SEW IN TIMES OF COVID

SEW IN TIMES OF COVID

Other than this cheesy pun (hands up if you recognised the reference to Gabriel Garcia Marques’s Love in Time of Cholera, one of my favourite books), I really don’t know how to start this post. I have so many things going through my head, so apologies for a bit of a rambly post, but I guess I just wanted to share how I feel in relation to our beloved hobby in these crazy times.

And it’s perfectly ok if you don’t feel the same, or even don’t want to read anything more the dreaded c-word (the new one, not the old really rude one).

But I have words coming out of my fingertips – clearly a symptom of being stuck in the house with just my husband (who is not talkative at the best of times). And I do really want to know how you are all feeling.

(Header image by Josh Hild on Unsplash)

The good, the bad and the lonely

I have been staying at home since Thursday, but still working normally from home (new job, only 3 weeks in, so can’t really afford to slack off yet), so I can definitely confirm there was no sneaky lunchtime sewing. Mostly because my husband has commandeered the sewing room for his at-home desk, the evil man.

Also, I really don’t feel like sewing at all. While everybody seems to be congregating in virtual sewalongs and socials, I don’t feel either like sewing, nor being social.

I mostly feel like sleeping. Seriously, for someone who did all of 150 steps today, why am I so tired (and no, no symptoms yet)?

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Before, I was always complaining that there is never enough time for crafting and all my creative hobbies. And now I don’t even feel guilty for doing nothing on the sofa…

I also have only been sporadically on Instagram. Though my phone usage has gone up by 50%, though I’m sure that’s all the obsessing over BBC news. And playing mindless games, like Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery (yes, I am that sad).

If you are feeling more social than me, there are a few sewalongs and sewing get-togethers going on, like the one organised by Seamwork and the one just announced by Fibre Mood, includes a free pattern.

FOMO, masks and social distancing

Who knew that FOMO can hit even when we’re ALL isolated in our own houses?

Should I be sewing? Everybody else seems to.

It feels like the popular patterns have now been replaced by people making the funkiest facemasks for themselves, with designer fabric, of course.

In the UK, we have been told non-surgical facemasks, including DIY ones, are useless, or even worse, can help spread the virus. In other countries, the advice was different and people were making them for the frontline workers.

Still, I kept getting a bit of mask FOMO, especially when I read this article about the even fabulous, inspiring and amazing Joost de Cock from Freesewing.

Also, it seems that in the US, because of lack of equipment, even hospitals are starting to accept home-made masks as a last resort.

If you want to start helping on this front, I found two really good consolidation resources from Huffington Post on patterns and how to donate them (US-focused) and also this great article about the best materials to use.

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If you are based in the UK, I did a quite thorough search and could not find any information on how we can actually donate the masks that we might sew to be used in the NHS. So please, if you have any information, please let me know and I will update this.

A plague of cancellations and closures

The sewing community has so many small businesses that depend on live interactions with their customers. Also, people who engage in the sewing world are self-employed. Along with many others, they have been impacted. And for me, these are perhaps some of the saddest outcomes.

So if you can, please think of ways of supporting as you are able to. A very good post from Sarai at Seamwork on what you can do. Even if it’s just a tag on social media.

I decided to buy some fabric from an indie retailer in the UK, in spite of my fabric ban. I mean, even if the lockdown lasts for the next 7 years, I think I’m covered fabric stash wise. But I wanted to make a small contribution and support them. Luckily, in the UK, we are still getting deliveries so I can continue to shop online.

Sustainability, style and sewing vs the world today

The last point I want to touch on is something that I have been telling you ad nauseam it’s very important to me.

As I was saying in my previous post, I really really want to try to keep a sense of normality for myself and whoever else is interested in joining me.

But I do feel a bit self-righteous or petty or frivolous talking about ways to make the best of our wardrobes when the world is on fire.

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As a sustainability specialist (in my day job), a passionate environmentalist and sustainable style advocate, I am happy to see small benefits to nature coming out of this terrible situation. But then I read this really thought-provoking piece by Sian Conway at The Ethical Hour and it made me rethink things.

So I am really reconsidering the topics and frequency of the posts on this blog, my social media presence and how I interact with the sewing community. I was really proud of my unbroken posting strike since the beginning of the year (every week on a Tuesday), but that seems unimportant.

So, it is likely that I might not post as usual for the foreseeable future. But the channels of communication are still open via email (alex@sewrendipity.com) or on Instagram (@sewrendipity).


In the meatime, stay safe, stay sane and however you decide to approach this lockdown or social isolation, don’t give yourself too hard a time either way.


TELL ME HOW ARE YOU COPING AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO KEEP BUSY.

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9 Comments

  1. 24 March 2020 / 10:14 PM

    I have been sleeping a ton, so I can relate. The chronic stress of the situation makes me tired all the time. Please don’t let that article you linked to make you stop posting about your passion. While it’s important to acknowledge privilege and be mindful of the very difficult circumstances this puts millions of people around the world in, calling it ‘eco fascism’ seems extreme and unhelpful. Helena and I are choosing to release our next episode of Clothes Making Mavens as planned– no mention of COVID-19, only sewing chat. But we struggled, as you are, with whether that would seem insensitive. In the end we decided that sewing can act as a respite from the stress of the current situation, and so can podcasting and blogging and reading about it. Sending warm hugs and best wishes to you. xo

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      24 March 2020 / 10:25 PM

      Thanks so much for reading and your kind words, Lori! Once again, letting feelings out and sharing with the community makes me feel better. And knowing that there are people who can relate. Whether I end up on IG or whatever, it’s these small interactions with truly like minded people that make the difference. I feel really inward focused at the moment and really don’t feel like being part of a ‘movement’, but I still love my 121 virtual interactions with my favourite people. Thank you again for being you and here!

  2. Cindy
    25 March 2020 / 3:52 AM

    Thank you, as always, for a thought-provoking post. What a great article on eco fascism, thank you for including that link! Good luck with your new job: it’s a hard time to find your way in a new environment. I’m sure you’re doing great.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      25 March 2020 / 12:00 PM

      Thank you for reading, commenting and your kind words, Cindy! Yes, the new job situation is not ideal, but at least I got a few weeks in before this all kicked off, so I got to know a few people. Stay safe!

  3. 25 March 2020 / 4:04 AM

    Just like you I’m pretty tired and stressed by the whole situation, however I’m actually enjoying the cameraderie on Instagram more than ever lately and I’m making an effort to stay on there and get the virtual contact. I’ve also still been sewing because it’s keeping me sane and I have a collab at the start of May which is at the moment still going ahead so that gives me purpose too.

    Oh and I decided to make a couple of face masks for myself and hubby when we shop in Sainsbury’s. I just followed the US guidelines. But there is so much conflicting info about them isnt there?
    Stay well, stay safe x

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      25 March 2020 / 11:58 AM

      Yes, I did see you being social! Good on your if it makes you happy. And very exciting about your new project, can’t wait to hear all about it. Stay safe!

      • 25 March 2020 / 1:59 PM

        Meant to say that I’m glad you’re getting into your new job ok. That’s a lot to process. And bear in mind that I’ve always worked on my sewing from home so for me it’s kind of business as usual as far as I can manage, so don’t be hard on yourself and just blog and sew only when you feel like it. How about just keeping up with your jewellery instead if you feel like a little creativity?

    • Susan Linfield
      25 March 2020 / 1:13 PM

      So well written Alex, as always, and I am sure is a good reflection of the myriad of emotions whirling about. Do exactly what feels right. I will definitely miss your Posts though. A new job is plenty to manage on its own.
      Deep breathing and a little bit of creativity will keep me sane.

  4. 25 March 2020 / 3:04 PM

    Thanks Alex for such a thought-provoking article. I found the article on eco-fascism quite enlightening, but a little extreme. I wouldn’t view seeing the clear waters in Venice clear as a price worth paying by the vulnerable in society. Not in the same league, but I remember travelling loads with work and it took a recession for my employers to willingly adjust to doing more meetings virtually rather than at sites. It would be great if we could see these changes and not return to “business as usual” completely.

    I haven’t been very creative at the moment either, but for home-schooling reasons (can I call it this? Or would this annoy teachers?). I’m juggling this with doing my job from home too. So, not much sewing happening here either. I’m just happy we’re safe and well and anything else is a bonus. I have been enjoying a bit of frivolous Instagram viewing though, keeping a good balance and maintaining a sense of normality

    Take care and keep safe.

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