Hello there, the angel from my nightmare

October 10th is World Mental Health Day


Attention: if someone else's personal stuff aint your cup of tea, close the window. 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, I am speaking from personal experience. 


I remember exactly when my first panic attack happened. It was Easter 2008, ferry just docked in Stockholm, Sweden. I was out on the deck having a smoke to pass time until we could go on land. And then it just happened. Shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, feeling like I am about to lose any connection to reality.
At that time, I did not know I was having a panic attack, not really. I thought I got seasick or something. 
These episodes kept occurring over the following year. And I simply suffered through them until one day I typed into google search bar “panic attack symptoms”. 
I hauled my ass to the general doctors office following week, cried my eyes out, and mumbled the words - “I think I might have panic attacks or severe anxiety”. I was poked and probed and blood was drawn to make sure nothing was wrong with my physically. 

Three weeks later I had my first therapy session. 

You see, back then, I felt like having something wrong with you in the “mental health department” was a shameful thing, something one should hide from the public. It is not. IT IS NOT.

Anyways.

What is it like to make something when you have panic attacks.

Panic and anxiety occur more often when one is under extra stress or is depressed. 
At the beginning I had no idea nor the “tools” how to evaluate the state of my mental health. Panic attacks and anxiety just happen, they don’t give you a three week notice.

So imagine this - you are making a custom order for someone else, and suddenly, there is Ygritte in the back of your head saying “You know nothing.” 
At first you are shaking it off. But that little redheaded wildling returns and says it again, and again. And again. 
And then, you start to rethink your steps, and suddenly you feel like you have managed sew pockets so that they are at a different height on opposite fronts. You measure and remeasure everything, and yes, they are indeed not matching up. Few seconds later you are in tears, catching your breath and hoping the earth will open and swallow you up so you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of mismatched pocket heights because the coat is basically ruined.

Or is it?

You can’t really ask yourself that question, because you are quite out of touch with reality by this point. So you bag the half made coat and hide it under other projects so you won't have to deal with it. Ever.

You also “forget” to call the person who commissioned the coat from you...for a year.

It’s a true story. It has happened with me more than once, actually. 

I’ve spent many nights balled up on floor, crying over my incompetence, making myself feel worse and worse.

Now, I know when to avoid taking on big projects like that. When there is extra stress in my life, like at the moment. I try to stay away from big demanding projects, and focus on “quickies” . These would be projects like making a Tshirt for myself, or sewing a new shopper bag.

I’ve accepted the fact that being the way I am, is the new normal. I accept, that sometimes I can’t go to a store to buy food because there are so many people there. Or I can’t take the city bus because I might pee myself on it. Or I can’t start sewing the coat this month because I am not feeling that well.
The second I fully accepted that I am this way for good, that it can't be cured like a cold, I started having "episodes" of anxiety or panic less frequently.
Anxiety and panic pass. And once they do, I can and will see clearly again. 


If you feel that something isn’t okay with you, please get help.




PS I finished the coat I mentioned, one year later. The pockets were fine. 

PSS I am what is defined as “high functioning”. About 98% of the time I can manage with life okay. I go to work, get my shit done, keep it together. But deep inside… it’s another story. This is I think also part of the reason why it's so hard for me to get help, because doctors and therapists keep saying "You look fine".

Pattern Review - Merckwaerdigh Balcony Bra


Size: 75B
Materials used: White stretch gallon lace, white mesh for lining, stabilized nylon for the bridge, white lycra for wings, white straight edge underwear elastic, white foe for upper cups edge, white hooks and eye closure, white bra straps elastic. All materials sourced locally (YAAAS). Underwires from bwear.se

Pattern Review:
(For the printed pattern itself)

This pattern is drafted for B cup, and uses sister sizing for other cup sizes. 
Included UK sizes are:

34A - 48A (= US 34AA - 48AA or EU 75A - 110A) 
32B - 46B (= US 32A - 46A or EU 70B - 105B) 
30C - 44C (= US 30B - 44B or EU 65C - 100C)
28D - 42D (= US 28C - 42C or EU 60D - 95D)

Sewing - The Basic Truth

 Girls Sewing Class


If you've ever been to my 'About' page, you may know I am a 'trained professional'. I have studied tailoring, technical design of clothing and manufacturing, and fashion.

My tailor training started from zero basically. For the first half year, we learnt basics - seams, pockets, pattern cutting for skirts and trousers. Somewhere during that first half year (I think it was a month after the year started) we were let into the sewing lab. We got to pick a machine and a table. And we started stitching. Paper.

Yes, you heard me correct - paper. These 'papers' were mass production from Soviet Union times, all sorts of lines boxes etc. printed on them. These were to teach us precision, train our eyes for measuring and so on.
Then we moved on to cloth. We had to sew large oval shapes, following the previous row of stitches in parallel. And getting graded on how well we did.
Basically we were taught how to sew straight first. Then we were shown how to properly treat a seam with steam and press it. And only then did we move on to pockets and closures. And in second half year we started sewing for actual human beings aka. clients.

So for me being able to sew straight has always been the core truth of sewing. And a straight seam line goes hand in hand with proper fit.

Not so long ago, in a sewing group on Facebook, I was basically told that I am stupid and know nothing. And that the basic truth of sewing is to pick a good silhouette and being able to fit it to yourself or the customer. And that anyone can teach themselves how to sew straight at home on their own.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but when a person starts from zero, how would they know what a good seam is? Or maybe, being able to sew straight and knowing what thread tension is; is actually over rated these days?

In short, I was being left with oh so many questions, which no one wanted to answer because I be stupid.

So dear readers, how did you get started with sewing? Did someone teach you, or did you teach yourself? And most importantly - what comes first: straight seam or good fit? 

In full clarity - I know that good skills are waisted if the fit of a garment is poor. Fit and construction go hand in hand.