Like many others, my first year of motherhood has been psychologically, emotionally, and mentally challenging. Part of my recovery and management of postpartum anxiety, as well as preparation for baby number 2 has been a significant amount of introspective work, on my own and with the help of a perinatal mental health professional. Through this work, and the removal of distractions that was covid 19 isolation, I have been relearning myself; what makes me tick, what makes me comfortable, uncomfortable, and how my emotions are tied to not only my past, but my current embodiment of who I think I am. Big stuff.
Through this, I have re-learnt that I yearn to create and be challenged. In the past, this has manifested in various ways like creative writing for fun as a child and academic endeavour as a young adult. I’ve never seen myself as particularly crafty because ultimately, I’m better at the academic stuff. My hands are out of practice, and my creations have largely been ideas, arguments, journeys of imagination and logic. But right now, in my current state of mind, body, and spirit, that is no longer driving me. I yearn to create things and yet my motivation for minimalism and practicality steers me away from accumulating things and buying more stuff.
So now I’m being driven to create practical things for our lives while trying to maintain minimalistic values of recycling, reusing, and giving new life to the old.
In the last month, I have combined my yearn for challenge, creativity, and practicality by attempting to use scrap material to make cloth nappies, cloth pads, cloth wipes, and doll clothes. Although I did create, I can confidently say that being challenged was the greatest fulfilment here, with many of my approaches being less than ideal, but learning a lot along the way. Below is a summary of what I have made, along with some points on what I have learnt.
Using an opshop flannel sheet to make prefold and flat cloth nappies:
This sheet has had many uses in our house; making bassinet sheets, cloth baby wipes and face wipes for meal times. All I have left is misshapen pieces which were not ideal dimensions for making true prefold nappies. I improvised, and most of them turned out the correct size for a newborn which is what I was going for! Hoorah!
Making cloth baby wipes from torn flannel pyjamas:
Last time I made cloth wipes they were made from the above flannel sheet, only one layer, and they serve us well. This flannel was significantly thinner so I doubled them up and managed to use all of the pyjama pants aside from the waist band which can be repurposed later.
Making cloth pads from scrap PUL, flannel, cotton pillowcase, and old nappy inserts:
This one was a disaster for functionality, but a great learning experiment! I learnt that my “pattern” needed serious work, my choice of fabrics also needed reconsidering, and where I stitched was also a little problematic. I have since improved on all fronts but unfortunately could not manage using all scrap materials. I’ll upload a post about these soon too!
Making a doll dress on a whim from scrap quilters cotton:
My childhood doll Rosabelle Dezerray received her first wardrobe update since the circa 2000 plastic bag raincoat. This one was entirely on a whim and I immediately know how to improve:
- Actually make a pattern, not just cut out a piece of rectangle and hope for the best
- Learn how to properly hand stitch for the tiny pieces that are too fiddly for the sewing machine
- Plan what it’s going to look like and select trims before starting!
And there we have it; my scrap sewing learning projects from the last month. Nothing is a failure so long as we learn from it, and my life is a constant stream of learning when I let it be.
Before we part ways today, here is my final lesson for the last month of sewing.
CHECK FOR SPOOLS OF THREAD IN THE WASHING. If you haven’t put it in there, chances are your toddler has.