Taming the chaos within


My blog posts don’t reflect my sewing output. I’m sewing a lot and have put a focus on trying new things to extend my skills. Such as a business shirt for the Boat Builder and experimenting with trousers for me. Still on the list of scary things to tackle are a wool coat, a bra, jeans and a swimsuit. I’ve sewn a number of dresses, multiple versions of Linden sweatshirts and scout tees and various skirts. And have almost finished another corset – pesky hand sewing! As much as I sew for every piece I finish there’s probably four or five things cut out or half finished and then a huge stack of fabric and patterns behind that. It was getting overwhelming and I was starting to get a paralysis of indecision on what to do next. I felt like I was “drowning” in piles of unfinished projects that had been stopped because I didn’t know how to do the next step or I suddenly got bored of it , or something shinier had come along, New patterns! New fabrics!  Oh my! My ‘To Sew List’ was starting to be stressful and I was getting irritated with myself. Compounding this is that I seem to have stopped buying clothes and things were starting to get a bit desperate wardrobe wise.

And then we moved. And everything got packed away for two months.boxesThe new house is awesome, we looked for five years until we finally found one with just about everything we wanted (Boat Builder didn’t get the internal access garage and I didn’t get the walk in wardrobe), and just enough things that need to be fixed or renovated to make it interesting and at a price we could remotely afford without giving up everything else in our lives. But stopping was good. I missed sewing very much, but it gave me a bit of space from all the self inflicted chaos and disorganisation that was surrounding me. I did a big cull of fabric and other stuff before we packed so I knew I only had projects that actually inspired me or would really challenge me. The new house has a basement so now we have a room that’s just for hobbies – luxury I know. At the moment it’s solely for sewing, the BB has hit pause while he does some serious thinking about the next step on the yacht and does some house projects instead. But tucked into the corner of the room is my grandfather’s loom and when I’m feeling confident I’ll be able to set that up too.

While everything was packed away I decided to bring a few of my work habits home (my day job is project planning) and drew up a Kanban board for myself and added my current queue as post it notes. kanban

I then divided my current sewing ideas into seasons and made a long term sewing goals list. long-term-plan

I also created a sewing projects book. I found that when I kept stopping and starting projects I would forget what thread and stitch length etc. I had used, or I’d lose the piece of paper when I remembered to write them down. I also thought it would help me to keep a record of what I had done, changes made to the pattern and where I’d gotten the fabric etc. I figured it would be helpful writing blog posts if I ever got to the point where I posted more than once in a blue moon. I staple a little swatch of the fabric to the page as well and I loves it. It’s so nice to flip through and see my “history” at a glance.


When it came to unpacking the six very large suitcases of fabric I wanted to take my time and organise my stash so that I could see it. I’d loved all the fabric on the shelves at the old house but they quickly got messed up and fell all over each other. I borrowed an idea from the fabric shops and made myself a template and proceeded to cut up the many cardboard boxes left over after the move.

Then as I unpacked each case I wrapped the fabric round the cardboard “holder”. So now I have nice even stacks ordered by colour. I can see exactly what I’ve got and feel very inspired when I walk in the room. I pinned the Kanban board and long term goals sheet to a board on the wall. Put the patterns in open boxes on the bottom shelves and bought myself four more of the boxes, two to store unfinished projects in, and one each for interfacing and trims/sundries. I gave myself a new rule I had to alternate starting a new project with finishing something from the boxes.

The room has stayed tidy. I find the space really calming and a joy to work in. The chaos outside and in has gone –  and best of all my productivity has gone up!



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