Friday, July 22, 2022

Learning not to be frustrated with the process...

While I was making my cut pile for summer sewing I've been frustrated at times at how slow some of the processes are. I don't remember feeling this way before. Instead of being thrilled that I'm pulling a new piece of a fabric out of the dryer, I'm dreading the ironing part. Because of that I had a pile of pretreated fabric that's unironed waiting it's turn.  That was never part of my process.

Some days, I'm impatient about threading my serger and sewing machines. Prior to purchasing my Babylock serger I use to dread it but that was related to dealing with the stitch tension.  These days it automatically corrects every time, so why do I dread threading it?  Same with my sewing machine. When I got to making bobbins and threading the sewing machine I use to be gleeful because that's when the fun start would start!  Not so much some days.

We all know I hate to cut.  Ain't nothing changed there EXCEPT when it comes to cutting out border prints.  Probably why I've been cutting so many of them lately. I love the puzzle of making this extraordinary print work as a distinctive garment. Twisting the options around in my mind, choosing and then rejecting layouts. So give me ALL the border prints.

Even the sewing process is challenging now and that use to be my favorite part. Like I have to take 3 or 4 breathes before I sit down to sew. I guess you could chalk it up to loss of sewjo but it's more particular than that.  I have the desire but lately I hate that I have to cram my sewing into weekends or a couple of days off. I'm truly envious of sewists and quilters who have all the time to just sew. Who plan their days around making a new quilt, trying out a new pattern, or making up a toile.  I want that!

I know some of it is because my retirement date is getting closer.  Not so close it will happen in the next year or two but close enough that I know I need to be preparing for it. Some of it is because truly how much clothing do I need at this stage of life, and contrary to the lap quilt I made a couple of months ago, I don't really want to quilt.  I will be adding in some sewing for the granddaughters but again, how much of that can I do. They're already getting to the point where they want to look like their friends!

When I really ponder this...it's because I want more time.  Now I can hear you saying oh I retired and I don't sew that much! I believe you. But when you do choose to sew, YOU choose the time.  You don't stuff it into a weekend or between meetings, or even take a few vacation days off to do it. I want that. I want that freedom to just create...and it's affecting me now.

Anyway, this is just a post.  Not even a question of the day and not quite a filler post.  Though there are completed garments coming after this one. Just wanted to talk about how I feel about my crafting and wondering if anyone else has experienced this too,


...as always more later!


28 comments:

  1. ALL. OF. THIS. I know lots of people give advice to do 15 minutes a day, but my brain is wired to want to complete a process and stopping in the middle drives me nuts. So no advice here just commiserating.

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  2. I feel this so much. Just yesterday, I abandoned a shirt pattern because the changes I made weren't enough to get the shirt to fit. I've decided to take elements that I like and use it on another pattern that fits better. The thought of having to make more adjustments to the original pattern created dread on an already-fragile mojo.

    A major part of the process being a frustration for me is my home life. Without going into detail, home is not quite a refuge right now and it’s affecting pretty much everything. Though I love sewing, it’s often hard to do right now and the process being frustrating does not create much motivation.

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  3. Oh I can so get behind this, I work a full time job and when sitting at my desk ideas and plans race through my head. But when I get home and to a sewing room I used to dream about, the desire to implement those plans go out the window. Sewing was always stress release for me, some days it helps, others just increase the stress. My motto has become this too shall pass. I have read your blog for years, the pieces you have made inspire me, I look forward to your post. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad.

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  4. I think many of us are in the same boat. I feel my time is not my own. I too am more than a year from retirement, but looking towards it very longingly. My mother (who is in her 80s) is so active and engaged in what she enjoys. I can't help but feel envious! Yet, our time will come. We just have to continue to be patient.

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    1. rtrittel - I keep telling myself that the next 4-5 years will go faster than I imagine. It's the day to day that bogs you down!

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  5. I relate to this so much, Carolyn. I am juggling so many things that when I want to sew, I often can't because of other commitments and when I have a bit of time, I don't always have the 'starting energy' to get in a good space where I'm excited about sewing. I hope this passed for both of us soon. :)

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  6. Hi Carolyn! Yes me too. I'm a high school home ec teacher (in Alberta CAN) and my most "time to sew" is in the summer. I'm finding it hard to sit down and do it.....Since I've just taught the hardest years ever, I do try to give myself a break and sometimes just sit in the sun on my deck instead. I would say be kind to yourself - I'm trying to do the same to myself. Thanks for writing of your journey - I always enjoy your posts.

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  7. Agreed. I want to sew. Buy patterns, fabric and then wonder where will I wear the garment. I am still very afraid of catcing COVID (or any of the other things floating around). This weekend, I am mending and doing a deep clean and repair on the sewing room. Checking the furniture and making repairs where necessary. Mopping the floor and moving things around so it feels fresh. If nothing else, it has to get cooler and I can make fall clothes at that time. Good to hear we are in good company--even if it is frustrating.

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  8. I've been working remotely since March 2020, in a corner of my sewing room (for which I'm very grateful), but there's something about spending M-F in there that doesn't make me want to spend my time off in there, too. I made it a point this afternoon to stow *everything* work related under the computer desk, to dust, mop and take back my creative space. I might not need new work clothes, but there's always pajamas! I'm hoping that works this weekend, I really miss sewing. Gail

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  9. Hey Carolyn. I realize that you're not looking for suggestions, but if I may just go ahead and offer a thought I heard (coincidentally) the other evening? It was given by Peggy Sagers during her most recent webcast. Someone ask her about just what you're posting about: having the time to sew. Where did she find the time? Peggy suggested that simply taking fifteen minutes to do one task is a good way to work on a garment. Doing just a targeted thing like assembling the collar or finishing the seams really does add up. If you'd do just a small amount of sewing a few times per week, it would do two things: 1. fulfill your desire to work on a project rather than wait until you have a large block of time to give to it, 2. when you do have the time, you'll find that assembly will go even faster due to have the components already done.

    Again, I know you didn't ask for any suggestions, but I do hope that you'll find this helpful.

    Best,

    Kim

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    1. Seconding this one: this has been a recent addition to my practice. I've got too many things going at once, so i make five minutes to get one sewing thing done and prep the next step. Like one shoulder seam. Not my usual, but things aren't less topsy turvy now and sometimes this has been the one thing that went right.
      Love these puzzles you're making

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  10. I used to hord fabrics to sew up when I retire. Used to dream of having full days to sew. Now I'm retired; why sew dressier clothes when I have nowhere to wear them? My interest now is in mending and re-making clothes to wear and eagerly anticipating making art quilts.

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    1. Carol - that's interesting because I've been thinking about that more and more lately. However, I've given away 80% of the "career" clothing fabric I had over the years. I kept some because I want to be able to make "professional" clothing for the girls if they need it when they get older. And some like the wool crepe because I just can't give it away...

      I got lucky when I changed jobs 7 years ago and my work wardrobe became more casual. The pretty shirtdresses I make now, I do wear at home especially since I don't really like sweats or leggings at home. Also, the one thing the pandemic has changed is how we work now...since I wfh about 3 days a week, I feel a little more prepared for how I will manage once I retire.

      I do know that I have more than enough fabric right now to make whatever I want or need going forward...but I do believe when I retire that I will make time to sew not only for myself but for my grand daughters too. Thanks for the comment, I really appreciate your point of view.

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  11. I've been in my new job two years and it is so demanding, even when I get home or to the weekend, I'm just tired and emotionally drained. I used to design my own patterns and am looking forward to rebuilding my confidence to do that. Now one of the things that holds me back is the dread of whether a new pattern fits or not. I'm slowly filling the wardrobe so that I can use the time to sew for creativity rather than need.

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  12. I too long for the days when my time is mine and I don't have to worry about work and I can sew when the mood hits me

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  13. In the UK the age that we can retire has gone from 60 to 67. This was introduced very quickly and I was lucky to be able to retire at 62 but my younger friends have found this change of their plans very dispiriting. What some have decided to do is to drop their working days gradually starting with a four day week for a couple of years then a three day week etc which, of course, is fine if you can afford it.
    Also don't forget that our bodies are getting older and while our minds may well be fizzing with energy our bodies don't feel the same. I really feel for you.

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  14. I've been retired for many years and have lots of time to sew, for which I am grateful. These days, I get frustrated that it takes so long to complete a garment. I want satisfaction to come more quickly. But the reason it takes so long is because I am very particular about fit, about grading my seams to reduce bulk, to understitch or topstitch, and to finish the inside so it looks good. I wear my clothes for many years and I want them to continue to look good and to hold up well. Carolyn, I think it's smart that you are thinking about all of these things. I grapple with thinking about making clothes that I have a reason to wear. This might be a good time to really analyze how you think your life will be after you retire, and mentally prepare for perhaps sewing a different kind of garment than you do now. That could open up new sewing challenges that can be exciting.

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  15. I was in your place a few years back and am now retired. I do really really miss sewing my work clothes and I miss having that demand put on my sewing. Now, with time my own and life so different, I need far less and yet have so much I can use to fuel my creativity,sort of sad. I really find striking out in other directions is how I am headed. I am trying to be open to other fiber possibilites besides garment making as I think that will make me happy as my clothing needs really are shrinking by leaps and bounds. One thing I have found and have heard from many other retirees is that there is not enough time in a day to get everything done and that is so true. While I can always find time to be creative, it is hard fitting all the other demands of an aging life in. You are a wise and creative woman, Carolyn. I know you will figure it all out. To everything there is a season.............

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  16. It's so good to know that others (and particularly you, Carolyn) experience this. I've been having the hardest time cutting out the gorgeous linen I bought for summer clothes -- seems like by the time I do that, it will be time for wool!

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  17. This is totally how I've been feeling when I've been trying to get back to sewing the past few months. Like everything is difficult and what is the point to making any of these efforts. I think a big de-motivator for me was when my work situation changed *again* in terms of plans to go back to the office vs. being remote. I think that now I at least have a plan for what expectations are for me for another year; this makes it a bit easier to figure out what I need/want to sew or wear. And it gave me time to focus on creative things. The constant "it's going to be like this, not wait, we are doing this..." was just exhausting because there is so much unknown. I'm definitely nowhere near retirement, but the constant change in work policy really made it hard to find motivations to do creative things, because it felt like all my energy was going to just keeping up with all the other changes happening in my work life. I'm wondering if being close to retirement might be the same; there is a lot of "unknown" in the future with that, and I'm sure it can create the same type of creative block. Hopefully you will find something to motivate or inspire you soon so that you can feel better. I think it is normal for creative types to get burned out and stuck when their "why" is gone, and then all of the other tasks just feel like work and suddenly it's all more difficult than it should be.

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  18. Carolyn, I've experienced similar. My job is stressful and I want to sew afterwards but I'm usually too tired/mentally exhausted to do anything. Weekend is recovery time. I'm somewhat(!) close to retirement so I'm looking forward to more time. I've enjoy reading your blog for many years.

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  19. Carolyn, You have hit it on the head. I don't want to cram it into a busy weekend or anything like that. I dread using my serger when it used to be fun. I have cut things out and then never sewn them. I think we must be close to the same age b/c I dream of being retired and it's not going to happen for about 7 more years because I want to have 10 years in with the state retirement system. But I want to work part time instead of full time, which isn't going to happen. Hang in there and thank you for sharing your challenges as well as your successes. You are truly an inspiration. Fondly, Lorrie Graham, Albany NY

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  20. Oh man! can I relate to this. I am not a 5 minutes here or 15 minutes there kinda sewing gal. I want to get lost in the projects, in the room, with whatever the background show is and not be interrupted by 'work' or making dinner. However, in this current stage of my life, if I'm going to sew at all - I either need to plan and block days to do it or learn to sew in little (tiny, tiny) chunks of time. And honestly - sometimes it sucks the joy right out of it. g

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  21. Oh I feel you! I have a retirement countdown app on my phone. I have 2 years and 5 months to go. (I was going to work longer until I realized I wouldn't get any more $ in my pension.) I find myself not realizing I need an outfit for a work event until the last minute and then scrambling to get it done after work hours. And rushing is not fun sewing. Part of it is the work from home mindset- it won't leave even though we are back in the office full time. It didn't matter what I wore and we've gotten very casual. On Zoom, they only see from your shoulders up. But I've been giving presentations lately and trying to find something that looks good and is comfortable. On weekends the weather has been beautiful and I want to be outside. Maybe it a "phase" and we will outgrow it!

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  22. This spoke to me on many levels. There are weeks I have time to sew, and I don’t. I’m not sure what’s happening. I agree there are months where sitting down to sew seems overwhelming. I am sure time will help me sort all of this out. I hope!

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  23. Same. Retirement keeps getting moved out. Free time is such a luxury.

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  24. Thanks for sharing valuable Information, I really very impressive on your blog. I hope you continue,

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