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!
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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