of a YouTube tutorial to guide me through it. It feels so good to be making those achievements.
I also had some great and fun opportunities to pattern and even fabric test. I love being part of that design process and have a lot of respect for pattern designers and drafters. As well as that different companies have reached out to me with patterns and fabric in exchange for blog posts. I have made some lovely things which I may not have otherwise come across as a result of this. I’ve discovered new places to buy fabric from and met some great people too. Social media can be a big source of temptation but it’s also great for connecting with like minded creatives and being inspired by each other.
Blogging and a new paid opportunity to write for a print sewing magazine means I’m wanting to sew more and do more research in and around sewing to get writing ideas and I’m loving it.
There are a couple of my 2020 makes that I didn’t love but they won’t be wasted. My lovely romy wrap blouse was just too big and didn’t sit right. I really didn’t have the desire to unpick and change it so I gave it away to someone more blessed than me in the bust department. The salmon skirt I’m planning to turn into and Ogden cami dress hack. Also, I might rework my Bobbi pinafore dress to fit my youngest daughter as I forgot to do my usual 2 inch length adjustment that I do for Tilly and the buttons patterns, we’ll see. But my other makes have been worn, many on repeat. I know what I love to make and wear.
I’m so thankful for this hobby, for the joy it brings me. I still find magic in turning flat pieces of lovely fabric into practical everyday clothes or gorgeous, special items. I’m thankful for the opportunities to bless others with this hobby, I love to see how happy friends and family are when I sew for them. Here’s to a creative 2021 filled with luscious fabric and amazing patterns. As lockdown continues and the pandemic continues to take hold I’m looking forward to joyful sewing days to help see me through!
So, you see my friends, it’s all a matter of perspective. Sometimes the voice of Lena Guilty Seamstress nags at me but most ofen it’s the voice of Lena Sewing Boss that comes through loud and clear!😊