A Refined Sewing Plan

Thank you all for your comments on my last post about balancing my sewing time and keeping things fun. While Mr. Made insists that I was just seeking out reinforcement (so what!), I think you also helped clarify my thinking and explore more of the exact nature of why I've been feeling overwhelmed with sewing. As a follow-up, I have boiled down my feelings to a few key points:

Work clothes are stressing me out. Every few years that I change jobs or decide I need to be "more professional," I need a change in wardrobe. This is hard to keep up with on the sewing front, and means I haven't had as many options to wear to work. And when it comes down to it, making button-up shirts or fitting a new trousers pattern just isn't that fun to me. I think the solution in this case is to just go out and buy a few key work pieces and call it a day. And who knows, maybe buying some clothes will inspire new sewing projects.

I do like sewing "basics." While I talked about how sewing sometimes feels like I burden, I genuinely do enjoy making my own jeans, bras, and other necessities. The cost is less, the fit is better, and I like making and wearing them. I also don't tend to wear dresses very often, as it's a bit chilly in SF and I ride a bike most everywhere. So while I may not be sewing my work trousers or sweater sets, I do still plan on making some jeans and bras and tops in the coming months. I'm hoping making some fun "every day" type stuff will keep my happy.

Though shall not covet. In my original article, I compared myself to a pioneer woman loaded down with mending and sewing. While that is certainly undesirable, I think we would do well to remember some things about early women and society in general. Namely, they consumed less and, we are told, took life at a less frantic pace. I must remember that I do not have to have everything I covet right now and in endless amounts; it is important to slow down and enjoy the things I have. Our consumerist culture sometimes makes me feel like I must have all the things, but sewing helps remind me that each article of clothing requires thought and time, whether purchased or sewn.

To mark this shift in thinking, this past weekend I loaded up on some fun materials at the Bay Area Sewists fabric swap and subsequent shopping trip at Stone Mountain. Jeggings, a cocoon coat, and some pretty silk tops are in my future. I also had some time to roam around Berkeley, and ended up buying (gasp!) some graphic tees, which I love to wear but hate making. This marks my first new purchase in over a year, but Mr. Made will appreciate that I have stopped stealing his shirts now.

Thank you all for the support on this sewing adventure! By sticking to making a few key, fun pieces and giving myself permission to fill in the gaps with store-bought clothes, I think I will have saved my sewing sanity.


  1. Excellent point about the consumerist mindset. Just because styles change every five minutes doesn't mean we need to succumb. If we're more mindful about what we buy and/or sew, a lot of waste can be minimized and we gain appreciation for what we have. Glad you've found some focus to help decide what to make and what to buy!

    1. Yes I'm proud to say that things on my sewing list will still look good in five years when they actually get made! ; )

  2. Great post! It sounds like you have found a good balance. I find myself needing less clothes the more I sew because the fit is good. I think that my endless consumption pre-sewing was because I was never happy with the fit, so I was always looking for that "perfect" fitting garment. I do love sewing though and it does create more clothes...

  3. I agree with what you said! It's too easy to get overwhelmed if you want to do everything! What has worked for me is just concentrating on a garment at a time (with a bigger view of it fitting in with what I already have). Slowly, but surely, I am getting a whole new wardrobe. It's just taking a few years to get all my pieces. Even if I do buy new clothes, I do my research and make sure it's going to be something that lasts.

  4. Totally agree! Sewing should be fun :)

  5. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that likes making basics! :)

  6. Thanks for that reminder to slow down and consider what you want while trying to enjoy what you have.

  7. I bought a bunch of work clothes when I went back to work after having a baby. It was the first big rtw purchase I'd made since I started sewing. But it was so worth it. Sometimes it's ok to to not "sew all the things" even though we feel like we should. And there is nothing better than sewing something really outrageous and fun!

  8. This sounds like a great plan. Make the fun stuff! Or at least, the things where you know you can do better than RTW.

    I know what you mean about the pioneer woman effect, especially with the mending. My husband does not generally know how to mend things, and my son is two. There is a lot of mending. Increasingly I've been deciding that I'd be better off getting rid of the damaged item (and having less stuff to maintain overall) than fixing it. This is only "sustainable" insofar as I don't replace these things, but it's *simpler*. Fewer, better things.


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