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How Sewing Takes Me Out of My Comfort Zone, by Mel (@mels.craftylife)

Trigger warnings : brief reference to familial substance abuse; some reference to body image.

Hi everyone, my name is Melanie and I’d like to thank you for reading my story.

Sewing is one of those hobbies that I wish I started sooner, but I’m here now and I’m so glad. My relationship with sewing took years to flourish, but it all started with learning to knit when I was in highschool.

I grew up watching my aunt, mom and grandmother sew and I was definitely interested but I stuck to my knitting. In my teen years knitting became a safe space for me when the rug was ripped out from under me when a close family member was going through a serious substance abuse problem.

The scarf that started it all.

It’s almost like I created a safe bubble where I’d be in a relaxed creative state, which was a temporary escape from all the fears I had in my head.

Flash forward to 5 years ago when I no longer needed knitting in the same way, so I started sewing pillow cases. The thought of sewing my own clothes was always in the back of my head, but I ignored it because I knew sewing my own clothes meant completely getting out of my comfort zone.

But, being 5’10”, I was getting more and more frustrated with store bought dresses, pants and sleeves always being too short for my tall body, so I slowly started collecting dress patterns and bigger pieces of fabric. They sat in a box for a couple of years until one day, with the help of my mom, I finally cut out a pattern and sewed my first dress.

Yes, I made a lot of mistakes, but the end result was so worth it because all that discomfort of making a garment for the first time ended up making me feel comfortable and connected to my body.

It started with a dress and from there I branched out to tops, skirts, dresses, pants and more recently, rompers. I used to be terrified of alterations, but after the first sweater I lengthened for my arms and torso, I realized that I have total control over my sewing process, so it’s ok to add steps if it means something is going to make me feel more comfortable when I’m wearing it.

Sewing my own clothes makes me see my tall frame in a whole new way and I have a new appreciation for my long arms, broad shoulders and long legs. Instead of being frustrated that I don’t always immediately add length to patterns, I now treat it as a normal part of my sewing practice. It’s an extra step that means I’ll feel like magic when I have a garment that fits me well.

I still have sewing days when I feel like all I can handle is a pillowcase and that’s ok too! I’m so glad it all started with knitting scarves. So, I’m curious, did your relationship with sewing first start with another craft?

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