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Tips for Sewing Big Projects

Episode 137: Why you should sew challenging projects, what to do if you need help getting started, and how to motivate yourself to finish.

Posted in: Seamwork Radio Podcast • April 12, 2023 • Episode 137

When is the last time you’ve sewn a big project? Something that really challenged your skills?

While quick and easy sewing projects are fun, satisfying ways to spend time at your machine, there are some unique benefits to sewing a garment that pushes your skills.

In this episode of the podcast, Sarai and Haley share some of these benefits, along with tips for getting started and staying motivated.

The benefits of big sewing projects

  • They’re like kindling for your creative fire. After a successful challenge, you'll feel reinvigorated and ready to tackle something new.

  • They make you feel proud. And pride is a good thing when it comes to sewing.

  • They keep things exciting. Sewing a big project is a nice balance to sewing quick, easy projects. It helps prevent boredom.

  • You’re going to learn new things. This might be a shortcut or a new technique, but no matter what, you'll end the project with a new skill

  • You’re more likely to take your time. If you know you’re in for a challenge, you’re less likely to rush. You’re also more likely to take the time to really get things right, whether that’s unpicking little mistakes or making a few muslins to get the fit just right.

  • Your craftsmanship will improve. Slowing down and learning new things means your actual sewing skills will grow by leaps and bounds.

Tips for getting started

  • Give yourself a time limit for planning. It can help to set a start-by date so you aren’t endlessly browsing for inspiration, sketching, and planning rather than sewing.

  • Get all of your fabric and notions up front. You don’t want to hit a roadblock as soon as you start sewing, and you have to wait for a special notion to ship to your house.

  • Just get started. It’s often the hardest part, so just get it over with. Five Ways to Just Get Started.

  • Create a tactical sewing plan. Read your instructions from start to finish so you know what to expect. You’ll be more confident while you sew and you can flag the new techniques you need to practice.

  • If it helps, have a few projects going at once. You can have a quick and easy project available if you need to take time away from your bigger project. Then you can scratch that instant gratification itch if it impedes your joy.

    Tips for staying motivated

  • Don’t rush. Take the time for the muslin and actually do the hand stitching. These kinds of things will make your overall process more enjoyable.

  • Break things into chunks. Having a definitive starting and ending point can keep things rolling. For example, if you know you are just going to sew the zipper fly, you have a finite task you can accomplish for the day.

  • Create a ritual. You’re going to hear this a lot from Seamwork. And if you need more convincing, here’s a podcast episode about setting up a ritual.

  • Store your project intentionally. Messes can be a big roadblock, so if you get distracted by chaos, store your project in a bag, box, or envelope in between sewing sessions.

  • Share your progress as you go. Accountability buddies are real. If someone knows you are up to something, you’re more likely to finish it and reach your goals. You can always post a goal and status updates in the Community, and we’ll cheer you on!

  • When you’re done, celebrate. Create a fun bookend to your entire sewing experience so you walk away feeling proud and accomplished.

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