Sunday, June 2, 2019

Flow, dharana and happiness

Only recently I discovered that there’s no need to take a huge break from ‘normal life’ in order to have a creative, mindful one.

For a while now I have been unsettled, wanting desperately to have time off from my 9-5 job, in order to focus on the other stuff that I really love – yoga, sewing, art. Last year I went to a day-long writing course. The writer's main message was: 

The Atelier, where stuff is created

‘most writers don’t have the luxury of living in a cabin by the lake, writing 10 hours a day, ignoring all other aspects of life. Most writers find five, 10, 20 minutes a day here and there around everything else that’s going on.’.

This idea really resonated but I found it hard to implement in my daily life, while the longing for a ‘big break’ was still present.

Then I came across a sewing podcast where the interviewee was a mum with three kids who just really loved craft, and finds the time in between all the chaos of having small kids to focus. It’s a form of meditation and most importantly, it’s the process that is key, not the end product itself.

One of my favourite ideas is 'flow', and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has a great book on the topic - called FLOW - where he explains that our greatest moments of happiness are those where our concentration is so pure that nothing else seems to matter.

In yoga this is called dharana, or concentration, the sixth of the eight limbs of raja yoga (Patanjali II:29). By confining the mind to one point or one object or one area (III:1) perception becomes intense. This kind of brain-training where the fluctuations of the mind are stilled and no longer scattered can bring about great feelings of contentment and happiness. 

This often happens when I'm sewing - three hours can pass by as if it's been five minutes - I'm so absorbed in measuring, moving darts, stitching, unpicking 😃, cutting, pinning, measuring again - it's the most amazing feeling.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Hello fellow sewing enthusiasts! It has been a while. I've been coming to terms with working full time again. Unfortunately I can't sew on the bus to and from work or during my lunch break.

However I have stuck to my goal of only sewing clothes I can wear to work. Well, at the moment, it's more like not-sewing work clothes, because I haven't done anything in a while, but I can confidently say I am definitely not not-sewing non-work clothes! (Does that make any sense?!)

So moving on, this is the project I am currently not-working on, the New England Day Dress.

Now before you freak out and question my ability to fit, choose appropriate fabric type and colour, and my skills in counting the number of sleeves a garment usually requires, let me reassure you! This is a toile.

Monday, June 10, 2013

One red dress

So who hasn't seen Gatsby yet?  That would be me. 

This is for two reasons: 1) not a fan of musicals (The Wizard of Oz being the only exception) and 2) I'm afraid I'll become obsessed with 1920s fashion when I haven't yet finished with the newer parts of the century. Currently in the stash are 2 x 1950s, 1 x 1940s and 1 x 1930s patterns that have to be done first. And then I fret about the 1950s trend, and should we be moving on or is there more life in the Mad Men fad yet? These are the things that keep me up at night.

I feel like I'm such a slow sewer. This dress started about a month ago and is only just crossing the finish line today.  I have probably missed the Gatsby trend anyway in the time it's taken...are we on to the 1800s now??

Much like the little black dress, every girl should have a little red dress in her wardrobe.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Skirting the tenth circle

So the atelier has some good news - I'm going back to full time work next week! This is obviously very exciting for my bank balance, although bittersweet, because although I'll have a positive cash flow and be able to buy whatever sewing stuff I want, there will be limited time to actually sew.

I have been planning for this day by focusing on sewing more corporate-appropriate stuff that I can wear to work. This hasn't stopped me from, for example, buying evening dress patterns and Fantastic Mr Fox material en masse from Spotlight but these things will live in the stash for just a little while.

Maybe not appropriate for a work suit...

So here is the latest compromise - a Japanese garden skirt.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Magic Eye material

When I was in late primary school there was a fad with those 'Magic Eye' books: the ones where you defocus your eyes in order to see the picture in what looks like TV static and ruin your eyes at the same time. Maybe that's why I wear coke bottle contact lenses now?

This material reminds me of those Magic Eye pictures.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Being creative is a labour of love

It's Mothers Day weekend here in Australia, and what better way to celebrate than by taking our mum to the local Indie Craft markets?!

Werewolf reminding child not to forget Mothers' Day
Our city council is supporting a resurgence in the 'lost crafts' and these markets are now being held in and around Town Hall a couple of times a month.

Monday, May 6, 2013

To thine own self be true

You know, for a while there I tried to hide my infatuation for Japanese cottons.  I thought to myself, who else is so obsessed with the textiles of one geographic region? And grown ups sew with proper fabrics like jersey and silk and wool and linen. Not flowery cottons.

But as Polonius said, to thine own self be true, and although he was a bit of a dill it's good advice. I am a true girly girl. So I came to my senses and just made more flowery dresses.