sewing activewear · Uncategorized

28 & Feeling Great

Happy Monday! Today is a happier Monday than most because it’s my birthday! I don’t usually talk about getting a year older, but I am looking forward to a really great year!

Today’s post is about a subject I’ve been super nervous to share. I’m always having an internal debate with myself if I should overshare parts of my life or not but I’m finally in a place where I want to talk about what life has been like the past couple years.

{If you don’t care to know about what’s been going on with me personally, you can scroll down to my active-wear sewing inspiration, I won’t be offended! :p)

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Living a creative life isn’t always fun. It isn’t always designing and sewing and taking pretty pictures. It can be lonely, terrifying, and if you aren’t careful, you can get sucked into the black hole of self doubt. I’ve dealt with these feeling for years, but for the last few years, my mental health has taken a huge toll on me and started affecting my physical health.

When I get into these dark periods, I tend to shut down. I get into a vicious cycle of telling myself I need to work harder, produce more content for my blog, make more bags for my shop, get more wholesale orders, post more on Instagram, forget to eat, and what business woman has time to workout? I tell myself that I’m not good enough, and it can get really hard to see other makers getting more followers and “likes” and then looking at your own content and feeling depressed.

Being a full time maker is hard. Working from home, sewing all day, browsing pinterest, wearing pajamas, fabric shopping, all sound like great things right? And they can be. But when you add in things like, spending every day by yourself with no one to talk to, handling every aspect of a business alone (making, photographing, listing, shipping, customer service, SEO, marketing, blogging), having creative blocks,  to-do lists a mile long, and don’t forget you have to make enough money to pay your bills. Sometimes it gets very overwhelming. And sometimes the last thing you want to do is read a nasty comment that was left for you on a blog post you worked really hard to create. (yes, it’s happened, yes I ignore them and delete the comments).

I try to push these feeling away when I’m with people, or when I write blog posts because you come here for inspiration and sewing projects, not to hear about how low I’m feeling that day. But at this point, I think it’s important to share my feelings because I’ve been working so hard to get to a good place and I finally found something that is working for me.

Flashback to earlier this year: I had an event to go to, and was reaching into my handmade wardrobe to pick out a dress. Five minutes later I was sitting on the floor crying surrounded by the contents of my closet because not one of my handmade dresses fit me. I spent years building pieces for my body, and they no longer fit.

I never wanted to admit that I was gaining weight. But it’s pretty hard to hide when you are 4’9″ and gain an extra 5-10 lbs. I could see it in my face, in my arms and definitely in my gut. What’s worse is that I could feel it. I was tired all. the. time. and I kept loosing motivation to do something simple like go outside.

My mental problems were finally interfering with my outward appearances and I couldn’t ignore the problems anymore.

Just over two years ago, I ran my second half marathon, and it was the worst race I’ve ever run. It was raining for roughly 20 miles, and at mile 5 I could feel my body wasn’t into it. But I pushed myself across the finish line because I didn’t think I could look at myself knowing I just gave up. After that race, I stopped running. I felt like such a failure, and instead of working harder to be better, I quit. It’s like a mental block came over me and I let it effect all parts of my life.

I didn’t think about gaining weight because it’s something that never happened to me, but it’s inevitable when you get older! Once it finally caught up to me, and my clothes didn’t fit, I knew I had to make a change. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I needed a re-boot because I was so tired of being tired.

When we moved into our new house in April, we got a Peloton bike, because I had been looking into one for a few months. I really wanted a treadmill, but we decided to wait after hearing Peloton was coming out with one of their own.

I started riding a few times a week, but also started having those same mental spurts come up about needing to work instead of workout. Then I starting riding with one instructor, Christine, who helped me flip my thinking. Every class starts with the phrase, “Drop your shoulders, drop your baggage” and exercise started becoming a release for me again, not just something you “should” be doing.

I’ve been feeling incredibly stressful over the move, and working on my etsy shop, while trying to make wardrobe pieces that I really want to wear, and taking care of an entire house, and producing content for other sites, but as soon as I get on that bike, it fades away. And after my ride, I feel relaxed, clear-headed and ready to take on what I need to.

I had forgotten how much I loved being active. And how much the activity helped with my mental health. And every day I look forward to riding and feeling sore! But I knew that being active wasn’t the only part of my life that needed to change.

My life the past few years (actually the past 7-8 years) has been surrounded by coffee and energy drinks. In college I survived on energy drinks and the older I got, the more coffee I consumed. I always vowed to eat good food, and since my parents own a farm, I’ve always had access to healthy meats and produce, but didn’t always prepare myself to eat right. (I have a strange obsession with potatoes in any and every form!)

I had been wanting to go on a cleanse, or diet plan, but was really looking for a complete lifestyle change. After doing some research, I decided to go Paleo. For those that don’t know, Paleo is the “caveman diet”, where you cut out all processed foods, sugar, beans, dairy, grains, and you are left with raw ingredients.

I’ve been Paleo for two months now and it has been amazing. After two weeks I started feeling a difference in my energy level, and at two months in, I barely have the cravings I used to get.

Paleo has forced me to plan my meals, and spend time in the kitchen cooking. It’s made me read labels, understand nutrition, and look forward to new recipes. It’s been hard to go out to dinner, and finding new ways to make my coffee without sugar has been…interesting…but I feel wonderful, and don’t have plans to stop soon.

With these changes, I’ve also made it a really important point in my life to slow down my sewing. I used to rush through projects because I wanted new pieces to share. I thought if I wasn’t making new things every week, people wouldn’t want to follow my sewing journey, but in reality I wasn’t always making pieces I loved. I also found myself getting super frustrated when projects didn’t work out!

Now I’m taking my time. I’m enjoying the process of a project coming together, not just rushing it along, and if I can’t find the right fabric or pattern, I wait until I do – because loved clothes last and I want to be 100% happy with my wardrobe.

I’ve also decided to reach out to get help with my etsy shop. I am really bad at SEO and marketing myself, and it’s only hurt my business. I’m re-focusing on my goals and patterns and working towards creating a sustainable and profitable business. I’ve signed up to be part of an “Etsy Tribe”, and I’ve learned that spending money on a program is much more motivating to do the work than finding free tutorials online.

I’m also very excited about moving my workspace into our attic. It’s another slow process, but I’m taking time to plan where to put my machines, what sewing table I want to get, and the best place for photoshoots and a real shipping station!

I am still very new in my journey, and while I am no expert in getting out of that mental block, I found what works for me. And now that I finally got all that off my chest (WHEW!) I’m excited to share more aspects of my personal life. And if you don’t want to read those parts then just scroll to the projects! =)

If you actually read all of that, thank you! I hope if you are feeling similar, feel free to reach out, I’m always willing to talk! (and if you don’t want to leave a comment, use the contact page!)

But since this is a sewing blog, and that was kinda heavy stuff for me to talk about all at once, I want to share a few projects I hope to get to soon!

  1. Joggers (is this the right word?) : After my workouts I want to curl up in comfy clothes, but not pajamas. I bought a really beautiful knit from JoAnn’s a month or so ago and am looking to make a knit version of Seamwork Moji!

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2. Sports Bras. I’ve made a few in the past but I’m ready to jump back on the wagon, and try out a few different patterns.

  1. Kaye (another Seamwork Pattern): I would be interested in adding cups to this one, but I love the longer length. The pattern also has a racerback variation which would be cool.

sw3078-kaye-01-large-fd603720b14733aa8030b941f5b1bb8e6ef374307dc97ca0a4df55196759fc6c2. I’m LOVING this design from Simplicity, and think the cropped top is cute too, but not sure if I would actually wear it!

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3. Leggings. I love wearing shorts for running, but every time I ride on the bike, my shorts ride up really quick. So I need more leggings!

  1. See Kate Sew has a cute tutorial for lace up leggings.

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  1. The Petite Sewist has a great pocket tutorial that I think would add an awesome design detail to a pair of leggings.

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Do you have any active-wear sewing plans on your list? I’d love to hear about them!

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Mental health is SO IMPORTANT. I also think it’s important to do something about it if you are feeling stuck. I’m thankful to have a great support system. A fantastic boyfriend and wonderful parent’s and sister. And today, on my 28th birthday, I had my 50th ride with Peloton in my handmade leggings, and I am so happy to be on this journey. 

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16 thoughts on “28 & Feeling Great

  1. Firstly happy birthday 🎂 I hope you’ve had a great day.
    Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve just recently started running – after making excuses not to exercise for so long – and 5 weeks in I’m already noticing an improvement in my mental health. Next step is making some running clothes for myself, your gorgeous floral leggings have me inspired!

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    1. Thank you for commenting! I had a great birthday! I do love running, it’s such a great full body workout! And when you hit a great stride, I love the feeling of all your stress slipping away! Glad to hear it is working for you! These leggings are my favorite handmade pair. New running clothes always make getting out there a little more motivational. Happy running!

      Like

  2. Happy birthday! Thanks for this post. It’s great to be able to relate to our sewing ‘friends’ on more than just the sewing level. Glad to hear you’ve made those positive changes in your life. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you Lori! It’s definitely been a journey, but a great one! (Also about your comment below) I have made moji before, and the low rise actually works really well for me – but thank you for the ‘beware’, I know they haven’t worked for a lot of people!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy Birthday!! I’m glad you have shared the slightly darker side of this creative life we lead. You are most definitely not alone there. And it’s fantastic that you’re making some positive changes – sounds like Paleo is perfect for you! I went sugar-free several months ago and it changed my life! By the way, for a knit jogger, I recommend the Greenstyle Brassie jogger. Super-easy and with some great options. I tried to make a knit Moji once but it did not work out lols! Also, there is an group on FB called Sewing Activewear, there are some handy resources in there for fabric and patterns.And inspiration!

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    1. Thank you Laura! It’s relieving to hear I’m not alone! It’s amazing how much sugar there is in almost everything I was consuming before! I should have started readying labels years ago!

      Thank you for the recommendation! I would love to hear about your experience making a knit Moji, I tried to find someone that has done it but haven’t been able to. There were a few other patterns I was looking at, but since I already own moji, I was hoping to re-use it haha!

      I HAVE to check out that facebook group- thanks! I am always on the hunt for good active fabric! Thanks so much for commenting!

      Like

  4. First of all: happy (belated) birthday! It seems a hard life to me in the creative field. I like the steadiness that my job gives me. Lots of people have asked me (I work in the online/content business) if I wouldn’t rather want to freelance, but even that already scares me!

    I think it’s very brave of you to share your story so people won’t continue to think it’s all fun in pajamas’s, lol. I’m glad to hear you feel better with paleo and regular work-outs! Your leggings look awesome, I’m so inspired to make my own now too as store-bought ones usually don’t fit me well and I’d have to mend my old favorite ones several times.

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    1. Thank you Karin! It can be very scary to go freelance, or just off on your own in general. There are many times I question just getting a full time job with a steady pay check. As long as you enjoy the work you do, no need to freelance!

      Thank you so much for commenting, it’s been a process these last few months, but I’m feeling so much better!

      I can’t believe some of the prices of store bought leggings and after a few wears they just don’t feel great anymore. There are so many legging patterns now that sewing them is easier than ever before! I hope you make some!

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  5. Happy Birthday!! We were born 3 days apart! lol

    I definitely have been having the same feelings as you:
    -feeling like I should be producing over working out or eating healthy
    -overwhelming list of things to do to advance my online presence with no motivation to do it.
    It’s all a part of the journey. With these hurdles, we find out what’s most important to us, and the peace that comes with that makes it easier to do everything else.

    Congratulations on renewed physical and mental health!

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting! And Happy Birthday to you as well!

      I totally agree with you that it is part of the journey, and I’ve definitely honed in on what is important to me (still working on wrangling in my to-do list haha!)

      I also think it’s so important to know that we aren’t alone on this journey, and I’m certainly happy I shared my feelings and learn that! The creative life is never boring! =D

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  6. Happy belated birthday! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can certainly relate (particularly since I’m still carrying around some baby weight…and I’m also short so I totally understand that struggle even if it’s “only a few pounds”!).

    I’m looking forward to hearing all about your upcoming sewing projects 🙂

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    1. Thanks Jordan! The short thing really is such a hassle =p

      I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my feelings, we are all going through something – even if blogging paints a different picture! You and I are both lucky we have awesome sisters to talk to! =D

      Like

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