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Apr 4, 2012

The Agony of Getting Started


Wasn't it Lao Tse who said "a journey of a thousand miles must begin with the first step" or something like that?  Now you know I'm more likely to quote Lana Turner than Lao Tse, but this statement resonates with me today.

I'm having a hard time getting started on my maternity project and poor Cathy, meanwhile, is blowing up like a pan of Jiffy Pop.

I don't have a sewing room, so any new project always involves a lot of moving stuff around, digging through old piles, and dusting every conceivable surface.  My Singer 201, which I used for my jeans, still has my topstitching thread in it and I want to leave it as-is until I hem my jeans, which I hope to tackle later today or tomorrow.  My treadle has a jeans needle in it and I'm too lazy to use a treadle on this project anyway.

So I thought I'd use one of my two featherweights and, for the first time, my featherweight table, the one I found in the trash and refinished last December.  I have a sinking feeling I'm going to find that table a little too low, to be honest, but I'm trying to be open minded about it.  Which is very Lao Tse, don't you think?



After choosing which machine I'm going to sew with, I have to make sure it's ready to sew -- that it doesn't need oiling, doesn't need a new needle, and has the correct color thread.  Then I need to make some stitching samples to test thread and fabric together. 



In the meanwhile, I have my pattern, Advance 8152, all cut and pressed flat.  It had never been used before.  But I still haven't decided which version of the blouse to make (one has a pleated front, a collar, and short sleeves; the other has a gathered front, a bow tie neck band, and is sleeveless.  The pattern offers two different front pattern pieces; they didn't skimp back then.).





Readers, I'm also starting to obsess about my fabric choices and what to use where.  I know I have to just make my decision and go for it.  In fact, I shouldn't even be blogging right now, I should be sewing, but I'm procrastinating, not to mention I just completed three loads of laundry so I deserve a break.  Then in an hour I'll have to walk those dogs again since Michael is still sick.  So maybe I'll start sewing after that.



My plan right now is to make the blouse in the pink and white candy stripe, and the skirt and coat/duster in the oyster sateen, which I'll likely line in that slightly glazed-looking cotton floral print.  I like the idea of a floral blouse but there's not enough contrast between it and the oyster cotton sateen, imo.



If you hold the sateen with the floral fabric under it up to the light, you can kind of see the print through it, but I don't think this should be a problem when worn.  Rather than line the entire duster, maybe I'll just do the facings in the floral.  



Meanwhile I'm thinking about contrast collars and cuffs and how those might coordinate with hats and shoes.  You can't be careless about Fifties accessories, even when you're pregnant.  (Luckily I have gloves in many lengths and colors.)



I think I need to take that first step, just like Lao Tse says.  Or maybe it's the second step I need to take, since I did thread my featherweight already.  Either way, I must start stepping!

Friends, do you ever have a hard time getting started -- especially those of you who sew in a space you share with others, or other activities?  Does the thought of winding new bobbins and sewing stitch samples ever seem overwhelming?  Are you able to snap out of it easily?

Let's say it together:  Enough!  I must get to work.

Happy sewing, everybody!

27 comments:

  1. Well, the reason your garments always look so well made is probably due to the advance prep work you do. Pat on the back for that, Peter!

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  2. I have trouble getting started on the have-to projects, because I have so many want-to projects waiting. Right now I'm working on a plain (for me) black dress, which I should be enjoying because it's a lovely 40's pattern, but the fabric is just too conservative for me. I plan to reward myself with something extremely loud and colorful as my next project.

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  3. Sure - sometimes getting started is incredibly painful. My strategy is to hit it over the head. The less I want to do something, the more likely I am to do it - just to get past that horrible feeling.

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  4. I find it's a lot like working out; have to schedule time for it! Although recognizing the fact and doing it are two different things. I have yet to go to the gym or sew this week. :)

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  5. Happy sewing for you too, love your blog!,

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  6. This may sound judgemental, but I find your desire to do this project to be completely baffling. Why would Cathy want to destroy her lovely figure this way?

    I have no trouble believing that you're having trouble getting started.

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    Replies
    1. THAT'S exactly what I said to her! But she's very old-fashioned about motherhood, alas.

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  7. I have no trouble getting started! Project after project gets started. It's the finishing that rarely happens. :/

    I love these pattern choices, btw, especially 5157.

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  8. Sometimes I have trouble getting started because I don't really have the right set of creative decisions comfortably made. I find if I don't force it the solution will come shortly. If I go ahead anyway, usually nothing goes right.

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  9. The bow with sleeves is my vote. And I wish I had that fabric. They would make the perfect curtains for my bedroom. Please send me any remnants.....

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  10. I had a maternity top very much like 7721 in white, worn with hot pink pants. That was in the 80"s and big collars and big bows were huge.
    Have you noticed that most of these patterns feature very restrictive looking skirts?
    It is hard to get going soemtimes when you don't have a dedicated space but I tell myself to "Just Do It"..

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  11. Connie (Grandma C)April 4, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    One of my sticking places was that I always chose to pack it in for the session when I hit a task I didn't feel like doing -like when you had to gather the sleeve cap, or put in the zipper. When I recognised this, I started to make myself motor on past the tedious part. It was usually a matter of another 5-15 minutes. This made it much easier to make myself start the next time. Another method I've used is to tell myself I'm only going to work on something for a fixed unit of time. Say I will only clean up the garage for 15 minutes and then I will stop. Usually, once I've started, I feel like continuing for a while. Theres something almost twisted about needing to trick yourself to do something you truly love to do. Even more perverse is when your "self" falls for it. ;-)

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  12. you are fantastic! i just came across your blog after i came across Gertie's blog on pinterest. i googled "vogues book for better sewing" and the second hit took me to a post about you and Gertie. i found that interesting. anyway, yes, i cannot seem to get started, but sometimes i can't seem to finish, either. my problem is that i'm beginning to HATE cutting the fabric! scissors are hard because i'm a lefty and the only true lefty (blades, too) scissors i can find are for tiny people. also, i've nearly destroyed my plastic grid ruler with rotary cutters, and nearly destroyed my rotary cutters with the ruler! or maybe i just have lousy rotary cutters. they are fiskars. do you have any thoughts on this? should the blades be running out so quickly? or should i be using Olfa? help! and also i'm having so much fun reading the blog, so thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Ashley, and welcome! I use an Olfa rotary cutter (and blades) and find that synthetics will wear down the blade much faster than natural fabrics. How long they last depends on a lot of things. Do you have a self-healing mat? That should help too.

      Why are you cutting up against a ruler? Rule the line on the fabric and then cut with your blade.

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    2. interesting. i wish i had a fancy self-heating mat! i'll look into that. and i'm cutting up against the ruler to get a straight line. i can't imagine being able to cut so straight without the ruler. do most people freehand it? i'm clearly kind of new to sewing!

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    3. and yes i read "heating" the first time around. and i'm proud of it

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  13. I think that the flowered fabric is perfect for the gathered sleeveless top. Possibly with a green collar tie and skirt, maybe some green piping around the armholes.
    I love the stripes with the pleats. It will look so crisp when you starch and iron it. The ivory coat and skirt should be just faced with the pink stripes. Everything will look good. I think it will all mix and match that way. Interline the facings to prevent show through
    I agree with Marilyn. That is exactly my experience.

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    1. Yep, one more in agreement with Marilyn.

      Have to add that I admire K.Line's drive and gumption - she ought to patent and bottle that.

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  14. I do the ten minute challenge when I'm seriously procrastinating. It works best first thing in the morning, before coffee or showering (for me...). Set an alarm for ten minutes in the future, then start. When you start, tell yourself you can quit when the timer goes off. Sometimes I do, but usually I keep going and end up getting quite a bit done. I think it's the mental trick of giving myself leeway to stop working if it's not flowing that helps me get going...

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  15. Sometimes I waste so much time agonising over what I'll do next that I end up doing nothing. Now, when I get to that point, I just do ... something ... even if it's just changing the thread on my overlocker. I try not to spend too much time in my head and more time in my hands - if that makes any sense.

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  16. I takes me forever to start a project. That's usually why I end up sewing nothing. Once I've stashed a fabric I can't bear the thought of actually cutting it up, for fear it will go horribly wrong.

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  17. I am exactly the same, starting something that's a bit out of my confort zone. Once I've started the actual sewing, there's no stopping me though. The whole pattern adjusting/ tweaking bit is so dull though.

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  18. Ohh I hear ya. It is horrible when there are a bunch of things to do before you can get moving. I'm like that if my overlocker is in black, and I need to change it to white, but before I do that I might as well finish that hem that needs the black, and maybe that quick project could be done too... yadda yadda yadda till I do nothing!! *sigh*
    Sx

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  19. Funny you have Lucy as your picture! Lucille Ball said: If you want to get something done, ask a busy woman." This is so true, because someone very busy has to plan every minute. To me sewing is my relaxation. Like you though, I procrastinate. Things that pull me away from procrastination are: Looking through my giant library of patterns It tells me to get going on my project so i can start the next one. Also I *love* to read sewing blogs. That motivates me to finish my project. The prep part is fun for me. LIke you I have several machines, but usually work on the Bernina. After I cut out my project, I spend a fair amount of time marking, and testing fabric with iron and thread and needle sizes.

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  20. Like so many others here, I procrastinate. I'm usually fine to cut the fabric but hate stay stitching, which is usually the first thing you have to do.

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  21. Pleats, definitely. Gathers are just too fussy when one is preggers and used to being a fashion icon, like Cathy.

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