Lost My Sewing Mojo??

Update: Wow, thanks everyone for the genuine and empathetic advice, seems we’ve all “been there.” I’ve cleaned up most of my room and it’s definitely helped already!

Every once in awhile I have to take a break from sewing because all my creative juices have been squeezed out of me. I need time to get inspired again. I’m sure most of you can relate. Usually those breaks only last about a week for me but lately I’ve been struggling to get back into my creative pursuits.

Oonaballoona made a good assement of her missing mojo last year and I think some of her points are applying to me. I also think that this pattern development process is wearing me out and I’m still no where close to being finished with any of my patterns I’m working on. I like the gratification of wearing clothes I make and computer pattern work doesn’t give me that satisfaction.

So I’ve kind of been stepping away from my sewing table for a bit in the hopes of riding out this sewing-funk I’ve been in and just absorbing others’ creative energies and/or playing video games.

But I haven’t just been sitting around moping…

Printing Patterns

I’ve printed out or traced a bunch of patterns, Victory’s Hazel Dress, Grainline’s Archer shirt, the Sewaholic Cordova jacket. And I’ve prepped fabric for a lot of projects.

Clothing Tags

I’ve hemmed some of Justin’s pants and shorts and I’ve added tags to already sewn clothes (I always forget to stitch them on during assembly).

I’ve also made some candle and scent cube things, you know, for those electric candle wax warmer contraptions.

But what could be the cause of the prolonged missing mojo?

Could it be annoying set backs like this:

Elastic Cat Snack

These were elastic loops I made for the legs of my Amerson undies. I took a break from sewing them and when I came back I found them half eaten. By my cat. Yes, my cat, Peanut, likes to eat elastic… and yarn… and computer wires… and xbox controller cables… and shoe laces…

Guilty Peanut

Gosh, cat, you could at least try to look guilty!

Now I’m out of elastic and have to buy more to finish the undies. I also sewed some Rosy Ladyshorts and as soon as I finish the amerson’s I’ll blog about both…

Or perhaps my mojo ran away in fear of the sinkhole mess in my sewing room.

Hoarders: Sewing Edition

Ugh, I can’t believe I’m even posting that picture! You’d think a meth addict lived in this room. Unfortunately my sewing room has become a dumping ground – unfinished crafts, shopping bags, laundry in need of ironing, silk drying, orphaned pattern pieces and all those fabric scraps that I have no idea what to do with. Also it seems that lots of stuff on my tables and ironing boards likes to fall off onto the floor… I just need to get off my bum and clean it up but cleaning’s no fun, right!?

I have a couple UFOs I could work on but mostly I think I just need to dive in and finish something and get myself back in the game.

I’m looking for your advice – what do you do when you’re feeling uncreative and uninspired? And bonus points if you admit your sewing space has ever been as messy as mine. 😉

Why does sewing have to be so hard??

(the fabric-covered-buttons from hell)

I’m currently trying to draft a look-a-like dress based solely on a picture. Not all of this is difficult – I can make a fitted bodice and a gathered skirt. I can insert a zipper and sleeves. But this dress I’m copying does have a big fat collar and I’m having a little trouble recreating it. But one of my biggest issues are the buttons.

I need four fabric covered buttons. I’ve made these kinds of buttons before. You get a kit that has two metal button pieces plus a little plastic cylinder-like tool to help you in assembly. The packaging has a template you cut your fabric from and it all goes together all hunky dory-like.

Well, not these buttons. These were the “no tool needed” type. Which is stupid because that tool is very helpful! It bends the fabric over the edge of the outer button piece for you and keeps it in place while you attach the backplate.

These “no tool” buttons have “teeth” that are supposed to catch the edge of the fabric, only they do not. They’re almost as useless as the teeth on the big, flying monster in the last half of The Avengers (I mean, really, that thing is so huge – what does it need to chew!?!?).

The equally useless instructions give you this tip: “Use a pencil eraser to help catch fabric on teeth.” A pencil eraser!? This is 2012! I don’t even own a pencil. I have an iPhone to take all my notes but that won’t help me here. (You think I’m kidding – no, I own one mechanical pencil with no lead and a tiny eraser nub.)

Yeah, teeth = pointless.

So I used glue to keep my fabric in place – which doesn’t work that well either because you have to hold the fabric down long enough for the glue to stick then you have to quickly slam the backing on top and use a pin to stuff any outlying fabric into the button before it all explodes in sticky glue mess in your hand.

Oh, and there’s a correct way to put the backplate down over the button. Turns out I was doing it the wrong way. In my defense this illustration in no way has any sort of arrow or indication of which way is “up.” Stupid.

No wonder both my hands, my boyfriend’s hands, the spool of thread I was using and the back of these buttons took a beating. Only after three buttons did I figure out that the back was upside down. Why don’t you look at this picture above and guess which way was the “correct” way.

(my spool of thread – busted from trying to attach the button backplate)

Even when I had the pieces facing the right direction I still need a hammer to jam the two together. Last time I heard a hammer was, technically, a tool.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated or cursed this much during a sewing project even with all the seam ripping I’ve done in my life. These stupid buttons don’t even look that good from the right site anyway. *Facepalm*

This combined with my collar-drafting troubles have convinced me to put this project away for a day or two and come back to it when I’m not feeling like I want to beat something (or someone) senseless.

What’s the most frustration thing you’ve ever done in sewing? Notion related or otherwise? Have you every had so many problems with a project that you had to take a step back and work on something else?

Oh, and Susan, I know you are some sort of genius when it comes to these kind of buttons – well, don’t tell me how I’m doing it wrong. You’ve just got some crazy button mojo that us mere mortals do not have and I have accepted that.

Pattern Making 101 Class

Yesterday I got up at the crack of dawn (ok, that is an exaggeration, but being awake before 9 on a Saturday is a big deal for me) for my 8:30 am pattern making class at Stitch Lab.

The class was taught by (and partially why I took the class) Tina Sparkles, author of Little Green Dresses (which I own). Pretty cool. (What isn’t so cool is me in that picture. I got up way too early to make my hair or the rest of me look good, oh well.)

Most of the class was review for me like lengthening and shortening a pattern piece and adding seam allowance but I did learn so many things that what I was doing wrong and how to do it properly and I got to work with tools I’d never used before and went home with a major shopping list!

I also learned the correct way for making and moving darts rather than just drawing here and there and hoping for the best. Overall it was a great class and I walked away with my head swelled full of pattern making knowledge!

While I was there I also bought some of this awesome new Alexander Henry Dia de los Muetros themed fabric. I’m a little obsessed with this gorgeous detailed festive print. Who knew skulls could be so pretty? I’m going to use it to make something a little utilitarian and share a pattern for it, too!

Downloading Patterns

If you’re interested I uploaded two patterns for download on BurdaStyle – my One Shoulder Knit Dress and my Two Piece Tunic, each in multi sized patterns. And my Tunic pattern already has over 300 downloads! I doubt that many people will actually make it but it’s nice to know people are looking at the pattern.

You can always download the patterns here, too, just check out the Crafts page.

In other news, I’m taking a pattern making class in about a week! I’m excited and hopeful to learn new things.

Oh, and in non-sewing news, Turner Classic Movies is having their 31 days of Oscar marathon. I’m watching The Graduate right now, one of my favorites. I love the 60s style especially the houses and his car.

Hopefully I’ll have another pattern finished this weekend that I can post. I’m on a pattern making roll!