Slow Down & Sew the Flowers

Sewing is not about instant gratification or saving money or something we are required to do. It is a creative hobby and an art form, like painting or sculpture.

     If you want instant gratification - don't sew. Sewing is a slow process. Trying to rush will result in frustration and ruined fabric. More time will be spent ripping out mistakes than sewing. The finished product will reflect the haste and carelessness.

If you want to save money - don't sew. When you figure in the cost of the machine, the tools/supplies, the fabric and your time, at even minimum wage, the cost of an outfit that you make is more than one off-the -rack.

If you feel required to sew - don't sew. Sewing has a long history of being relegated to the ranks of household tasks, and for some women ranks right behind cleaning the toilet. Approaching sewing with this attitude will will cause ulcers.

If you get creative satisfaction from a straight seam - sew. 

If you want one of a kind garments - sew.

If you would rather be sewing - then sew and enjoy it.

Some people garden, others write books, you sew. Enjoy each step of the process. Sew slowly and carefully. Try not to sew with a deadline. If a project is not going well don't force yourself to work on it. It won't come out right and every time you look at it you will relive the frustration. Just put it aside until it can approached with a clear mind. Schedule time to sew, mark the calendar and make it routine.

To get the creative juices flowing, read and watch about sewing. Go to the library and get a books and videos/DVDs on sewing. Solutions to problems and new ideas that will inspire can be found this way. Second hand book stores are a good source for sewing books. Video tape sewing shows on TV and play them back while sewing. Stop and watch the parts that are of interest to you and ignore the rest. As you learn new techniques each project will become easier.

Connect with other seamsters. Local sewing machine dealers may have classes. The American Sewing Guild has chapters all over the country. They have programs and sit-n'-sews sessions. The County Extension Office is another source of sewing information and friends. Sewing is often a lonely hobby and group sewing is better than group therapy for improving your attitude. You don't have to be a great seamstress to start a group. All you need is a time, a place and some friends.

It is very interesting that so many women say that they don't have any room in their house for a sewing space, and yet they all have found space for a computer desk. Why do computers rate better accommodations than sewing machines? You never hear of computer users having to put their computer away in the closet so that their table can be used for lunch. Do wood workers have to clean off their work bench for supper? Why don't sewing machines get the same respect? Is it because sewing is considered to be 'women's work' and not worthy of a special place. This is not just an attitude of men but often of the women themselves.

You will be happier and get more accomplish if you don't have to spend half of your time getting out and putting away the machine. There is a book titled "Dream Sewing Spaces" by Lynette Ranney Black that shows how to set up a sewing space in any size area. If the machine is always set up and ready to sew you will be able to take advantage of small amounts of time. Read 'The Busy Woman's Sewing Book' and '10-20-30 Minutes to Sew' both by Nancy Zieman for time saving sewing ideas.

Don't cut corners. There is a difference between saving time and short cuts that will effect the outcome of your project. Read all of the instructions for a new pattern before starting. There are reasons behind their sequence of steps. After you have made the pattern once you may find small changes better suit your style. Make sure that all of the notions are on hand before starting. Thread, interfacing, zippers, buttons, etc. It is frustrating to stop because of a missing item. It is then that the sewer is tempted to substitute thread that almost matches or skip the interfacing. Don't do it. Even if no one else notices, you will see it every time you look at the item. Do your best work while sewing, enjoy the creativity and take pride in the accomplishment.

Home sewers are often more critical of their work than they are of the stuff they buy. A slightly mismatched seam is agony on something they made, but they don't even see a similar flaw on a purchased item. Small errors will not be visible to most people and the ones that are looking for errors are not our friends.

Ms. Mannnerly says - Oh! For goodness sakes! Don't point out the flaws in your creation every time some one compliments you. The proper response is a demure, "Thank you very much." Followed by a slightly smug,"I made it myself."