I cannot be the only one, a beautiful fabric stash organised (folded is enough to be classed as properly organised right?) in a large chest, a cupboard full to bursting of exciting untried patterns and a very limited amount of time to sew.
What this all ends up meaning is I spend days planning stunning hand sewn capsule wardrobes using my personal favourite tool for this; the wardrobe sudoku technique. I research looks to recreate, mentally assign fabric to patterns, draw iterations of what it will all look like and even buy notions so I’m good to go when I am able to set aside time for the actual process of preparing and sewing. My sewing plans are nearly always extravagant and involved.
And by then, you guessed it, I have clearly not left enough time to sew even half the things on my beautifully colour coded list having simultaneously managed to get to this stage without prioritising what I actually want to sew first! This is all particularly exasperated by the global pandemic, my own particular uprooted family situation and generally having approximately zero energy or inclination to sit down and sew at the end of the full on days!
Cue a total block on what to sew when, as I seem to always be immersed in what the next project could be and slightly rushing through whatever I’m sewing in the moment because my list of what to make is endless and makes me feel the productivity pressure!
But I decided to make changes! I couldn’t stay feeling bad about how little sewing I was doing, or that I was failing to follow through on all my clearly impossible plans so I changed my approach.
My attitude now is that if it makes me happy it’s on the list of things that I need to do more of! So I am embracing the spreadsheeting, the research and the sketching as fun parts of my creative process. I have relaxed the pressure I put upon myself to hand make everything, that went on the “things that make me feel bad” pile, and I now check second hand and charity sites or shops for pre loved items that will help me realise my plans while remaining sustainable. When I sew now I try not to let myself get overwhelmed by choice – I take whatever fabric or pattern is on the top of my list that I would like right now, or what has particularly inspired me, or what is taking up most space (coat fabric I’m looking at you when I get back to Hong Kong!). It doesn’t matter what it is as long as I just get sewing!
How do you manage your wild plans against your actual sewing time? What else do I need to embrace to get through the too little time and too much choice conundrum?
Sophy is a guest editor for the Sewcialists, she is currently between homes and between continents while she waits out family medical challenges against the backdrop of Covid19. Luckily her 91 year old Nan has lent her a sewing machine to stay true to at least part of her Instagram handle. She shares her very spread out makes on Instagram as Sophy_Sews_HK.
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This really struck a note with me! My sewing time has been restricted for years but now with Covid my sewing desk has been repurposed into a computer desk for my virtually-learning high schooler and my former craft basement has been repurposed into my husband’s office. Time to make a new plan….
Thanks for commiserating!
This is such an interesting question and very relatable! I have actually found that sewing masks has been a weird relief because they are so tiny and I feel accomplished after each one and I can balance them with longer ongoing projects (and a huge wish list). This way, I have some longer tough sewing projects (or piles of unused fabrics) but if I only have 30 min at the end of the night, i can make a new mask and it is all the fun of sewing, a bit of an accomplishment, keeping the future recipient a little safer in unpredictable times, and I can use that time to think through my next step on a bigger long term project.
Ugh! That’s me! I have so many projects that I have all the items for. I could be busy sewing for the next year. Or longer. Since I live in a high risk home, I am not going out at all unless I pick up groceries which are just placed in my trunk. No reason to make cute clothes. But…. I decided to not add to my projects and just keep sewing. I hope to get them all completed and when we are done with covid-19 and have a vaccine, I can wear them all! A new outfit every day. Yay for sewing!!
I have a large chest too. I got overwhelmed with choices.
It always takes me a lot of time to link the right pattern with the right fabric.
Now I finally made a list of all my fabrics and a list of my favourite patterns and I try to match them without actually to have to see them.
That saves me a lot of time. And then I pick a fabric that I can wear straight away after finishing sewing instead of making summerclothes in winter, what I used to do.
I always try to take little steps if I start a new project.
First I pick the fabric, another time I make the pattern and adjust it. The next time I cut it and so on.
Then I am happy with every little step I take instead of being down for having too little time.
Such a good read! That is me to a “T”. And I seem to be taking on a similar approach. I am realizing how much I enjoy the mental process of “assigning patterns to fabrics” and creating capsule wardrobes in my mind and that is, in itself a creative process.
This is kind of why I gave up planning “out loud”! I felt bad about not getting to stuff and resented the time I’d committed to the planning/doodling/list making. So, now I just plan in my head. Sometimes it’s just pure fantasy, sometimes it’s more practical. Right now I’m mostly trying to plan projects around what thread colour is in the machine! 😂
And I thought I was the only one!
I have stopped myself from buying fabric several times in the past week alone by looking over my inventory. I moved recently and have regained access to that.. mountain. I feel very sheepish about the fact that my virtual wardrobe is considerably larger than my real one. This must change.
I never work on more than one project at a time because I know there’s every chance I will have changed my mind about what to with a piece of fabric by the time I get around to it. I probably enjoy planning more than is healthy.. This summer was probably the first time I shopped purposefully for a project, and did it right away, that felt good… More of that must come my way
I got the Cora app a few years ago and spent a whole weekend photographing and cataloguing my fabric. Since then I use the app during short spare time periods (like waitiing in queues) to look at my fabric. That leaves my long stretches of time free for actual sewing. I balance sewing “much needed” garments (not so fun) with the more fun makes 1:1.
I stated 3 projects this summer, got bogged down on one of them. Since summer is over I put them away for next spring and I’m thinking about the project where 3 shirts make a dress, I’ve gather too many cute pieces of fabric to go with. I’m only into autumn colors when it is autumn. So to answer the general question, I work on this season. I had 28 projects in January and now I have 23 and some of the projects evaporated because I lost enough weight I don’t have to do anything now. I’m going to have to do a recount.