it’s no secret that sewing is basically a result-oriented activity and for this reason its easy for those of who do a lot of sewing to get bogged down in the details… pattern modifications & measurements, trying to find the right fabric or notions and struggling to find enough time to tick a project or two off an unfinished project list!
All of these things no doubt have their place, but too much focus on any one of them can lead to burn-out, so every now and then it’s a good idea to pause, take a step back and remember the following mantras. If it helps to post them in your sewing area, or to say them out loud every now and again, then I suggest you do that!
- Sewing should be fun. If it’s not, then pick another project or pastime… or take a break from it for a while.
2. Sewing is a process best enjoyed UN-rushed. I’ve noticed that when I’m in a hurry to finish a project or when I’m trying to squeeze an hour’s worth of work into a 30 minute timeslot, that’s when I make mistakes, often having to re-track my steps and rip things out. That’s when it helps to remind myself to slow down, or better still, refer to #1.
3. Be Easy on Yourself. In other words, try not to sweat the small stuff, because you know what? Even though I’m considered to be a professional, I can almost always point to something I could have done better in each and every project I’ve completed. But here’s the thing, if I allow perfection to be the only result I’m satisfied with, then it won’t be long before sewing become a “joyless” pastime, in which case… refer to #1.
4. Practice makes perfect. Learning a new technique or skill can be hard, but taking the time to consistently practice can eventually make it seem easier. But you know what? if you drive yourself too hard it sometimes stops being fun, in which case, refer back to #1 again.
5. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new, and maybe totally different. Mix and match fabric patterns, go bold and unusual, but above all else, make your project your own. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to look the same as anyone else’s.
Because the most important thing to remember is that if you start getting bogged down, and under the gun, and pressed for time, refer back to #1 …
Sewing is Supposed to be FUN!
These mantras might at first glance seem obvious and pretty basic, but here’s the thing… I know a LOT of excellent and very experienced sewists that haven’t figured them out. Or… maybe once upon a time they knew these things, but have long since forgotten or abandoned them.
It can be all too easy for experienced sewists to get sucked into the myth that they always have to be performing and producing at their best… that they’ve been sewing too long to make a mistake. If they have an off-day or heaven forbid they botch a project, it’s like the world is ending. I know this because I’ve been there and done that myself more often than I like to remember. That’s when I have to refer to #1 and remind myself how blessed I am to be able to make my living having FUN!
But what about YOU?
Does sewing ever make you frustrated or frazzled? Because if so, what do you do or say to yourself to get over it? and if not… I need to shake your hand! 🙂
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When I was learning to sew, I joined 4-H and of course took sewing as a project. One of the requirements was to gather three widths of fabric to a waistband. I had a very small waist, and the gathers were practically stacked on each other. It was extremely difficult for me to stitch the waistband down neatly. When I needed to rip multiple times, my mom made a deal with me. She said if I’d keep trying, she’d keep ripping until I got it. I never forgot how that gave me the courage to keep trying instead of becoming frustrated. Another thing she told me later on when I was sewing many things, was that if things weren’t going together well, it probably meant I was getting tired and should take a break. She was right. Your number one mantra really does say it all!
Thanks for sharing that nice story Beth. You Mom sounds like she was a very patient teacher! 🙂