365 Days of Sewing

I’m alive! & out of the cast! In case you missed it, I broke my foot at the end of October. I was walking down the street with Jared when I tripped over a loose sidewalk brick hidden beneath some fallen leaves. I fractured my second metatarsal in a weird vertical break. Thankfully, there was no ligament damage, so I didn’t need surgery. But I was in a cast for five weeks.

Photo on 11-1-17 at 4.19 PM

I had hoped that I would still be able to sew with the cast on, but I just couldn’t manage it. Our house is two stories. The main floor is where we live: kitchen, bedrooms, living room, bathroom, etc. The second floor is a big open space, which Ramona & I share. It’s my sewing room & her playroom. Jared is thinking of moving a desk up there after the new year so it can be an all-family workspace, which would be nice.


Getting around with a cast on was just way harder than I expected. I got a wheelchair for moving around the house, but stairs were really tough. I wasn’t supposed to put any weight on the broken foot at all, which meant scooting up & down stairs on my butt. I did go up to my sewing room a few times, but usually by the time I got up the stairs, I was too exhausted to do anything else. Going down the stairs was even more treacherous, & the last thing I wanted to do was fall AGAIN & get hurt in some new way. So I just sucked it up & accepted that I wasn’t going to be doing anything except hand-sewing while my foot healed.

I cross stitched a lot. This is where I was with my most recent Ramona portrait when I broke my foot:


This is how far I got by the time the cast came off:


I got the cast off a week & a half ago, & after a few days of resting & stretching the muscles that had been going unused for so many weeks, I finally managed to get upstairs & back to work. (Full disclosure: I am still in a medical boot, but it’s a lot easier to get around in it compared to the cast. I should be out of the boot in a few days, & I’m scheduled to start six weeks of physical therapy after the new year.)


In the last week, I have sewn three tea towel calendars, a pair of True Bias Lander pants, two Sew House Seven toaster sweaters, a new set of pajamas for Ramona, & a full-on pajama onesie for myself. I also drafted & cut a pair of sequin leggings, but I have to cut all the sequins out of the seam allowances before I sew them, & that is a more tedious & time-consuming task than I anticipated. I’ve also cut & prepped the patterns for another set of flannel pajamas for myself, & a winter-weight shirtdress. I have extra flannel standing by to line our black-out curtains so we can hang them up in Ramona’s room whenever Jared remembers where he stashed them, & I have plans for a hand-cut pocket wristband. I had wanted to finish all these projects before we leave for Christmas in Boston on Wednesday, but that’s just not practical. Hopefully I’ll knock out a couple of them & the rest will be waiting for me when we get home on January 1.


Which brings me to my big 2018 sewing resolution! A sewing group I follow on Facebook (it’s called The Self-Sewn Wardrobe, but sometimes people post non-clothing items & I quietly seethe & fantasize about starting my own Facebook group that is all adult garment sewing all the time, no exceptions whatsoever, even though obviously I sew my fair share of non-adult garments) did a challenge in November they called the sewing binge, or the #sewlongsewhappychallenge. It was 21 days of sewing. I had really been looking forward to it, but then couldn’t join in due to breaking my foot. I cross stitched everyday as a compromise, but that just gave me time to mull.


I’m going to try to sew EVERY DAY in 2018. I’m calling it 365 Days of Sewing. My definition of “sewing” is going to be somewhat expansive. Prepping patterns or fabric counts. Teaching Ramona how to use her sewing machine counts. Hand-sewing (including cross stitching) counts. I’m even going to include research & planning, because that stuff takes up a lot of time, but pays big dividends to both process & product in the end. But I don’t want to fudge it & say, “Oh, I wasted an hour looking at the Mood website today, so I ‘sewed’.” I want to really get in there & use my machines.

2017 wasn’t a great year for my sewing. I was dealing with the whole cancer situation at the beginning of the year, & I broke my foot in October. There were months at a stretch when I physically could not use my sewing machines! So, you know, shit happens. I’m really hoping that 2018 will be free of medical emergencies & that the only barrier to my 365 Days of Sewing will be my own laziness & inertia, but I don’t doubt there will be some challenges. We are talking about moving back to Massachusetts this summer, which means there may be a period of time when my sewing stuff is packed/in storage. I’m hoping to set myself up with some handwork to do then to stick to my goal.

So, accountability: I’m hoping to post here once a week with a round-up of my progress, & I will also be posting on Instagram using the hashtag #365daysofsewing. I hope this will be an interesting challenge for people to follow…or even join?

I’m also hoping to post here once a week with a new finished project. As little as I have been able to sew this year, I have shared on this blog even less. I have quite a few projects that I wear all the time & haven’t blogged about. I’ve also managed to whiff it a couple of times, & I want to share those fails too. (Sewing fail posts are some of my faves!) The Cloth Habit Harriet bra? Sewn it a few times now & LOVE it! Heart eyes for life! The Pin-Up Girls Sweet 16 bralette? Oh my God, burn it with fire. Possibly the biggest mess I’ve ever sewn. I’ve fallen for cropped sweaters (the waist-length Jenna cardigan from Muse Patterns! The afore-mentioned toaster sweaters!) & I really want to share the Lander pants I made, which would have been a disaster without a few little alterations I had the foresight to add.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

15 thoughts on “365 Days of Sewing

  1. Wow! What a challenge. I think you can accomplish it no problem, though. I hope your 2018 is medical emergency and drama free, too (no more pre-school issues as well!). All the best for the coming year and I cannot wait to see what you share! ❤ ❤

    1. I hope I can accomplish it! Sometimes mustering up the energy to go to the sewing room is a challenge if Ramona is wearing me out. I also go through weird depressive episodes where I’m like, “Nothing matters anyway, so why do I even bother to sew?” I always feel better when I actually sew though, so I’m going to try to stay focused on that.

      1. I’ve been in that state before. A lot this year, actually. I’m glad to be through some of it but man does it suck the motivation away. I hope you have less moments like that this year!

        1. Yeah, I don’t talk about it a ton on my blog because usually when I’m in that state, I don’t have the energy to blog. I have chronic, severe, treatment-resistant depression. Basically I’ve been in at least a low-grade depression for the last 25 years, & there are times when it becomes really dark & I’m just completely non-functional. I’ve noticed that a precursor to the darker depressions (which happen a few times a year, with an especially bad–like, catatonic, basically–spell every couple of years, which usually lasts around six months) is feeling down on sewing. Being all, “What’s the point, why did I spend all this money, this is so self-indulgent, no one cares about any of this,” etc etc. & I can mitigate it to some degree by actually getting into the sewing room & sewing.

          So hopefully this challenge will help with that. I think we are all also excited about moving back to Massachusetts this year, which will be good. I’m always happier when my family is happy, & they haven’t been very happy recently. Ramona is strangely thrilled about the idea of living in an apartment building. ??? Even though we will probably be moving to a town where we might be able to get a house.

          1. It’s tough when your body/mind is working against you like that. I think recognizing that sewing helps you feel better and using it as self-care is a great thing.

            You’re moving closer to me! LOL. I’ve been to Massachusetts many times and love it. I’m so glad everyone is on board for the move. When I was Ramona’s age, I was fascinated with apartment buildings. I probably read way too many Eloise books and thought that apartment buildings were basically hotels. Hahah.

            1. Yeah, I lived in Boston for pretty much my entire 20s. Jared grew up there & that’s where we met & started dating. We only moved to Kansas so he could get his PhD. I’m originally from the Midwest (northwest Ohio, Toledo area), but I split for the coasts pretty much as soon as I could. (I moved to Portland, Oregon first & lived there for a couple of years.)

              You live in the Toronto-ish area, right? I have spent shockingly little time in Canada. A day trip to Ottawa in Canada, a week in Montreal like 15 years ago, & a month-long writing residency in Halifax in 2007. I tried to go to Quebec City in 2001 to protest the IMF summit, but one of the people in our affinity group had a misdemeanor on his record & they wouldn’t let us into the country.

              I feel like Ramona isn’t 100% stoked about the move. She asked us last night, “Why do we have to move so much?” Kind of hard to explain to a 5-year-old, “Well, sweetie, it’s because we’re broke.” But she’s really excited about the prospect of being closer to her grandparents & aunt & uncle. She says she’s going to visit them everyday, haha.

              (PS–I left a comment on your blog this morning, but I feel like my WordPress account is glitchy for leaving comments. Let me know if you get it!)

              1. Yep, Toronto! I’ve lived in quite a few places on the east coast of Canada. Halifax is one place I haven’t lived, but I did live less than an hour from it in Wolfville for my Master’s. We’re thinking we’re going to move back to New Brunswick sometime in the next 5 years or so. It’s closer to my aging parents and Dale’s adopted Dad and Mom. It’s just so much more affordable than Toronto and we could realistically own a home there now as long as we had comparable jobs.

                The good thing about 5-year olds is they are pretty good with moves. It’s the pre-teens and teens that take it super hard. I moved a ton in my life and it was only during high school that the moves were worse. I hope she adjusts well and loves being closer to family. 🙂

                I didn’t see a comment. I’ll check my spam folder, though, sometimes they go there. :/

                1. I moved around a lot as a kid & it wasn’t awesome, even though I was able to stay in the same elementary school for almost my entire childhood. (Junior high/high school is another story. I think I wound up going to four or five different schools.) Ramona is so used to Lawrence, I’m a little worried about her making the adjustment to a new place, because a lot of things will be different. We’ll probably have to drive more, I can’t imagine the local library will be as awesome, etc etc. We call her “the downtown baby,” because we live so close to downtown Lawrence, she has kind of grown up with all the shopkeeps downtown, & they are all pretty indulgent with her. It’ll be weird being somewhere where no one knows her & might not be as awesome about letting her sit in the show kayaks for like an hour.

                  The friend that invited me to do the residency in Halifax wound up moving to Wolfville. Her name is Sarah Evans. It would be so weird if you knew each other!

  2. It sounds so great! I am tempted to try, if only because I have been yearning to do sewing-related things for so long and never make time for them. I’ve been working on establishing new habits (including things like making art) so I’ll bet I could do the same with this. Even if I only do, say, 5 minutes’ worth of sewing “something” each day, it would be miles ahead of where I was. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Go for it! Just doing a little bit everyday can really add up. & even if you have to psych yourself up to make that five minutes’ worth of time, as your skills develop, you may find yourself wanting to make more time. Good luck!

  3. I’m in as well! I love the idea of resolving to do more of something that makes me really, really happy. 🙂

    I hope that 2018 is as drama-free as possible for you. 🙂

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