General,Sewing

Time to reflect

2020 was a long year, but at the start of 2021 when I look back now, I realise actually how quickly the time seemed to disappear. Whilst it was a hard year in so many ways, I can’t help but smile when I think about how much I still managed to achieve and learn. Sewing, without a shadow of a doubt, gave me a sense of purpose and something to focus on to distract from the craziness of 2020. It taught me a new set of invaluable skills that I can continue to develop over time but most importantly, it helped me to realise that making time for creativity outside work was something that I need to continue to do. The feeling of making something either for myself or for others was a feeling that couldn’t be beaten, and one that distracted from the constant feeling of doom and gloom that I and probably most of us were feeling. 

I started to write this post to delve into the projects I had been working on since my last blog which was written back in July 2020, but now I feel like it needs to be one of reflection. I’ve found starting it has given me a chance to reflect on what I managed to achieve from the start of my sewing journey until now, and to kickstart these blog posts once again. 

So what did 2020 bring me apart from lockdown, additional wine consumption and a slightly increased waistline? Here’s 10 things I am counting as an achievement since June…

I STOPPED TALKING AND STARTED DOING

I was incredibly lucky to receive a sewing machine for my birthday to allow me to get started. On reflection, whilst furlough leave was emotionally turbulent, it gave me the time to develop my love for this new hobby.


I CONQUERED THE ZIP…

Within a couple of days, I had learned how to thread the machine, some of the core terms including what a selvedge is, how to follow sewing patterns and what the key notations or markings meant. Before I knew it, I had made my very own envelope cushion cover! And from there, I then stitched my very first zip onto my first handmade toiletries bag as part of the Introduction to Sewing course from Sew Over It. Practically a pro!


Full Pyjamas

I MADE ACTUAL WEARABLE STUFF!

I made my first set of pyjamas! And beautiful they are too. Plus in doing this, I learned about the different types of cotton (and opened my eyes to the whole raft of fabrics that I could be sewing with).


I CREATED A BRAND…

Stitched up at Straws was born as an identity, initially as a joke, complete with blog, a novice logo and a way to express myself and to be able to talk about something other than my job. On reflection, I feel like it’s also now become my sewing brand, with a much more professional logo as gifted to me by my wonderful graphic designer friend Sarah!


I RAISED MONEY FOR CHARITY!

Thanks to my lovely friends and family, I managed to raise in excess of £200 for the Trussel Trust just through sewing up some face masks. I’d started learning a little too late and missed out on sewing scrubs, but still had a chance to make a difference.


I QUICKLY TOOK IT UP A NOTCH…

I managed to make quite a complicated shirt dress using my first comprehensive paper pattern. And it is still the thing I am most proud of and in love with. Plus it has pockets! 


I GOT ANGRY

In my first attempt at making a t-shirt with some cotton jersey, I learned how to overcome sewing induced anger, skipped stitches, and more importantly that the type of needle does actually matter, as does having a lot of patience!


AND BRANCHED OUT EVEN MORE!

I tackled more tricky fabrics, such as Ponte Roma with my Emma dress, Polyester for my improv co-ords and Boucle weave wool. I also managed to make some more dresses, skirts and tops to be proud of! 


I MADE SOME GIFTS FOR CHRISTMAS

For the first time in my life (or as far back as I can remember), I was able to make my friends and family some lovely homemade Christmas presents. This year was the year for Christmas cushions and peg bags, and even a reusable gift bag. It meant so much to then get photos of them in situ on people’s chairs, beds and sofas.


AND FINALLY…

I developed in so many different ways. I learned patience (and my god do you need patience when the machine does what it wants to do!), to approach problems in different ways, that it’s ok to make mistakes and more importantly if I did make mistakes that there was nothing that couldn’t be fixed. I learned to make time for myself, and for this hobby, that it’s ok to not always be “busy”. Sewing and hobbies serve a purpose in giving downtime and distractions when times are tough, so as not to get lost in the negativity.


As we move forward into 2021, and as things still feel a little bleak and uncertain, I can recommend sewing to anyone that might have always wanted to give it a try. To be able to say “I made this!” is one of the most satisfying feelings I’ve ever had, and will continue to have, regardless of how much or little time I have to spend on it. So here’s to making the most of this continued lockdown time for the foreseeable future, and to always making sure sewing has a place in my life!

Em x

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