Ah the WIP. A person’s WIP tendencies say so much about one’s personality doesn’t it? Over the last few years, I was able to streamline my pile of WIPs to a very short manageable list. I started by doing a pretty major WIP purge, finishing or discarding as many projects as possible. But over the last few weeks it’s gotten out of control. I’ve actually developed a habit of starting a project and then when I hit a snag or get distracted, I just toss it aside and start a new project. I’ve felt more easily distracted than usual and it’s frustrating. I’d like to be putting more things in the done pile.
<Warning! This is an unusual, long rambling post. Bear with me I’m trying to sort out some feelings about my sewing process lately.>
I think perhaps I’ve been able to keep my WIP list short because I usual sew simple projects – things that were too quick to sew for me to become bored. And honestly I LOVE those projects. There is such satisfaction in being able to sew something in just a day. I actually had one dreamy Memorial Day weekend that I spent sewing a new outfit every day. Yeah. Multiple pieces a day for three days. A lovely, hermitic sew-cation.
My philosophy for sewing has always been that it should be an enjoyable process. It’s mostly a hobby for me, and as such, it should not make me feel stressed. But that does mean that I have a tendency to indulge my own whims. When my eye wanders to a new project, I often just dive right in. Especially lately. I see a new pattern I like and I can buy, download and print in just a matter of minutes.
While we’re talking about pdf patterns I might as well confess that I’ve always had a habit of preparing patterns way in advance of cutting and sewing. I have quite a few patterns printed out and some are even assembled that I have yet to sew. I know printing and assembling can be tedious for some but preparing pattern feels like an easy step to me. I dislike tracing but taping and cutting is easy-peasy for me.
For the last year or two I have kept a list of projects and the steps that need to be completed. It’s been a good way to keep myself focused, especially since I’m also trying to blog about all these projects. I have a calendar of planned posts but it is in constant flux because most days the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer. I’d much rather be at the sewing machine.
Sometimes that list feels like a chore. And I want sewing to be joyful, to be as far from stressful as possible. I also want my makes to be useful. I want to LOVE them. I want them to be objects that I use regularly, not art pieces shoved in a closet. Trust me I have quite a few never-worn pieces hanging in the closet. And it makes me kind of sad. So, I try to be a little more thoughtful with my choices. There are always going to be pieces that I love in conception but then never wear. It happens to everybody from time to time.
That said, there are some things that I make because I know I will learn from the process. For example, swimsuits. I rarely go swimming but I have learned so much from sewing swimsuits. I can sew the heck out of elastic and I now have the confidence of KNOWING that I CAN SEW MY OWN SWIMSUIT. That is significant. Next up will be more bras. And I’m really hoping they will be useful as well.
So, where am I going with this. Maybe I’m questioning why I’m a maker? What my motivations are? Maybe I’m looking for some solidarity from you dear readers? I cannot imagine a life without making. Making things keeps me getting up in the morning. I think I’m also questioning what my goals are. I’ve been feeling torn between different sewing whims, namely the things I feel compelled to sew and the things I know my wardrobe needs.
I feel like I used to be more disciplined than I have been lately. I used to make seasonal DIY wardrobe plans and I’d sew everything on the list, sharing one new make every week. I was regularly blogging 3-4 times a week. These days I feel like I can hardly put together one post a week. Last fall I made a list of things to make but still have at least one project not done. This year, I did create a "Make 9” list for the year. I’m actually pretty close to finishing. I have four things left and two of them are very close to done. Check it out below!
- Sew Over It Ultimate Shiftdress (pattern printed and assembled)
- Scout Tee by Grainline Patterns
- Birkin Flares by Baste & Gather
- Rushcutter Dress by In the Folds
- Cosmic Sweater WATG (front and back knitted, 1.5 sleeves to go)
- Halifax Hoodie by Hey June
- Southport Dress by True Bias (pattern printed and assembled, one bodice piece cut out)
- Moji Pants by Seamwork
- Soma Swimsuit by Papercut Patterns (mostly sewn, but I ran into fitting issues and need to redo the bottom half)
So with all of those feelings out of the way and a new month upon us. Hello September! I’m feeling ready to move forward. I’ve made some progress this week and I’m going to mark that as a win. I’ve also used up a bunch of stash fabric. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WIP Recap September 2016
Finished this week yay!
I made 10 kennel quilts using stash felts. This is something I’ve been intending to make for a long time. It’s very satisfying to make these and send them off to shelters and animals in need. I made these early in the week and mailed them off yesterday. To find out more about this project go here and sign up for their newsletter. When shelters put out a call of quilts, you’ll get an email with their address.
I also started and finished a Rumi Tank by Christine Haynes this week. See it above. This is a fantastic quick project that distracted me from all the others. I found the Hawaiian print fabric in the remnant pile at Joann’s and just snatched it up.
Note this is not my full list of things I want to make just the ones that are in progress. EEK!
1. Sampler quilt
I made these blocks over 10 years ago when I took a quilting class. Yesterday I made a lot of progress. I was able to finish piecing the quilt top and I’m almost done with the backing.
2. Butterick B6351 dress
This dress pattern jumped the queue in a big way. I’m using vintage fabric that came from my grandma’s stash. I’m really close to done but again I stalled out when it came to fitting. All I need to do is take in the side seams. NBD just annoying. Then insert the zip and hem. So close!
3. Soma one piece swimsuit
This was almost done but when I tried it on I realized that I needed to add about 3 inches to the height of the bottoms. Eek! Fortunately I have lots of fabric. More easy to solve fitting issues that I just don’t really want to deal with.
4. Tea House dress in red
The fabric is cut and ready to sew. Sometimes I just like cutting things out. I'm going to sew some other things first then this one.
5. Cosmic sweater
Part of my Make Nine list. I made some good progress on this in August, finishing the back and starting the sleeve. Yay!
6. Knitted socks
(temporarily set aside in favor of the sweater)
7. Alexandria Trousers
I made these pants twice before. Once for me and a wearable muslin that my mom tried on and never gave back. :) My great-aunt Miriam liked my mom's pants so much that she requested her own pair. I have them cut out and will sew them today. I don't do a lot of sewing for other people but I'm so happy to make these for her.
8. Spring Shorts
Another project with remnant fabric. Summer's almost over right? So I cut out these shorts last night from a gray-black seersucker. The fabric is more sheer than my other seersucker and I'm now thinking I may need to underline it. :(
With all these distractions, my many WIPs, and a new pattern design in the works, I’ve been feeling ill at ease, feeling that I’m not being as productive as I should be. A couple days ago, after first writing this rambling post, I gave myself a pass and spent about 10 hours yesterday just sewing with the flow. It was really great. All of a sudden it was midnight and I needed to go to bed. I've realized that my deadlines are completely self imposed. And I’m going to be a little easier on myself. I’d like to release another pattern as soon as possible but I’ve decided to take my time. The design is more appropriate for Spring anyway. And I need to be happy when I sew because otherwise it's just not worth it.
Phew that's all a lot to do! By the way, I'm thinking I might make my WIP progress a monthly series. I'm sure that what I'm sewing in September is going to change a lot. It might be interesting to see how things change month to month. Now, I want to hear how YOU organize your projects. Do you ever get overwhelmed by your list? Have you made your Fall sewing list yet?