Why I Sew


I have always made setting and achieving goals a priority in my life.

Growing up, I was driven to succeed in my education. I had the top grades, immersed myself in activities that would get me into the best colleges, and then graduate programs. I first wanted to be a psychiatrist, but once I realized that I’d never be able to stomach medical school, I shifted to child psychology. It didn’t occur to me then that a demanding medical career wasn’t in line with the lifestyle of the stay-at-home-mom that I also pictured for myself. I never allowed myself to explore more creative avenues that appealed to me. I watched the people around me enrolling in photography, woodworking, glass-blowing, and fashion design classes, but with a full-time job and school, I didn’t have time for that “fun stuff.”
Goal Accomplished
I got married when I had one semester remaining in graduate school, and never returned. My goal was to start a family, and focus on my children and husband. Olivia was born 11 months after we were married, and we shifted our focus to supporting our family with one income. We had three girls in fewer than four years, and I finally transitioned completely out of the “workforce” just after my youngest, Addison’s, first birthday. I was SO relieved to finally focus all of my attention on my family. At the time, it was the culmination of everything I had ever wanted.
Goal Accomplished
Spending 24 hours a day with three very little children was no small feat. I struggled to define myself as an individual separately from who I was as a mom. This ultimately led me to the great joy and accomplishment I found in learning how to sew.

Girl. Inspired.

My First Sewn Garment

I had always enjoyed crafting, decorating, sewing, and baking, but suddenly, these activities nurtured me. I continued my blog, and found that documenting and sharing my creativity fulfilled another newly-recognized need – connecting with other people who shared my passions for family, sewing, writing, and photography. I thrived off of the compliments I received from sharing my most-loved creative projects on my blog.

I started spending a lot more time sewing, which became my favorite creative outlet, and found a sense of belonging in the online sewing community. Any free time that I have now is usually spent sewing or learning new techniques. I might spend days researching online, studying sewing books, and practicing how to perfect one specific skill. I lie in bed at night and dream up clothing I’d like to make some day. When I share something that I’ve made, particularly something that I designed myself, the response I receive from the online community leaves me feeling like I’m walking on clouds.

handmade wardrobe | Girl. Inspired.

Many of the Girls’ Handmade Clothes

Over time, I’ve realized that I have aspirations and goals beyond raising my girls and taking care of our family. Don’t get me wrong — I love being at home with my girls, and I know that it’s a huge blessing to be present for them every single day. But as they spend more time in school and in activities outside the home, I have my sights set on a new career path. It’s taken some time to get here, but it’s consistent with how I’ve always operated — looking to my next goal, and aspiring to achieve, and be, more.

This year, I made a conscious decision to move my blog from “just a hobby” into something more professional. I’ve turned my love of sewing in a similar direction, focusing on pattern-making and developing more original designs. This has meant a lot of late nights and dedicated hours reading, working, practicing, and learning. When an opportunity recently arose to work on writing a pattern book with several other pattern designers, I didn’t hesitate. I knew that it would be a lot of work, but it was directly in line with my goal to grow as a person and a professional, separately from my role as a mother.

After months of work, I finally published a collection of sewing patterns in collaboration with four other talented designers. It feels amazing to have a tangible representation of our commitment and success. It’s a huge accomplishment!
pattern collection by fiveandtendesigns.com
I’m turning my attention now to defining my next goal, and I’m keeping an open mind about where this might lead me. I don’t always end up on the same path where I began. Starting anything is half the battle, sticking with it is hard, and so is knowing when to change gears. I’ll continue to focus on the things I absolutely love, and when I again reach my goal, I know that it will feel just as good as learning to sew, and joining others in publishing a book.  

You can find more information on the Five and Ten Designs, Volume One eBook, here.

This post is part of BlogHer’s Goal, Accomplished editorial series, made possible by P&G Always Infinity.


    • girlinspired says

      Thanks, Rachel! It was really fun to hang up all the clothes together. Once the girls saw what I was doing, they started bringing me piles and piles from their closets and drawers. Instant feel goods!!

    • girlinspired says

      Thank you, Courtney! I am so glad to hear from others that are feeling the same way. I hope to hear about your latest accomplishments, too!

  1. says

    And what an amazing accomplishment it is! I think your story is like many of us, me being one. Being a “driven” person means that whether you are in a career ( I majored in Psych & also bypassed my masters from UNC to stay home) or at home, or whatever… you will and are, always driven to feel fulfilled. I found your post to resonate very well with me and I wish you the best of luck!


    • girlinspired says

      Aw, Mae, I LOVE hearing how similar your story is. Thank you SO much for sharing – wishing you the best in your drive toward fulfillment also!

  2. says

    It is funny that you originally started in child Psych, because I have always thought of sewing as a type of theraputic activity. I love having that time to rejuevanate as well as create something for those I love. Sounds like you do too:)
    Good Luck on your new path! You absolutely have the talent and eye for it- and you photograph beautifully!

    • girlinspired says

      Thank you so much, Michelle! Yes, sewing is so therapeutic – it gives me a lot of thinking time and a lot of time to focus on the person I’m creating something for, like you said.

  3. Cindy Conner says

    Congratulations to you on your new adventure! You are indeed an awesome Seamstress and designer! Love how you showed all the clothing together. Looks like we’re fixing to have a dress up party! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  4. Lana says

    Hi Stefanie, i love your blog!! I always love finding out why someone started dabbling in a passion :) i am wondering if you would mind sharing with me what plugin you used for your mouseover galleries? I really love how you have your pages then in each page a pic and when the pic is rolled over it takes you to the link, there are so many plugins on wordpress and i cant seem to find one that offers the mouseover (text on pic when mouse touches) as well as taking you to another page. Any help? Thanks lovely! your an inspiration :)

  5. cécile says

    You are such a huge inspiration.I found your blog two weeks ago and I just love it! you are an amazing mum and for sure I am going to make a lot of dresses for my little girl watching your blog.
    hugs from your french fan!

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