I can’t seem to finish sewing anything! I’ve got all kinds of gorgeous fabric, all kinds of great patterns, and all kinds of excitement…and yet, I can’t close the deal. I haven’t finished sewing anything since December. I’ve got sewing block!
Exhibit A: This faux fur jacket has been cut, partially sewn, and hanging around our dining room like a vagrant muppet hoping for a meal for almost four months.
I think one of my cats may even have sprayed on it. (But really, can you blame him?? That thing looks like it’s going to eat all the cat food in the house.)
Eventually, I’m hoping it will look more like this — so that I can wear it and, y’know, turn myself into the vagrant muppet hoping for dinner:
I think what’s stopping me from completing it is that I’ve never done a lined jacket or coat before. I know it’s not all that difficult, but this is a Burda pattern so the instructions are very brief. I should’ve picked a coat pattern with drawings and detailed instructions. Plus now that Spring is here I have zero motivation to spend time on a fur coat at the moment. Timing is everything, isn’t it?
Exhibit B: this ‘spring parka’ is also underway:
Which is supposed to look like a slightly shortened version of this when it’s done:
I’m sewing it in a lovely blue silk. But I ran out of fabric before I could cut the collar piece. And again, I realize I kinda need more detailed instructions than what Burda supplies because I’m really not sure how to attach the collar and facings and all that business up in there. So it’s on hold at the mo’.
I decided I needed the SIMPLEST, most BASIC thing to sew just to prove I can actually complete something. So I chose this simple shift dress, which is basically a front, a back, pockets, and little strap across the back. Even I will be able to follow Burda’s instructions for this one, surely!
And I found this fantastic fabric for it. That large-scale print may end up wearing me instead of me wearing it, but it’s worth a shot. The fabric is chiffon or something along those lines. It’s gonna be finicky…so I think Sewzilla will likely make an appearance despite this dress’ simplicity. Maybe Sewzilla’s presence is just what I need to get something done!
Today I started sewing the lining as a way to test the fit before cutting into that loveliness. I wound up with Marty Feldman bust points and some slightly damaged lining fabric:
I suspect I need to use a different needle. This lining is fairly fine and has a slight 2-way stretch. Perhaps I need to use a Ballpoint needle to keep it from pulling those lengthwise threads out of place?
Anyway, dear readers, if you happen to know of a cure for sewing block, hook me up, k? 🙂
25 thoughts on “Is There a Pill for This??”
I know exactly how you feel. I have a small pile of things I’ve made recently that for whatever reason are not finished (about 5 to be precise and they look accusingly at me every time I enter my sewing room!) I’m not giving up though. One of these garments will be finished this weekend. That will teach them all a lesson. Lol
You go, Helen! Show ’em who’s boss! 😀
Go buy a McCall or simplicity coat pattern that is similar and read those instructions. If you bite off more than you can chew you will become discouraged and have too many ufos hanging in your dining room. Try using patterns with better directions or with website support/sew along etc
Before you cut anything, research the fibers, get the matching needles and pins. Look for natural fibers first, the sewing will go more smoothly. Trying to wrestle with a chiffon or slippery lining is hard on a good day! Use your straight stitch plate and foot to support these types of fabrics.
My real advice is research first and work slowly!! Good luck!!
Thanks, Linda! All great advice.
Possible cures for sewing block:
1. Follow a sewalong – my latest sewalong was the Colfax dress by True Bias. It is a simple dress and I managed to finish it, despite my hesitations about my fabric choice. In the past any sort of doubt about my fabric / pattern / size / fit selection would have been enough to cause procrastination or sewing block.
2. Sign up for a sewing course (online or in person) – at the end of last year I had sewing block and was left uninspired despite the stack of fabric and patterns in my sewing room. I signed up for an online course on how to sew knits. It helped; I Iearned a new skill and I made a top. My next course is a weekend on learning to sew Ginger jeans.
3. Sewing party – invite a friend who also sews, ask them to bring their sewing machine, decide if you want to sew the same pattern or a different one, and then sew together and have fun. This one I haven’t tried yet, but I used to have fun when my nieces were young and we made clothes for their dolls together.
Hope this helps.
Daniela, I *love* the idea of a sewing party! And you’re right — signing up for a sewing course or even a guided sewing session is the best way to get something done. That’s next on my list if I can’t make this happen. 🙂
Sewing block – do you REALLY LOVE what you’re sewing? Or is it meh?
Yes, the season has everything to do with it but I hear Toronto has rotten weather these days so the Yeti vest might be just the thing.
Sewing in linings is an easy process – can you get a sewing buddy? Even a good book explaining how to do it will help you. YouTube too!
I’ve got a coat waiting 20 years for buttonholes. I still love it but still haven’t got those buttonholes done. Crazy. Don’t lose heart.
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Hi Barbara. I love that you’ve dubbed this the Yeti Vest. Very fitting.
So do you wear the coat without button holes? Somehow I can totally understand that you’ve waited this long to do the buttonholes. 🙂
The fabric is very thick and textured and my sewing machine couldn’t handle the thickness or the different levels of texture. Because of said texture and thickness I didn’t think bound buttonholes would be an option either. So I just couldn’t figure out what I would really like. I thought about hooks and eyes designed for furs but I didn’t want any gaps to let in the air because this is a winter coat. Now that I’m typing this reply, I’m thinking that perhaps a big industrial zipper with a nice pull would do the trick. But with the anticipation of hot weather I won’t get to it till the autumn.
Burda seems to be the curse. Try a pattern with good instructions!
I know, right? Love-Hate relationship with Burda…I love their designs; definitely don’t love their instructions.
VB is right — a good sewing book will give you precise instructions, and for every single sewing question you could think of, there are six youtube videos showing the answer. I love the muppet vest, and the spring parka looks great too. I tend to like Burda patterns. Have fun!
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I like Burda patterns, too, much to my chagrin! Thanks for your comment, Felicia.
Dear, dear… you have to finish that hairy thing if you don’t want it hang it there until october! No way out! Be a good girl, finish it, and hang it in your wardrobe for the winter. I have been sewing with Burda all my life, so I’ve learnt my own construction methods, I have never even read its instructions! For the lining, cut the pieces, pin them and sew them together with the machine. Incorporate any changes you’ve done in the fabric piece. Press the seams open. Then put the coat (with finished hems) wrong side up on your dressform or husband (I’ve used my husband for years before I got myself a manequin) and slip the lining over it right side up. Pin it around the coat’s heams, leaving some loose lining all around, but not so much that it peaks under the coat. Of course you must fold the hem allowance all around towards the inside of the coat. And then give some more ease to the bottom hem lining.
Take if off dressform or husband and handsew all around the lining, to the hem fold with a slip stitch. You can see a little bit of the process in this dress:
I hope to have been of help.
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Well you certainly were of help–thanks so much for the advice! I especially love the advice about using your husband as a dress form. I know my #unsungsewingbloghero will be delighted, lol! And that is a beautiful dress in that link…congratulations.
Oh yes, just finishing pants that I started, I don’t remember, September? I haven’ done a bad waistband but that’s what stopped me! Anyway it’s getting cool here now so I have to finish them… then onto the dress, top and jacket to finish! Avoidance… rears its ugly head. Put that jacket away to finish in the next cool time or give it 2 hours and it’ll be done. Sometimes I think if there is something else that needs doing (not sewing) it’s hard to concentrate on sewing.. .for me it is anyway. Good luck.
I like your “2 hours” idea. Just block off two hours and sew. Part of my problem is I think about sewing, then flit off and do something else, or just brood over the line drawings, or whatever. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about sewing but not actually sewing.
Sewing block – are you unsure about the projects? Is there a niggling thought in the back of your mind thinking “I’ll look like a beached whale in this! But I have to use it after investing all this time and money in the project”? It’s a thought I’ve had several times, and it’s a brilliant sewing block. Because, if you don’t finish it, you won’t have to wear it. It’s a simple solution, and the subconscious loves those. But if you finish it, and don’t like it, you could always sell it? Or donate it to charity? Or, if you absolutely love the fabric, take it apart and make something else. Chalk it up to learning more about your preferences and what really looks good on you. For instance, I love those dainty Liberty florals, but I really can’t wear them. Mrs Frumpy to the tenth degree!
Life is a learning journey, so chalk it up to that. Then again, if you don’t have any of these insecurities and are 100% sure of these projects, are they are deviation from your standard style? Would they make you more visible, and is visibility a bad thing, maybe even dangerous? Then your subconscious will do anything to stop you. Then you need to do some digging and discover where this comes from and then release it.
And, of course this didn’t cross my mind before now, you could try some tapping. Loads of instructional videos out there, I’m particularly fond of Carol Look. Use a setup phrase like “even though I seem unable to finish all these projects, I deeply and completely love and accept myself” a and run with it. Good luck smashing those blocks!
I seem to often make things I probably won’t wear, but that doesn’t bother me. Part of what I like about sewing is experimenting with something a little different than what I would normally pick up off the rack. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I do actually end up wearing. I agree with you about the Liberty florals – very appealing in fabric form, not so much for me in clothing form. Thanks for the advice and the good luck wishes, Berte!
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You have my sympathy! I struggled through my last few projects as well, every single one had some drama.
Yeti & parka seem doable with Internet and/or sewing books’ help. The question is would finishing them now motivate you forward. Would you be excited to be able to wear them immediately? Or would even just completing them gives you the confidence to tackle your next project? If yes then just do it! Parka seems easier fabric to sew. Maybe that would be quicker & less frustrating.
Absolutely love your panel print. I think it’ll be stunning when you’re finished. But worried that it might be one of those slippery beasts that will frustrate your mission to complete projects. If it’s a dress you will launder / hand wash afterwards I’d suggest spray starching to stablize the fabric while you cut & sew, then wash out afterward. Also try using a straight-stitching throat plate when sewing straight stitches. Check the needle is right size & type for your fabrics & is undamaged, check the foot, throat plate, sewing area in general doesn’t have rough patches that might snag your delicate fabric & lining. Just found this blog with good general sewing tips…http://sewingontheedge.blogspot.com/
Thanks for sympathizing! No doubt every sewist goes through this once in a while. And thanks for the tip about spray starch for the delicate fabric…I’d heard of that technique before and it sounds like a good idea.
I’m sorry to say that I have absolutely no idea how to cure a sewing block, I suffer from those too now and then. Don’t feel bad about struggling with Burdas instructions. I struggled with them too yesterday and ended up winging it, and I have a degree in sewing!
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Hi Nilla. Is it terrible that I’m glad to hear that even someone with a degree in sewing struggles with Burda instructions? lol. It makes me feel a bit better. Thanks for sharing.
Gotta love the realness your post brings.. 🙂 …. the sewing block. I feel you.. I’ve got a few projects going myself and have been chipping away. Thats the p;an chip away bit by bit. I take mini breaks to do a quick project that doesn require too much brain power…not the complicated patterns. I find burda patterns complicated. watch out for my piece on a simple swim suit…or so I thought .. hahah It was not as straight forward.. but anyways …. My adive is to keep chipping away. Give yourself mini goals daily/weekly of what you would like to accomplish. when it gets difficult.. put it aside and take an inspiration break.. watch others flow and make things and then hopefully that inspires you.. 🙂
This too shall past my friend… 😉
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Thanks, Uta! Great advice. 🙂
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