What singing taught me about sewing

What singing taught me about sewing

Some of you know that I’ve been having voice lessons… for about six months now.

I’ve always wanted to learn to sing, but it’s difficult to summon up the courage to try a new hobby. I mean, the courage not just to try it, but to sustain that courage long enough, and keep practising long enough, to feel really good at it. Good enough to really enjoy it, you know?

Well courage is neither here nor there, now.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve been forced into voice lessons by a problem with my vocal cords. It’s not so much singing lessons as “voice rehab”… because although my singing is alright, speaking is a struggle.

I don’t know how it began – maybe stress, maybe a physical issue that cleared up and left bad habits behind; all I know is that I am physically fine – the doctors can find nothing wrong – and yet right now, my speaking voice is a croaky, whispery mess.

What does this have to do with sewing? Stay with me.

Every day I’m bustling

Every day I’m bustling

You’ve heard it before, I’m sure: you need the right foundations to get the silhouette right.

Sometimes you need them even when you re-purpose historical dress as everyday modern dress, and discard the corset.

I’ve been working on an 1890s wool skirt to just wear around the house this winter. I drafted it from an original set of instructions in the Keystone Jacket and Dress Cutter, with a smooth front, and a back that explodes in acres of gorgeous pleats. I should have guessed that this plan led to an engineering snafu…

Creativity and your mental health

Creativity and your mental health

Mental Health Awareness Week passed me by last week, ironically enough, in a haze of anxiety. Yeah, newsflash: I deal with this stuff too.

So many of us, from the everyday knitter, painter, writer or sewer to the celebrated household name, accept a terrible imagined bargain… that we must pay for creativity with our sanity. But despite my own issues, I have come to believe that I don’t have to take this crap lying down.

Having been there before and made it back to reality, I find these days that I know what to do. So here it is, for what it’s worth, my tried and tested bag of tools for maintaining good mental health (or regaining it when it’s eluding me). Borrow any that speak to you, and feel free to add your own in the comments.

How to Make Do and Mend, Victorian Style

How to Make Do and Mend, Victorian Style

I love wearing vintage, but sometimes I feel bad about wearing really old clothes… especially if an accident happens. 😖

My favourite vintage dress shirt has been hanging in my sewing room with a 3″ L-shaped rip for months… and I finally decided there was only one thing to do… mend it the same way its original owner might have done…