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  • Writer's pictureTess & friends

How sewing helps my mental health

For a while before I set up Tess & Friends I was stressed. I found it difficult to switch off and felt like I had no control over anything, and these were just a few of the emotions I was going through. It wasn't a happy time so I finally realised I had to do something about it. I had done some sewing before, curtains, cushions, things for around the house so I decided to start sewing again.

But what to sew? I enjoyed sewing and I enjoyed wildlife so I decided to merge the two together. I had seen in the past some fabric faux taxidermy fabric animal heads which I liked so I ordered a pattern book - Vanessa Mooncie's Sewn Animal Heads, GMC Publications, 2018 and made a start. An elephant, why not? I thought if I started on something large it might be easier. It was okay, until I got to the tusks!

Sewing was ideal, especially as these were all new and tricky patterns so I had to focus on what I was doing and had no opportunity to think about anything else. I found sewing extremely relaxing and it made me feel much better.

My family were starting to despair with all the faux taxidermy hanging up in the house, however I didn't want to stop making them. Then came the thought, how about I set up my own little business selling faux taxidermy. I checked first with Vanessa Mooncie and she was happy with me using her patterns to make items to sell. One hurdle jumped. Phew. So why not set up a business? It would be good for me. Sewing relaxed me and I had control over everything I did, and with a constantly changing Covid world, it gave me stability. It also made me do things out of my comfort zone - selling my products at craft fairs. Hearing and seeing people react to what I was making was and still is nerve wracking. Some people didn't like them but that was fine. I was okay with that. What a relief. But plenty of people did like them, and even though many didn't buy one, it put a smile on lots of people's faces when they saw them which was great. Nothing better than to make someone smile, well actually, when they smile and then buy one is better but I'm happy with just a smile.

All in all setting up Tess & Friends has been the best thing I've done this past year and I look forward to seeing what this year brings!

If you're struggling, you don't have suffer alone. There are plenty of people and organisations out there keen to help you.

Here are a few:

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