Sewing and Strength

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

I’m going to admit something right now. I’m not proud of this.

I have gone through the entire summer without sewing a gosh darned thing.

This is mostly because I currently have no shows to work on. The secondary reason is that I have nowhere to sew comfortably. During shows, I set up my space in the dining room. I am super-aware that my family does not like this disruption. It’s messy, it takes up space, and my mother has really worked hard to decorate our home and the Husqvarna Viking just doesn’t quite fit the aesthetic. I have avoided setting up my machine and sewing for fun just because I don’t like to dismantle my space almost as soon as I set it up.

Recently, I started planning and plotting. Where could I set up a space? I could use the basement, but the problem with that is that my dad is kind of still in the rock band he’s been in since high school, and they practice in our basement. Again, I’d be forced to move my belongings on a regular basis.

Well, my brother’s old room is still available, and he only comes to visit us around holidays. I could use his room, right? This is, apparently, still up for debate in my household, but I’m getting ready to set up my space as if I’m using his room. It’s the only other option, and I need to get back to my craft.

My first project for the space is to make a little pressing board, so that I don’t have a full sized ironing board congesting the room and so that I don’t need to run down to the basement to press seams every few minutes. That’s exhausting.

News flash: Sewing doesn’t have to be exhausting. It should be enjoyable.

Go figure. I create costumes and sew and craft because it makes me happy, simply put. Unfortunately, there have been times when it has been exhausting.

Sometimes, my job as a costume designer beats me down. However, I enjoy getting to know the kids, and I am always proud of the end result. Who cares if it’s not exactly perfect due to budget, time, or resources. The kids are clothed, I made some cool things, and the over-all show always looks amazing. I may be drained from a few all-nighters, but my end result is my strength.

Fibro friends know, whether the object is light as a feather or heavy like my Viking Sapphire, setting up supplies is a terrible spoon reducer.

For most people the process is:

  1. Set Up Machine and Supplies.

Not the case for someone with fibromyalgia:

  1. Pick up machine. Still heavy.
  2. Carrying machine upstairs.
  3. Lift machine onto table. Remember, you’re short, so you need to really heft it up there.
  4. Uncover machine and put cover on floor.
  5. Plug in machine and pedal.
  6. Get sewing basket.
  7. Put sewing basket on table.
  8. Open and remove inner tray from sewing basket.
  9. Find Gingher snips.
  10. Find straight pins and duckie (my pin cushion).
  11. Get whatever it is that I’m sewing (fabric, skirts, tutus, whatever).
  12. Nap.

Step 12 is not a joke. I’m tired. Right there. So see how having to set up frequently can really wreck my sewing groove? The thought of having to set up and then strike my space (can you tell I do theatre? I just said ‘strike’) on a regular basis has me yawning already.

Reading this over, the whole process sounds lame. Oh, hurr hurr, I get tired putting my machine on the dining room table, woe is me. Listen, I don’t understand it either. I’m pretty hard on myself, too. I beat myself down mentally because sometimes even I don’t think that fibromyalgia is real, valid, or worthy of depleting my energy.

Hobbies should be happy retreats. We take up hobbies because they are calming and they tap into our creativity and they let us use our brains in ways we might not otherwise get the chance to during the normal routine of our days. Sometimes, our favorite hobby gives us the strength to continue on after a hard or stressful day. We read, we write, we draw, we knit, we walk, we do whatever it is. I craft. I sew. I knit. Sewing should be what gives me strength, not what takes it away.

My end result is my strength. The wisdom I pass on to kids and the bonds that we form, whether they be as student/teacher or mentor/role model/friendship, are my strength. I remember to push through the brain fog and heavy, tired limbs in order to reach my crafting nirvana.

So here’s my first project leading up to my sewing space, and hopefully there will be much more sewing and crafting to come.

I bought my fabric from Joann Fabric and Crafts. Pretty sure they all know me over there at the cutting table. I’m there a lot. The fabric is Waverly’s Button Bloom Spa. It’s super cute and I have enough left over to make some matching pin cushions and other accessories (stay tuned!). I used Insul-Bright batting layered with some regular batting, since, you know, hot iron.


Special thanks to Elizabeth Hartman at Oh, Fransson! for the inspiration and how-to, which I found on Pinterest.

Allyssa writes for Honesty Time every Monday. Read more of her posts here.

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