diversification: why i’m trying it

The sewcialist community seems to be divided on the two-timing thing. Some folks love developing relationships with many projects at once, while some are absolutely faithful and may as well be wearing blinders. For most of my sewing life, I’ve been a one-plan woman. Getting started can be the hardest part for me, so when that’s done, I pretty much plow through to the end. Those things in my drawers that I call Unfinished Objects (UFOs) are, in truth, Will Never Be Finished Objects (WNBFOs). If I’ve become so perturbed with something that it gets put away, it is likely that it will languish there until I throw/give it away or reuse the fabric for something else. Very few exceptions.

UFO drawers, all three of 'em

But lately, in the past month or two, I’ve been flirting with the other side. I started doing it without consciously deciding to, but in retrospect there are several justifications for it. The biggest one is that I have favorite and unfavorite parts of the sewing process. For example, I dig the pattern alteration and actual stitching/construction parts. I typically do not enjoy cutting out the fabric or fusing the interfacing. I’ve noticed that if my next step is a part I am dreading, sometimes it will keep me out of my studio for days. During that time, I’m not getting my sewing fix, which… isn’t pretty. On the other hand, there are times when I feel up to these things, and I can capitalize on it when that happens.

let's get the cuttin' and fusin' ON

Plus, sometimes a project needs to marinate, either literally or figuratively. There are the times, for instance, when a garment needs to hang for a while before hemming. But even more common for me is when I’m stuck on something and can’t figure it out — often walking away is the best plan. Maybe I only need a ten-minute break, but maybe I need a few days. Sometimes I even dream the solution, for realz.

what? you don't sleep in full makeup, naked and smiling??

Here’s yet another reason: different projects meet different needs. I have had a pressing (haha) demand for a new purse for a while now. The one I’m carrying is getting worn out and I’m tired of it. But I don’t feeeel like making a bag; I wanna make clothes. I’m unwilling to make a complete departure from garments for however long it would make me to complete the purse, so I work on it for a few minutes here and there. In a year or so, I’ll have it done. ;-)

not a bag yet

Want another reason? Other timing things can make an impact, like this one: I’m participating in the Archer Sew Along. This is my first time making a shirt like this, so I think it will be good for me to get all the helpful tips that Jen will provide. I have never actually sewn along during a sew along, but it’s kind of fun to do it like an actual class and not skip ahead. But after my Archer homework, which isn’t much at one time, I still have other things I’m doing.

Grainline Studio's Archer Sew Along

So for all these reasons and probably more, I’m giving this juggling act a go. We’ll see if it’s successful or if I crash and burn. The measure of success? Whether or not I actually complete the works-in-progress. You know, the creating part of creativity. So far, I like that I seem to be going to my studio more often, rather than just when I have hours to spend there. It seems more balanced and manageable somehow; I know there’s a little something I can do on one of my projects that won’t take long. Hopefully it will be sustainable!

Whether or not you like to spread your energies over multiple projects simultaneously, here’s a favorite tip I’ve adopted from Tasia (Sewaholic).

pant hangers' destiny, achieved

These pant hangers from Ikea are 99¢ each, and they are an absolutely brilliant way to keep your in-progress or TNT patterns out of the way and uncreased!

PS: The sleeping beauty photo up there isn’t mine. Click here for source (Health magazine).

Comments 14

  • I am a dip my toes in many things person. Sometimes I will cut several things at once at the cutting table (read dining table) and then stack them in the sewing room and sometimes I just get excited about something else half way through a problem – I guess I have commitment problems. Love the hanger tip.

    Nah, I refuse to call it a commitment problem, it’s a good thing! :)

  • That should read half way through a project – must be a Freudian slip.

    teeheehee :)

  • I also only tend to work on one project at a time and the only time I haven’t is when I’ve followed a sew-along. Might be time to try giving it a go as well and see how things work out. I’ve got so many things I want to sew and now I just have to decide on what’s next. I want to make hubby a shirt… actually he wants me to make him a shirt… maybe I could make him a shirt at the same time as make something for me. That might be a good way to start :)

    The “so many things I want to sew and…decide what’s next” thing is exactly why I started doing this, I think. It was too hard for me to narrow it down. This way, I don’t feel like it’s as big of an issue — just start them all! Well, maybe not all, but you know… :)

  • oh i am just like you!!! i take forever to cut, and i really hate fusing. i’m also way too impatient for a sew along (i cut, sewed, and finished my archer the weekend before the sew along was supposed to start… oops). i like the idea of beng able to juggle more than one project, but i seem to be incapable of actually dong that! the exception would be knits. i do like to cut a few tees at once, especially if i already know my pattern fits.

    Yeah, I think I won’t necessarily follow along like this with very many sew alongs, usually I’m just referencing them after the fact. I need to do that with the tees — the ones I make, I wear to death, and I want to incorporate a little more variety! It’s not like I don’t have the knit stash… I wish I knew how to quit you, Girl Charlee…

  • Nice post! I always think it’s so interesting to learn about others’ creative processes.

    Me too! Sometimes I get great ideas, and sometimes I’m all…you do WHAT?? :)

  • Oh girl, I can’t even talk about it. Soooo many projects in the pipeline. For realz. ;)

    Eek… That may be where I’m headed… :)

  • I’m not sure which I lean towards more… I guess if you count planning and designing phases then I definitely have several things going on at once. :) sometimes I have too many I don’t know which one to start!

    Yay for the archer! I still need to trace my pieces… Sigh soon!

    Ah well, at least you have it all put together! :) Looking forward to seeing your version(s)!

  • I largely only sew one project at a time, but I do definitely trace and alter several patterns ahead of time. I feel like the tracing/altering is my big hurdle, so if I can get that done the project can move forward more quickly when I’m ready.
    I occasionally will cut several projects, if I’m in that particular zone rather than sitting and sewing. I am currently cutting/sewing rugby jerseys for my hubby and sons at the same time, so I can take advantage of the same thread colours and repeat the same steps at the same time rather than doing each one all the way through individually.

    It’s interesting that a lot of our approach to the process has to do with what our individual hurdles are. That sounds like a really practical way to tackle the sewing for your family! :)

  • I’ve always been a one-project-woman, but have recently found myself flitting between a couple of projects and have found myself to be much more productive. Very odd! I love the hanger idea…totally stolen.

    Steal away — you’ll love it! I am a total convert.

  • I’m so excited to see your archer! I want to make one but i’m sooooo scared. When I first started sewing, I always only worked on one project at a time. Now, its a bit of a total mess.

    See, that’s what I’m afraid of! Maybe I should set myself a limit to how many I can have going at once?? ;)

  • I have quite a few of those “I don’t want to do this next step” projects, some a few years old. What happens to me is end up pulling them back out for some reason, I am looking for something else or I am reorganizing, and usually I am surprised that now it looks easier to finish somehow…maybe it’s more experience or a different perspective. I say juggle away Susan, and enjoy the process. Leave the not-so-fun project aside and tackle it when you’re ready!

    You’re absolutely right Kim! It’s not like it’ll go anywhere… Those fairies who whip through the undesirable steps still have yet to visit my house… ;)

  • I use to be a very diligent ‘one-project-girl’, but then I discovered blogging, and pinterest, and … well, I only live once so must try everything … :)

    Absolutely, Judith! I think at this rate I may actually try everything and finish nothing!

  • […] fun things going at once, but I’ve learned the hard way that this isn’t me! I’ve tried, but if I get too far removed from a project, it will permanently reside in UFO territory until I […]

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