I can’t believe it was a year ago that I was in Urban Outfitters shopping for my birthday dress.
Refusing to pay full price for it and determined to learn how to sew. It seemed silly then, but it is totally my reality now.
I am “sew” grateful for this year of refashioning my life, and to celebrate I wanted to share the many lessons sewing Georgia’s Gems has taught me about myself. I appreciated your support along the way and hope you enjoy this recap of the last 365 days.
P.S. I totally replicated that Urban Outfitter dress from my birthday a couple months ago. Two months before my birthday (which is this Friday, yay) to be exact.
Here is the Urban Outfitters dress…summer 2015.
Here is the Georgia’s Gems version…spring 2016.
And here are the life “gems” I’ve learned the past 365 days…
Own Who You Are
Sewing newbie. Beginner. Faux fashion designer. Self taught. These are a few of the titles I would throw around when others inquired about my new sewing adventures. Always an awkward conversation when trying to explain to others how I made my dress for my work holiday party, or how I was able to look at a jumper on Pinterest and recreate it. But then one day, I just made it simple, and true: I am a fashion designer.
It took some time to grow into the confidence that this title required and it has taken some time to grow into who I am now that my mother is gone.
It is really hard to explain, but I truly feel like in addition to mourning my mother I have had to mourn the woman I was when she was alive. It is like meeting yourself again, only not as yourself.
This “new normal” used to upset me, however I can say that this gem about “owning who you are” in sewing has motivated me to embrace a new level of acceptance in life. Saying now, “I didn’t use to be (fill in the blank), but now I am (fill in the blank). And that is okay.”
Humans evolve, and that is a gem we can all accept.
Pay Attention To What Is Coming In, Not What Is Coming Out
The fun in teaching yourself how to sew is that every single project is a chance to learn something new. From darts to invisible zippers, it is never a dull moment with my Singer sewing machine.
However teaching yourself to sew can initially be challenging when you’re literally learning the basics. Don’t even get me started on how long it took me to thread my machine the first time. So, to keeping 100% real, YouTube and instincts are my sewing teachers.
In fact, one day when I was having a hard time sewing a straight line (don’t laugh) I literally Googled, “how do you keep your stitches straight?”
This adorable DIY Sewing Tips for Beginners video popped up and not even 30 seconds into the video I was sobbing all over my crookedly sewn project.
“The key is to pay attention to what is going into the machine, not what is coming out,” the instructor said.
This seemed simple, and now I know that a lot of new sewers make this mistake. However this gem spoke to more than just my new hobby. It spoke to my emotional wellbeing overall.
The hardest part of grief is the all consuming power of recalling, retelling and thus reliving the loss. Memories sustain me indeed, but the healing that has taken place over this past year has come from my commitment to focusing on “what’s coming into” my life, not what’s coming out.
Short version: living in the moment has brought so much peace to the pain of missing my mom.
Patience Is A Virtue (That I Am Learning To Possess)
The overachiever in me challenges my patience in life, so I wasn’t shocked when I dealt with this same issue in sewing.
I mean, sometimes I would bust out projects in lightning speeds – like my favorite summer dresses this year. However many projects took endless hours and weeks to complete – like this dress I made for my line sister’s wedding.
Every project, like every day, is different. So the only true option for peace of mind (and not sloppy projects) is to take it one day at a time.
During the journey it can feel like it is taking forever. Forever to build your savings, forever to meet the right person, forever to lose weight etc. But if the finish line is our only focus then we may miss out on the journey.
This gem has been life changing yall. I am still working on patience in general, however I see a significant difference in not only how many goals I’ve reached over last 365 days, but also the joy I’ve experienced during the journey toward achieving them.
It Is Never As Hard As It Seems
Remaking my birthday dress was the ultimate goal this year. In the beginning I was sure that it would take me all 365 days to figure out how to draft the pattern, get the piping just right all while making sure it didn’t look homemade.
Every time I thought about taking on the challenge I would remember the frustration that my first go round provided, and was like, “no thanks!” Then one day, I wore my birthday dress out to a rooftop party and when I put it on and inspected the seams I realized it actually wasn’t as hard as it seems. Pun’s wild.
Also, that night my sister-in-law sent me a voucher for a fabric store here in New York city – Paron Fabrics. Ironically this was the fabric store that I bought the fabric for my first attempt 365 days ago at. So when I saw this fabric, a printed version of the solid fabric I had bought last year, I bought it. I came home, turned my birthday dress inside out and got to work. Step by step, day by day I remember turning off my machine thinking, “girl, you got this!”
And one week later, I did!
You Don’t Have To Lobby Your Hobby
Last but not least, the greatest lesson I learned this year is that a hobby doesn’t have to become a business. In a world where entrepreneurship is on the rise, it is hard to not see an opportunity and instantly want to monetize it. This is what happened very quickly for me.
By the holidays people were asking me recreate my gems. I was flattered, yes, but I also felt like this could be a slippery slope toward my new hobby becoming a chore. And that it did. It was fun indeed, but see I actually already have a business. A business that takes up a lot of my RAD time (shameless plug), so two seasons into designing and sewing gems on Etsy I decided to no longer “lobby my hobby.”
It has been a couple of months and I am glad to be back to my YouTube lessons. Who knows, maybe one day I will make “fashion designer” my career. But right now I love it as a hobby.
After all, the fun is what has made these 365 days of refashioning my life enjoyable.
I don’t want to lose this feeling just yet.
Thanks again for following along!
Off to celebrate my birthday week and daydream about future gems!