A while back I starting asking readers to share their sewing frustrations with me. As I’ve read and re-read these comments I started noticing a few sewing behavior patterns. (no pun intended)
I do not see these characteristics as negative in any way. Instead, I see them as different ways creative minds approach their craft. I’ve set out to identify these elements of creativity; and, ultimately, help you find more time to sew and complete projects.
I’ve labeled the sewing personalities A, B, C, and D for simplicity’s sake. If anyone has a better way to identify these traits, speak up. I’m open to all ideas. Keep in mind, this is completely non-scientific and solely based on comments I have received from readers.
Sewing Personality A – Lets it All Hang Out:
- This Sewing Personality likes to have everything out and available. Things like thread and fabric are usually sitting out on a nearby table. Perhaps some of these things must be moved before she can sew.
- She likely is working on a number of projects all at once, with many “in the works” but several never getting finished.
- She always completes the important projects, but the rest might sit on on a table top for months and never get touched.
- Thread will be on a display rack. Fabric is stacked on empty surfaces.
- She has a large collection of sewing books and magazines which she can’t get rid of because she may need to make that bag from a six year old Sew News magazine.
- Patterns are not sorted or in any order ~ however, she knows how to find the one she’s looking for in a moment.
Visibility is the Key:
While on the surface this might appear to be disorderly, having everything in view inspires her creativity. Fortunately, there is a way to stay inspired and still maintain a sense of order.
- Use open shelves and cubbies for storage.
- Store fabrics and thread in clear plastic boxes placed on shelves, possibly organized by color.
- Mason jars are great for smaller items such as buttons, laces, and elastics.
- Organize books by topic and size. Sort magazines by date and use clear magazine holders to keep them all together.
- Patterns can be stored with the project fabric for the future. This works well if you put the pattern, fabric, and a few notions in a plastic box.
- Another way to store patterns is by type, such as dresses, bags, quilts, etc. This works well in clearly labeled plastic containers.
- Surround yourself with a few finished projects like pillows, quilts, or even fabric storage bins. This will continue to inspire you to finish other projects.
By utilizing clear storage containers and keeping things on open shelving it will be easy to see what you have. Having a few photos of your supplies and UFOs will help you keep from purchasing things you already have.
Sewing Personality B -All About Organization:
- Sewing Personality B is the complete opposite of A. Every inch of her sewing space is tidy, organized, and everything has a place. Even when she’s working on a project, things stay orderly and efficient.
- Because she’s so focused on organization, leaving an uncompleted project can be difficult.
- Creativity can get stifled because the creative process tends to be disorderly.
- She is a master of choosing and using storage pieces from stores like IKEA and The Container Store. Unfortunately, she can get stalled by needing storage baskets and bins to match perfectly.
- Her sewing space might be so beautifully decorated in a sewing-theme that getting any sewing done becomes a challenge.
Planning is the Key:
Someone who is highly organized tends to get a lot accomplished. She could easily manage a sewing business. Using an organizer or planner to keep track of projects will motivate her to start and complete projects.
- To stay on track and do some actual sewing, create different stations in your sewing room. A Sewing Station, an Ironing Station, a Fabric Station, a Cutting Station, and a Supplies Station are a few suggestions. Keep the necessary supplies at each station.
- Don’t go too overboard on storage containers. If things are over-organized, it is sometimes difficult to start a new project. Instead, use labels on containers or drawers to help you know instantly where everything is located.
- All the organizing in the world won’t help you if you’ve placed beautiful basket full of notions on a high shelf. Make things accessible and more will be accomplished.
- Decluttering after a project is completed is a great way to keep your space tidy and organized.
Sewing Personality C – Everything is Sentimental
- Sewing Personality C is sentimental about everything. Every item in her sewing space has some sort of meaning and becomes a keepsake.
- Her sewing space tends to be overly cluttered because she doesn’t get rid of things she no longer uses.
- Her sewing surfaces are antiques and vintage pieces that have probably been given to her.
- Every saved button, zipper, pattern, fabric, or quilt has special meaning and must be displayed at all times.
- She has something saved from every project she has ever sewn.
Repurposing is the Key:
It isn’t necessary for someone who is sentimental to part with her treasures. Keeping the clutter tamed is the challenge. The key is to repurpose these mementos and use them for storage and display.
- A vintage piece of furniture can be repurposed to hold fabric and supplies.
- Antique mason jars are ideal for organizing small notions. These can then be displayed on vintage shelves. They even make great pin cushions that can serve double duty as storage.
- Repurposed baskets are great for storing in-the-works projects or future projects.
- Shop at thrift stores to find old sewing baskets to use for storage.
- Use vintage linens for window coverings and wall decor.
- Antique quilts make fabulous wall hangings.
Sewing Personality D – Always Overwhelmed
- On the surface, Sewing Personality D seems very similar to Sewing Personality A. However, there are some differences in the way she approaches her sewing.
- She is a sewing multi-tasker and usually has numerous projects started. This creates a ton of clutter; and, unfortunately, procrastination causes many of these projects to never get finished.
- She loves the latest sewing tool or gadget and will purchase it “for the next project” which may get started and then abandoned just as quickly.
- She owns a large collection of untouched sewing and quilting books. She one day plans to make every project in each of these books.
- Occasionally, she will throw herself thoroughly into a project and let every other area of her life languish.
Accountability is the Key:
Finding the right balance can be difficult, but having someone who is willing to help you get and stay organized will keep you from always being overwhelmed by the general clutter that surrounds your creative space. A spouse or best friend who knows your tendencies can gently coax you away from over-buying sewing things that will only overwhelm you more.
- Invite a friend over on a set a date to help you declutter, destash, and get organized. Be sure to have lots of yummy foods and fun music. (Hint: This is probably the only way you will get organized!)
- Organize one area at a time and choose something you love first (like fabric!). Don’t move on until it’s completely organized; then, tackle other areas such as gadgets, books, etc. Have plenty of storage options available so you don’t get sidetracked. Pinterest is a great source for this.
- When tempted to buy more unnecessary supplies or even a new sewing machine, take a breath and call your accountability partner. She will help you see clearly if you need this item or not.
- Take 10 – 15 minutes a day to do a little sewing room organizing. This has two benefits. You will save money because you’ll always know what you have and you won’t be tempted to buy more fabric or new gadgets. AND, you will thoroughly enjoy sewing again because the stress of walking into a disorganized space will no longer exist.
For me, I’m a mixture of Sewing Personalities A & D. This means my sewing room is always a mess because that’s the only way I can find anything. AND, the clutter completely overwhelms me so starting new projects becomes a challenge.
These completely non-scientific observations are based on some of the comments I have collected from readers. However, if you see yourself in one of these Sewing Personalities, I suggest you focus on the positives, ignore the rest, and go sew something. While you’re at it let me know where you fit in?