Learning with Lace

One of the hardest things to do when you first start sewing is not to berate yourself when you realise that a project is more challenging from the outset than what you first thought, or worse, when you become so frustrated by the hairy bits that you effectively stall yourself and throw a mini hissy fit in front of your half bemused cats. It’s a tricky thing because we all love to get inspired by a look, or design, and then we get so excited by ideas that come racing to mind that we might see in a book, magazine (or perhaps that beautiful piece of random material you find hiding in the remnants bin from your favourite fabric shop) that it’s easy to forget that sometimes things take time to learn and master. There is a process to everything and it’s not always about getting to the finish line. In fact, it’s more about creating the time and head space needed to give yourself permission to just play and have fun along the way.

I know! Sounds obvious right?! This is a MASSIVE lesson in patience and letting go, especially since I’m so inspired by everything and get so many ideas all at once that I often become overwhelmed by the possibilities and run out of steam before the project has even begun. This is exactly why I started a blog and why I have so many un-finished sewing projects and unused fabric stashes lying around the house. I’m a serial starter but crappy finisher because I don’t realise how important it is to SLOW down my thinking and creative process into easily do-able and digestible bite-size chunks. This is also true for anything in life including the way we approach our health, work and daily routines but alas, I digress!

So then how do we approach our creative projects with the same energy, zing and ‘joie de vivre’ that we first start out so wholeheartedly with and maintain the stamina we need to complete them?

Step 1. Get inspired

Set aside 5-10mins a day to think about what you might like to sew, look on Pinterest boards, read magazines, fashion blogs or rifle through your collection of existing patterns and unused fabric stashes, or visit your favourite fabric store…wherever inspiration may take you!

Step2.  Have a plan

This is a good time to assess your skill level and break down the steps required vs. how much time you have to complete or wish to devote to a project i.e. 2 hrs on the weekend? 45mins blocks spread over a week after you finish work/chores/study? Always think about what is realistic and achievable for you and when you will most likely get the opportunity to enjoy a bit of quiet creative time

Step 3. Set your intention

Do you want to learn something new? advance existing skills or simply have an occasion coming up that you would like to make something in time for…either way it helps to set an intention and have a goal in mind for your project.

Step 4. Focus

This is where people (myself included) tend to trip up the most!! Sewing and any kind of creative project demands your complete attention and total awareness of the present moment. Any distractions will only serve to fuel your impatience and cause you to make mistakes (frustrating you even more) so it pays to approach the project with a calm and patient (almost ‘zen-like’) mindset and just focus on completing each step one at a time.

Step 5. Have fun

And remember there is no right or wrong to this. Fashion should be fun, affordable and easily accessible to everyone. Be realistic, start off small with your sewing projects and see how you go. Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and ask for help if you get stuck, read lots of forums and blogs like this one and join sewing groups in your local community. One of the very first things I learnt to sew was a pair of pyjamas…(yawn) ‘Boring!’ I thought as I walked into the class with my very basic but fashionable skirt pattern, determined to make this instead before being very kindly reminded by the teacher to ‘walk first, don’t run’. The truth is, it takes TIME to learn, grow and evolve. Don’t be in a hurry to rush your learning. Always be curious, open minded and willing to make mistakes and the rest will take care of itself.

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