Old fears and new skills: hello sewing!

Old fears and new skills: hello sewing!

I hated Home Economics with a passion. Of all the high school subjects I was forced to study, Home Ec. was the one I despised most. There was something odd about ‘learning’ how to set a table correctly, make a pizza and my personal favourite – sewing a very loud and rather daggy pair of shorts.

I complained bitterly with the realisation that Home Ec. was non-negotiable. “I don’t need to know how to cook or sew,” I bluntly told my mum. “I’m going to be a career girl.”

Two decades later those words came back to bite me.

You see, I tried that ‘career girl’ thing. It was fun, for a while, but deep down I knew something was missing. Not long after my husband and I married, our thoughts turned to raising a family. I’m a bit of a hippy at heart and wanted to explore reusable nappy options. The idea of modern cloth nappies strongly appealed but I couldn’t find ready-made options anywhere! What’s a girl to do, hey, but make her own?

Big problem: I didn’t know how to sew. Damn.

Now I’m not one to let a little lack of skill get in the way so I bought a sewing machine. I proudly brought that big, clumsy box home. I opened it up, admired it and then … then I quietly put it back. It stayed in its box in the living room for months because I was scared. Scared that I would sew over my fingers, and kinda scared that I would suck at sewing. (Yup, fear of failure – did you spot that old chestnut?)

I released that sewing machine from its box one weekend afternoon. Slowly, shakily … I stitched my first row … and I was HOOKED! I must have appeared a bit crazy as I raced out to my husband, swatch in hand, screaming with joy “LOOK! Look what I just did!” I was giggling and overflowing with joy and creativity and I knew that even if I did sew over my fingers it actually wouldn’t be that bad.

Those first tentative stitches led to slightly more confident ones, and then a full-on addiction to all things fabric. Even now, a few years after that joyous day, I still get a frisson of excitement when my sewing machine comes out to play. It’s meditation, creativity, problem-solving and playtime all rolled into one happy bundle of needles, thread, machine oil and fabric – metres and metres of lovely fabric!

Completing a project gives me an indescribable sense of achievement that my career never did. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still love my paid work but now I have something that is creative and all mine. I often think about my teenaged beliefs and how different they are to my current ones and I’m so very grateful.

I’m grateful because I was willing to let go of the person I thought I was so I could become the person I was meant to be. Sure, it might only be sewing but it still took courage.

And that, my friends, is a useful skill to have indeed.

Why I love Craftsy

Why I love Craftsy

When I became a mum, like all new mums before me, I had no idea what lay in store.

The endless nappy changes, the random newborn sleep patterns, the constant waking for feeds, the realisation that I had no idea what the fuck I was doing – you know – the stuff that breaks all new mums at some point.

The inability to leave the house was the worst part. I felt enslaved to the whims of a newborn’s nap and had no time for creativity. My sewing machine mocked me daily. I had pushed it aside in the crazy fog of new parenthood, and as time marched on it called almost as loudly as my baby’s cry at 3am. To put it bluntly, it sucked balls.

I’m a firm believer that a stitch a day keeps the crazy away, so it’s fairly honest to say that after a few months of almost minimal sewing (and even less sleep) I was starting to go a little crazy.

Then I found Craftsy.

Oh Craftsy – how you make my heart sing!

I could explore the amazing crafty world outside my door while cradling a sleeping baby, or washing the dishes, or just because I had a brief spare moment and a cold, half-finished cuppa waiting. Committing to in-person workshops, classes or anything that required me to be washed and dressed by dinner-time really wasn’t achievable for me in those early days. So Craftsy filled my need in a way I never imagined. It challenged me, I learnt cool techniques, I could ask questions directly of the teacher, and watch it at 2 am if I so wished (not that I recommend this – sleep is important, after all!).

I’ve learnt how to design and sew an A-line skirt, I’ve learnt how to get the best out of my DSLR, I’ve learnt how to sew with knits and I have even started learning how to crochet. For a stuck-at-home mum, all of this was a dream come true. Sure, I couldn’t craft all the time, but most days I could spare a few minutes to watch a bit of my latest class – easy!

Our girl’s newborn days are well and truly behind us now. It’s easier to get out of the house now but I still find Craftsy just as fun now as I did when I first discovered it. So, in the spirit of sharing, I’m telling you about it and maybe you’ll like Craftsy too. Or maybe not – that’s ok!

Because I’m a total Craftsy addict and will be sharing the cool things I’ve made or techniques I’m learning, I’ve decided to sign up to their affiliate marketing program. That means if you click on a link to a class I’ve written about and you decide to join the class too, then I will earn a small commission.

I hope you enjoy Craftsy too.

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase a class. Thank you for supporting Make + Do!

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