True Confessions – Woody Allen Has Nothing On Me


Let me paint you a picture. I sit down at my sewing machine. The birds are singing, daffodils are blooming, I’m prancing around on a floating cloud of joy and the wine is chilling in the fridge. Everything is right with the world. Then I start sewing…

30 minutes later, the air is blue. I’m kicking a wall, I want to throttle the neighbours and I’m considering playing Russian Roulette with a seam ripper and my hand. Who needs that fifth digit, anyway?

What the heck just happened?

At least, I have the sense to put the cover over my sewing machine and find something else to do. What was that all about?! I ponder. Slowly, slowly, slowly, the silt of life starts to settle and I gain perspective. Oh, yeah. That happened yesterday. I wasn’t so happy about such-and-such last week. And, um, maybe it’s the time of the month/I’m lacking sleep/work is stressing me out/puppies have been playing up.

I’m not saying that my sewing machine is cheaper than a therapist, but … my sewing machine is cheaper than a therapist.

Same for you? Please, tell me it’s the same for you!


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35 Responses to True Confessions – Woody Allen Has Nothing On Me

  1. There’s a sense of bringing order to chaos when I sew. It’s fairly easy to Zen out at the machine. And it doesn’t talk back! : )

  2. Becky says:

    I don’t have nearly the talent you do, but I do find anything that takes me “out of myself” to be therapeutic. So, yeah, it’s the same for me. I have found that I must walk away from it at times when I have lost my patience. I don’t want this fun thing to become something that is frustration provoking. We must be patient and kind to ourselves. It comes back.

  3. strugglesome says:

    Oh, my goodness, yes, my sewing machine is much cheaper then my therapist. And I do find it extremely calming to sew, even when it’s frustrating, because I can pour my anger and frustration into sewing, not into my life! I always walk away feeling better then when I started. It’s not just you!

  4. Far says:

    Yup! most Of The Times Sewing Works, BuT Sometimes I Just Have To Walk Away… But I Credit Sewing WitH Bringing Me Peace 😉 P/s Sorry For The Caps, I’m Commenting Via My Mobile. Setting Is Screwy lately

  5. Funnygrrl says:

    Definite stress management for me. When I keep making mistakes I just walk away for awhile.
    Speaking of the time vortex-thingy from another post, Where does the time go when I’m sewing?! The only way I keep any track of time is how many episodes of I’ve watched. Last night was 3 West Wing episodes! That’s over 2 hours that felt like 20 minutes tops.

  6. sue christian-rodriguez says:

    yes…definitely…and it has all the answers and I have new clothes at the endn of it.


  7. Thea says:

    Yup – if I’m cranky about something, it’ll come back to me at the sewing machine! Usually, I notice beforehand, because I know I need some patience and good vibes to sew. If I’m feeling cranky, I usually feel like it’s good to stay away from the machine. On Sunday, I tried sewing on not enough sleep and a hangover. The world is a bad place when I’m hungover, so it didn’t go down well at all… topstitching on Minoru messed up? Tick! Tantrum? Tick! For now, my cover is on too, and I’m looking at pretty pictures of new patterns instead 🙂 I hope the good vibes and sunshine come back soon for you!

  8. Sonia says:

    Definitely a way of relaxing for me – if I don’t sew/kniw for a few days I can feel myself getting more and more antsy. Although sometimes I can get just as stressed…!!!

  9. I love the scene-setting you did there… particularly the image of wine chilling in the fridge, always best for me to leave the wine guzzling until after the project has gone away, otherwsie I’d end up with even wonkier seams than I was after.

    There are times I want to take my knitting/sewing/sewing machine and hurl it across the room in a fit of rage (anger issues, moi?!) but as most of you note, it’s at this point that you WALK AWAY!

  10. Ruth says:

    Interesting. Honestly, no, that has never happened to me while sewing, mainly because I have to concentrate and then I get into the “zone.” Years ago when I foolishly used to think swimming 100 lengths of Highbury Pool at a time was a good idea, I eventually had to give up because it was too boring and I could brood while doing it. Now I exercise by doing more interesting things in places where there is actual scenery. Perhaps you need to sew something more challenging or something easier – something with just the right amount of “grippingness”.

  11. Graca says:

    Oh my gosh, what a timely post. Today was the worst day ever and even though my sewing mojo has been low I’m turning to my sewing this evening because Damn it!, my sewing machine is also cheaper than a therapist.

  12. katlane12 says:

    Oh I hear ya! I think it’s because when you sit down and start to sew your mind wanders and it automatically thinks about the dramas of the day. I do the exact same thing and have to make myself walk away and sew again another day.

  13. While I do think sewing can be therapeutic (and, with my cheap but lovely machine, definitely cheaper than a therapist), it drives me CRAZY when my husband picks an argument with me just before I’m about to zone out and into my wonderful world of sewing and then I feel bad for whatever it is I’m going to start sewing (read, ‘attacking’) because I take my frustration out on it! 🙂 It’s a vicious circle but you gotta love it.

  14. pat says:

    I agree with you. My sewing machine is better than a therapist. When I’m wound up tighter than a clock I go to the sewing machine, It doesn’t matter if I make a bookmark from a small scrap in my stash, it gets me centered again. If I’m truly angry out comes the yeast and flour. Nothing like kneading dough into something that smells and tastes delicious to get all the anger out of me.

  15. Lisette says:

    It’s totally the same. Sewing machines are a blessing in disguise.

  16. Generally yes, it is relaxing. But I wish ihad your good sense to get up and walkawaywhen it is going badly. I tendto battle on amdmake it worse!

  17. Heavens, yes. Sewing is literally keeping me sane through grad school. I’m starting to think of fabric as an “academic” expense!

  18. Jenny says:

    Just today, I was literally screaming “I’m going to punch someone in the face!” to an empty house because I had to redo a pivot point eight times before I got it right. When things start to get ugly at the machine, I generally send myself out to check the mailbox. I check the mailbox often.

  19. Yes I am thinking much clearer when I sew and often re-live unpleasant moments I managed to forget/suppress often weeks ago. It is strange but it helps a lot

  20. sewbusylizzy says:

    I find I sometimes get stressed at the machine if I am sewing for a long session as I’m trying to finish something.
    What I do find calming is always having my sewing set up & ready to go. Then I might stop by and thread trace a piece for my new jacket, baste in a sleeve, sit down and top stitch part of a garment. Those little moments are rewarding & calming in a sea of chaos and pressure and THAT’S my therapy.

  21. Kirsty S says:

    Definitely cheaper than a therapist! I find sewing lets me deal with the rubbish a day or week might throw at me, creating something brings out the beautiful in the world, but when the sewing starts to go horribly wrong, I know I won’t get the garment to a successful conclusion and have to force myself to walk away. And that is when the cat comes in handy – their total conviction that the world revolves around them answers all questions about what to do. Pat the pet until it is happy and eventually you will be too. Love your style.

  22. I whole heartedly agree. When I went through the big heartbreak in 2011 and the rebirth in 2012. I sewed the whole way through it. Often late at night with gin and jazz. We got over each other and are now good friends the only difference for me being I had a wardrobe to show for it huzzah 🙂

  23. Anne-Marie says:

    Sorry, but sewing usually stresses me out. It’s ironing that calms me – literally smoothing all wrinkles and making nice stacks that fit on shelves…. I don’t like it that with sewing too much doesn’t go right first time, seams aren’t straight, or the garment doesn’t fit properly, or… I like the thought of sewing much more than the actual sewing!

    • Angela says:

      Anne-Marie, I totally understand! I’ve always enjoyed ironing – a wrinkled pile becomes smooth and nice-looking. So many people think that is entirely strange, but it does calm me if I’m upset.

      • I’ve gotta tell you both – I loathe and despise ironing with every fibre of my being! (Too often a task doled out to me at home by my mum.) It’s pretty ironic that my hobby involves almost constant use of the iron…

  24. I have never visited a therapist so I can’t comment on that but I do feel that concentrating on my sewing is good to take my mind off anything else that may be concerning me. Because if you don’t that’s when you make mistakes. And things get really ugly.
    Then wine works.

  25. LinB says:

    Oh, Karen, I hope you didn’t damage your fifth digit too badly! Also, it’s a bad idea to take out anger by smashing the machine on the floor, lol. Yes, the gentle purr of the machine, and the simple, repetitive motions of putting seams under the dip-dip-dip of the needle can help induce a meditative state. I avoid cutting out garments when I am angry.

  26. sallie says:

    Oh totally. Either it soothes whatever ails me or I just make a giant mess and need to go sit in the corner for awhile.

  27. Sewing can be good for stopping cycles of negative thinking. All you have to focus on is the next stitch and hopefully you have something to show for the use of your time.

  28. So relevant to me right now. I am under a big cloud at the moment so I really want to get involved in some therapeutic sewing. But everything feels ten times harder to get started! I’m trying to force my way through though because I know having that feeling of achievement can be a mood booster. Even sewing disasters are different from disasters in non-creative stuff, so they don’t feel as stressful. But if I’ve never wanted to maim myself with a sewing tool maybe I’m not pushing myself enough!

  29. Trice says:

    When things get crazy with sewing I do have to walk away. When it makes me question if I actually know what I am doing, I need to walk away.
    However, with pattern-making, I kind of enjoy the frustration, it challenges me in a creative way.

  30. Sarah says:

    Sewing and dancing are the two things I can’t go long without doing. You’re certainly not alone!

  31. I love this post! If I was stressed and couldn’t sew, most likely I’d be sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth while sucking my thumb. Seriously, sewing is SO therapeutic. It turns off the mental white noise so the real business can happen.

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