Sewing and Self-Care

“She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:18 (amp)

Hey Everyone!

I pray all is well with you!  With the new year swiftly approaching 2019 goal setting or re-setting has been high on my priority list.  One of those goals is always self-care.  Tis’ the season to overeat then diet and detox. lol!  That’s not what today’s post is about.  I actually have been thinking about self-care from a sewing perspective.

What do you mean a sewing perspective…? Isn’t wellness a universal thing…?  Yes it is.  It is also my belief that no matter what you do professionally we as humans should strive to live a healthy lifestyle.  However, there are certain professions that physically demand more from us than others.

Sewing is one of them.  I didn’t notice it when I was hobby sewer, because I made a garment for myself or a loved one and worked at my own pace.  But when it became a vocation for me and I started to sew for others.  I began to really notice the effects on my body.

I began to have lower back and neck pain.  I would feel physically drained from the stress of sewing under constant deadlines.  Which had its affect on my cortisol hormone and caused belly bloating and sudden weight gain.  I had constipation.  Overall, I was pretty miserable.

At first I didn’t understand what was happening but as I met some older women who worked for factory sewing companies they began to share their stories with me about the strain of sewing on their health.

One woman told me she had suffered a stroke from the strain and stress of her job. Leaving her slightly paralized on one side of her body.  Another woman shared that her eye sight had weakened from so many years of sewing.  One of my professors from design school use to contract sew like I did and she told me she had to give it up because of the stress as well as wore a back brace when she would have to sit sewing for long periods of time.

After hearing all of these stories, I began to realize that I needed to figure out a way to live out my sewing dreams without the expense of my health.

Proverbs 31:18 says: “She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.” Proverbs 31:18 (amp)

When I read this scripture two things dawned on me 

  1. While health is a promise from God; we have a responsibility to take care of our bodies.  It has been my experience that God will provide opportunities, resources and tools to aid in the journey.  But we still have to do the work and make the right choices.
  2. I also quickly realized that sewing for me has to include a self-care component.  When I workout before going into my sewing studio I noticed that I have less body aches, my mind is clearer and I can even sew a little longer or it doesn’t take me as long to complete projects because I make less mistakes.

However, like many people prioritizing self-care can be a struggle for me.  It is also something that I have to be intentional about. Through self-examination, I have been able to pin point stress triggors and map out wellness strategies that help me maintain a balanced life.

Here are just a few things that i’ve learned along the way.

  1. Rise early, pray and the read the word of God and journal often.
  2. Exercise at least 4 days/week.
  3. Eat healthy plant based meals.  I’ve tried to be a vegetarian for many years now and its not easy, especially because my family likes meat.  So I strive to eat plant based meals as much as possible and sometimes I include meat and fish.
  4. Drink a lot of water daily.
  5. Take a multi-vitamin.
  6. Limit sugar and caffeine.
  7. Try and get at least 8 hours of sleep daily.
  8. Enjoy my life. As a single mom I tend to get tired easily from work and kids.  Going with friends or socializing beyond phone conversations isn’t always on my list.  But I have afew activities that I try to hold onto when i’ve got a little free time.  Like salsa dance, lunch with a friend, or taking a yoga class with a friend.

9. Stay organized. Even if its a simple To Do List and a calendar app

10. Attend weekly worship service and bible study at church.

I know it seems like a lot but its not.  Outside of my church acitivies all of these things can get done anywhere from a few minutes to an hour at most.  And when I do these things consistently, I get to a place where I have energy, a focused mind, increased productivity and i’m a nicer person and mom.

So as your preparing for the holiday season and thinking about your 2019 goals, I hope that you include a strategy to maintain your health so that you can keep sewing for a long time.

Until next time!  Have a blessed rest of your week!

xoxo,

Iris

DIY: Holiday Sequins Pencil Skirt and Tips for Sewing w/ Sequins

Hello Everyone!

I pray all is well with you.  It is December already and no doubt many of you have holiday office parties to attend.  I’ll be honest with you.  I can’t remember the last time I went to a holiday party and I have never worn sequins prior to today’s post.

If you know me.  I like to keep things casual.  I’m not huge on evening gowns or overly glamorous oufits.  I do however, love the way designers are bringing sparkle to our everyday lives through sequins.  The incorporation of luxe fabric like velvet and sequins into ready to wear day looks inspired today’s make. Below are a few examples of my inspiration.

I thought it would be fun to make a stretch sequins pencil skirt.  I liked the idea of creating a holiday inspired piece that could stretch into the new year.  This skirt would be lovely and very appropriate at an afterwork holiday party and could be easily worn after the holiday season for a date night with your sweety!

This is a self-drafted pattern that I created using an existing knit pencil skirt. Its high-waisted and has a black elastic waistband.  I also added a lining made from some nude powermesh that I had in my stash for ages.  A little quick tip with the lining.  I like to cut my knit powermesh lining a 1/2 inch smaller than the outer skirt.  It gives a little compression and smooths out your curves nicely.  The sequins I purchased from Joann Fabric.

I chose to keep it sleek with a black blazer, black tank top and suede stilleto boots.  I added a little extra bling with these rhinestone black/gold tassle earrings.  I wanted the sparkle of the beautiful blue sequins to be the star of this outfit.

I also included a few tips that I learned from sewing with sequins below the pictures. I hope you find them helpful.

Tips for Sewing w/ Sequins

  1. Use lots of pins to pin your pattern down.  Those sequins are slippery.  I also used a very sharp rotary blade to cut my pattern instead of scissors. Made it easier to keep the fabric from shifting.
  2. Depending on how bulky your sequins is you may have to remove the sequins from the seam allowance prior to sewing your sequins.  Mine wasn’t so bad and I was able to cut it and sew without removing any of the sequins.
  3. Use a very sharp micro-tex needle.  I used a size 80 microtex needle. This went through my fabric easily without skiping stitches or thread breaking.
  4. Use an all purpose thread in a matching color.  I used a zig zag stitch and followed up with a straight stitch because it was a knit fabric and you could see the thread through the side seams.  Going over the seam a second time with a straight stitch helped tremendously.
  5. Hem your garment by hand.  I top stitched my pencil skirt hem but wish I would have hand finished the hem. It stretched out my hem a little bit.  Not too noticeable.

Well, that’s all for now! Until next time!

xoxo,

♥ Iris