Do You, or Should You Ever (Temporarily) Stop Sewing?

(The header image above is not my closet but a free download. You can see my partial closet below).

Don’t be shocked at the title of this post.  I don’t mean stop sewing permanently (hyperventilating).  I’m referring to the fact that my closet is now sufficiently equipped for at least six months – maybe a year, considering the stay-home-some-more situation – without me making something new. Since I’m always eager to sew up a new garment and might well relent, there are two reasons to consider slowing down:  fear of sewing burnout and an overstuffed closet.

Burnout:  I do not ever want to suffer from sewing burnout. It does happen, and has happened to an old family friend. Do you think a pre-emptive cooling down of sewing activities might save me? I do.  I am not a speedy sewer and I do not sew all day – it takes 2 weeks for me to finish a decent garment for myself.  In 2020 I stitched a total of 28 items including masks (which I am counting as one item), a fabric basket, fabric bowl, an unselfish sewing project and other such things.  Take those away and that leaves 17 wearables for myself. Truthfully, that is quite enough for my clothing and lifestyle habits.

This is half my closet and is the section with highest rotation. The other half (not pictured) has ethnic clothing which is not worn often and is being eyed for re-fashions. There is more everyday knit fabric stuff in a dresser drawer (not pictured). Note to self: upgrade hangers and general look of the closet

Stuffed Closet:  Even after purging old makes, my closet feels a bit claustrophobic. That might be due to not separating seasonal items and some heirloom clothing from my daily current rotation of garments. So, an organization focusing on separation of garments may be in order. Totally need that. And, new hangers.

Sewn wardrobe ninjas:  Recently, I was gobsmacked by my YouTuber friend Nateida who made 85 pieces of clothing for herself in 2020!!  Eighty. Five. Mathematically, that’s one complete wearable garment every 4.29 days if she sewed everyday throughout the year. She is not even counting things like masks and such. Just her own garments.  Nateida is on a weight loss journey and therefore completely justified in making lots of new stuff and giving away her garment makes that now hang on her; but 85!  Take a look at her video here:  SewNaturalDane.  Then, of course YouTube algorithms planted a bunch of “all-my-sewn-garments-in-2020”  type videos in my feed. 

So, January 2021 has slowed down my sewing activities; I’m working on (and taking my time on it) something as seen in the image below where I show you a sewing tip.  This item is a needed wearable in my daily life, and the fabric has a small story behind it. So, watch for it in a future post.

Sewing tip: When a knit fabric curls, even after pressing well, spray on some starch on the edges and press again to straighten it. In the picture, above right, I starched, stitched a 1/4 inch seam and it still curling and opening up as you can see. I sprayed some more starch and managed to serge-finish the seam. The other seam is starched, stitched and serged.

Here’s the conundrum, though. I will still post new weekly content on this blog; since you’ll be seeing fewer posts about my own clothing, I will try and post sewing-related posts, inspiring ideas and techniques. Techniques require actual sewing so we’ll see how I reconcile that with fewer garments. Heheheh.  Any ideas? 

Here’s some inspiration (or not) from Pre-Fall 2021 collections from the fashion industry.

On the left, designer Addam Lippes adds a huge bow to a cotton top. It’s cute but how will I adapt it to my own mature aesthetic? Right: designer Marina Moscone probably let some children have a go at designing her line. Whatever you think of this one, I applaud her for displaying the sewing craft in it’s most raw and infantile form. The innocent embellishment contrasts with the well-tailored jacket — is that a saving grace?

Stay healthy, my friends!  Other things that gobsmacked me this week are events in Washington, DC.  So, excuse me if you detect some anxiety in this post.


11 thoughts on “Do You, or Should You Ever (Temporarily) Stop Sewing?

  1. Great post! I too stare at an over-full closet of office attire that I don’t need for working at home, and a fabric stash acquired mainly for making more of those clothes. If I do eventually return to full-time office work, which is unlikely, I suspect the styles and trends will have changed and become more comfortable. The clothes in my closet that I used to proudly wear to the office, are from now on obsolete and excessive. My immediate goal is to look at my stash with a new eye, and come up with different ideas for the fabrics, to fit a more comfortable, flexible future lifestyle. As you described, some of my existing garments can probably be modified for fun or more appropriate wearing for a less office-centric lifestyle. And yes, no matter how I look at what I have (clothing and fabric), it’s too much. Some of it really needs to go. Sob.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! Isn’t there a saying “A change is as good as a rest”. Hmm burnout for me is avoided by change. It’s all still sewing, just different things, jeans to handbags, or trying different social media, blog to YouTube and back again. I suppose that makes me seem a bit flighty, but I do like to have lots of options. My closet is full, but most are work clothes and I have been wearing out my casual and leisure clothes this past year so I think it’s time to tackle that. Maybe I’ll learn something new? Speaking of learning, I think you will do quite well blogging about techniques as you are a skilled talented sewist!! Looking forward to reading more posts from you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not flighty at all. I indulge in quickly made “palate cleanser” projects when I think making clothes constantly (which I don’t really need) is not making me happy at that point. Taking a step back is such a good thing. I have lots of ideas about techniques and will surely put them in blog form. Thank you for reading — and keep the suggestions and questions coming. No point in writing things no one is interested in 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, this is timely. I’m suffering from burnout and I have a too-full closet. I’m at a point in my life where I’m heavily engaged in getting rid of STUFF. I’m questioning my sewing habits (buying patterns I most likely will never use, impulse fabric buying. Hello four yards of knit fuzzy whatever you are). It all feels overwhelming and heavy, all this stuff, even my beloved fabric and pattern collections.
    I’m no longer inspired by people who make so much. I only see it as wasteful. Who can wear all that!

    But, I do understand the influencer. She’s making garments daily, weekly to boost her count, it’s a legitimate business model/plan. I’m not knocking on their creative output or their desire to be the next MimiG. Maybe it’s a culmination of events (hello 2020). Job loss saw me wearing mumus. Remote work has me wearing fleece mumus. Yes, my closet has changed due to 2020 but also age and my desire to be more minimal. Plus, all this has dovetailed with my move off social media (albeit slowly). I’m sad that Instagram is just like Facebook now. But, really I think I’m just tired and need to reassess my creative life.

    Great topic! Thanks for allowing me to do a big word purge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Jilly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts — “word purge” — love that term!
      Wish you all the best in 2021. I totally understand that feeling of being bogged down with stuff, not just sewing stuff. I keep purging things from my house, including clothes I’ve made myself, and I still feel there’s too much. I’m probably your mother’s age and now really want to deal with sorting and getting rid of stuff before my two daughters HAVE to do it. Take care.


  4. I’ve been thinking about my sewing goals, and yes, sometimes it’s good to pause and do the other things you’ve been neglecting. Or because you don’t need heaps of new clothes. I’m thinking of my sewing goals for 2021 and “sewing less” has been on my mind as well.

    Besides cataloging makes, you write fun and informative posts on fashion trends, fashion history, designers, and sewing tips. I enjoy those very much.


  5. Goodness me, never! 😄 Sewing us one of my passions. I absolutely know what you mean about a wardrobe feeling claustrophobic, I love clearing stuff out then upcycling it.

    Thanks for sharing 😊


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s