Should I think before I sew?

It’s been about three months since I started this blog, and maybe four or five since I properly got back into sewing regularly.  So it’s about the right time for taking stock, I feel. Funny then, that several other people seem to be on the same wavelength at just the same time…

Tilly and the Buttons kicked things off with initiating a super quest for better sewing productivity – check it out!  I haven’t quite kept a diary, but I have been mulling over some of the questions Tilly posed.  Especially as I’ve been wondering lately whether I maybe spend too much time on sewing-related activities…

I catch up with an amazing bunch of people about once a fortnight to chat and pray, and recently we were talking about how to tell if something in life is getting out of control and generally taking over, to the exclusion of everything else.  Some of the questions were: Do you always  dream/daydream about this thing?  Is it a focus for spending money? Do you use it to make you feel better when times get tough?  And how does it affect your feelings and behaviour?  Uh oh…

I tried to make a top about a week ago.  First of all, it was for a big team meeting which I’d learned would involve speed-dating-type getting-to-know-you activities.  I felt nervous, so I started sewing this top to boost my confidence.  I rushed through it, and then realised I wouldn’t make it in time unless I cut out sleeping.  So, I extended the deadline to my interview last Tuesday – which meant more rushed sewing, and then stress and panic when it didn’t quite work out and I couldn’t get it finished.  Again.

(I did have an awesome dream a few nights ago about finding loads of ridiculously cheap vintage fabrics in a market – absolutely gutted when I woke up and it wasn’t real.)  In real life, I’m spending quite a bit more, often on fabrics and patterns that I don’t necessarily have time to sew.

Ah.  So.  I think sewing has got a bit out of balance with the rest of life, and it’s making me stressed.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all legalistic and cold-turkey… because I really do love it!  But, I think me and Diana need some rules.

Firstly, I’d like to sew a little slower, taking time to get things right.  Ironically, I think that will actually boost my productivity, by avoiding all those mishaps I cause by rushing and cutting corners.  Scruffy Badger hit the nail on the head in a post about ‘lazy sewing’, not taking time to adjust and accurately fit a pattern.  My sewing enjoyment is definitely spoiled when I realise that the quality of a project is second-rate.

Secondly, I want to buy less and use more of what I’ve got.  Again, I’m not getting too rule-based on that, as fabric shopping is so much a part of the fun!  But, I want to rein things in a little.  My current rate of buying has turned me a bit attention-deficit, to the point that I’m starting lots and lots of projects, and not completing them before I’m off chasing the next thing.  So once again, I think my sewing output will be more productive if I cut back on what I spend, and focus on finishing what I’ve started.

This week I’ve been taking my time to sew slow, and inject a little quality and pride in my work.  And… I’m loving it.  It’s not all about getting the thing finished, it’s taking pleasure in things like making a beautiful french seam, or adjusting the darts just slightly and finding that the bodice fits perfectly. 

So nothing to show – yet.  I’m even making a toile!  Yes, me!  Something I’ve deliberately avoided ever since making this in 2007:

Have a lovely week – hope it’s productive in whatever way works for you! x

5 thoughts on “Should I think before I sew?

  1. Is that you in that beautiful wedding dress? Oh my gosh, it’s gorg! Love that repeating V detail. I also feel that my sewing buying has got a bit out of control. I really don’t need to buy another pattern this year. Most of my fabric purchases are accounted for, so I don’t mind that too much, but I feel a general need to rein it in. Good post!

  2. Hi Amy
    Nice thinking … I feel it’s almost a shame we know what we are capable of sometimes (ie complete garment creation in one evening) as then it sets our expectations on output & for me that has meant cutting corners (accepting less quality just to call it finished!)
    I am desperately trying to fall into slower sewing, but every now & then need a speed fix.
    Beautiful wedding photo & love that you made your dress yourself.
    Hope the interview went well & those shoes are looking tres chic.
    (sorry a compendium of comments !)

  3. Don’t be sorry – I love compendiums of comments!
    Yep that is indeed me in the dress – I’m pretty impressed that I pulled it off, but at the same time I do look back and cringe at some of the methods I used… I just made it up as I went along. It took the whole summer, but I only finished it on the Tuesday before my wedding on the Saturday!

  4. I feel you on the possible over-prioritization of sewing at the cost of living. In truth, I think I’m actually thinking/dreaming about sewing but doing more blogging than is healthy. :p I’m hoping to find balance soon. Consistent productivity, but with focus on enjoyment and quality, is what I’m aiming for.

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