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4 Tips to Stay Focused and Finish Your Projects

Getting too distracted by new patterns and fabric? Here’s what to do.

Posted in: Creativity & Mindset • October 3, 2022

Do you have a works-in-progress bin overflowing with half-finished projects? You’re not alone. Today, I’ve got 4 tips to help keep you focused so you finish the projects you start.

Before we jump into today’s letter, I have an exciting announcement! “Dear Jenny” is moving to my YouTube channel. I hope you’ll visit for more sewing advice from me. I’ve really loved connecting with you here.

OK! Now for today’s letter…

I can say with total confidence that you’re not alone in this. I’m often distracted by fabric sales and new pattern releases. Sometimes it’s just hard to finish what you start. Leaving things unfinished can cause disappointment, guilt, inadequacy, overwhelm, and other unpleasant feelings. I’m here to remind you that when it comes to our sewing hobby, unfinished projects are 100% ok!

That said, there’s lots to gain from finishing your projects, and it can feel really good to complete a garment. It can give you a sense of accomplishment, and hopefully, you have something you’re excited to wear. So I’ve got 4 things you can do to stay focused on your current sewing projects.

Tip 1. Keep notes as you’re working through your project

Sometimes I find it easier to start a new project than figuring out where I left off on my current project. And just that little bit of extra mental energy that I need to put into figuring out what’s next in my current project can send me straight to starting all over on something new and different. I’m much more likely to stay focused on my current project when I proactively take notes about what I’m sewing. This includes planning out my construction order, keeping track of any changes I’ve made to a pattern, documenting what steps I’ve completed, and what’s coming up next. Reviewing my notes helps me feel confident about my project and gets me excited to keep pushing it forward.

Tip 2. Set up a gentle accountability system

Accountability systems can make you feel a sense of responsibility to complete your current sewing projects, which can help you get to that finish line. Now, sewing should be fun; the words responsibility and fun don’t usually go together. So how can we create fun accountability systems that motivate us to focus on our projects? Here are some ideas.

  • Schedule some time to sew with a friend. Don’t have any sewing friends? Why not make a few online? Digital communities like Seamwork, and my network Social Sewists, are great places to make sewing friends. In Social Sewists I host group sewing sessions every month on Zoom.

  • Join a sewing challenge. A great place to find sewing challenges is Instagram, or try searching for “sewing challenge” on the Internet.

  • Give yourself a deadline. Then, promise yourself a little reward when you complete your project!

Tip 3. Remind yourself of your current project

Keep your current project in sight if you have long chunks of time between sewing sessions. You can do this in several ways. If you have the space, you can physically keep your supplies out, so you see them regularly. You can schedule sewing time in your calendar, so you see your projects pop up there next to your other daily activities. Or you could put a sticky note on your computer that says something like “Currently Sewing: Seamwork Danielle top.”

Tip 4. Make more than you consume

The more time you spend scrolling Instagram or watching YouTube videos, the less time you have for actually sewing. You can increase focus on your current projects by scrolling less and sewing more. Try setting a screen time limit for certain apps on your phone, or try a system where you store your phone away at certain times of the day.

There are many things in life that are important to finish, and there can be consequences for not completing certain projects. Sometimes it can help to remind yourself that you choose to sew. You have no obligation to our hobbies. So I invite you to work on your sewing projects in any way that feels good.

If you have a sewing question for Jenny, email her at Use subject line: Dear Jenny. Watch all 8 episodes of "Dear Jenny" on Seamwork's YouTube channel, and tune in to Workroom Social for more episodes in the future!

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