Guest series :: How craft gave me back my confidence

by contributor on 02/07/2012

in Community + Creativity, Guest series 2012

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Nat, ByNight is a 36-years-old, graphic designer from Belgium, married to the most comprehensive man in the world. She started sewing and blogging 2.5 years ago, blessed therapy after unsuccessful nerve-breaking, exhausting infertility treatments, and turned her passion into a small-scale business with unique handmade accessories made by night with love, passion and color…


When Kathreen asked me to write a post about creativity and how it may have changed my outlook on life, I was a little confused at first. That’s something I really never thought about before. As far as I remember, creativity as always been part of me; it goes with being tall or my eyes being blue. I’ve always been drawing, creating, making stuff… I took drawing classes as a teen, studied graphic design at the art academy. Creativity is a compulsory occupation for my hands – and my mind. Working as a graphic designer, I quickly realized that – even though I loooove my job – expressing my creativity by clicking on a mouse wasn’t enough. When my friends started to have kids, I used to write them little illustrated stories and made them a personalized book.


About three years ago and after 6 years of failed attempts, my husband and I found out we’ll never have a baby. I was so depressed that I just wasn’t able to draw anymore, certainly not children books. I had put on so much weight and was feeling so ugly that I wanted to get rid of every single garment I owned. I decided I’d try to make my own. After all, I did own a sewing machine and I made a couple of basic things as a teen with my mum’s assistance. The first dress I made was this Burda design. What a revelation! I knew right away I had found a new way to express myself. Browsing the web, looking for new patterns and ideas, I discovered the ‘blog’ world. I actually think Kathreen’s whipup was one of the first blogs I discovered. All the tutorials she links to made me realize I could sew so many more things – anything.

I pretty much learned sewing by following others step-by-step instructions: I understood how to sew zippers thanks to Noodlehead’s gathered clutch or Jane’s boxy pouch. The first softies I made were Lia’s awesome seahorse and Wee wonderful’s cute rabbit. Based on that pattern, I made an entire bowling set for a friend’s son. I was enjoying it so much and as everything I was making was useful (birth presents, Christmas gifts, my own clothes), it was making me feel useful again too.

I decided to create my own blog. First, to show my friends and family what my new passion was about; but also to share what inspires me and to thank the people that wrote all these tutorials that helped me learn sewing. And the blog itself became a source of creativity. Some people I didn’t know actually seemed interested and inspired by what I was showing them. I felt like I had to surprise my readers every time I’d make something. I like the idea that I might make them want to do the same thing or own that unique garment, purse or decoration item. I even started writing my own tutorials, a bit as a way to pay back those who had helped me learn sewing.

Then, after a while, I began to receive orders for a bag, dress, birth present… This just seemed crazy! It meant that I too could share a part of what I am, but just not the way I always thought I would. Instead of raising a child (or 5), I share the items I’ve made with all my heart, proud that part of me can live a life of its own. I can guide people who have no idea where to start and – bonus – seize the opportunity to try out new ideas, different shapes or a new combination of fabrics.

Last year, I started a small-scale business: an online shop combined with craft fair sales. I love craft fairs! You get to meet so many amazing crafters, artists even. I love face-to-face contact with customers. I love to see kids eyes when they see my softies or pouches. I love to discuss with anyone willing to discuss. I love to tell the story behind the recycled fabrics I sometimes use. I love to explain how a softy is born. I love to give advice as I recently did to a very old lady that was having tension problems with her machine and couldn’t remember what was the right button to turn…


Sewing has helped me to re-discover my creative side and became part of my everyday life. It has changed the way I think about my future and it has given me more self-confidence. You can’t be shy when at a craft fair.

I know now that there is a part of me that needs to bring color to everyday objects, that needs to put a little ‘uniqueness’ to every thing I do or make, that I can do things that other people can’t. The best part is that my husband totally understands and supports me, by giving me his opinion or advice on every little thing I make, by figuring out how to help me write a tutorial, imagining new ways to expose my creations at craft fairs, by being  there with me at every craft fair. ByNight is a new chapter we are writing together in the book of our life as a couple. Not the chapter we hoped to write but nevertheless a funny and versatile one…

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maya July 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Congrats Nat! This was a beautiful post and immensely inspiring!
Hugs,
Maya

2 By Night July 3, 2012 at 1:57 am

Thank you, Maya ;-)

3 Natalie July 3, 2012 at 3:59 am

Dear Nat, Thank you for sharing with us your experience.
It takes a lot of courage to do so. You brought some colour in my live, while reading.
Keep doing it. We all need more colour in our live.

4 Romina July 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I’m a graphic designer as well and I totally understand what you say abour being creative and to put yout touch to every day things!!! Really inspiring!!! Beautiful article!!!

5 Flora July 28, 2012 at 10:41 am

Just proves that you must not be discouraged to try something new all the time. Discoveries about oneself will always be a surprise.
Keep on finding wonderful unknown things about yourself.

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