I’m a firm believer in self care.
Whether it’d be meditation, taking care of your health, spending time with friends, or even simple pampering. Sewing, though, is on another level and I can’t recommend it enough for strengthening those self care muscles. To me, sewing increases self esteem.
In this post, I’ll be outlining how sewing has helped me when I’m feeling blue, and helped me through those tough times.
Of course, if needed please consult your medical professionals. This post discusses the small daily things that might have given me a positive boost and might be helpful for you!
It’s extremely easy to fall into a negative self esteem rut.
Whether it’s by feeling out of place in your own skin, life is just a pain in the butt, or even just the simple feeling of… blah. (Seriously, even just “blah.”)
In 2017 I went on a snowball journey of depression, and then the compounding effects of…
- Negative self image when trying on clothes at the store (and feeling out of place in my own body)
- Finding the same fitting problems over and over again (again, feeling like crap about myself at any opportunity)
- Having the feeling that I couldn’t control my self image
Eventually I found my way back to sewing, reminding myself of what I loved about it- and what it brought into my life that filled my heart with joy. I knew that by going back to it and with time, sewing would increase my self esteem.
The first reason sewing increases self esteem is by allowing you to observe your measurements in an actionable way.
When you’re feeling down, observing your body and measurements is hard. But as I’ve spoken about in a previous vlog, your measurements are points of information- and information is power. (Click to Watch: Weight-loss and Sewing Self Esteem)
By knowing your measurements and writing them down, you’re able to positively focus your attention on the action of pattern drafting.
When you take physical action on them- whether its learning how to mold a piece of fabric or picking out the right amount of fabric to buy- you’re able to emotionally “remove” yourself from the closeness of The Numbers.
The numbers can be terrifying- and in 2017, they grew like crazy. But, learning new skills through sewing made those numbers a little less scary- a little less upsetting. I felt like I could harness them into something beautiful through sewing.
The most perfect example, was when I sewed a two piece bathing suit for the first time, shame about my measurements: be damned! (Click to Watch: Sewing a Bathing Suit video tutorial)
The second reason sewing increases self esteem is that it focuses your attention when the going gets tough.
Sewing gives you a goal to work towards as a distraction when life may be chaotic, focusing on bringing together both creativity and engineering. Cutting fabric, sculpting a dart, hand sewing a hem- all of those skills require intense focus and attention, and can sometimes be a welcome relief to life.
An example of this was when I made a linen version of a shirt dress, totally off season, but because I emotionally needed to. (Click to Watch: Colette Penny Shirtdress Sewing Tutorial)
The fabric for this dress sat on my sewing table for months. Literally- months. But when I knew I was feeling helpless, without focus, listless, BLAH– I picked up the fabric, and got to work. Five minutes, ten minutes, thirty minutes a day until it was done.
Sewing that dress gave me something to commit to daily, until I got back into a regular routine and back into the flow of living.
The third reason I believe sewing increases self esteem, is that when you complete a garment, it instills pride.
Whether or not the project turns out perfectly, investing time and energy into something you make yourself gives you a sense of pride… because You Made It.
Being able to go through the beginning, middle, and end of a project gives you the Very Real Feeling of… Look how far I’ve come.
It’s an extremely powerful experience to be able to see that you’re making progress, on something, ANYTHING, when you’re not feeling your best.
While we’re not all powerful, and can’t control our entire lives, creative projects we spend our time on is something we can hold close to our heart. Being able to run your hand over all the handmade garments in your closet, hung up in a row, gives the sense that there is progression and movement.
This applies even when a project doesn’t work out.
A perfect example of this was a cocktail dress I made years ago, which brought me nothing but blood, sweat, and tears! (Click to Watch: Cocktail Dress tutorial video) I worked on it for days, and sat behind my sewing machine crying more than once. In the end, even though it didn’t work out, I still felt pride that I had FINISHED.
That finish line was everything.
Sewing increased my self esteem through the journey- because the feeling of completion made me feel like my time, effort, and energy was worth it. And I learned so much- nothing was lost.
Finding little “hacks” to positively look at yourself, even if you’re initially faking it, goes a long way in improving your happiness.
Of course, if you’re in the need of help from friends, family, spiritual leaders, or from the medical establishment, definitely do that as well. But for those little Pick-Me-Ups, sewing has helped me immensely.
Please let me know in the comments how sewing has improved your self esteem.
You can also tag me on Instagram, @vintageontap with photos of the garments you’ve made that really boosted your self esteem and let me know what about them really helped. I’ll be sharing some of your responses on my Instagram Stories.
If you’re brand new to sewing, please check out the Start Here page for similar videos on why I think sewing is amazing!
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