2020 is going to be a long, weird year. Why not learn a new skill, or hone one you already have?
I know I'm in a better situation than most. I also know the reason for that is pure luck: every other job I've ever had in my life would either have me laid off or working in high risk situations. So for everyone who is doing those things right now? I empathize. A LOT.
I'm not a thoughts and prayers kind of girl. It's fine if you can't do anything else, but those situations are rare. You can rarely fix things, and often not help in a big way, but you can almost always help a little. Do that, then thoughts and prayers afterwards!
So, this time, like every other time something bad happens, though maybe on a bigger scale than usual, the thought on my mind is "What can I do?"
The most obvious thing was using my experience using respiratory gear (thanks to years of using dangerous chemicals safely while customizing) with my experience in making fitted patterns to get good info out about masks that people who specialize in sewing OR safety equipment but not both might miss. Sure, it's a doll tutorial, but dolls are handy tools for learning all kinds of things: you practice first aid on dolls, for example.
This also got me identified as an early resource to start sewing masks to help with the local shortages (still doing it!) which has been eating up a lot of my doll pattern development time, so pattern releases have been erratic.
After a little while though, mental health needs attention too. This is why I've been trying really hard to keep up the doll stuff, not just for all of you, but for me, too! Dolls help me de-stress.
All hobbies are escapism, an essential for mental health in stressful times. Before books, movies, when you had a hard time you'd escape to the activities you loved. Bob Ross knew this, which is why he wanted to teach the world to paint happy little trees.
I'm not gonna say sewing will make everyone feel better. Painting happy little trees doesn't make everyone feel better, either. But I do recommend that everyone learns to sew at least a little just like everyone should be able to cook a little, or use a hammer, screwdriver, and drill. Worst case, if you don't like it you will still have a very useful new skill.
It's not just for making clothes (I don't). If you can sew, it only takes a few minutes adjust clothes to fit you better (hems!) or fix that favorite item when it needs a new button, zipper, or has a little tear.
I also use sewing to build things: at my D&D group, the guys bring their dice and minis in nice-but-large-and-heavy boxes. I have a 100% sewn bag with rigid, stackable fabric compartments using interfacing. The fabric lid to the compartments even flips over and becomes a dice tray! Weight? 2oz, and it takes MUCH less time to make than a wooden or metal box.
It's also one of the CHEAPEST hobbies you can pick up: a basic sewing kit with a few needles and small spools of thread are often found for under $1 in places like pharmacies for people who need to fix something in a pinch. Every house has scissors. Need fabric? I bet you have something in your closet that you don't wear that's too worn out to donate.
TLDR; Once you learn to sew, you find uses for it all over the place. It's cheap, makes your life easier, and lots of people find it FUN!
Therefore, as long as we're encouraged to stay inside, I'm giving away patterns to teach people how to sew. You can find them all in the new "Freebie" Category
(more to come!)
And yeah, they're doll clothes. Sure, doll clothes are my specialty, but even if they weren't I'd recommend them for anyone interested in learning. When I was 7 I learned to sew using doll clothes. Not because I was into dolls--weirdly enough, back then I HATED dolls--but because they're easy, fast, and can be hand sewn from scraps of fabric that would otherwise be thrown away. Kids have learned to sew with doll clothes for those reasons as long as there have been dolls.
Adults may not be into dolls (or action figures), but the other things still apply: it can be done with scraps, it can be done in the fraction of the time a 'beginner' adult project like a pillow or a human T-shirt can be hand stitched. And let's face it: you're not going to use your first pillow or first T-shirt either, so you might as well do something that takes less time you won't feel guilty about not using. Bonus points if there's a kid in your life you can make happy in the process!