Searching for Contentment and Finding Time to Sew

There’s a lot of talk about ‘do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’ It’s great if you love your work but that sentiment doesn’t help with when you simply have to take whatever work is available or if you’re not in a position to do what you love each day. I wonder if we’re missing something when we hold up never having to ‘work a day in your life’ as a goal? This past year, I’ve needed encouragement for doing mundane work that’s necessary to support the people I love.

A few years ago, I remember telling a friend that I was trying to discover a way to make money doing what I love. I didn’t want to do mundane work to pay the bills. I wanted to find work that I was passionate about. It was a season where I had time to explore and limited expenses.

My friend was not in that season. She had very little time for herself and stacks of bills. She smiled politely and I interpreted her hesitance as cynicism. She was giving up. I wouldn’t let that happen. (I’m a little embarrassed by my judgmental spirit).

In the past year, I’ve understood that her polite smile was so much more than giving up. She was weathering a different stage of life. My idealism simply wasn’t relevant for her.

My life entered a new stage and my idealism melted into realism. I needed to take whatever work I could find and I did just that. That ended being a (very) part-time job (that I love) and freelance work that pays bills. My ambivalence about my freelance work increased as my schedule filled up.

I saw my sewing time slowing being crunched out of my schedule. I struggled somewhere between gratitude for the work and financial stability maintained through my freelance work and discouragement at how nap times and evenings were swallowed up with work. It’s just for a season, I told myself. But what if the season never ends? What if I’m always taking on this type of work for a season?

My struggle this year was not to allow myself to sink into cynicism. When my resentment rises and my family suffers for it. I waver between playing a typical disillusioned, middle-aged mom straight out of a modern American novel and taking on a martyr complex. Neither option is desirable.

It would be nice if I could now conclude with ‘how I overcame’ all of this. But the disillusioned woman and the martyr still lurk in the background of my life.

Amidst these musings, I’ve found time to sew. Making time for sewing and knitting brings a lot of joy and contentment. If I can spend a couple of hours each week (or ten minutes) working on a creative project, I feel rejuvenated.

This project started over a year ago with an attempt at drafting a pattern from a favorite t-shirt. I used an old tie-dye t-shirt for practice material.I used Swedish tracing paper to create a pattern from the blue t-shirt. 

While this didn’t produce a wearable shirt, it was incredibly helpful for learning about creating the shape I want in t-shirts. I wasn’t successful in creating a perfectly fitting t-shirt but I do have a better understanding of how the pieces fit my body.

I didn’t have enough material for the collar so I used some scrap material on hand. All around, it’s just a little wonky but such a good learning experience.

In my second attempt at a t-shirt, I used a free pattern and altered it for my purposes. I lowered the neckline and lengthened the bodice (so it could fit my pregnant belly).

Occasionally, this combination happens:

This outfit is so comfortable and the colors make me smile. It’s my momiform that allows me to be comfortable whether I’m stretched out on the floor reading books to children or going for a walk.

FYI disclosure: at the date of publishing this post, I do not receive any compensation/kickback for the links in my blog. I occasionally link to resources and stuff I use if it fits my topic.

Also, for the record: the big belly photo is from earlier in the year – it does not reflect my current condition.

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