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Feb 20, 2012

Do You Sew Like You Live?



Readers, I've always been intrigued by the apocryphal saying, The way you do anything is the way you everything.  I don't even remember where I first heard it but it stuck with me.

As I enjoy gaining greater insight into myself -- and others -- I often like to witness how they (or I) do even a minor, everyday activity (making the bed!) and then see if I can extrapolate from the micro (the anything) into the macro (the everything), so to speak.

Since I sew a lot, I like to examine how my sewing habits reflect the way I do other things.  Is it true that the way I sew -- to choose one activity -- is the way I approach most tasks and life in general?



I can see that generally, when I'm very excited about something, I am able to give it a great deal of focus, and feel energized by it rather than enervated, regardless of how challenging it is.  In short, once I'm in, I'm in all the way.

Problems arise, however, when I'm not in all the way, but find myself on the fence, ambivalent.  Then I am easily distracted, discouraged, and tempted to simply walk away.  Which I sometimes do.  (I blame my mother -- he he.)  The way I look at it -- and forgive what may seem like excessive navel-gazing -- is that I am passionate but not extremely disciplined...if one defines discipline as the ability to motivate yourself when the passion isn't quite there.  Does that make sense?

The downside of this approach is that passion(s) can come and go and you can rob yourself of the long-term payoff that usually comes with commitment.  (Though the payoff may not come in the form you originally expected.)

In conclusion, do I sew the way I live?  I think so, yes.  I'm enthusiastic about a lot of things but not necessarily in for the long haul.  I can commit if the circumstances are right, but procrastinate and ultimately lose interest if they aren't.

Friends, how about you?  Does the way you approach sewing mirror the way you approach the rest of your life?

Is there something else you're often involved in -- cooking, volunteering, raising children, fixing cars -- where you recognize tendencies that express themselves in everything you do, habits that define the way you approach much of life?

Do you approach sewing the way you approach everything else?

I'd love to hear what you think!


22 comments:

  1. interesting video. I love that song and the old recording.

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  2. Artistic pursuits can engulf me, and what I invest of myself (time and "a piece of me") may not be discerned by others.

    Cleaning a bathroom is a "thing" with me, while the kitchen always needs attention.

    What I have found is that the more effort you put in at the front end, whether you want to do it or not, the easier it goes.

    So to answer your question, no. How I do some things is not how I do everything.

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  3. Sadly, for the most part the answer is, "Yes." I operate in fits and starts, loose interest and then pick it up again. Sometimes, I want to quit right before the end and have to force myself to finish. I don't have many UFO's though, because if I abandon a project, it usually ends up in the trash. Real life can be the same way.

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  4. Yes and I think we were separated at birth as I am exactly like you!

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  5. oh my goodness, i think you've just held up a mirror to my soul!
    I definitely am one to do one thing to the max, and let other things fall to the wayside in the process.

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  6. Awesome question and I totally agree - the way I do anything IS the way I do everything - which is to say, if I'm going to take something up, I am compulsive about it. But before I'm interested, I could care less.

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  7. This post sums up an artistic temperment. I have more of a scientific temperment. My sewing and quilting live in the cracks between my full time engineering job and my family responsibilities. My approach to sewing doesn't remotely resemble the way I live, though I often wish it could.

    -lw at work

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  8. I can't believe I never thought of this before! Yes! The way I do anything is the way I do everything. I can only focus on one obsession at a time, until the next one comes along. This has given me lots to think about, thank you.

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  9. I do have an artistic temperment and much prefer sewing, knitting & recaning chairs to housecleaning etc. I have a full time job too in real estate so I wish I could be creative more.

    One thing judging how I allocate my time, more more goes into things that make the people in my home look good when they walk out the door which helps explain the sewing interest. I replace the appliances etc in my condo but don't put much energy into spiffing it up preferring to spiff up the humans in it.

    My coworker is the oppposite- given $100. I am more likely to head for the knitting store or the Macys accesories department, if my co worker had an extra $100. she'd go to Home Depot and buy a new lamp

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  10. During my many years in the military it was uncompromising, unflinching, get it done, no welching-ever. As a balance, my personal time can be messy, spontaneous, and sometimes silly. So, it’s true that the way I do anything in my professional life is the way I do everything in my professional life. And the way I do anything in my personal life is the way I do everything in my personal life. However, my personal and professional lives rarely intersect and bear little resemblance to each other. For me, sewing definitely falls into the “personal” category . . . unless of course I’m altering uniforms ;).

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  11. I'm with you on this one. I think the way I do most things is messy and enthusiastically. Parts of my life are tidy and ordered; my bathroom is always spotless and neat, but my kitchen is always a mess (constantly grazing). My bedroom is neat and the bed made, but the floor is covered in doghair and the mantlepiece needs dusting. Likewise with my sewing room; the sofa is covered in sewing related literature, my sewing table is covered in STUFF, but my fabric stash is neatly folded in fabric types in a cupboard. My sewing is the same. Sometimes I take great care with every detail and sometimes I plough through with no attention to detail at all. Perhaps this means I'm a little schizophrenic? Either way, the answer to your question is YES!

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  12. I can spend an entire day sewing, or reading, or cooking. Or I can get bored with any of those and just go out for a walk or watch cooking shows. I used to swim obsessively, now it's too expensive!! Wish I had a continuously flowing swimming pool in my back yard.

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  13. I can so totally relate. When I get into something, I get INTO it. This is why I have large areas of my house devoted to my creative passions (sewing, scrapbooking) and have large stashes of materials devoted to each. I am a bit of a hoarder, but also extremely productive. I cut three pairs of flannel sleep shorts for my older two sons today and a leotard and yoga shorts for DD. I have sewn up one of the sleep shorts and the leotard. If I wasn't going to force myself to grade some student work, I would totally sew up the rest tonight. Notice, I said FORCE. I love teaching. I get into what I'm doing at work in spurts, but there is too much negative for me to maintain the all-around high I get from creating.

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  14. Intriuging post! has me thinking! well let me think it over and get back to you!

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  15. Not exactly ...
    Sewing is the ONLY part of my life where I've shown some stubborness. I'm the kind of person that stop at the very idea of an obstacle. If I don't do it perfectly the first time, I quit (yeah, I know that very few people do things perfectly the first time, but it's the way I'm hard-wired and it's too late to change that). I have absolutely NO natural ability for sewing, so had to learn everything the very hard way and still am a mediocre seamstress. But I keep working on that, for the first time of my life - and the last time, probably. As a result, it's the only hobby I've kept for more than a year !
    But I still apply the same motto in sewing than in everything : if it's not 100% perfect, it's worthless. If I had to tweak anything in a garment, I won't wear it. Which means that I've been swearing to sell my SM about every week ... for 3 years :)

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  16. I'm half Greek, half German. Everything I do -- work, sewing, kids, volunteering, laundry, cooking, yoga, Christmas shopping, getting dressed to go out -- is one extreme or the other. If there are clothes piled all over my dresser, you can bet I have a couple of UFOs downstairs. If my closet is perfectly arranged (a few items having been culled out, delivered to Goodwill), I am finishing up a masterpiece (relatively speaking) at my sewing table.

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  17. Your description of your living/sewing could've described me! When I'm focused, it's all good. When I loose focus, well.....my daughter sometimes calls me "oh shiny". Why? I might be totally involved in some project and look to the side, see something interesting and say something similar to "oh shiny"! Total distraction and I'm gone! LOL

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  18. I don't know. I think if you took sewing out of the equation, then the old aphorism would be very true. Sewing is the only thing I do differently. It's also the only thing in my life that I'm passionate about. I'm pretty much only happy when I'm sewing, and I don't sew nearly enough.

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  19. Oh definitely. My problem is I've always been able to do things relatively well without too much effort, so I don't put in the effort to be fantastic. So I didn't need to work hard to do fairly well at school, but it meant I didn't put in the extra effort to do my absolute best. I'm still the same now. And it's the same with sewing - I can make things I want to make to a pretty good standard without lots of effort, but it means I settle too much for pretty good rather than going for my best possible. I'm trying to change that, but it's really hard to change ingrained patterns.

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