Wednesday, November 16, 2011

{Blogiversary Week} From 12 to 45 in 12 months: A Reflection on Sewing Weekly


Source: Diane & Me who got this from the theaudacityofcolor.com via Amy on Pinterest

 I saw this quote by a journalist over at the blog Diane & Me a couple of weeks ago and it really struck a cord in terms of reflecting on The Sew Weekly challenge I embarked on 11 months ago.

But let me start at the beginning...back in December 2010 the lovely Mena from The Sew Weekly blog put up a post looking for contributors to a year-long challenge that entailed sewing a garment/outfit every week.  I had been following Mena's blog for quite some time and just loved all her creations!  She asked for interested people to send her an email.  Well, I did.  I equate it to signing up to run a marathon if you've never done one before.  You're not quite sure what you're in for and once you start training you think "Can I do this?"  But you've already signed up so you just jump right in!! 

Before I joined the Sew Weekly I had sewn 12 garments TOTAL in 12 months--most of them separates.  I don't think it started to dawn on me how much more I would need to sew to meet the challenges until I started!  A few of the co-contributors (Adey and Veronica--I'm looking at you!) commented that the Sew Weekly would help them slow down a bit!  Fabulous Adey had sewn 46 garments in 7 months before the Sew Weekly and the lovely Veronica had done several sew one thing a day for a whole month challenges!  Eeep! 

Well, I am happy to report that I was able to keep up (for the most part--a few skipped challenges here and there and a few, ahem, slightly unfinished garments) but man, I was not expecting the incredibly positive impact sewing weekly would have on my life.


I don't know why, but I tend to veer towards complicated and challenging patterns.  In fact, you might even say that I seek out unusual patterns with really neat details (that oh, require a lot of time)!  One of the biggest challenges for me has been to marry my sewing style with producing weekly outputs within a specific theme.  Therein lies one of the greatest benefits of this last year--using patterns that wouldn't have normally been high on my sewing list!  Some of my favourite creations have been from these patterns that I wouldn't have normally prioritised within my sewing plan (examples include my 1933 Butterick Katherine Hepburn Repro dress; my BurdaStyle dress and matching 1941 apron; my 'Raspberry Sorbet' dress; my "Purple Parfait" pinafore; my 'Fake Bunny Love' jacket)The weekly themes have helped me step outside my comfort zone and try some different decades and styles.

One of the things I have truly loved about the sewing weekly challenge is the sewing community that has grown up around it!  Getting to meet other sewists has been so inspirational!  Seeing everyone's interpretation of each week's theme has really fueled my creativity! I just love it!


 Photocredit: [1] Ms. Oonaballoona, [2] Marguerite Designs

Another groundbreaking revelation about Sewing Weekly for me has been that in order to make it happen, sewing has to be given equal status to other areas of my life.  Earlier in the year, the lovely Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons asked me to do a guest post on sewing productivity.  For that post, I thought really long and hard about how Sewing Weekly has changed some of my inner thoughts and habits.  Here's what I wrote back in May that still resonates as I reflect back over six more months of sewing weekly:
Now the thing that I’ve found useful with the Sew Weekly that I didn’t have on my own — is a deadline! Ok, I know what you are saying… I have deadlines in my day job; I don’t want or need deadlines with my hobby… Ok, hear me out with this one. You know how they say that the way to create a new habit is by doing the same action over and over again (consistently) until it’s just second nature? I think the same is true with sewing. Having a structure that is consistent helps to get the ball rolling until it seems much easier to get into the rhythm. I think this is especially true with sewists. Just from the type of blogs I read, I notice that we tend to be the type of people that have lots of demands on our attention and time (we’re passionate about many things in our life - from our children, to our jobs, to our social life, etc.). With this increased pressure on time and attention there is likely to also be procrastination - especially by those that want to succeed with sewing the most.

I’m the worst with procrastination. Due to everything going on, if it’s not something that’s immediately due it tends to take the backseat. What I love about a deadline is that sewing is forced to take equal status with other areas of my life. And why shouldn’t it?? Why should I relegate the thing I love most to the very last? I once read somewhere that we only procrastinate about those things that have value to us. Interesting thought, no?
 Which brings me around full circle to the quote at the beginning of this post:
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close the gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions.
I've gotten so much sewing experience this past year.  Not all my projects have been perfectly constructed but let me tell you, I am SO EXCITED for this next year to really explore my sewing and dive into some ambitious projects that without this foundation might have been overwhelming!  It's been an amazing journey this last year--with highs and lows and I am incredibly grateful for it.  Thanks for sharing it with me!!

31 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic post! I've taught sewing classes to homeschoolers and the moms generally say things like "I tried sewing, but my first dress was a complete disaster so I gave up. I just don't have that talent." That's like saying "I tried to play Beethoven's Fur Elise the first time I sat down at the piano and couldn't so I decided that I don't have the talent to play the piano." Seriously! You can be so proud of the fact that despite less than stellar results you kept going and have gotten so much better. You have sewn some truly amazing pieces. Sewing takes practice and lots of it, just like any other skill. Thanks so much for sharing your insights. You have inspired many people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Debi, is been amazing being part of your journey. Looking foward to see what you be up next year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. An amazing achievement. I think athletes and dancers call it 'muscle memory' - doing something over and over until it becomes intuitive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for being such an inspiration and sharing your journey with us! I can't wait to see what you get up to next year! And congrats on your blogiversary!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a great post, Debi! I truly believe that carving out the time and committing the resources to a hobby is an investment in oneself. And what could be more important or a more beautiful gift to oneself than that?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I tell every new sewer I meet this - just push through the pain! You just have to sew, sew, sew to improve. Most people just give up and move on to something else, and I think it shows that you have a true passion for clothes construction when you keep going. I have even met women working in sewing stores who do not sew clothes at all because they find it too difficult and refer customers to me for advice, and I don't know half of what I'd like to know..... Keep sewing ladies, It's worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love, love, love this quote! It reminds me of a book that my thesis director recommended to me in grad school--- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It's a fantastic (and quick) read about creativity. I think you might like it.

    p.s. I've really enjoyed seeing your journey this year! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. great, really thought-provoking post. i feel pretty much exactly the same--and we've been sewing almost exactly the same amount of time. i'm looking forward to seeing what the next 52 weeks bring you! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. If your not making mistakes, your not trying hard enough...
    (Coleman Hawkins)

    I just stole that quote. Enjoy your journey!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a great post. Though I belong to Sew Weekly, unfortunately, I haven't made one contribution. Perhaps next year, I'll do much better. It has been wonderful being with you on this amazing journey. I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2012.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love the quote and have really enjoyed seeing what you've made! Can't wait to see what you get up to...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loving your posts this week, Debi. It's fantastic to see your personal reflections on the journey.
    p.s. the quote is from Ira Glass who makes the fantastically creative and intelligent (and internet streaming) NPR radio show This American Life which is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love this post! The journalist is Ira Glass, if anyone wants to look up the interview on youtube. I think it's called Storytelling part 3 of 4.

    I love your sewing and your blog! Thanks for sharing your world and creativity.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Debi, I have adored following your Sew Weekly progress and I've loved everything you've made. You certainly have gained tons of experience and I'm so excited to see what you do in the new year. You're a very inspiring lady!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations on your accomplishment Deb! I have enjoyed watching your creations every week. I wish I could get in on something so fun! Most everything worthwhile is hard,right? Will you be continuing on Sew Weekly or are you guys doing something new next year? I loved that last dress you made BTW!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wonderful story. I had no idea you had only made 12 garments going into your year as part of the Sew Weekly. I always imagined you guys were all advanced, experienced seamsters. I can't imagine sewing a garment a week for a year. First, I wouldn't have any room in my closet! I always wonder if Mena keeps all of the dresses she makes. If so, she's nearing 104! And, second, I don't know how I'd find the time. Work can be all consuming, as I'm sure you know. But, somehow you keep on. Maybe I would have to give up running in order to finish projects more quickly... That would be tough! Anyway, it's been wonderful to watch you sew over this past year. I'm excited to now know what the experience was like from your perspective, too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. PS I second Trisha and the Bird by Bird book recommendation. My advisor gave it to me, and it has really helped me push through some difficult writing projects (I'm looking at you, review I'm supposed to be writing right now). I hadn't thought about using the advice for sewing though.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a truly lovely and inspiring blog post, Debi. You are a very special person. (Apologies if I've just made you feel slightly nauseous!)

    ReplyDelete
  19. We love you, Debi, and we're your biggest fans. It is crazy that you'd only sewn 12 garments in 12 months. That was my original plan for my WWNDW? and I never got to it! You've come so far and your sewing has really developed into quite a mastery of the skill.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I totally agree with Lisette! We do love you, Debi, and we're your biggest fans! What a marvellous and insightful post you've written. I have really been enjoying your blogiversary posts - I get excited logging on and seeing what you've read.

    Your sewing has grown exponentially and I am in awe of your skills and style. Your 1941 trousers, Raspberry Sorbet dress, purple cords & poncho, and your Britannia coat dress are my most favourite makes of yours.

    You inspire me to try involved patterns that can be potentially complicated. You inspire me to push myself further as a seamstress. :) xo

    ReplyDelete
  21. i was thinking about this so much i did a post on it. like i said, i've definitely been inspired by the continually-improving work you've been sharing with us all year and look forward to seeing more!

    puu (again)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you so much everyone! Your comments mean so much to me!!! We have such an awesome community, don't we?? xoxoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  23. You are an inspiration! I love seeing what you make.

    ReplyDelete
  24. It's been pretty incredible watching what you've been able to do this year. As a MUCH less prolific sewist, it's been inspiring seeing so many of the fantastically diverse creations you've made! I can't wait to see what the next ear of sewing brings for you.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Loved reading this post! It's been fantastic seeing what you've been sewing up this year - so inspiring, especially the more challenging vintage patterns you've been using. You've really inspired me to get more into 1940's style. :-) Can't wait to see what you're going to get up to next year! I'm sure it'll be fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love inspiring yet practical advice like this poster. It is important to remember to work consistently, acknowledge your standards, know that stops & starts are normal, but better results come from perfecting one thing at a time. Bravo on the Sew Weekly challenge! I simply couldn't do it, but my husband and I did work out a schedule for my "second job" (sewing), which helped so much this year. Until recently, I admit.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hee, I third the Bird by Bird recommendation. My grad advisor also gave it to me--it helps push out the doubter in the head and just keep at it. What an amazing year for you. I love the poster, so true about good taste!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Here's to closing the gap!
    I've been meaning to thank you for the comment you left about this on my blog - it really meant a lot, after writing what I worried was a sappy/soppy post! Looking forward to what comes next x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Debi, this may sound strange but I feel really proud to know you. It has been so incredibly inspiring to follow your progress over the last two years, particularly what you have achieved through the sew weekly challenge. Great to get a reminder of that brilliant post you wrote on productivity. I've been thinking about procrastination and priorities a lot recently... I know, I know, I need to stop thinkingand get sewing! Except I can't tonight, I'm in a hotel room in Leeds. Should be writing a research report but I'm procrastinating on that too ;) Anyway, happy blogiversary to yooooou xxx

    ReplyDelete

I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...