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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Slow day sewing

The last few days I have been divesting myself of considerable sewing supplies. After having lived lean in the supply department in Florida I realized that my ought-to-dos, piled high, were getting to me.

I have collected so many potential projects that no matter what I made I always felt I was behind.

This is stupid.

So I decided to pass on the things that I didn't actually enjoy making, no matter how high my hopes have been, no matter how many components I have collected. I have found a taker for my embroidery threads, for many expensive mail order patterns, for a half ton of lingerie fabric and findings. 

I have kept all good fabric, dress fabric and patterns that are TNTs or have that potential.

Why was I cluttering my sewing brain for so many decades?

The bottom line is that having so much around me that didn't totally excite me was getting in the way of enjoying what I was actually sewing and enjoying sewing.

I love to sew dresses, and some skirts, and tops. I find bra sewing annoying, too many little pieces and slippery fabrics with 1/4" seams and I haven't embroidered anything in about five years and have no desire to.

I did one soothing, and virtuous thing though. I did get caught up on one of my ghost-from-the-past projects. I made pillow forms today, lots of them with stuffing I had saved forever. I also finally fixed a cushion up that matches the pattern on the couch that a  dog chewed off so long ago that I can't remember the last time I dusted the urn with his ashes in it at the back of the cupboard.

The pattern on the couch has faded, but the cushion now looks bright and brand new.

Of course I have covers to make for these pillow forms next and I will. Soon. I have decided my chairs need a whole lot of cushions. 

I was shocked to read the other day that designers like to put a cushion every foot and a half on seating which means we have been really uncomfortable all these years and didn't even know it.

Pillow form sewing seemed to be about all I could handle today since I only had a few hours sleep.

We had a big family dinner (12) last night and I was too tired to start my marking when I had finished cleaning up, so I went to bed at about 11:00. Of course once I was in bed I lay there thinking about all the marking and my sewing room and what else I needed to liberate and the next think you know it was 4:00 a.m. and I was still awake.

The internet says if you are awake for no reason a whole night because you have things on your mind you need to see someone about all that stress.

Where am I going to find someone I can sit down and say "I was trying to decide if I can line a grey coat with black and the next thing you know it was 4:00?"

Where am I going to find someone who understands that this falls under the category of racing thoughts (I can feel my blood pressure going up right now. What about red? Too cliche?)

Anyway I just got up at 4:00 had a tea and some cereal and all my marking was done by 7:13.

Which left me the whole day, but not enough energy to do more than pillow forms.

But it was meant to be.

I don't think that chewed up cushion should have to wait another ten years.

Anyone else ever have a night like that?


BetsyV said...


theresa said...

Hoo-boy, did that resonate with me. Sometimes the brain will not shut up and the end result is a sleepless night. Glad you got your marking done.

Anonymous said...

I have been otherwise occupied and just catching up and read your e mail about your daughter. I am so sorry.

Even though she is strong and you are strong it is not easy. This something that I know. But then life goes on and there are 2 little girls to help take the mind off it. That helps a bit.
Take care,

Freedom Acres Farm said...

Yes, I've had many nights like that LOL It's good though to clean out, refold and organize my sewing "stash" every once in a while. It rejuvenates me and gets my sewing mojo flowing again. And it's good to reassess what you want to be sewing too. Wise woman you are!!

MarcyF said...

Absolutely. And any therapist would never understand unless they too had such a hobby that so totally consumed their waking thoughts. And I would never go to a therapist who didn't have such a hobby.

Maryissewfast said...

Sounds like my usual nights...hope you sleep better tonight!

The Hojnackes said...

Oh, yes. I had a sleepless night this past Saturday. Too much stress! I had to conduct the music for the whole congregation at church the next morning and it was just too much for me. Never want to do it again!

wendy said...

Absolutely understand how having too many 'future projects' lined up creates undue pressure. I got to the stage where sewing my own entire wardrobe felt like a job! I too got rid of the excess 'stuff' and kept only those fabrics and patterns that I really loved and now only sew something if it feels like fun.

GailH said...

Glad to know I am not the only one who has nights like that! Sometimes I fall asleep early, wake up at 3am and get up and start sewing, planning on napping later and never do because my project gets in the way.

annie said...

Totally have nights like that. Woke up at one am last spring when I was wrestling with a Burda duffel coat pattern. Very attractive but very difficult seaming. I kept wondering why I couldn't get those little beasts tamed. Finally got up at two, ripped out the offending stitching, restitched beautifully, and went back to sleep.

Jan said...

I have those nights far too often. I am inspired by your clean up decisions. I always feel so overwhelmed and behind as soon as I enter my sewing room. I have to get rid of some stuff.

LinB said...

I find that it is no longer enough to limit caffeine to after 7 p.m., to avoid racing thoughts long into the night. I now have to stop drinking tea and coffee by 4 p.m. -- difficult for a Southerner to withdraw from iced tea.

sdBev said...

Yes have had nights like that. Best thing to do, no matter what thoughts are racing through my head, is working in the sewing and stash rooms.

Also, A couple of years back, I divested myself of all the quilting supplies I'd collected . The relief was unbelievable. Umm, think I'll do away with the lingerie supplies too.

Bunny said...

Oh, I've had many a night like yours, Barb. But I consider it good stress. It's good stress when you are designing in your head. It's not good stress when you worry about your daughter's hubby's lay off, or the grandson's broken arm, or his Mommy working too hard, or a husband that has the horrors of aging creeping up even while he is still my knight in shining armor. That's bad stress. Give me a wide awake night figuring out how to finish the neck edge on my current project any time! Wishing you peace.....

ElleC said...

Yes. I often have nights like that, unless I go to the gym three times (more is better) a week and attempt to kill myself on the treadmill, elliptical and with weights. Do I enjoy it? No, but I like sleeping.

Anonymous said...

"Where am I going to find someone I can sit down and say "I was trying to decide if I can line a grey coat with black and the next thing you know it was 4:00?"

Too funny!! I am still laughing. :)

Marg said...

I could ring up half the women in Australia and have a chat with them at 4 a.m.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have been so tired from lack of sleep that all I could do was make pillows! I have made 6 beautiful pillows so far, for my bedroom and also for my living room sofa, all on days where my brain was foggy from lack of sleep.
I think it is the perfect project when the mind can't handle too many details! LOL