2016 was not a good year for celebrities or U.S. democracy. I’m not going to beat a dead horse about that one. The year 2016 was, however, a pretty productive year for me. I’ll get to my favorite sewing projects of the last year in a bit.
First, I’d like to start by saying that it’s been a good year on a personal level.
Beyond feeling settled in a new job, I’m feeling hopeful about the future.
When I was a senior in college, I had something of an awakening to my own anxiety and existentialism. I’d been busy my whole life with anything and everything I could pack into my waking hours: music, a bunch of sports, studying, babysitting, partying, attempts at dating, etc. When my volleyball season ended senior year, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself.
The unknown terrified me. For the first time ever, I wasn’t on a strict schedule. I’d wake up in the middle of the night, crippled with thoughts about what the hell I was going to do with my life. And those thoughts begot more thoughts about how I hadn’t spent enough time thinking about my future. Ever found yourself in a similar circle of doom? It’s exhausting. There were times when the fear and anxiety manifested itself in more tangible ways, making it hard to focus, have conversations, or even—at times—to move around. I was having a rough go of it.
I know now that those feelings were anxiety and depression rearing their annoying heads. This past August, after many, many months of promising myself that I’d start going to therapy, I finally took the plunge. And it’s been pretty great.
What am I doing? I’m trying to stop feeling guilty for needing some help. I’m trying to be more present in my everyday interactions. I’m trying to steer away from feelings of regret. And I’ve learned to like myself again. That’s saying a lot for someone whose default is humorous self-deprecation teetering on the edge of self-loathing.
Finally, I’m trying to let go of the idea that there’s one perfect path for my life. There’s a fantastic Hidden Brain podcast episode called “How Silicone Valley Can Help You Get Unstuck.” The episode centers around the idea that anyone can use “design thinking” to shape the way they live.
Design thinking is about recognizing your constraints, realizing there isn’t just one answer, and then trying something: “Building a prototype,” getting information from it, and then trying something else.
I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty here because you should listen to the episode, even if you’re not feeling particularly stuck. (Hidden Brain is a badass podcast.)
The point is, I’m realizing that I don’t “have” to do any one thing with my life. None of us do. I mean, we should conform to certain societal norms so we don’t get locked up, but there are no invisible rules or regulations controlling our actions, other than the ones we impose on ourselves. I know I’m getting a little heady here. Apparently that comes with the territory of self-examination and trying to better yourself. I’ll take it if it means feeling this much better everyday. 😊
That’s about all I can muster in regards to talking about my personal life, so without further ado… here are my five favorite garments of last year! (In no particular order:)
The sewing world went crazy when Rifle Paper Co. released a line of fabrics—and for good reason. This wins for the prettiest fabric I’ve ever worked with.
I’m so glad I found Victory Patterns! This dress was a giant (but surprisingly easy) puzzle piece to sew, and it’s incredibly fun to wear.
Thanks to Cardamome, I now know how to use elastic thread to smock. This is easily one of the most comfortable pieces I’ve ever made.
Still can’t believe that this shirt landed Marc on a New York Times street style blog.
Won’t stop, can’t stop sewing Archers. This shirt is a staple in my wardrobe, and people seem to really dig the double-blue color blocking.
There you have it. An unsolicited glimpse into my personal life with a sprinkling of pretty handmade clothes. Hopefully 2017 will bring some regularity back to my blogging schedule. ‘Til next time!