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The Paradox of Choice

Episode 142: Having too many options makes it harder to choose. Here are 5 tips to help you make decisions with your sewing.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast, Creativity & Mindset • May 17, 2023 • Episode 142

Having a bunch of choices gives you the illusion of liberty—look at all your options! However, when you have many options, have you ever felt really restricted instead of free to decide? It’s the paradox of choice.

The good news is that you've chosen to sew, and that's really cool. But the bad news is that with that kind of full design control, you have so many options, and it's easy to get bogged down in all the things you could make. And it could lead you not to sew as much stuff because you feel so overwhelmed by it all.

In this episode of the podcast, Sarai and Haley explore why more options lead to less action, what causes indecision in sewing, and tips for making choices a lot easier and clearer for yourself.

Below are the show notes for this podcast episode and a brief summary of what's covered, followed by a full transcript.

5 tips to help you make choices

  1. Investigate your personal style. If you deeply understand your core style, it’s much easier to identify the things you’ll actually wear. Your core style is your North Star for your sewing queue.

    What’s the best way to discover your core style? We have an amazing download that’s free for Seamwork members, called the Style Workshop. It has 10 creative exercises that will help you identify your core style in just a few words.

    Another option is to create a gathering place for all of your core style inspiration. Here is an article (and video)) that teaches you how to maintain an effective Pinterest board. If you keep all of your core style inspiration in one place, it’s easy to sort through and identify what really speaks to who you are.

  2. Adopt a method for wardrobe planning. This can be something on a larger scale, like our Design Your Wardrobe course, which will help you plan an entire season of sewing. You’ll walk away with a concrete plan to sew clothes you love to wear.

    Or you could adopt a simple process, something a little bit more low-key, like the rule of three outfits. This is a rule you can apply to your wardrobe when deciding what to make next. Can you wear it with at least 3 other things in your closet right now?

  3. Create a project journal to track what you make to see what you want to make next. It can be a really great prioritizing tool. If you make a little portfolio of your sewing projects, you’ll easily see the things you like to wear, which can help guide your future ideas.

  4. Develop a list of criteria to narrow your options. This is a key concept in the Design Your Wardrobe course. Successful design is all about setting constraints. If something doesn’t fit your constraint, it doesn’t belong in your plans. Or, in this case, in your wardrobe.

    What are constraints? Make a list of criteria that a piece of clothing must meet for you to wear. For example, consider your comfort level, mobility, climate, and the occasions when you’ll wear it. Make a list and strike out anything that doesn’t check off all your criteria.

  5. Create a list of questions to help you prioritize. Sometimes it’s not the number of choices that are overwhelming to you, but the order in which you go through your choices. For example, do you get stuck trying to figure out what to make next?

Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help you decide what to prioritize. Is this project seasonally appropriate? Which project addresses the biggest need in my wardrobe right now? And which one do I have the material to make? If you still aren’t feeling it, ask yourself which project makes you feel the most excited, and then ride that excitement to the finish line.

These are just five tips for helping you to make decisions with your sewing. Do you have any other tips to share? Comment below!

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