Sewing without a plan

It's that time of year again.  The internet is alive with sewing bloggers making plans and setting goals for things they want to achieve over the coming year.



#2017makenine is very popular this year with at the time of writing this 699 public posts on Instagram featuring the hashtag.  The concept, as I'm sure you're aware (started, I think, by Lucky Lucille) is to post nine sewing patterns or goals you wish to make/sew/achieve during 2017 and then to actually make those! 

I thought about taking part and then I thought again.  I'm not very good at following through with plans, when sewing related at least.  I'm good at making them, but over the last couple of years when I've tried to do something similar I've failed.  Pretty quickly.  Last year I'm not sure I actually made anything I'd said I wanted to. 

Failing to meet my goals or stick to my plans kind of makes me anxious, and added anxiety is definitely something I can do without. 

It's weird, in other areas of my life I like plans.  I like knowing what I'm doing and when I'm doing it.  I'm not very good at being spontaneous - spontaneity also makes me anxious. And I've often wondered why, when I like knowing what I'm doing when, I fail to meet sewing goals I set myself.

Sew Busy Lizzy's blog post today has given me the answer.  She talks about why she hasn't set herself sewing goals and as I read her post a light bulb went on in my mind. 

She says:

Perhaps this is because my motivation to sew isn't often practical.  I sew when a fabric inspires me... I am hit by the urge to try a pattern... I am suddenly obsessed with having a specific garment... all of these things and more.  My motivation is primarily creative - not practical. 


As I read her post I realised that I feel exactly the same.  Unlike some people, I rarely sew to fill a gap in my wardrobe that needs filling, or even to learn a specific skill. 

My urge to sew comes from creating things that excite me, things that no one else has.  I might see a designer dress or a coat in a magazine and decide that I want to try and recreate it.  I might suddenly have a desire to make a denim skirt out of the fabric I bought to make jeans with.  Not having a plan enables me to do this. 

Sewing - as well as other creative pursuits - helps me feel calm and eases my anxiety.  Having set plans that "must" be followed stifles this and actually has the opposite effect.  Of course, there are exceptions; sometimes I have to follow through on a plan, but overall the flexibility to sew what I want, when I want and not beat myself up if I don't achieve a self imposed goal is what's important.   

I have vague ideas of things that I might like to make this year.  I will try and make use of some of the patterns I already own, rather than buy too many new ones, but I am a sucker for the "new and shiny".  Likewise with fabric and I may well have a destash at some stage, as having too much fabric that maybe I'm not totally in love with anymore also makes me anxious.  Sadly, that doesn't stop me buying more! 

I'm going to a wedding in April, so it's likely I'll make myself an outfit for that, but if I don't and I end up buying something instead, then who really cares?  All I know is that I'm giving myself the flexibility to sew what I want, when I want. 

I'm declaring 2017 the year of sewing without a plan.  Anyone care to join me?

14 comments

  1. Well I'm not planning on a plan - but that sounds like a plan too. Lol
    Glad my post inspired you. Let's just sew wherever the inspiration may take us!

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    1. That sounds like the perfect "plan" :-)

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  2. Sam: This. All of it. :-)

    Although I feel compelled to confess that I do make sewing lists. But I don't think I use them like other people do. They're more a record of my sewing daydreams than a plan to follow, and I really only refer to them when I want to sew something but can't come up with any ideas. List to the rescue!

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    1. I'm so pleased I'm not alone! I do have a kind of list, in the form of a Pinterest board containing images of things I'd like to try and make or recreate. It can be useful inspiration.

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  3. I don't really sew with a plan. I plan projects but when I sew them depends on my mood. I've leaned that I cannot force my sewing....whenever I do, I end up not seeing at all.

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    1. Definitely! Tell me I've got to sew something, and that's probably the last thing I actually want to sew.

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  4. I love making sewing plans! But I have no need to follow them to the letter; or to require myself to decide on January 1 what I'll want to do over the next 12 months. Do you KNOW how distracted I am by *oooh! Shiny!!*?! lol!

    And like Gail I have those 'back pocket' projects. I have downtime, I have nothing I "need", ooh, let me make this thing I was thinking about! Also why I love my massive stash!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Your plans are always awesome! I love how you are distracted by the *oooh! shiny!!* too.

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  5. I don't like to sew by a plan either--just enjoy the process with no pressure to produce.

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    1. Exactly! Pressure spoils the fun for me.

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  6. Such a great reflection on why you sew, and what you choose to make! I agree, sometimes the very act of determining which projects you are going to make in a year can suddenly turn a joy into a total chore, and I hate doing that, too. I try to keep it more general, like how I want to knit more sweaters that I will wear, etc.

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    1. I agree, I like to have a general idea, but with the freedom to change my mind if I feel like it. I know I can change my mind even if I've made a plan, but that somehow makes me feel guilty!

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