A Fashionable Stitch » sartorial sewing

Crafty Monogamy

Lauren, I totally stole your slogan here. The outpouring of “one project at a time” love really rocked my world last week. It’s true, I’ve been feeling….overwhelmed and oddly enough, after I had posted that last week and finally just let it out, I felt better. So much better. That’s kind of the way it goes right? Writer’s/sewer’s block and all.

I was really taken with what y’all had to say too and I thought it would be great to bring to life your comments by posting this follow up post. This might be especially useful if you too, have been suffering from some sewing burn out and/or you just don’t know where to start because you have so many projects you could start….This idea of crafty monogamy – working on only one project at a time as stated by Lauren – is a really good way to get the most productivity out of your sewing, I think.

First and foremost, “Sewing should be fun and not stressful!” Miss Crayola Creepy said this. Isn’t that the truth? Sewing can be such an enjoyable process. I admit, I love the scheming part the best, but I do so love all the in betweens too. I love the moment you take the first cut into your fashion fabric and the way the scissors glide through the cloth. I also love the finishing – hemming, handstitching, making buttonholes and the like. What’s more I adore wearing the finished item. Always makes me happy to put it on and see it all done and then go to my closet and pair it with garments I already have.

Katherine had an awesome idea and one that would be really enjoyable to employ. Creating little bags of projects that have the fabric, pattern and all the notions and supplies collected and all put together so that you’re ready to sew it all up. This idea feeds my organizational side too and would probably be very handy when planning out a wardrobe for a new season. Carolyn also had a wonderful tidbit of advice to go along with this and that was to keep a notebook handy for scheming projects. Write down your thoughts for future fabric use, color scheme and possibly pattern numbers or ideas for patterns you’ve made and want to alter. It’s handy to sketch out your plan and staple fabric swatches next to your sketch. This gives you freedom from dwelling on and being consumed by future projects – something I have a problem with. Instead you can just write down your idea and then keep going with your current project. Brilliant!

“Working on 5 projects at a time does not get them done faster, instead it usually means that nothing gets done.” Amen lisa g. I’m embracing this one project at a time notion and I’m really loving it. I’ve got my man’s winter coat on a roll! Lisa also had the brilliant idea of creating a project task list – seriously this is like genius! Its so nice to organize your time in the sewing room with a task list and it can show you how long this specific project will take. I think it makes the project look and feel not quite so daunting if you’ve got a really big complicated project on your hands.

Several of you chimed in by saying that its really helpful to restrict yourself and make yourself work on one project at a time by not allowing yourself to buy anything new or start anything new until one thing is finished. Buying something new is something I need to work on bit by bit, but in the meantime, I definitely want to incorporate the don’t start anything new until one thing is finished part. In addition to this though, a few of you stated that with really long projects, its great to break it up with an easy peasy project, like a t-shirt. I’ve actually been thinking about this and have fabric and thread for another cowl necked Renfrew whilst I’m working away on my man’s winter coat. I’m looking forward to just breaking the pace a bit with something different that’s not really time consuming and is really gratifying and easy to bang out. A really really great idea!

On UFO piles – This is definitely an area I need to work on, but I have to admit to myself that I can’t just work on that pile alone. Some of those garments are for a different season than the one I’m in now and so I think for me, when it comes to organizing this section of my sewing room, it will be in order of season first and then by something that theperfectnose said which is to organize your UFO pile by the amount of work a project needs to get finished and putting those with the least amount of work at the top of the pile. Fabulous idea! Stef also said that she goes through her UFO pile and decides on their fate very quickly. How likely is it that you will finish that blouse that’s been languishing at the bottom of the pile for years? Maybe you should either come to terms with getting rid of it or cut it up and use it for something else. I totally need to do that.

Last but not least, organization can spawn creativity, movement and the desire to finish what you’ve started and you all even told me so! One of the most important elements here is keeping a clean workspace whether that’s by cleaning up your mess before you’re done for the day or by cleaning it up before you get started, the idea is to just clean it all up so that you can focus your attention on the project you’re working on at the moment. Organize your sewing room and put things in their proper place where you’ll know you’ll find them again. Its no fun searching for that one little tool you need for over an hour because your place is such a mess and nothing can be found! Ask me how I know!

Oh goodness readers! Thank you so much for your wonderful ideas, comments, suggestions and the time you took to post about my previous post. It was wonderful and I feel so much better! I feel great! Gosh, y’all know how to make a girl feel like a million. Here’s to more organized, efficient but creative sewing. Here’s to one project at a time!

Cheers!
Sunni

  • Kristin - This is exactly where I’ve been at the last week or two. I have been pulling out all my UFO’s, either finishing them up or cutting my losses and getting rid of them. Also, I have told myself, “No buying fabric for skirts!” I could make another 10 skirts with what I have now and I really only need one long skirt and that is it!
    I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed, I haven’t been sewing at all. Like you said, it just feels like another thing for the to-do list. I’m excited to be caught up and only focus on one (or at the most two) projects at a time! Hopefully I can stick to it. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - Yay for being monogamous! I love how pretty you made it look – seems super legit now haha :)ReplyCancel

  • Miss Crayola Creepy - Thank you for sharing these tips :) I love the idea of putting all the materials in a bag, so everything is ready to go.ReplyCancel

  • Patti - Ah, now I know where to start: organize my sewing projects by season and make a task list for each project!! That’s how I plan to spend my “free time” during Thanksgiving weekend…ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - Great words of advice. I was SO good over the summer and was only sewing from my stash and only starting a new project when one was finished. I think the colder weather has got me all crafty stir crazy and caused me to throw those summer scruples right out the window. It’s definitely nice to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for the organizational re-charge :)ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - For a minute there I thought you were talking straight to me – now I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thanks for writing this post, there are so many great ideas that I’ll be trying. Looking forward to seeing your man’s coat :)ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - This is absolutely where I’ve been lately. I’ve got trousers, a blouse, an apron, and no less than 4! pj pants (mostly gifts) sitting in various states of disarray about my sewing room. I really needed to see some good ideas like this. I think the not buying/starting anything will be pretty key for me (even if it is on sale!). I get so excited about something new, and completely lazy once it comes to fitting, so I move on to the next new and shiny thing. I’m actually tempted to print these tips out and tape them about my room for a reminder!ReplyCancel

  • Katherine - I’m glad to hear my “put all the stuff for a project together in a bag” idea is an awesome organizational tool, and not just crazy OCD!ReplyCancel

  • Stef - Many thanks for the mention!
    Your post had a big impact on me, and now I am trying to devote one evening a week (a fortnight if time is tight) to anything unfinished. Last Friday I took in the sides of a skirt that was a little too big, this week I hope to re-do the facings on another. I call it “Friday night’s alright for mending” :DReplyCancel

  • Lucy - I love the term Crafty Monogamy…my confession…I must be a philanderer. Not all my sewing projects are clothing related. And I always have more than one thing going at a time. It just depends on what I feel like working on. I like to have embroidery to stitch at night while my husband watches TV. My art dolls sit on my worktable sometimes for weeks without clothes while I figure out what I want to do with them next. Clothing often gets done more quickly. I usually draft my own patterns and spend days mulling over the possibilities before actually drawing and then maybe days again before I take scissors to cloth. I let the thought process rest in the back of my head while I occupy my main attention on other stitching. One funny thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to finish up projects all at the same time. Then I get to pull out my bins and start bunches more.
    I’ve just started reading your blog about a month ago and I love what you have to say. This particular topic just rang a bell with me. I am going to have to address this on my own blog! Surely I’m not the only one who likes to play the field!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I like the term “Crafty Monogamy”–though I generally am pretty good about sticking with one sewing project at a time! (It’s more things like knitting creep in to steal my attention!) I especially like Carolyn’s idea about keeping a notebook for future project ideas. Now that I’m a couple of months in on working on my wedding dress–entirely on the muslin stage–I have a feeling that I’m really going to need that before the dress is complete!ReplyCancel

  • Friday Link Love « Design Lived - […] Craft Monogamy by A Fashionable Stitch On working on one project at a time (be still my heart!) and how to keep multiple projects organized if you must have more than one going at a time. […]ReplyCancel

  • Christianne - I actually like to go back and forth between projects sometimes…especially if I’m working with a pattern I’ve made before. I just get a bit bored, so I’ll switch to something new to get inspired again. But I can’t have more than a couple of projects going at once..I just don’t have the space in my sewing “area” [a vintage enamel top kitchen table in my bedroom] to have too many things going at once.ReplyCancel

  • rebecca - Thank you for this post. I too am overwhelmed at the moment so this couldn’t have come at a better time! My thanks sincerely :)
    P.S. I totally looooooove your store!ReplyCancel

  • Winter Coat for My Man: Finish Line » A Fashionable Stitch - […] really surprised that I finished the coat, to be honest. It’s a direct result of that crafty monogamy soapbox I got on awhile ago. That seriously works. Like, really. I was absolutely determined not to let my […]ReplyCancel