I’m Mary-Ellen, lecturer of Renaissance literature turned librarian living in Northern Ireland. Sewing was always a skill I dreamed of learning, having been mesmerised by the skills of the older members of my family and listening to the histories of garments being worn in photographs in the old family albums. I never managed to find the time until I took a radically different career path but I started my sewing journey at the outset of 2020 and have never looked back.
Sewing is more than simply a hobby to me; it has been a journey of self-realisation and body acceptance. One of the main reasons I decided to get a sewing machine was that I realised ready-to-wear fashion is an enemy to body positivity and self-esteem. Buying clothes off the rail fed all my body insecurities; poor fitting issues became synonymous with ‘my problem areas’. Sewing has taught me that the problem lies with ready to wear fashion which, by nature, cannot cater to my individual body. What’s more, my body is constantly changing – I mean, I have been everything between a UK size 8 and 16. Sewing skills have helped me take charge of fitting clothes to my body; if I’m not making a garment from scratch, I have the skills to make the little adjustments that can entirely change the fit and feel of a garment. Sewing has given me control.
“You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”Glinda, The Wizard of Oz
My power is sewing which has led, in turn, to self-acceptance and body empowerment.
My measurements used to be something that made me hate my body. Sewing has changed that because now I look at those measurements as information; as any good librarian will tell you, information is power. Those dreaded numbers that were once upsetting and, to be frank, often scary, are now the foundation for beautiful garments that work for me and make me feel amazing in my own skin.
My blog, She Sews Happiness, is something I hope will inspire you and I hope you’ll learn with me on my journey to create a handmade wardrobe, one stitch at a time.
If you’d like to chat about anything sewing related, you can find me on Instagram – @shesewshappiness. I would love to hear from you!