Monday, October 10, 2011

Sometimes you just need a quickie...

I was eavesdropping the other day and overheard a conversation that went something like this... 


Sewist #1:  I don't understand why some women post and sew such quick things that never look very well done or flatter them.  I know they like to sew since they sew alot but why rush through garments.


Sewist #2:  Cause sometimes you just need a quickie!


I've been thinking about this conversation for a few days now and finally decided how I would reply if I was indeed in the conversation instead of just eavesdropping.


First I agree with Sewist #2.  There are times when you just need a quick sewing fix.  When indulging in the quick sewing fix you do attempt to do the best sewing job that you can, but sometimes it's sewing just to cleanse the palette...or sewing just to get an item done...or even sewing to encourage a lost mojo to find it's way home.  To me, not all sewing is about the long arduous process of making a "couture" garment..sometimes it's about finishing something, anything to get it on your body.


Now not everyone is that type of sewist.  Some sewists enjoy the process. Taking their time, doing all of the hand-stitching, and time-consuming techniques to make that one perfect garment.  I'm just wondering why it has to be one or the other. Why can't there be a place for both types of sewing in a sewist's arsenal?  And seriously, haven't you gone through the process, worked everything out by muslining the garment, cut your precious fabric and ended up with a less than perfectly fitted garment?  Every now and then even the most accomplished sewist can end up with an oops!


So this is the question of the day, "Do you sometimes just need a quickie?"  If yes, why?  If not, why not?  And do you think that both types of sewing quickie and involved can exist in a sewist's life?


Talk back to me...cause I'm really interested in what you think!


...as always, more later!

58 comments:

  1. After my muslin / sewing experience this weekend (to produce a "simple garment"), um, yes. I like sewing with knits for this reason. I think the fit tends to be forgiving and the construction is often simple. So, a few hours later I have a great top and it didn't almost drive me to jump off a bridge :-)

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  2. Yes, life is seldom all one thing or another. Not every garment has to be a couture epic! And it's nice to add special touches to even a simple garment.

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  3. I agree, Carolyn. I can do both types of sewing. I don't want to impose too many rules on my sewing. If I did, my mojo would shrivel up and die.

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  4. Yes, both exist my sewing world, and for all of the reasons you summed up. Sometimes just to get me going again, and sometimes to get a quick success after a sewing faux pas. I love tailoring, but I don't always want a project that takes a month or more to complete. And I agree with K.Line, sometimes I just don't feel like pulling my hair out to get something sewn.

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  5. Everyone needs to indulge in a quickie now and then. Just don't wear it if it's not flattering. Give it to Goodwill and move on to sewing the keepers.

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  6. I don't think it has to be one or the other. I do think our sewing matures like anything else and as our skills grow we like more challenging techniques. Those techniques require more time, but,oh, the satisfaction and pride! Don't get me wrong, I still sew a quickie now and then for just the reason you described, cleansing the pallette. But, at one time all my sewing was "whip outs" and lets see how many garments I can put out this week. That doesn't satisfy me anymore. I revel in slow, contemplative, challenging, sewing. But if I need scarf for a special night in a special outfit, yeah, that's a whip out that I would totally enjoy.

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  7. I really do enjoy the sewing process. I do enjoy things that go quickly though. I also do crafts, bags, dolls etc I do machine sewing when I can, but I also enjoy hand sewing. I agree with Shams, we shouldn't put limits on ourselves. Many years ago, and old Italian lady gave me some advice and I'll always remember she said "Don't spit up"

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  8. I've been working on a more fitted jean for the last couple of weeks. After the 7th(!)pattern trace w/changes & muslins I'm ready for a quickie! I ended up going back to muslin #5 with a couple minor tweeks.

    Quickie's definately have their place and time.

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  9. I do both. I always have a more complicated pattern I am working on and in between steps I have faster items I can send out. I cannot take the stress and delayed gratification of a more challenging project without the relief of something instantly gratifying.

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  10. My sewing is a mix of 3-4 quickie knit type tops/dresses then a harder, more in-depth project. I am working on a quickie right now, it was a little project to get me back into the sewing room. I just put it on my dressform and I am so pleased with it so far.

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  11. Yes I do! I love making amazing costumes and those are the things I go slow with. There is a lot of detail in them. Same goes for any really tailored project. But I also really enjoy sewing up a quick top that takes me just a few hours. Same with PJ pants. Their quick and easy and a nice refreshing break in between the more detailed projects.

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  12. We all sew for different reasons - some for the "art" of sewing, some to fill the wardrobe. I definitely like to do some quick things that fill gaps in my wardrobe, though I still strive to do my best even with these. Sometimes I feel as though I'm churning out too many quickies (usually t-shirts), and then I yearn for something that I can really get my teeth into. Perhaps for those who do not depend mostly on their sewing for the clothes that they wear, churning out a quick project is never an issue.

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  13. Is a quick project always ill-fitted and looks badly? What if this is a TNT pattern and easy to sew fabric?
    Quick project gives instant gratification and bravery back to me, so I can attempt something more challenging.

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  14. I like quickie projects, esp after tackling an 'epic project.' BUT--quickie does not mean ill-fitting, poorly constructed, or badly pressed. That takes a bit of time, so I guess 'quickie' doesn't mean lickety split and sloppy.

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  15. Most definitely! Although for me at this early stage, a quickie still takes a few days to complete. I'm just not quick enough!

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  16. I like a good quickie ever so often (and I'm talking about sewing folks!) Sometimes you can get bogged down with an involved project and something fast and easy renews the spirit. And some of my quickies sometimes become garments I wear alot! :)

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  17. Oh certainly! In fact, this very weekend I finished an abominably poorly done top very quickly and sloppily, just to have it done and over with.... and then moved on to hand-basting the neck and arms on a beautiful linen top that I'd been taking my time with.

    I totally agree that sometimes you need to just get some projects done and over with to propel yourself forward. For me, this usually happens when I'm working on something that I'm not totally committed to... I just need to rush through and either finish or wad them.

    But then when I've taken my time on something, and maybe even done a muslin fitting first, and then a basted fitting...something really wonderful that I want to cherish...well then I cherish the work on it, too!

    It's kind of like what I imagine sewing for a baby might be like -- so many ruffles, pleats, tucks, and embroidery...but each one rendered with love and attention to detail...because nothing is too good for baby!

    So maybe the projects I rush through are those that I somehow think of as lesser...as not really being good enough or worthy enough of my time? But I still need to do them because it keeps the momentum going and I'm still learning something with every new garment (being a very new sewist)!

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  18. I think I'm more quickie than not. I don't always enjoy picking up projects half way through. That said, the complicated ones spend a lot of time rolling around in my head before I get to them.

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  19. I hear ya... sometimes sewing something like a hem or mending can be a "quickie" for me.... it doesn't have to be an entire garment... it's just getting behind the machine to feel like I've accomplished something! Sure I want to get more garments done... but sometimes... it's just clearing the way... getting the next item up and out and off the cutting table! I babysat for my 3 grands for almost 2 weeks at their house... and all I ended up doing was cutting out a dress and then doing some quick applique (another project) when we made it to my house a few different times. I know it's not much.... but at least if felt like I was accomplishing something... and that means something to me! And other times... things like wedding dress's come along and there is lots of hand sewing that I can sit in front of the t.v. while I do it and although it takes lots of time, it's also pretty appealing! I think that both experience's are good!

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  20. Of course what most people choose to sew depends upon their style. Some people with a more laid back style that may not include detail intense garments might subscribe to the quickie project on a regular basis. Then there are those who by nature love more complex projects with an occasional quickie here or there. I don't think anyone should feel bad for making quickie projects. Hey if they're stylish and look great that all that counts. The more I discover my own style the more I realize that simple and effortless describe me well. So I love quickie projects. Got nothing to prove:)

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  21. While I get more satisfaction from a well made tailored garment or a stand-out costume with tons of hand beading, I probably get more use out of a quickie project. I spend a lot more time dreaming about sewing the in-depth projects (so many coat patterns in my que, and I have so many ideas for skating costumes) so I would say I probably prefer them. On the other hand, I wear shirts year-round, so it actually makes more sense to spend time sewing those.

    I try to mix it up - one in-depth project followed by two or three quickies. This seems to help me stay excited by my sewing plans, rather than getting bogged down or discouraged when the muslins don't turn out. It also seems to give me a good mix items to wear. I would have to say I am a rather capricious sewer... I just sew what I want when I want be it winter coat with over twenty pieces, or a simple knit top with only two. I try to use my best techniques on any project I start though, so I don't consider my work to be sloppy. Of course, I haven't been sewing all that long, so some of my earlier work really was sloppy. Not because I rushed it, but because I was learning. Quickies are a great place to try new techniques and experiment with things that may or may not work. I think there are many great looking quickie projects out there, and I see nothing wrong with turning out garments quickly.

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  22. Quickies are kids things but for adults and myself it has to be intense and look good inside and out. One reason is my stuff has to last a long time and stand up to other sewers checking my seams and techniques. My clients expect the best too as everything I finish for them has my name on it, not literally unless it is something I sew my label into.
    I envy women who have few figure issues that can whip up a knit garment in an evening and wear it the next day!

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  23. I'm quite new to sewing and am struggling with wanting everything done quickly. Too much to do and not enough time! I'm looking forward to taking on a longer, more challenging project soon to really hone my skills. But so far, it's all been quick projects. (Probably half aren't quite wearable, so you'd think I would learn my lesson. All in good time, though!)

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  24. Balance in all things, right? Even sewing. I always "need" a quick knit top or some PJs after a complicated project. Finishing something is such a rush, and it reconnects me with one of the (many!) reasons I sew. New clothes are fun!!

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  25. I like to think that there is a need for both types of sewing in my life. Sometimes, it's all about the instant gratification of cutting something out one day and wearing it the next or even better the same day. It makes me feel like Superwoman to be able to walk out the door wearing something that didn't even exist that morning. The existence of the "quickie" project also provides the comfort of knowing I will never be in the position of having nothing to wear. Then there are those pieces that I want to make to enhance my skills or so that I can cut down the cost or have it in the color I want it, like a coat or designer dress patterns. What I know for sure is that like with anything else, I refuse to be put into a box. And I'm going to continue to buy fabric I don't need but that's another post.

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  26. I like both....
    There is something very rewarding about actually finishing a garment but also working on special or detailed stuff is also rewarding. The end result is being/feeling proud of what I've done, no mattter how I got there...

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  27. Those two could have been talking about me! I am just coming back to sewing after a 20-year hiatus, and I've been doing a lot of quickies to keep my enthusiasm up between the more complex projects. Immediate gratification!

    I do pretty simplistic, drapey garments, so if there's a fit issue, I like to think it's not the first thing people notice. I do try to learn or practice a technique with each garment, and eventually I expect my skills will get better and maybe my attention span will increase.

    Looking at the labor-intensive, time-consuming garments with special couture details that I have managed to complete, I realize that the experience was wonderful but they are not anything I would have an opportunity to wear. So maybe it's best for me to stick with the quickies, just make sure they are of quality fabrics and made with care.

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  28. Both exist in my sewing world. I enjoy couture sewing. But after a detailed project, I like to have a few quickies lined up for most of the reasons stated. But to me a quickie doesn't mean it has to be a flop, although we will have those from time to time. For me, having both keeps my sewing world in balance.

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  29. Sometimes I just don't get the time to do anything too complicated so if I know my sewing time is restricted then I have to do a quickie to get it out of the system - its a quick fix

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  30. My problem is that I'm too much of a perfectionist. Even a "quick knit top" requires fitting alterations to make it be worth the bother and will sometimes throw up issues that I spend HOURS trying to fix (like the really poorly drafted armscye/sleeve cap that I am currently grappling with on Butterick 5382. It is winning, not me.)

    I guess it's partly comes down to why you sew. I could buy as many clothes that don't fit or look smart as I wanted to, because the shops are full of that. I sew because I want the level up, and I don't see the point in sewing quickies if they don't fulfill that need.

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  31. I've been one or the other at different times in my life. When I was a stay at home mom I would hand smock dresses for my girls, made suits for my boys and lots of time consuming projects. Now I work full time and my five children are grown with nine grandkids and number ten on the way. Most of what I do is quick stuff because that's what I have time for. Now I've made my daughters wedding dresses during the time I was working full time. But we always make time for importand projects. Someday I hope to retire and then I'll have time for longer detailed projects once again.

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  32. I am so ready for a quickie. I can't wait to finish the jacket I've been working on. I prefer projects that don't take too long to make, but I do think that a lot of sewers indulge in both types of projects, long and involved and short and fast. I know I do.

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  33. I agree that there is a place for both. I do try to sew everything I make as nicely as I can but sometimes, when the fabric was a little cheap and I can tell that the end result is never going to be fabulous, I find that I am not quite as fussy as I might otherwise be. It's a case of 'get it done and move on to something better'!

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  34. I absolutely think you need the Quickies!

    I am bogged down with hundreds of UFO projects at the moment and all I want to do is wear something I've made.
    But I can't seem to get myself back into my sewing Mojo. I've had a string of projects either go wrong or get to a point where i'm stuck recently and I need something that is easy fast and I can blog about and start again!

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  35. I agree with both...sort of. I think sewing a quick project (what I call a 1 or 2 hour time level) can satisfy one's sewing mojo. But then one the other hand, what is the point of making something that you don't look hot in? Hmmm. If I liked to look dumpy I would buy RTW! LOL So while I understand the need to COMPLETE something in a hurry...it seems to defeat ALL if it's just a hot mess.

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  36. I agree with you that there's room for both, it all depends on what life is dealing at the moment. I believe in a balanced life! ;-)

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  37. I rarely sew a quickie garment: most of my pieces are fitted, woven-material garments - and I'm trying to mentally encourage myself to sew more quickie pieces because constant high-effort sewing can result in burnout. It's nice to have a little variety, too.

    BTW, "sewing just to cleanse the palette" = love this sentiment!

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  38. I do like both types. I've found that for me, doing some kind of garment refashioning is a good way to get my quickie fix and still end up with something nice and wearable. Often I can work it in such a way that things like hems are already taken care of. Or I'll just make some small practical but not necessarily clothing-related item, like a pouch for my Kindle or something. I usually need these after doing a more complex outfit, like my most recent dress or a fully-lined jacket or something.

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  39. I think there is room for both in life, and just because a project is quick doesn't mean that it has to be badly sewn, unfinished or unflattering.

    At some point this summer I realized that I wasn't going to sew any more detailed projects and this freed me up for a couple of quickies. I made a few simple knit skirts, which had great impact on the versatility of my summer wardrobe. They were basically tube skirts out of stretchy knits but the waistbands were finished and except for one, they were hemmed. None of them took longer than an hour or two. After those I managed a simple dress and top. Now, that a basic need has been satisfied (mentally as well as physically) I can move on to more challenging projects.

    I love the idea of using quick projects to clear the mind and make room for new ideas.

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  40. i think every garment is fun! I'm not talented or creative, but i once made a top and skirt that i was so proud of (in my 20s) that i wore it to work once a week - with pride! :)

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  41. Oh dear, I really am late to this party! I agree with everything you said. You summed things up perfectly for me.

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  42. I'm do both but whole-heartedly agree with Psycho Sue.

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  43. I mainly sew jackets (usually lined w/lots of hand stitching) from my 4 TNT patterns. But last weekend I pulled a velour leopard print knit from my stash and whipped up a simple cardigan (the new type with the front drape) and it was such fun and so quick. The instant gratification was surprising so I'll be doing more of this "quickie" sewing in the future. So count me as both a "quickie" and a slow sewer.

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  44. In my life, there are both kinds. Sometimes, if I haven't sewn for a few days, then I MUST! Who cares what it is, but I must have my hands on fabric and the machine.

    Now, I'm not saying that every garment I make must be couture-like or 'the very best I can do' but why wasted fabric on a quickie that may or may not be your best? Unless it's not good fabric. Then, go for it - but still, why spend the time using not so good fabric? lol I'm going round and round with this one!

    If you've just got to have a quickie, use a simple pattern that you've done before, and know will fit. Like a TNT pattern or the Sorbetto top! Fits every time!

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  45. Yes, sometimes you just need a quickie. Sometimes you just have to cover your body to go out in public. Sometimes "good enough" is all that is required. Sometimes "Well, at least I can't see it from my house" is the best you can accomplish. Nice that there's room for all at the sewing table. Too bad some there need to belittle others to make themselves feel better.

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  46. For LinB,
    I don't think Carolyn presented the question in a negative way (great job making it tactful!), but I have been pondering the original conversation of the two ladies Carolyn overheard. I can't possibly know their motives, but I am a bit bothered by the discussion. We are all at different places in our sewing, and have different purposes. I think I would prefer to be an encouragement and hope for the best in each sewist.

    It kinds of reminds me of one of the two distrubing things in a book I recently read, The Help. The one lady is always sewing and it is always a poor looking result. I ddin't like the way the author treated sewing one's own clothes in that instance.

    I know I will never measure up to the abilities of some of the ladies whose blogs I read, but neither do I feel I need to - I am happy with what I do - and always learning more - from those very ladies. I need them in front to inspire me, and I need to extend a hand to those following me.
    Blessings,
    Patti

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  47. I agree with you Carolyn. For me it depends on the mood I am in at that particular time. Sometimes I want something quick and other times more detail is needed. Creativity comes in all forms. I enjoy this passion of mine in many ways.

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  48. Oh dear. I think I might be a big project sewist these days. I just finished a dress that took 6 weeks and 20+ hours of hand sewing. I think it's the most fabulous garment I've ever owned and was worth it. That said, next on the cutting table is a knit single seam skirt for me and some boxers for hubby. So YES! I guess you can do both. I try to use what I learn with the big projects to make my quicker projects fit and look better, too.

    BUT quick doesn't mean - or shouldn't mean - sloppy. And there are some tasks, like careful pressing, that you just can't rush if you want nice results.

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  49. Great post! I like to take my time for items for myself. Most of my 'quickies' are garments for my kids for stuff that they need NOW...quick sweatpants, t-shirts, jersey dresses, leotards. They grow out of everything so fast that they won't be wearing it long anyway, plus I have found in sewing for children that the time spent on a garment is INVERSELY proportional to the amount of appreciation I get for it, LOL!

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  50. Quickie to me means something simple, something I can make in my sleep, and preferably something in a gorgeous fabric. I'd put all the basic bits there: simple blouses and shells, the unadorned tnt pants, skirts and dresses. For me, it's what am I in the mood to do. Nothing to suck the joy out of sewing like thinking you have to make something a certain way - or else.

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  51. I love quickies. There is nothing wrong with throwing a quick project together, and it is so rewarding - in very little time you are finished and you have something to show for it. Not all garments are suited to be quickies - if you want something that looks well put together and will last a long time that is one thing, but there are tons on things that don't have to look that nice or don't have to last very long. I made 5 pairs of pants and 4 shirts of play clothes for my toddler daughter all in one afternoon. She is not going to win any beauty contests wearing them, but they are still a staple in her wardrobe 6 months later, and I spent almost no money and very little time on them.

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  52. Well, I sew on my dining table, so by necessity, a lot of my projects tend to be relatively quick and easy. (If I have to clear away a project in the middle of sewing it, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a UFO. Out of sight - out of mind.)

    However, I'm not sure if I'd equate a quickie with something that's ill-fitting or poorly made. I recently made a knit skirt in 2-3 hours. It didn't take long because I've made the pattern before and the skirt didn't need a zipper. But it was a black skirt, something I need pretty desperately, and therefore, a very satisfying project.

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  53. So we've proved that 99% of sewistas sew both. But can I put a word in not just for quick sewing but for sloppy sewing? A couple of days ago I started a knit top from a Vogue pattern, forgetting that Vogue fit models' shoulders are a good 4 inches wider than mine. I remembered too late and then spent a few hours futzing about putting in pleats and trying to fix it. In the process I learned more about knits, about my machines' capabilities, and my own. There is something to be said for low-pressure, who-cares kind of sewing. It's very freeing. That's a good way to learn. Plus, the muslin can look great and the garment comes out wrong in spite of all the work and advance planning and then the quickie comes out as if touched by magic. Completely unpredictable. (This is known as "sod's law" in England). For most of us sewing is a pleasure, a hobby, a craft, etc. When it turns into an exam, I'll give up, thanks.

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  54. I'm in the midst of two concurrent "hard" projects right now. I may give myself a break and make a quickie in the next couple of days, just so I can have something new to wear. Besides, I need some new knit tops.

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  55. Absolutely I need a quickie! It helps spark some mojo when it's lost and also to get something new in my closet.

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  56. My friend and I tend to sew garments that we can wear or our family wears. Anyway - my friend was invited to teach garment sewing to some quilting ladies (She also teaches 4-H). The quilting ladies thought we garment sewers were fussy and we thought quilters were fussy.

    No reason you cannot combine quick projects, advanced projects AND quilts.

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  57. Hands down everyone likes variety in their sewing projects. Carolyn's question definitely generated some good dialog. That's one of things she is very good at: writing and provoking thought and inspiration in addition to sewing, pattern redesign, etc. But I'm a little uncomfortable with the original conversation being taken out of context. I think PsychoSue sums it up best. Keep those creative juices flowing Carolyn!

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  58. Thanks for this great post!

    When I started sewing, I wanted to sew everything and try all the fabrics, and did not care how the projects turned out, I was more interested in learning the techniques, so when I could wear it, great, I was so proud, then there were the ones I just gave away to goodwill, and there were a few that went straight to my recycle bin or used for stuffing pillows, but I still learned a lot from those and the mistakes I made.I'm still learning, but now that I've passed this initial learning frenzy, I have a better idea of what I'm good at and the kind of projects that are more challenging but know I can finish.

    So I have my easy projects when I haven't sewn for a while, am desperate to sew, but have little time to do it, and while I do those, the longer projects start rolling in my head, and I can't wait to find time to start them.

    So I enjoy both, quickies tend to be knit tops or pyjamas for my kids, tote bags, quilts from leftover fabric, stuff for my home. And longer projects are pants, jackets and coats, or anything involving a lot of buttonholes, buttons, and zippers, these I tend to procrastinate on, and I have a pile of unfinished garments needing only a buttonhole. When I have no fabric on hand for quick projects, those unfinished projects, might get done.

    All this to say that both are part of my sewing, and they each have their place and purpose, for me quickies don't mean poor fitting, it just means that I can produce a wearable garment in a small amount of time. I'm as proud of those as the more challenging ones, especially when someone asked me at a party where I bought my new top, and I said "oh I could not find anything to wear for tonight, so I just made this top 2 hours ago!"

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