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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and I write a monthly humour/sewing column for the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barbara+emodi&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abarbara+emodi

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

What does sewing add to your life?

I got overwhelmed this week. It is the week before Christmas and anyone who says take it easy no one expects you to do all this, is probably male.

My mother had surgery. The kids had snow days. A last minute online order got cancelled. I really want this to be a good book.

It was the kind of week where my husband casually mentioned he had invited the neighbours in for an open house later in the day I am also hosting his entire family. You don't have to do anything he said.

I think you get my drift.

Faced with my cancelled order and in a kind of a trance, induced by the decision I was not going to go into any stores or drive these crazy roads, I downloaded a little bag pattern and started sewing.

I have never done anything like this before. I don't understand the pieces and have no idea how these things are going to look like when they are done. I am trying really hard. I am engaged, as we say in the education business. I am absorbed, as we say in the distracted mind business. I am letting other thoughts float by, as they say on the mediation app.

Most of my garment sewing is almost like production work some days. I have done this before, I know the outcome and want to get there.

These bags are bringing all my sewer into focus.

And you know what?

Suddenly in the middle of it I realized I was myself again. I felt happy. I was relaxed. I am pleased with myself.

Then I remembered that I really like the neighbours. I remembered how last walk how Daisy's Bernese Mountain dog boyfriend, who by the way is called Moose, was so busy swooning on his back for her he slid down a snowbank onto the road and didn't take his eyes off her. I talked to my mother who was happy we sent her a box of baking like she used to send us, with a pair of beaters in it I got from Value Village, because one year she was so harassed she mailed her own beaters in the box too. And my husband said he is going to make gumbo for the open house and that this is one of his best dishes. And Miss Heidi told me that she is sure the Elf on the Shelf doesn't mind the bad things I do, except the part where I said he is a tattle tale.

The point is that somehow sewing puts my world back on axis. Not sure how that happens but quite sure I need to make sure I don't forget that.

Now my question for you this morning is,  what does sewing add to your life?


23 comments:

annie said...

Not sure I could turn to sewing in the middle of all that, though it would probably help. I'd just feel like, "Gotta put this away because I should be (fill in the blank). The guilt would force me into mistake and rip mode and then the project would end up in the trash. Happy Christmas to you all!

Anonymous said...

I'm working through a very difficult time in my life, literally. I am overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do, and it is tedious and difficult and anxiety provoking. Long story. But, when I feel like I'm losing it, I take a short sewing break. It helps put my mind back on track and tamp down the anxiety.

Laceflower said...

Sewing adds satisfaction, pride, accomplishment, fulfillment, creativity, and one-of-a-kind clothing. Honestly, I don't know how people who DON'T sew, get through the day!

Anonymous said...

During my last meltdown, I just folded some fabric and what a feeling a peace from handling all those colors! Of course I also had the illusion of control and dreams that someday all my fabric would be folded and stay in place....just a dream!
lisa

Sheila said...

It's like a mini mini holiday. Relaxing and refreshing

bbarna said...

When I was in my teens I sewed to be unique with my wardrobe, in my twenties it was to clothe my kids. I made little outfits from clothing I bought for 25cents at the Sally Ann- now they call it upcycling.... Then I needed blankets for the beds and I used up my scraps. It made me feel good to sew something creative for almost nothing but my time and energy. My sewing mentors were both my grandmothers. They had made it through the Depressions with large families and little money.
From my thirties to my early fifties, I had more money and I still sewed, but I could spend a bit more on my fabrics and the equipment that I used. I actually sewed less in those days and I missed it.
Now I am in my late fifties, semi-retired, and on a limited budget. I am sewing like crazy now, using up what I have and buying up fabric from thrift stores, estate sales and even donations from other sewers. I love the creative process-what can I make from these bits and pieces. I still quilt, but now I do lots of sewing for myself , my adult kids and their families. I find it relaxing, and yet stimulating too.
Merry Christmas, Barb

garnet128 said...

If I am not sewing physically, I am sewing mentally. Anytime I am in a 'don't want to be here' thought process...I let sewing take over. I hate to drive on long trips (but can't let hubby do it all) so I enter sewing brain and plan, redesign, etc. Can't sleep....sewing brain. Nightmare...switch to sewing brain. It is what calms me and revitalizes me. So besides the obvious tangible rewards of garments and home dec, it is my meditation.

SuzieB said...

I still have two decorative pillows & some placemats to make as a gift & am actually looking forward to it. Everything is cut out already (the hardest part of any sewing project for me)& amazingly I have suitable cording and invisible zippers on hand as well as pillow inserts. All is right with my sewing world today-

Anonymous said...

I try really hard to build some sewing into every week if not every day, it grounds me and is very calming, even when it is going less than ideally. I too worry about people that don't have something like this to retreat to! We are planning a quiet holiday season, altho my tendency to complicate, add on, "improve" keeps rearing its ugly head.

Stay warm!

ceci

barbaraq said...

I so understand your urge to sew despite the Christmas chaos. For me, sewing is such a grounding activity where I can just be myself and my project is mine alone, for better or worse. Have a joyous holiday!

Barbara Q

Cathie said...

Just love this post! Sewing makes me sane. Have just been in an insane crisis over Xmas singing (?). They are stealing my sewing time, I said to Hubster. No time for that, and back to sewing.... Cathie!

SewRuthie said...

Yes when I don't get to sew I get all antsy. It's definitely good for finding the calm space again.

MaryEllen said...

I so agree with those who have said -they are not sure how others can stay sane & calm without sewing . I ty to sew 39 minutes a day . I'm not often successful, but it I can't sew-I read a sewing blog or organize my supplies . It's the best activity there is !!!

Judith Newman said...

Christmas isn't a holiday I really celebrate, no decorations, no tree... You get the drift. I don't do Chanukah either, no children. So these weeks before the 25th can really drag along. I actually do make fruit cake (because I have a great recipe which friends and family love to eat - but which gets made just after Canadian Thanksgiving so it can age in my fridge), but that's it for the baking. I do sew all year long but at this time of the year it makes me feel centered and productive and creative. I wasn't seeing the Christmas fabrics but when I finished the latest quilt ten days ago there they were - I bought some to make a large "placemat" to cover a friend's dining room table (with enough left over for a table runner for another friend. The runner is completed and gracing her dining room table, the topper is nearly done - another day or so and it will go to its new home in time for Christmas dinner! And then I can make those two tunics to wear with the leggings that turned out so well...

Sharon said...

It is my sanity from work, life and all around me. Even hubby notices when it is time for me to spend time in my sewing room :)

Lane said...

Peace. And confidence. There are almost no money takes that I can't fix with a seam ripper or a needle and a new thread Enjoy the chaos. ''Tis the season.

Jean Shaw said...

I often think of how much fun it was to wrap presents, back when I was little. The anticipation! The excitement! Sewing at this time of year brings that back into my life.

Anonymous said...

Please post a picture of Moose. Your story is hilarious and sweet. He is a swain and Daisy deserves only the best.
Vancouver Barbara

mandy c said...

Love this post. In everything that was going you found your happy place. Sewing is definitely my happy place. As soon as i start I feel myself relax and become focused again. Good luck with all your happenings, it always works out in the end. Merry Christmas from across the globe where Christmas is about heat and surviving humidity.

Karen Lyon said...

I need to be left alone, no one bugging me, everyhing arranged how I wabt it and where I know where it is when I want it I just like lots of space around me and no one encroaching, offering suggestions, wondering why you want to sew that, etc. I need peace of mind to relax and enjoy the process.
Merry christmas, Barbara, enjoy the holidays with your family.

Leigh Wheeler said...

Well, that's what's wrong with me. I haven't sewn a thing in months. I have good plans over the holiday however, starting tomorrow. I'm SO looking forward to it.

Cindy said...

" It is the week before Christmas and anyone who says take it easy no one expects you to do all this, is probably male." So true........

When I go into my sewing room I find I can breath, relax and just be in the moment. Wow, that sounds corny even to my ears, but it's true.

Unknown said...

Merry Christmas to you, too. Sewing gives me comfort and style (well, sort-of the latter) and the joy of generosity at times too. I need to prioritise that kind of creativity, so thank you for the reminder.