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What Sewing Does for Me, by Gail (

Sewing is so much more than making clothes....

I have never been one for hobbies as such, (apart from baking, but there are only so many cakes one family can eat!) After I had my kids, I found it harder to relax and harder to find the time to relax. I didn't have a hobby to submerge myself in.

Really my hobbies were socialising with family and friends and walking. Socialising and walking both meant time out of the house. Combined with working full time, I already felt I was out of the house too much (cue mother's guilt). The limited spontaneity that parenthood brings was making me feel a bit frustrated (no offence kids). Increasingly I felt something was missing. I needed a hobby that could be done in the house and was flexible.

IG discoveries : Gail models the bolt culottes by Make it With Mandi made from 100% cotton wax print fabric purchased from @africanprintfabricuk

Browsing through market place on Facebook in Feb 2019, I saw a second hand sewing machine for sale for £40. I swithered 'Will i use it? Will it be a waste of money?' At less than the price of a night out, I'm not sure why I so hesitant. Looking back I don't know why I had such little faith in myself to use the machine. I'm generally not a quitter. In fact I'm a bit of a dog with a bone. Sometimes I can't give up, even when I should!

So I bought this machine from a student going travelling. It was in great condition, : all parts included and a few threads donated to get me started. Happy days! I remember so clearly how proud I felt when I wound the bobbin, threaded the machine and sewed a straight line! Woop woop!

But what next? I'm a verbal and active learner but I didn't want to commit to classes. I already felt I had too many things in my life that I had to commit time to! Plus the point of this hobby was that it was home based. Enter 'Fabric Bazaar' in Glasgow, an independent Aladdin's cave of fabric and haberdashery. I went in one lunch break from work and my sewing dreams came alive. Holly welcomed me and supported me through planning my first garment.

My first garment was McCalls M7831 pinafore dress from the learn to sew range made with 100% cotton. I still love it and I'm still thankful to Holly for her support and encouragement. Thereafter Ziggy and all the team have supported me through many project dilemmas! How I miss popping in to see what's in store and having a chat (we're still in lockdown here in Scotland at time of writing ).

My first make : Gail models her first garment, the McCalls M7831 pinafore dress with fabric purchased from @fabricbazaar.

Little did I know that just over a year on, the benefit of having a home based hobby really would be more valuable than ever! Enter lockdown. As an Occupational Therapist, I truly believe that humans are innately occupational beings. We find meaning and purpose in our roles and associated occupations. I do not like being quiet and don't relax easily. I'm not a book reader and I relax best when engaged in activity. I'm so glad I have had sewing to occupy me, excite me, give me confidence and help me to keep good mental health during the restrictions and isolation of this past year.

My most liked make : Gail wears the Luniara dress by Mood Fabrics (free pattern) in poly cotton purchased from @africanprintfabricuk

But something was missing. I missed the buzz of wearing my makes, of the confidence it gives you and sense of self expression. Enter Instagram. I joined Instagram in Oct 2020. I've never been a social media person, so the first few months were nerve wracking and a little stressful. I found myself comparing myself to other fantastic sewists and it was taking the joy out my sewing. Thankfully I've worked through that and I'm now benefiting from the good parts of social media. Being inspired, learning new techniques, sharing ideas, finding out about new fabrics and indie patterns. What has been the best surprise is making connections with other sewists and supporting and encouraging each other.

@she_sew_fabulous was one of the first sewists I connected with on IG and these small connections make the big IG world less scary. Thank you @she_sew_fabulous. I wish you the very best of luck with this exciting new venture.

One of my favourites : Gail models the McCalls M7833 in stretch velvet purchased from @fabricbazaar

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