Friday, 15 August 2014

My Top 5 Tips to Getting it Done

As you all know, I have spent the last few weeks attempting to clean and organise my craft room. During today's torture cleaning session, I came to the strong realisation that no matter how organised the room is, it won't make a difference if the projects themselves aren't here are my top 5 tips for organising your projects and reaching your sewing goals.

I know what you're thinking, how can I possibly have tips on reaching goals when I spend all my time jumping from one project to the next? I assure you there is method to my madness...and some of these methods may actually work for you too.

Tip #1 - Know your goals
You need to know your goals in order to reach them.  Sometimes they're very clear: "Sew party dress for daughter's first birthday", but, sometimes they are a little more vague. I fall into the second category. My goal is to learn...everything. At this point in time, I'm more interested in piecing the quilt tops than becoming an expert quilter. This means, for me, my goal is to learn different methods of piecing and understand why some techniques work better than others. I have a lot of quilt tops sitting around waiting to be quilted and that's OK. I'm achieving my goal and will happily quilt them down the track. Knowing your goals helps you focus your efforts where they need to be.

Tip #2 - Be Realistic
It's great to have goals, and you should definitely always push yourself to try new things...but there's no joy in setting yourself up for failure. Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. I am a stay-at-home Mum to a beautiful, though very active toddler. I would love to complete quilt after quilt until they've taken over the house, but this simply isn't realistic. My goal is to do 'some' piecing each day and be happy with what I'm learning along the way.

Tip #3 - Plan
Plan your sewing tasks and prepare for your sessions. It's no fun spending half your limited sewing time trying to figure out what tools you need and where you were at with your project. Read patterns ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need. Break your project up into small, manageable tasks. Write lists to help track which step you are up to. I know I can't sew of an evening, so I use that time for pressing and cutting. This may mean I'm cutting out my next project when I'm only halfway through my current one, but that's ok. It's the best use of my time and keeping me moving towards those goals.

Tip #4 - Make Sacrifices
There aren't many things in life that can be achieved without a few sacrifices. Maybe it's time, money or some other concept, but, you will undoubtably need to make sacrifices to achieve your goals. My sewing time is limited to short sessions throughout the day, with a toddler running underfoot. It's very difficult to achieve perfect accuracy during this time and I had to make the choice whether it was more important for me to finish fewer projects perfectly, or more projects with less precision. It was a hard choice to make, but I chose the latter. My goal is to learn, so I have reluctantly happily accepted that, in order to learn techniques, I will make do with the odd mismatched seam or less pointy star. I certainly won't allow myself to be 'sloppy', but I won't unpick every tiny flaw if it means other projects are being put on hold.

Tip #5 - Have Fun
The most important thing to remember is that this is all supposed to be fun. If you're spending your entire time stressing about your project then there's no shame in putting it aside until you're ready to enjoy it again. I do it all the time and, until the quilt police come knocking at my door, I will continue to do so. 

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