Monthly Musing ~ Challenge Yourself

Helen Cloke monthly musing

It's the last day of 2019 and it's only just dawned on me that tomorrow is not only a new year but a whole new decade! (Unless you are on the side of the debate that sees 2021 as the true beginning, *shrug* who knows?)

It's common place to make New Year resolutions, mostly revolving around changing unwanted traits or behaviours - loosing weight, exercising more, saving more money etc.  I'm not huge on making New Year resolutions but I do like to set myself some challenges with the goal of personal growth or pushing my comfort zones.

Quite a few years ago, one such challenge was auditioning for an amateur theatre production.  Something in which I had no experience and came as a surprise to those who know me as a quiet introvert.  I loved it!

More recently it was to start pole dancing for fitness.  All my other hobbies were taken up because I knew I'd be good at them, sewing, knitting, weaving, face painting, embroidery etc., any craft that I can do with my hands I have a pretty good chance at being successful in.  That is just where my talents lie.

But, there is so much to be gained by taking on something that is a challenge to you.  For me, that is pole dancing.  I'm not particularly musical nor rhythmical.  My memory whilst impeccable at remembering written word is completely useless when it comes to remembering movement.  I have no background in dance and I have real trouble recognising songs until they hit the main chorus and quite likely not even then, so pole dancing was never going to come naturally to me.

I'm not saying that I'm complete rubbish at it!  I'm strong so that's a help, plus I try hard and I'm great at following instructions. 

When things are a challenge you experience more extreme highs and lows.  There is such a frustration that comes from just not being able to 'get' something right first time, or second or third or fourth.  But the sense of euphoria once you do nail it is pleasantly overwhelming.

Finally getting the 'Superman' without assistance - Yeehaw! 

Then there's the plateau where you feel like you haven't made any gains at all!  I'm in that position at the moment with pole dancing as I've missed a chunk of lessons due to other things in life and I don't feel like I've made any progress at all for 2019.  I'm keen to get back in to it in 2020 though; I know that if I push through and apply what I've learnt that that peak of satisfaction shouldn't be too far away.

With that in mind I've set myself two challenges for my lingerie making this year.

1. I want to draft a bra.  I currently have no design ideas other than it will be a balconette/demi style as that is what suits me the best.  I've purchased the Bare Essentials book by Jennifer Lynne Matthews and I'm looking forward to having a thorough read and getting going on this.  I have no couture drafting experience (I rarely even make changes when I'm garment sewing) so this will definitely be a challenge.

2. I'd like to make a really elaborate lingerie set. Eyelash lace, satin, boning, lots of strappy details, matching garter - the lot!  Again, no design as of yet but I plan to start gathering inspiration soon.

I see from all the #makenine Instagram posts that a lot of you have bra making in mind for your 2020 sewing plans!  Go you!!  Enjoy the challenge, celebrate the highs, push through the lows and bask in a well earned sense of achievement whilst wearing your me-made lingerie.  I'm here to help if you need it and I'd love to know what challenges you have set for yourself for 2020.  Leave me a comment with what you have planned.

Happy New Year and Happy Sewing,



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  • Gill on

    Great goals and who would have thought POLE DANCING…LOL

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