This is a public service announcement. Mrs. Sunni Standing, proprietress of A Fashionable Stitch, is officially burned out. Burnt to a crisp. Charred.

This fall has been one of the most grueling seasons of my life. Have you ever had that feeling where you dread the next phone call, or your email tells you “You’ve got mail!”  and you cringe or if one more person asks you to do one more thing you’re going to fall in a heap right there in front of them and start crying because you absolutely do not have the ability or willpower to say no? OK, Okay I’m exaggerating, but only by a little bit. Ha ha! This week, I walked into my sewing room and just had to let you have a peak. It’s disastrous.

Friends, I can’t work in disaster. Well, actually I can, but I have a very hard time with it. I hate being disorganized. I hate feeling like my time is always running out and I hate coming home and feeling so “ugh….” when I look into my sewing room. How about you? Anyway, the funny thing is, this is actually a confession, prompted by none other than Jen at Grainline.

I, Sunni Standing, love to start projects and not actually finish them. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE starting/scheming sewing projects. In fact, all this crap all over my sewing room is evidence of project scheming and no follow through. Its a big reason I’m feeling a little burned out these days. Since September, I’ve schemed and started thinking about, pulling out/purchasing fabric and patterns for:
a Chanel sweater jacket knock off
20 two seam tops, all with differing variations
More Renfrew t-shirts
an aqua wool circle skirt
a chartreuse wool pencil skirt
2 Liberty of London button-up shirts with snaps
a coat or two
a grey pencil skirt and another plaid pencil skirt
flannel pajamas
pinstripe cropped pants
black stretch cropped pants
the Anise & Juniper
a knit jacket & a regular jacket (fabric still to be determined)

This is only to name a few because there are more and I just can’t quite remember all of them right now. Ha ha ha! Some of these projects are actually cut and half done and sitting in a half done pile along with several other projects – my UFO’s. The even sadder part: I kept thinking that the only reason I wasn’t getting anything done – on top of a very full schedule – was because I didn’t have time. But the reason I didn’t have any time was because all I kept doing was scheming about new projects and creating a huge mess in my sewing room that looked really overwhelming. So after I took these photos, I set about putting everything into its place. I put all of my sewing patterns away – all of them! Now I know where all of them are! Yay! I put all fabric away. I did some much needed cleaning up and a bit of reorganization. I also decided something.

It’s time I embrace working on only one project at a time. Weird thing is, its actually liberating and surprisingly, it really works. Yesterday I got some much needed work on the Mister’s winter coat done. More to come on that front, but there’s a photo of the proof above. A really funny thing occurred to me too – this is the whole reason why I instituted the Everyday Wardrobe idea! The Game Plan is about this very thing – not overwhelming yourself with too many projects at one time. Pick one sewing project that goes with one article of clothing in your closet to work on. Crazy right?

So, are you a project schemer or a project finisher? Do you have a problem of working on or scheming up too many projects at one time? Does your sewing room/corner resemble mine?

Keep calm, organize and sew on!

  • Katherine - I’m definitely a schemer. I love love love putting together projects – finding that perfect fabric for a pattern I’ve been wanting to sew, finally finding a knitting pattern to use this gorgeous wool I just HAD to buy yonks ago, figuring out the perfect gift for that special someone. I love gathering the materials and the organizing and the planning. It’s the actual STARTING I have problems with usually. I get hung up on the planning phases so that I’m never actually MAKING anything. Until that deadline starts to loom, and then suddenly OMG IT’S TIME TO MAKE THAT RIGHT NOW!!! So I have a good dozen sewing projects (with all notions collected into little baggies, fabric folded up in with their patterns. because organization, it is my thing) ready and waiting to go, as well as at least that many in-progress knitting projects and about-to-start knitting projects.

    I think I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie like that.

    I’m definitely a list-maker too. Partly to keep all the different projects straight and to record those flashes of brilliant insight I get at 3:30 AM. . .

    But I’d decided, when I got my sewing machine for my birthday, that I would only allow myself to actually sew one project at a time. If only because I detest constantly changing bobbins. . . For me, it’s better to have all those little piles of potential, than to have myriad UFOs hanging around, judging me silently (yes, I anthropomorphize my inanimate sewing projects. Is that a problem?).

    Though I am trying to work on my procrastination/adrenalin-junky issues. Maybe in 10 years I’ll have it down ;) But I’m also working on not pressuring myself, since all this crafting is supposed to be fun and stress-relieving. So we’ll see how it goes :D You’re not alone, as I can tell from all these comments, so don’t feel too badly about it; we all get ourselves into crazy messes and then burn out from the stress we make. Feel great that you took control and got a handle on it! Good luck with sticking to your game plan!!ReplyCancel

    • Katherine - (oh, and, that jacket’s looking mighty fine!! I’m waiting with baited breath to see the finished project, as I have some schemes and plans for a similar thing for the boyfriend. I will never stop the scheming!)ReplyCancel

  • VictoriaR - Sunni, sorry your life is out of control. I can certainly relate to thinking “I can’t take on one thing more”. My whole house has been looking like your sewing room (really, it’s true) for several months due to too much stress and commitments. I like to get projects done, but sometimes the only thing that one can do is plan. I try to keep my projects in the planning stage and not in the just cut out or half finished stage. I do have a bra that has been half done for a month with no time to get back to it. I have to tell myself I can’t buy or start anything until one thing is finished, but that doesn’t always work. Good luck and get some rest.ReplyCancel

  • Dalila - I haven’t actually done much sewing or scheming of late. I bought myself some great books months ago and I’m not sure if I’ve made much from them. I’m not sure whether I’m not inspired or don’t “need” any particular clothing item right now… And I do have a stack of repairs I should do but don’t want to. If I finish them, maybe I will feel I have permission to do fun things again?
    Thanks for sharing your space – glad to hear that you’ve got it tidied up and are moving on!ReplyCancel

  • Lashell - Uh. I know the feeling. There are two things I can’t be in a mess, creative or sick. If I’m sick and my home is mess I have to clean before I feel like I can get in the bed and finish being sick. At one time I would overwhelm myself with all the things I want to do and started to do that in the end either nothing would get done or they would get half done. Since I’ve started organizing my wardrobe on Polyvore, creating outfits similiar to things I already own, I’ve been able to start sewing garments that would plug in the holes in my wardrobe. And doing it one at time. lololol. This has made me feel less crazy and more productive.ReplyCancel

  • crystalpleats - Well, I certainly daydream more about what I’m going to sew than actual sewing. But so far (I’ve only been sewing for myself just this year) I work on one project at a time, unless its tracing or cutting out something when my husband wants to watch some TV with me, because I do it on the floor with the big cardboard cutting surface. No sewing room for me so I have to keep things pretty contained.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - A bit of both, a bit of both. I never publish my plans, because I never complete all of it. But there is a degree of method in my madness!ReplyCancel

  • theperfectnose - XS Annoying but fixable. Get everything off the floor-starting with the garment side of things. Make a pile with whatever needs the least amount of work to finish it at the top. Clean everything else away. Sew only the stuff in the pile (i.e. start nothing new). The first thing you finish will make you feel awesome and give your the willpower to take up the next one. Start nothing new.
    You can prevent this sort of thing from occurring by finishing one unfinished object before every new object you start. Best of luck. I’m off to clean my sewing room now XD
    theperfectnose recently posted..Friday-Freebie_ButtonholesReplyCancel

  • Becky - I think the Perfect Nose is giving excellent advice. Also, it is the time of year when expectations go out the roof and domestic demands are often unreasonable. So, be nice to yourself and do what will make you feel better and realize that some projects may have to be realistically put off until after the intrusions of the holidays. My last words of advice – stay calm, have courage, and wait for signs!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - My apartment looks a lot like your pictures. I really appreciate your willingness to post something that doesn’t look perfect. You’ve inspired me to tidy up and finish a project.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Oh Sunni! I do hope you can find your way through these projects one at a time!
    Amy recently posted..Sundays with Sandra: Tummy and Waist AlterationsReplyCancel

  • LadyD - I don’t have a sewing room so I have to be organized. One project out at a time the rest in my sewing cupboard. (I keep each project in its own bag fabric+notions+pattern and if I’m particularly organized a little sketch of final outfit I’m planning so I don’t get distracted).
    I do try to schedule projects but…there’s always something I need to make ‘now’ for the current weather which can push in in front of scheduled projects.
    EDW – I’ve realized the reason I don’t wear some of my wardrobe is because it doesn’t match. I keep making/buying tops and skirts with prints…and only have a few plain tops/skirts. So 90% of my wardrobe clashes.
    LadyD recently posted..I moved a dart – major achievement!ReplyCancel

  • Crafty Monogamy - [...] 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 [...]ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Oh Sunni…I’m DEFINITELY a project schemer…Let’s pinky swear to get more done…ok? :) My sewing room AND bedroom are 70,000 times worse than yours.


  • Carlee McTavish - If it makes you feel any better here is my sewing room currently: I think it will definitely make you feel better.
    Carlee McTavish recently posted..The Ugly Side of Looking PrettyReplyCancel

  • Christina - I’ve been scheming for more than a year now on a personal wardrobe improvement project. I’ve got piles of fabric, my sewing corner (since I don’t have a whole room) looks like an explosion, and I’m actually *scared* to get started. I also really relate to the whole burnt-out feeling. That’s a common one for me, although not in the sewing department!
    Christina recently posted..A Small Side ProjectReplyCancel