Friday, 2 October 2015

Why Do I Procrastinate When I Love to Sew?

I love to sew, but when it comes to beginning a new project I am the world's worst procrastinator!!! Doesn't matter if it's an easy project or a hard project, a new to me project or one I've done a million times before, I baulk at starting. Even if there's a deadline, it makes no difference. I leave it till the last minute.

STOP Procrastinating... do you procrastinate, even though you love to sew? ~ Threading My Way


Take my latest planned project - a drawstring gift bag. A super easy project that requires next to no thought. I knew the fabric I wanted was in my stash. The gift was to be a thank you to a friend of a friend, whom I'd never met, for giving me lots of fabric. Why did I wait till the night before I would meet her to even dig out the fabric? The gift bag didn't even get started.

Gift bag fabric...

Another recent project - cushions for my eldest son for his birthday. I didn't have to worry about the fabric. My son chose and bought the fabric LONG before his birthday. He wanted invisible zip closures, a technique I'd done on many occasions, but not for many years. It was the invisible zips that caused me to baulk. All I needed was a quick Google search and I remembered how to insert the zips. I did finish this set of six cushions in time for his birthday, but the last cushion was sewn at the eleventh hour.

However, a second set of four cushions for the same son didn't get done in time for his birthday. This set of cushions will have piping around the edges. Why on earth I thought I'd be able to start and finish four piped cushions in one night beats me!!! All I managed was to cut one out and do the zip. Next step is to cut out the bias for the piping. And that's where I've stopped - at the cutting out stage.

Photo to remind me which colour to use for the piping on each cushion...

Sometimes I start a project OK, but then I stall part way through - case in point - my robot quilt. I began this project months ago and it should have been long since finished. I enjoyed doing the scribbly stitching for each robot, but not so appliquéing the tiny shapes. All nine blocks are finished. I've added strips around each and now it's time to join them together with sashing. Yep, I've stopped at the cutting out stage again.


Ha, ha... there's a pattern here. You can see that I'm not overly keen on cutting out. Part of the reason is that I usually have to clear my desk, to make enough room, before I can cut out. But it's more than that. I'm actually not very keen on the cutting out stage of the sewing process.

If only I could wave a magic wand and have all the preparation done for me, there'd be a lot less procrastinating going on around here.

I've found that the best thing for me is to devote an evening to cutting out - several projects cut one after the other. If I'm really organised, I bag each one with all the bits and pieces needed to finish the project. Perhaps that's what I should do tomorrow night - cut out and gather all supplies for the gift bags, cushions and the next stage of the quilt. And while I'm at it, I think I should do the cutting out for a few of the smaller projects that are swimming around in my head.

Having everything cut out and kitted ahead of time should definitely help to make me more organised, but it won't totally stop the procrastination. When faced with a new, or forgotten technique, I need to start the research earlier rather than later. Not sure what I can do to tackle this part of the problem, but it's something I do need to work on.

My time management skills could also do with some improvement. Just ask my family. I'm late to everything!!! I'm a reasonably organised person, but my sense of time is almost non existent. I suppose that's why I leave sewing projects till the last minute.

Do you procrastinate over sewing, or do you love all stages of the process?

... Pam

26 comments:

  1. Oh, I am terrible at procrastinating my sewing projects! All craft projects, really. I am currently doing a Bible study called Taming the To Do List and trying to work on this. I have come to realize that I add a lot more stress to my life by starting projects I never finish. It isn't any particular stage that I get stuck at- it is just I get tired of working on something or it is taking too long that I start to lose interest or I get really excited about something else I want to start. I think it is Craft ADD. But, I am working on it! I want to try to finish at least one thing today!

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  2. I love sewing too... But spend twice as much time thinking of all the things I WANT to sew as I SEW. This in turn leads to fabric purchases that now could clothe a small village. Ah... What a wicked web. Think I will go browse through some sewing blogs..

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    1. Oh, Sally, I can so relate!!! There are always several projects swimming around in my head at any one time. Sadly, very few make it to reality.

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  3. OMG! Getting started on a sewing project is always tough for me. Our mutual sewing bud, Sandra in Toronto, suggested bagging projects which helps me view the project as something I can break down into more manageable components. I also use the "just do it for ten minutes" plan. I almost always end up doing more than that amount of time once I get going.

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  4. Procrastinator Sandra from Toronto signing in - I thought I heard my name being mentioned! :D I'm a firm believer in kitting projects - I've found it to be a HUGE time saver. And the "just do it for 10 minutes" technique is helpful as well. If there's a project we liked enough to plan and kit, spending 10 minutes working on it here and there, in order to get it done when we're in "blocked" mode, can make a world of difference. 2 or 3 or 4 X 10 minute sprints can finish or at least make a dent in quite a few projects! And yes, it does tend to lead to more time once we get going, lol.

    I was thinking about this whole procrastination thing in the kitchen just now while I was baking cookies (which I procrastinated about - I was supposed to make them on Monday!) - in my case, I usually start putting things off when a project isn't going as well as I like, or if it's a new technique or pattern and I'm nervous about it, or if it involves cutting into fabrics I want to save rather than use :D I also realized that I procrastinate when I'm not fond of the project (like mending), or when my tastes have changed and I no longer like the design or the fabric. I sure do come up with a lot of reasons NOT to work on things! I should make a habit of spending the first 10 minutes of sewing time per day, working on things that I've been hemming and hawing about - maybe that would be a good way to git 'r done. Also - I'm quite happy to give away semi-finished projects or kits if I'm serious about not wanting to do them any more. I'd rather let someone else finish them (or let them become someone else's headache) than to stress over them week after week :D

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  5. Sometimes I am so focused and so motivated. Other times I can't figure out what I want to do. Yesterday I cut out two patterns and each time I folded them right back up and stuck them in the pattern envelope. I felt so frustrated with myself! I think sometimes I overwhelm myself with too many projects sitting to be done. I feel guilty because I should be working on my son's quilt which is taking me way too long. Maybe I should make a "plan" and work by it.

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    1. Boy can I identify with you, Shirley Ann. But even before I get the project cut out I often get stuck deciding which fabrics to use. By the time I decide on the fabric combinations my sew time is up! Or if it's a felt project ( I do a lot of OCC crafting of finger puppets, tiny dolls & clothes, softies), I really don't want to cut out all those little pieces. After getting all the felt colors onto my cutting table, I think of the time it's going to take just to get the cutting done. It's depressing, so I just go read instead!

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    2. I can so relate, Linda. It takes me ages to choose fabrics!!!

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  6. I really enjoyed this post because I can relate to so much of what you wrote. What seems to help me is to list items in a Google Keep "to do" list & then check them off as I've finished them. I'm talking about really small steps like clean off the sewing desk or thread the serger or sew the zipper in. Like many others have said, I find that I don't end up doing just one small task, but several at a time. Creating really small steps that are so doable usually seems to help provide me with the motivation I need. At least this seems to work for me with easier projects anyway.

    That said, I still struggle with projects that end up being really complicated, like the garden bucket organizer that I spent forever creating a pattern for & then had to revise the pattern after the "muslin" stage & then I still haven't finished sewing the annoying thing. It seems like sometimes a series of problems just drain all the joy out of a project. I find I hate to pack it away to finish later because I know I'll just put off sewing it even longer because I don't want to have to figure out what I originally did and where I left off. I also dread the thought of just throwing it away after all the time and money I've invested in it. So although I do think there are things we can do to help, I know that for me over ambition and unforeseen problems can still make project a real pain to get done. I do hope you can find something that will help you a bit though. There have been some good ideas offered here so hopefully one of them will work for you.

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  7. I see these amazing projects on your blog and I really feel amazed at the hard work and enthusiasm that went into making it. Then I think of all the ideas that formed in my head and fuelled me to go get that fabric, which are at present stashed away in my cupboard. I just can seem to start. But wen I do, I am on a roll. I thought I was a procrastinator, though I love sewing.
    But your post has made me realize why.
    There is one complicated step somewhere in the project that keeps me waiting for another day!

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  8. When it comes to sewing, I bet you can't beat me in procrastination. For me, I just blame it on my beginner level and feel satisfied that it's ok to be afraid off but I think I should look for solutions than excuses.
    I have recently found a link on pinterest about managing sewing time. I will check and share, not exactly related to procrastination but to plan sewing in less time.

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  9. Here is the link
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/457045062163050044/

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    1. thanks for the link ... just what i needed

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  10. I think we're all procrastinators in some ways Pam. I do it a lot, but find I get better the more I push myself to get things done. I get on a roll and it feels like there's no stopping me. However, it only takes a couple of days of rest to be back at square one again and having to push myself to get started!

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  11. I'm just going to say one thing: you sound like me... LOL!

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  12. My probleM is, when I try to get organized and cut several projects; I forget what the bits and pieces are and get confused! I started a one project at a time rule a couple years ago. No starting another until the last is finished. I dont think I sew as many projects that way, but I have a cleaner work space and feel less pressure. I get serious anxiety when I get too cluttered (which is always!) and I also clean up between each project. Find your system that works for you and stick to it, it will make you feel more organized, for sure!

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  13. Looks like I'm in good company...I'm a big time procrastinator! I bought fabric for a pair of black pants 2 years ago, traced the pattern off about 9 months ago, and just a few days ago finally got around to cutting the pants out. *blush* Hopefully it won't take me another 2 years to sew them up.;)

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  14. Thanks for making me feel normal. Sometimes I think if my sewing nest wasn't upstairs, I would sew more. I'm KNOW that's just an excuse. Once I get up there, I love the calm effect. Not sure why I procrastinate. I always get a lot done during crunch time, whether it was school work or house work.

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  15. I'm a terrible procrastinator! I cut out a bag in about June 2014 ... did a bit of work on it then put it away because I was sure that attaching the outer pockets was going to be really hard.... got it out about 2 months ago and did those pockets (so easy in the end) and finished the main part of the bag. It just needs the lining and then I can use it ... but don't ask me why I've just had a weekend with no distractions (hubby is away on business) and I didn't sit down and the sewing machine and just get it done!!! I have no excuses. Waiting to see whether it will get done before my husband gets back next week!!

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  16. I have a box of projects that I need to finished. The worst is some of the clothes which I suspect may not actually fit as I cut them out a year ago for my owlets. Whoops! I really really really want to finish them. .... soon .... promise .... maybe .... ohhhh what's that pretty fabric over there ....

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  17. having space is a big problem for me. My studio is a mess because I put off the sorting and now it's unbelievable. Hard to start a project while holding stuff out of the way! LeeAnna

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  18. This one made me smile! I'm not sure whether or not I procrastinate with sewing, but I do frequently end up with very tight, last minute deadlines or late gifts! I think it's more that I try to do too much for the amount of time available and always underestimate the time needed. Not helped by the fact that there are always so many ideas on the go at the same time round here, and my sewing room is my kitchen. I'm not mad keen on the cutting out part either so I sympathise there too. But I find it really difficult to have a marathon cutting session to get it out of the way - that kind of approach would, I'm sure, speed me along, but I like to keep a project full of variety along the way rather than feeling like I'm a chain piecing production line. Having said all that, get a move on with that robot quilt because it's looking amazing and I really want to see it finished!

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  19. I have so many ideas that I would love an elf who does the "boring" stuff so I can dedicate my time to the "fun" stuff once the basics are done~embellishments, adding lace to cutouts, embroidering, etc. A dedicated sewing space would be a big help, so when I have 30 minutes, I don't have to spend 10 minutes setting up & putting away.

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  20. When you find an elf who will do the boring stuff like cutting out, send them my way, Marika.

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