Taking a Pause for the Cause

I had a glorious plan. It involved a blue and white pleated skirt, pretty red blouse and a photo shoot on the steps of the Lincoln (or Jefferson) Memorial. Last week’s City Inspiration challenge would have ultimately ended in me tolerating the 25 mile drive to D.C. (and its spring tourists) for DIY fashion’s sake. Instead, the challenge week came and went…with only my seam ripper to curse and tolerate.

Skirt made for City Inspiration challenge

Somehow, all of my careful measuring, slashing, spreading, and prototypes of the skirt yoke (to make it fit my semi-heart shaped hips) resulted in a waistline that was just over an inch too big once made up in garment fabric. Either, I wasn’t so careful with my measurements or the fabric stretched on me during construction. Whatever the case….Grrrrrrr!

I am going to have to get all CSI about the situation to find out where I went wrong. Not before I go ahead and unpick the three or four seams necessary to correct the waist fit, though. This fantastic skirt must eventually be made wearable!

The deconstruct-reconstruct marathon could not be done in time to photograph and blog the outfit for my Sew Weekly contribution, so I acknowledged the omen, unfurrowed my brow and set out to make the most of a much-needed intermission from the weekly sewing challenge.

Thirteen weeks of relentless garment sewing has finally caught up with me. I’ve been totally consumed by this awesome personal challenge and looked up last week to see that my life’s been hovering at craft-o-clock (or blog-thirty) for over three months. I’m having a blast (seam-ripping rages and all), but the other areas of my life could use some TLC, too.

Over the next couple of weeks, I shall tighten up my life’s routines a bit so my sewing time is less crazed and obsessed and more harmonious with my other responsibilities.

Here’s just a hint at how out-of-balance things have gotten for me:

  1. Valentine’s Day was the only real date I’ve been on with my husband so far this year.
  2. I used to take my dog for a walk twice a day. Her neighborhood strolls have been so sporadic lately, that I swear she’s resorted to eating (and later yacking up) fallen cherry blossoms just for the attention.
  3. There are layers of dust on some of the surfaces of my home.
  4. I’ve logged into Facebook like three times all year. I tend to boycott it periodically, but my absence lately has nothing to do with my disdain for it…I’d just rather be sewing than updating my status or reading other people’s internal dialogue. The unfortunate thing is, I end up missing out on important announcements from family and friends. Why folks can’t communicate outside of Facebook is another topic for another blog.
  5. My daily yoga practice is no longer daily. Since I started weekly sewing, I only get on the mat when my back and shoulders start feeling tight from hunching over my sewing machine too long…which turns out to be about once a week.
  6. If I had kids, they would have run away or burned down the house by now. Lucky for me, all my baby-making time has been spent garment-making!
The list goes on. It’s sad y’all.

So, my new mission (which I have chosen to accept) is to devote more attention to the neglected areas of my life over the next couple of weeks WHILE figuring out how to improve my sewing workflow.

Weekly Sewing Workflow

I’ll still be sewing, of course. I’ll just be a little less zealous and OCD about it. Which is a good thing, because my sewing machine was about to put out a restraining order against me.

17 thoughts on “Taking a Pause for the Cause

  1. I do believe you just applied a buisness analyst view on your life and implemented a project improvement plan and built a new sewing work flow. Are you sure it’s craft time that has taken over?


    • Yep, my day job skills can be applied anywhere! It’s how my mind is trained to work now, so why not put it to good use in my crafty life :-)


  2. I’m especially with you on points 3 & 6. I imagine that if I had children they’d be dirty, hungry, and wearing rags, while I sit contentedly sewing clothes for myself. Good thing that’s not an issue!
    I’m trying to balance with at least one “Absolutely No Sewing” day a week so I can get normal-people things done.
    Hang in there Najah you can make it through!


    • So glad you get it! And, I love your ‘No Sewing’ day. It would be hard for me, but probably a necessary intervention since I’ve been behaving like a junkie. I really do believe one should aim for a balanced life…and I don’t think it’s about STAYING in balance, but about knowing how to get back in balance.

      Thanks for the encouragement.


  3. nicely analyzed!

    i’ll tell ya, i did have the thought that a whole mess o’ ladies were going to find out how life altering sewing weekly can be… there were many times last year ruggy would catch me clenching my teeth in a mad dash to finish in time, saying to me and WHY are you doing this again? ummm… because i set myself a goal, DUH. who needs friends and work and food.


    though #4 drives me crazy. using the internet to go in depth on our craftiness is one thing, most of my friends would be bored by a french seam, but really? facebook as Important News Hub? why can’t peeps pick up a phone anymore? i’ve taken to dialing while i’m cutting a pattern or ironing.


    • I knew there was a hidden life to weekly sewing that the 2011 SW Divas weren’t being so vocal about!

      My man eggs me on sometimes. Other times he asks similar questions, “You sure you wanna miss out on X or Y to finish this?”. And then there’s, “You could always post it tomorrow.” When I answer him, I always have to hold back my Wrath of Khan. “If I post it tomorrow it will be extra late. That is unacceptable to me.” He knows better to let it go when the word UNACCEPTABLE comes out of me.

      Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes story. It truly is helpful for me to know others get all Adrian Monk about their weekly sewing.

      BTW, I’m totaly jiving with you on the Facebook subject. It’s hold on people is ridiculous…they don’t even know what it means to “reach out and touch someone” anymore. Probably think it means POKING ;-)


      • I like the graphics—I’m glad you are realizing you have to change. Thanks for being on the path to discovery. As soon as you realize it, you will really know why you are avoiding your family–one day it will click and you will know what to do. . . Spend more time with your family.
        I love your sewing, but we (you’re imaginary friends) come last. Be blessed.


  4. I feel you on the life balance thing. I think we all suffer from that too-focused-on-one-thing affliction every now and then. Your fears of starving children are unfounded though. They would eat. You will love them more than sewing. I promise, lol. And you will, eventually, have time for them both. When mine were younger I never would have had time to SW. In fact, I might have slapped anyone who asked me why I wasn’t sewing more. Now, I choose my battles with project difficulty, allow for a few marathon up too late sessions and I cut myself a lot of slack when I miss a week. I guess it’s not so difficult to carve out sewing time, because I don’t really hang out much and I don’t have many family obligations aside from the people that I live with and my sister. I have a few sewing/crafty people meet-up type functions soon, but I am a homebody at heart.


    • Heheh…thanks for the reality check, Nettie. Deep down I know my kids would ultimately survive my neglect (rather I know I wouldn’t really be neglecting them). I mostly wanted to acknowledge my 2012 BC (before children) existence in a dramatic way…I’m a Sagittarius. For me, every story’s a chance for flare.

      The way I see it (having taught preschool and co-raised younger siblings) when responsibilities for children enter your life, your priorities are in your face and become part of your daily rituals. Finding time for a new obsession is a relatively simple process because your “free time” is evident (before breakfast, after bedtime baths, during lunch break, etc.). It helps me to remember that (your comment put it back on my mind), as the thought of balancing home/career/baby/man/sewing had me a tad paranoid 13 weeks into this challenge (and God only knows how many weeks away from starting a family). We’re totally open to raising rug-rats one day, but I am perpetually curious about “making room” for them in my life. I forget sometimes, that all that stuff works itself out ;-).

      I most resonate with how self-forgiving you are about opting out of challenges. At first, I NEEDED to see how long of a contributing streak I could maintain…you know, to prove to myself that I was really doing this thing. And, once I convinced myself I was for real, that this thing would be my personal challenge for the year, I felt OK giving myself permission to skip a challenge when I need to. Seeing that example from you and some of the other other talented contributors was also inspiring.

      I really enjoy your honest sharing. This topic will be a recurring one here, as I am intrigued by the PROCESS of weekly sewing, especially for those of us with already full plates of OTHER obligations, passions, and distractions.


  5. I totally get you. I am so obsessed with sewing everything else has been suffering. House = gross, friends = neglected, community garden = cancelled this year. I seriously don’t understand how people sew with kids.


    • Yes!! The obsession goes deep. People with kids who still find time to sew are bionic to me. I know that if I have kids one day, I’ll be bionic too, but for now I will remain in awe.

      I gave up on any serious gardening this season. Opted to plant a few containers and help my husband mulch. There’ll be no heroics in my yard this year. As for my house and friends…I’m on a mission to reverse the neglect on those. Tunnel vision sewing is going to turn me into one of those people who gets nomimated to be on the show, “Clean House” where an intervention slash TV crew comes to declutter and make-over the disasterous rooms in your house…I have THREE.

      Most of my friends live an hour’s drive away, so the only way to spend time with them is at group gatherings. I am making time to attend a few events and host a couple before the end of summer in the hopes that plenty of drinking and merriment will erase their memories of my recent neglect.

      Thanks for commiserating! It’s strangely comforting to know there’s others out there consumed by the same obsession.


  6. OMG! I LOVE this post! I so hear you on the balance thing!!! Last year ALL I DID was sewing….it was crazy. It got to the point in the Autumn that David kept saying…oh, I can’t wait for this year to be over…hahahahaha. lol. I constantly felt like i was running a step behind…on everything. Most of the time it gave me a sick sort of thrill (i.e. can I really finish this dress, photograph and blog in one day??) Life after SW has been odd. I struggle even more to find a balance. At least with SW there was a deadline that made me give sewing an equal (or higher) spot than other areas of my life instead of relegated to last where hobbies and ‘self’ time usually go……So, I’m still working on the balance too :)


    • It’s a HUGE honor to have you drop me a line, Debi….your 2011 SW contributions are legendary. So worth LA VIDA LOCA!

      Oh, and that sick thrill you mentioned….I’ve got it too. Bad. And, not having challenge deadlines for two weeks was awfully disconcerting. I may end up like Mena and turn weekly sewing into a total way of life!

      Thank you for sharing your sister struggle for balance with me. Hey, just the fact that we’re aware of it…the need for it, the lack of it, the journey to it…makes all the difference I think.


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