Sewing for Sanity: A Lesson in Gratitude

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Sewing for sanity
Image courtesy of Rashmi Pappu


Sewing for sanity is my motto.  I try and fit in sewing in every brief moment I can steal and here’s why….

I have 5 year old twins who changed my life.  I found out I was pregnant with twins on March 9, 2012.  Kind of weird that I remember the day, I guess; but holy crap, I remember so much about that morning.  My mom was visiting and stayed with my older three children (the youngest of whom was only about 15 months old).  My obstetrician does ultrasounds at 8 weeks to confirm pregnancies and guesstimate the due date.  My husband came with me to check on baby number 4, who we were planning to be our fourth and final baby. The ultrasound technician immediately said, “healthy heartbeat, healthy baby,” and as I looked over at my husband and was squeezing his hand when the technician said, “and another healthy baby, healthy heartbeat.”  My head whipped around so fast and the words, “You’ve got to be (expletive) kidding me!” popped out before I could breathe.  The technician laughed uncomfortably and said, “No ma’am, here’s baby A and here is baby B.  You’re pregnant with twins!” I looked back to my husband and the poor man looks like he’s going to pass out.  We got a standing ovation in the hallway as we left the ultrasound room.  We were in shock as we spoke with the doctor.  We were in shock as we parted ways in the parking lot–he for work and me to pick up my dad (who was coming for a visit).  I think I even called him once I got in the car so we could both be in shock together.  I remember showing my dad the ultrasound pictures and him laughing and saying, “What?? TWINS??”

And so it went.  We laughed.  I don’t think we cried. I can’t actually remember.  Through all of it, I wasn’t able to sew or really sit for very long at all before my back would start hurting.  We moved 600 miles to be closer to family.  When the twins were born, it was just as crazy as you can imagine.  I breastfed the twins and life just kept on chugging.  Breastfeeding twins is ridiculous.  I look back and wonder what in the world I was thinking.  But, here’s the thing–I hate doing dishes and I’ve never made a bottle.  So, in one sense, it was just easier.  However, moving to a new town, having twins, and basically being a hermit isn’t really good for anyone.  I went back to sewing as soon as I could sit at the table for any length of time.  Then I started sewing every night after I got the babies in bed.  It became a time of meditation, prayer, and quiet solitude.  I was literally sewing for sanity.  My husband would come in to sit and talk with me, but I rarely turned on a TV or had any other noise beyond my sewing machines.  I would sew from about 6pm to midnight…every night.  While it’s easy to get sucked into the weeds and focus on all of the noise, having that quiet time really helps me reflect on everything I have and to focus on gratitude.

Sewing for SanityI’m slightly repeating history these days.  I had another daughter in May and I swear we’re done now (for real this time!).  I feel myself focusing on the exhaustion, the sticky fingers, the mess of a house, the unfinished work, and the crazy everything.  I’m not good at planning out my gifts and I’m a terrible procrastinator, but I’m good at sewing.  And, frankly, it’s how I maintain my sanity.  When I first started 5 out of 4, my tag line was “regaining sanity, one craft at a time.”  So, that’s what I’m doing.  I’m sewing for sanity again.
Right now, I have a few pinspired shirts I’m working on to share in the 5oo4 SewPinspired contest that ends this week.  I’m also attempting to write up some breastfeeding hacks for the blog.  We have a lot of breastfeeding friendly patterns, but I thought I’d try a few other styles with some of my favorite patterns (like this Nancy Raglan).  I try and sew every day.  It’s exercise for my brain.  It helps me reorganize my thoughts and prioritize my to do list.  The puzzles of how patterns fit together and how I’m able to combine ideas to create something new clutters my brain at all hours and in all environments.  Sewing helps me find peace and focus on feeling grateful for this messy life.  Thank you for being a part of it!

This blog post was a part of the Thankful Sewing Blog Tour sponsored by Simply by Ti. This weeks giveaway information is a $20 shop credit to Simply by Ti:
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Thankful Sewing Blog Tour

Make sure you stop by all of the bloggers contributing to the tour! There are a lot more giveaways coming up.

Our Thankful Sewing Bloggers are creating something special to share with you to celebrate this month of Thanksgivings! As an extra special surprise, we also have a couple giveaways during each week of the tour. Share your thanks with Petite Stitchery who has a new pattern to share with us, a free pattern giveaway from Sew by Pattern Pieces, and a chance to win a shop credit each week from Simply by Ti!


Intro to the tour

November 1st:


Sewing with Sarah


Week 1:

Nov 1st: Tenille’s Thread

Nov 2nd: Candace Ayala

Nov 3rd: Hazelnut Handmade

Nov 4th: Musing of a Seamstress

Nov 5th: Sewing Portfolios

Monday Nov 6th: mahlicadesigns

Nov 7th: Seams Sew Lo


Week 2:

Nov 8th: Margarita on the Ross

Nov 9th: Stitched by Jennie

Nov 10th: Sewing with D

Monday Nov 13th: 5 outof 4 Patterns

Nov 14th: Tales of a Southern Mom


Week 3:

Nov 15th: Hazelnut Handmade

Nov 16th: Octaves of Color

Nov 17th: Kainara Stitches

Nov 18th: Kutti Couture

Nov 19th: The Petite Sewist

Monday Nov 20th: My Heart will Sew On

Nov 21st: Needles to Say


Week 4:

Nov 22nd: Back 40 Life

Nov 23rd: Lovemade Handmade

Nov 24th: Sewing by Ti

Nov 25th: On Wednesdays We Sew

Nov 26th: Paisley Roots

Monday Nov 27th: Mermaid Mama Designs

Nov 28th: Sew Haute Blog

Nov 29th: Ma Moose Handmade

Nov 30th: Everything Your Mama Made & More

41 Responses

  1. Chaney

    I sew for my sanity too, just a different kind…..sort of. I don’t have twins, but I do have four kids and I homeschool.

  2. Katie

    Sounds very much like why I started sewing again, although I’ve only got two boys myself! I’ve been eying Ti’s stretch twill for some moto pants.

  3. Tricia

    Sewing is my sanity so many nights! I love the Nancy with the hack. I may have to try it!

  4. Jennifer lichak

    I had my 4th and final baby a few months ago. I also sew for my sanity. And only for myself or my kids! I get super nervous about sewing for anyone else!

  5. Rene Dommer

    Love this blog post! I sew for sanity as well. I have a chronic disease and sewing helps reduce my stress. Stress is a major trigger for me and since I’ve started sewing again my episodes have become fewer and fewer.

  6. fenna

    What an awesome blessing! We lost our twins and for the brief time we knew i was carrying twins it was a state of amazement and disbelief.

  7. Pam Jones

    It’s hard to see from your position but there will come a day when “sewing for sanity” takes on a whole new meaning. Our house is so quiet and the dogs just don’t need me like the kids used to do! So I sew just to remind myself that I’m not totally worthless yet and that a busy world still exists. So, cherish the crazy days and keep your sanity by sewing because before you know it the quiet will start to descend! <3

  8. Joyce Brown

    Thanks for sharing your reality…very inspiring! I would sew up lots of cardigans for fall and winter in one of their 3 purple DBP choices…

  9. Joyce Brown

    Thanks for sharing your reality…very inspiring! I would sew up lots of cardigans for fall and winter in one of their 3 purple DBP choices.

  10. Jocelyn H

    This really resonated with me. I sew for my sanity…to have time to myself to be creative with my crazy twins and big boy who is exactly two years older

  11. Brenda

    I love it! Sewing for sanity must be my motto as well…I get cranky and twitchy if I haven’t sewn in awhile!!

  12. Melissa

    So relatable. Sewing is what I do for ‘me’ … even though I typically sew for others. It is something I can do from home, a few minutes here and there, that doesn’t take me away from my family – but truly does help me reset and find my sanity in those chaotic moments of motherhood. And I love sitting back and looking at a finished piece, celebrating: “I made this!” (and I can check at least one thing off my long to-do list).

  13. Stacy

    I hear ya! If I don’t get time to sew, or do something creative, I get stabby. We have to do so much to take care of the family that the me-time is pretty precious.

  14. Rebecca M

    You are amazing! Keep on making those awesome patterns and maybe I will find enough of my own sanity to get organized and sewing them all!

  15. Auschick

    Thanks for sharing! What an amazing story your have! Twins run in my family so I was petrified of having them (since the Pacific ocean separates by my family). My grandparents had identical twins while missionaries in Papua New Guinea in the 60’s, then they had my mom and uncle, then they had fraternal twins! The non twin uncle and a fraternal twin aunt also had twins!

  16. Karen

    Good for you! I find it hard with 4 kids to get any me time. I am starting to get some sewing done on items for myself more now and lol forward to more patterns that are quick and easy but also stylish.

  17. Abbi

    Sewing and crochet are my sanity savers too. I have 4 kids from 2-10, and sometimes the amount of work is overwhelming. I need busy work to occupy my brain, and sewing is perfect for that. It requires focus and produces something one of them can use (usually). Thanks for giving us a peek inside your life!

  18. Christie

    Sewing is my personal development… I’m newer, so I’m thirsty to expand my skills. I actually started sewing just a few weeks after being diagnosed with with PPD and PTSD. So thankful that seeing gave me a space to focus, relax and create things. And especially grateful for pattern companies like yours for offering free patterns. We had no expendable income, so I was still able to create things and feel accomplished. Thank you for this insight into 5oo4!

  19. Beth P

    I want to make an agility tank out of just about every color DBP they have :-). I sew for sanity too. I try to sew daily if I can get my 3 year old to bed. Sometimes she fights it until I’m too tired to sew. And I work full time outside the house so I have to sleep so I can function there 🙂

  20. Mary Ann

    I can relate (although with fewer children). When I make something, I feel like I did something that won’t be undone tomorrow. The bed making, dish washing, laundry leaves nothing to show for it. Leaving a mark by sewing keeps me level and happy.

  21. Leanne Gifford

    There were times when my two kids were young that I would take a day off work just to sew or craft. I needed something to clear my head and sewing generally did that for me.

  22. Diana Priebe

    My daughter and I just had this conversation tonight about sewing for sanity.! We are not alone for sure. GOD bless you, I’m exhausted after reading this wonderrful piece. We certainly have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, I know I do. My husband and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary and watched our last of 4 adult child get married last month. So a new season is here and we are embracing our next chapter together. Empty nest doesn’t mean empty, I’m full circle sewing for little ones now just as I did when their parents were children. I chalk it up to sewing for sanity all those years. It worked.

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