Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Starting From Scratch

This is a post for anyone who, like me, obsessively collects vintage sewing patterns, fabric and sewing notions.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how having all of this sewing stuff actually keeps me from sewing...it slows me down. Meaning that it usually takes me an eternity to choose a project from all of my patterns (and it actually takes an eternity to go through all of the patterns!). I like buying patterns because each one represents the exciting possibility of a future project or garment that I could make and wear one day. But what's the point of having said pattern if you file it away and completely forget that it exists and never end up make anything from it anyway? The same goes for fabric. And just because there's a $1.00 pattern sale at Jo Ann's or a huge bag of old crazy colored zippers or ridiculously low priced fabric at a thrift store, does that really mean that you have to buy them just in case that perfect project idea comes along one day?

Don't get me wrong - it's not like I'm drowning in sewing patterns and fabric here, it's just that I have finally (after a very, very long time) realized something about myself: there is truth to the saying "a cluttered house leads to a cluttered mind." Less is more for me. Too many choices actually mess with my head and I either procrastinate or give up, sometimes in the middle of a project due to the distracting need to move on to another one.

In order for me to be the best, most productive seamstress that I can be, I need to get rid of (almost) every sewing item that I own and start from scratch.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to whittle down my sewing pattern collection to 20-30 patterns. I'll be keeping most of my favorites (most of them Butterick Young Designer patterns from the 1970s) and a couple basics. Same goes for fabric, buttons, zippers, notions, etc. My goal is to sew through these patterns, then buy patterns and corresponding fabric ONLY when I'm absolutely ready to start a new project and see it through to the end. I will post all of my collection here and document each finished project. I actually want to work on learning how to draft my own patterns, so maybe I can eventually do away with commercial patterns altogether!

Kind of a wordy post, but I had to put everything down in words so I can be held accountable. As soon as I decide which patterns to keep, I will post them all here and get started on the first project! Wish me luck on choosing which ones to keep...it's going to be difficult!


  1. I know exactly what you mean! The only reason I don't get rid of a lot of my patterns is because I will need them for my costuming work (which is an excuse to buy any pattern in any size!) So kudos to you! I can't wait to see what you're getting rid of in case I want it ;P

  2. I obsessively collect vintage patterns and go into withdrawal if I don't shop for fabric every week. I think the ladies at the fabric store would call to check on me if I didn't show up every Friday afternoon, lol!