Saturday, September 23, 2006

Preparation for Sewing Successfully

In a 1950's sewing book, famous sewing expert Mary Booth Pickens suggests that you must prepare yourself mentally before beginning a sewing project. Among the ideas she advocates are
1) Practice using all of the features and stitches of a new machine on scrap pieces before tackling something you want to keep.
2) Decide exactly what you want to acommplish with a sewing project. Choose the correct fabric and pattern for your purpose.
3) Approach the project with enthusiasm.
4) Never try to sew with the sink full of dishes or bed unmade. When there are urgent houskeeping chores, do thse first so that your mind is free to enjoy sewing.
5) Dress and groom yourself so that you look fresh and won't be dismayed when you try on a garment in front or a mirror or someone rings your doorbell while you are sewing.
6) Assemble all the materials you will need for a particular project before you begin. Have close at hand your pressing board, a small bowl of water with a clean sponge in it, a press cloth, scissors, pins, chalk or marking pin, small ruler, measuring tapae -- every little thing that you will need so that you don't have to jump up and odwn to get this or that.

All of this is great advice, I must say though that I'm not the best example of putting it into practice. When I got a new machine a couple of years ago, I just jumped into using it without reading the manual and practicing. So, even now, I have to stop on occasions and go back to the manual to learn exactly how to do something. I'd have been better off familiarzing myself with my machine before barging ahead. So, it's time to go back and do that thoroughly. I could also use some practice on throw away material when it comes to certain sewing techniques.

I also jump up and down during a project to get this or that. I have everything stored in containers within easy reach. But, it would be more efficient if I thought everything through and pulled out all of the little things and put them on my table before I begin.

I have been practicing #4 -- not sewing until all other urgent projects are taking care of. However, what I'm finding is that there's always something else that could or should be done. So, I wait and wait for the perfect time to sew, and I never get around to it at all! I realized when a friend came over the other day to consult my advice on sewing, that I do miss this time. I interrupted my busy day to help her with her sewing. So, I'll just have to do the same with mine. What I think I will do is borrow one of Mrs. Picken's other ideas for my own: I will schedule one sewing time into my week, just as if it were an appointment. Then, I can sew during that time and not feel distracted by everything else on my plate. This means that I will have to do most projects in stages, rather than completing a project all in one sitting. But, at least I'll be making some progress and having some fun as I do it. If I don't schedule it, it won't get done.



Favorite Apron said...

I enjoyed this little list. I usually put off sewing until the house is clean, but with 4 children at home 34/7, the occasion is rare!

Favorite Apron said...

I meant 24/7. Yes, if I could just find 10 more hours in my day.

Elizabeth said...

Hi favorite apron,

I know exactly what you mean about the perfect time to sew being rare.

Sometimes, our days do seem like they're 37 hours long, don't they? :)