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077: How body image can impact your dressmaking

with special guest Becky Upchurch of Higher Good Coaching

In this article

Body Image and Dressmaking

New Year's resolutions and body image
New Year, New You?

At the time of writing the new year has just started and it's definitely a time when we are encouraged to think about starting new habits, getting fit, maybe losing weight or toning up.

And that made me think about how my own body image is linked to my dressmaking. I have definitely had times when I have been unhappy with how I perceive my body looks and often those times seem to coincide with me losing my motivation to make clothes.

So I wanted to get some help with understanding how to become more conscious about my mindset in relation to my body and also get some tips on how to help shift it if it gets off track or starts to influence my sew-jo.

And just in case it's something that you have experienced too, I wanted to share what I learnt with you in this article and podcast episode.

Meet Becky Upchurch

Becky Upchurch - Higher Good Coaching
Becky Upchurch - Higher Good Coaching

So I was delighted when I connected with Becky Upchurch of Higher Good Coaching.

Becky is a mindset coach who specializes in helping busy women create time for themselves and their goals by learning to say no without fear, guilt, or worrying about what other people will think.

"I am somebody who has spent pretty much my entire life in a larger body from the time I was a child.

And so body image and body acceptance is something that I struggled with for a really long time and it has been a focus of mine in recent years, professionally, but also in my own life."

Impact of Negative Body Image

Woman looking in a mirror
Making judgements and comparisons

Although it is slowly improving, there are still influences in the media encouraging us to look a certain way. We are taught to judge our body shape and size as good or bad.

We can also find ourselves making comparisons about our bodies, not just to other people, but to our younger self or our shape and size when we were in different circumstances.

One of the side effects of these judgements and comparisons is that it can impact our creativity and the energy we bring to anything we are working on.

"I like to think of as mental real estate we only have so much bandwidth and capacity. Maybe I have three bedrooms in my home and I have three beautiful bedroom sets, and then I'm bringing in more things and I'm buying more furniture.

And next thing I know I've bought 13 beds! Well, I don't have the space for that, which means I've gotta get rid of something in order to make space for the things I want."

So if our minds are focused on things we want to change or don't like about our bodies then there's less room for the fun, creative thoughts.

I also believe that our energy and mindset goes into each project we make. So if you are feeling or focusing on negative thoughts, it's really difficult to then create something beautiful or to be motivated to complete it.

How do you spot negative thoughts and energy?

It can be tricky to spot some of these thoughts consciously. You might find that you have a project you want to get stuck into but for some reason you keep putting it off. You find other distractions or reasons not to work on it, but your not really sure why.

Our minds work so quickly to protect us and keep us safe and so it can be difficult to pin down or slow it down enough for us to spot the true reason why we are not taking action.

When I started to gain weight as got older, I found that I was no longer motivated to make clothes, even though I really wanted to have more clothes that fitted me. I'd have great intentions to get started but then there would be some reason or other as to why I couldn't sit down and make the toile.

After a while I realised that it had become less fun to look at myself in a full length mirror and so I avoided doing that. Because the fitting process requires me to look in a full length mirror, and my brain didn't want me to be upset, it cleverly helped me to create excuses not to sew, so that I didn't have to look in the mirror.

Once I made peace with how I felt about looking in the mirror, my sewing picked up and I was able to make clothes that fitted my new body shape and made me feel 100 times better than wearing the clothes I had outgrown.

Tips to surface hidden/unconscious thoughts

Writing thoughts in a journal
Writing can help surface hidden thoughts
  1. Take out a piece of paper and write at the top the project or action you are putting off e.g. making that dress

  2. Write a list of all the things that come to mind when you think about getting started. Initially this will be all the obvious stuff like I need to get thread and it's too cold to go out, I'm too tired, I'm not sure if it will fit...

  3. Keep writing even if it seems what you are writing isn't related or even true

  4. Eventually the hidden thoughts will start to surface e.g. but that means me looking at myself in the mirror and I don't want to do that

  5. Once you find one that you think is the real barrier, ask yourself what would be the best possible version of this thought, what baby step can you take towards changing it.

  6. When you come up with a possible action, close your eyes and check in with whether that feels do-able. If not, try to make it even smaller.

  7. Finally think about how you can reinforce that new thought or action e.g. post it notes or repeating it to yourself each morning

Steps to Change Mindset

Changing mindset starts with action
Changing mindset starts with action

So how do you change your mindset? There's a misconception I'd like to address first and that is that we have to have motivation first to take action.

Ask Becky explains "...the reality is we have to actually create motivation. And the thing that exploded my brain was learning that motivation follows action.

So motivation doesn't come to us. It's not something we can seek out and find. It's something we create through taking action.

So if I take action and then I take another action, and then I take another action, that's how I create the motivation to keep going, and I build that momentum."

So the key is not to wait until you feel like doing something, but rather to take a small action even when you don't feel like it. Just knowing that you took action creates a spark of change in our attitude especially if we see a small result from it. And that in turn begins to spark motivation.

Each small action strengthens our attitude and builds our motivation.

The Body Acceptance Startup Guide

If you want to make some changes to how you feel about your body, Becky has created an actionable, step by step guide to help you.

Don't wait to feel motivated - click now to take that small action and download your guide.

Then start to work through it one small question at time. And I promise you, you will notice things starting to change.

If you'd like to listen to my full chat on this topic with the lovely Becky Upchurch, click the button below or look for Sew Mindful on your favourite podcast app:

In this episode you'll hear:

  • 1:46 Introducing Becky Upchurch

  • 3:32 Common struggles with body image

  • 7:26 Body Image and Creativity

  • 10:18 Conscious vs unconscious thinking

  • 12:47 Body Image Challenges

  • 19:00 Judgement vs curiosity

  • 22:24 Changing our body image mindset

  • 23:32 The Motivation Myth

  • 27:02 Taking the best small step

  • 31:48 The Body Acceptance Startup Guide

  • 35:02 Connecting with Becky

If you do try Becky's Body Acceptance Startup Guide and other tips then please do get in touch and let me know what you think. And if you would like more help with any of the aspects mentioned in this article or this podcast episode then I would love to hear from you so do please email me at Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope you find some useful tips that you can apply.

Connect with Becky Upchurch

If you'd like to connect with Becky, she would love to hear your feedback or thoughts too. Website: Instagram - @beckyupchurch_:

Sharing is caring - reviews

If you found this article helpful then please click the heart icon below to let me know and I'll create more content like this. And you can also use the icons in the footer if you want to share this with other sewing friends. If you enjoy this podcast episode please be sure to share it and to leave a review in your favourite podcast app to help others find us.

Get in touch

I always love to hear about you trying out what you pick up from these articles and episodes so do let me know:

Thank you so much for listening and for all your support. x

* this post contains affiliate links. This means if you use these links to buy something I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I would/do use myself and all opinions expressed are my own. Read full privacy policy for more information.

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