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How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects

We all have sewing projects we haven’t finished lurking in our closet. This week on the podcast we talk about how to work through the tough projects and finish them!

Finish Your Sewing Projects|Chambray Blues|chambrayblues.com
We all have unfinished projects, here’s how to finish them!

 

Sewing Unfinished Projects

There are three projects sitting on my sewing table that I have been avoiding. One is frustrating because I don’t have the right equipment to sew it quickly. The second is not fitting properly, the third one I hate the pattern that I am using. What to do? Here are ways you can get through the project when the going gets tough!

  1. Go through your stack and reevaluate why the project is unfinished. Sometimes things sit for so long we forget what the problem was in the first place. Make a note of what needs to be done on a sticky note and store the project in a large size plastic baggie with all of the pattern pieces, notions and supplies. Attach the note to the bag and set it aside. Do this for all your unfinished projects.
  2. Line up your unfinished projects with the easiest one first. Make a commitment to finishing one project per week or month as you can. Try to finish all those projects first before starting new ones.
  3. Evaluate your frustration with the project. Did it not fit well? Perhaps you can read some books on fit, take a class or consult with someone else to figure out how to fix it. Don’t be afraid to post a photo in the Chambray Blues group, we can help evaluate the problem.
  4. If your project stalled because of a sewing machine issue, take your machine in for repairs. A good cleaning can solve a host of problems. Bring a sample of the fabric and stitch you were using to show the repair technician. Often they can help you decide how to correct a wonky seam.
  5. Was the fabric not ideally suited to the project? Sometimes we don’t always get it right on the first try. If it was a large dollar investment, you have to evaluate whether or not it’s worth continuing. Perhaps it would be easier to repurpose the fabric into something else instead of trying to continue with a frustrating project. Repurchase a different fabric and try again.
  6. Was your garment cut off grain? This is a popular problem that even experienced sewers can make. Off grain pattern pieces will never hang straight. Buy more fabric and recut if necessary.
  7. Was the pattern construction hard to follow? Many times I have been stuck on a pattern with poorly written instructions or unclear drawings. You can purchase another pattern with similar design and look at how they wrote the instructions. Sometimes I read directions for patterns in the fabric store that I don’t even buy. A different point of view can make the light bulb go on in evaluating how to fix it. Going to the shopping mall and looking for construction ideas also can be helpful. Find a similar garment in the store and turn it inside out to see how it’s constructed. Most commercially produced garments are far simpler than the ones designed by pattern companies. Take pictures with your cell phone of seams and finishes so you can refer to them later. You can even try the garment on to Compare fit. I keep a tape measure in my purse to measure garments in the store that fit me well. You can change your pattern and sewing directions to work through your frustration.
  8. Do you have too many sewing commitments? Are there a dozen people bugging you to sew for them? Learn to say no to people that want to take advantage of your skills for free. Suggest they learn to sew themselves. Give back the unfinished projects you have already collected, tell the owner you simply don’t have time to finish them.
  9. Make note of how much time you have already invested in your project. Is it worth it to invest more time to finish it? Sometimes it’s freeing to add the whole works to the scrap pile and count it as a learning experience. Feel free to move on to a new project with a clear state of mind if it seems like it’s already been a waste of effort. We all have been there at one point or another, don’t let this keep you from starting something new.

How to Triumph Over Your Unfinished Sewing Projects|Chambray Blues|Chambrayblues.com

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The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today

The History of Sewing, How We Got Where We are Today


Download this episode here!

In this episode of the Style Blues Podcast, I talk a bit about the history of sewing, the beginning of the big pattern companies and how we got to where we are today. It wasn’t that long ago that everyone sewed. Over the last 30 years things have changed, here’s what happened.

Show Notes:

The History of Sewing

Let’s learn a bit about the history of sewing, how did we get where we are today?

Abbreviated History of Sewing as per Wikipedia:

 

  • The Industrial Revolution shifted the production of textiles from the household to the mills. In the early decades of the Industrial Revolution, the machinery produced whole cloth. The world’s first sewing machine was patented in 1790 by Thomas Saint. By the early 1840s, other early sewing machines began to appear.
  • By the 1850s, Isaac Singer developed the first sewing machines that could operate quickly and accurately and surpass the productivity of a seamstress or tailor sewing by hand.While much clothing was still produced at home by female members of the family, more and more ready-made clothes for the middle classes were being produced with sewing machines. Textile sweatshops full of poorly paid sewing machine operators grew into entire business districts in large cities like London and New York City. To further support the industry, piece work was done for little money by women living in slums. Needlework was one of the few occupations considered acceptable for women, but it did not pay a living wage. Women doing piece work from home often worked 14-hour days to earn enough to support themselves, sometimes by renting sewing machines that they could not afford to buy.
  • Fine quality Tailors became associated with higher-end clothing during this period. In London, this status grew out of the dandy trend of the early 19th century, when new tailor shops were established around Savile Row. These shops acquired a reputation for sewing high-quality handmade clothing tailored to one’s particular fit needs.
  • Sewing underwent further developments during the 20th century. As sewing machines became more affordable to the working class, demand for sewing patterns grew. Women had become accustomed to seeing the latest fashions in periodicals during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, increasing demand for sewing patterns even more. American tailor and manufacturer Ebenezer Butterick met the demand with paper patterns that could be traced and used by home sewers. The patterns, sold in small packets, became wildly popular. Several pattern companies soon established themselves. Women’s magazines also carried sewing patterns, and continued to do so for much of the 20th century. This practice declined during the later decades of the 20th century, when ready-made clothing became a necessity as women joined the paid workforce in larger numbers, leaving them with less time to sew, if indeed they had an interest.

One of my friends who is a bit older than I am was telling me that when she was in high school everyone made their own clothes. This was probably in the 1960’s. When I was in middle school in the 1970’s, I was the only kid who made her own clothes. Many of us learned to sew from our mothers but many of us have not had the opportunity to learn from anyone. You can learn to sew and I can help you succeed!

Growing up, I️ always wondered how home sewing was so different from commercial sewing. You would think they are the same but they aren’t. Mass produced garments are sewn by the thousand and use piece work technology to put them together. Garments are completely sewn in minutes, not hours. Commercial sewing patterns have been the same since the 1950s when clothing was produced on a much smaller scale, but the home sewing industry largely hasn’t changed since then. Today we have downloadable pdf patterns and many independent designers that are changing the home sewing industry.

Sew Along with Me!

Sew Along Masterclass 2018, going on now on the Chambray Blues Facebook page.

12 projects using easy commercial patterns, one each month

Video Tutorials, FB live sessions, plus question and answer

Closed group, only open for a limited time

Access to professional designer

Help choosing fabrics, notions, cutting, altering and sewing

Join the fun!

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