I recently had someone tag me on Instagram in their first week of sewing one thing a week for a year. They said, thanks, and that they were inspired by what I was doing.
Then I posted a photo of my first nine makes on the Bernina Lovers facebook group and was surprised by how many people said, “I want to do this!”
There’s obviously no right way to approach a challenge like this, but I figured I’d share a few tips and things I learned.
To me this was an intimidating undertaking when I started. I was afraid I’d fail and it was important to me to make it. So I realized that accountability was important. I started this blog and an instagram page dedicated to sewing. Even though there weren’t many followers the idea that even one person was watching was enough to keep me on track. Growing a following wasn’t the goal and never has been. Connecting to other makers and growing my sewing skills has been my ultimate goal. I realize blogging and posting publicly isn’t something that is going to appeal to everyone. With that in mind I started a Facebook group that’s private to create a community for makers that would love to join this challenge, want some accountability but aren’t into or comfortable posting on public platforms. If you are interested in this challenge and want to join the group here’s a link.
or search “Sewing Challenge, one thing a week for a year”
For people following along the first time I did this challenge it appeared very smooth. I posted one make a week and did so on a consistent and weekly basis. Once, mid way through I posted three at once because I was traveling for an extended period. I had sewn one thing a week so I felt as though I had stuck with my goal but blogging and photographing wasn’t possible in my travels. I was staying with my parents and my mom has an amazing sewing space with everything you need. It’s great to vacation where there is a sewing room, but obviously that’s not normally possible. On a couple of occasions I made two things in one week and just posted them on different weeks. When I knew that we would be traveling or when we had a houseful of guests for my daughter’s graduation. I knew those weeks would have very limited sewing time so I planned ahead. If you see that you are going to have no sewing time one week because of unusual life activities like a graduation then plan ahead or pick an easier project for that week. It took me an entire month to make this jacket. That would obviously not be a good choice for a busy week and would ensure failure.
In contrast, I can make a Blackwood cardigan in two hours.
If you endeavor to make a project that will take weeks then I recommend making these easy projects while working on the harder one. That way you are finishing one thing a week but also still challenging yourself to try harder more involved things.
Here are a few of my fast makes.
Kids t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, there are so many options for fast projects. Ideally, fast projects only have a couple of pieces to cut out. The floral brown and pink shirt pictured above only had a front, back and sleeve pattern piece. This means cutting out is pretty fast and so is assembly. Pick projects according to your life and schedule.
I’ve shared some of my flops on this page, there’s been more. I don’t always feel like going into gory detail of my massive failures. I’ve shared some to keep it real and keep sewing accessible. Failure and flops can really steal your sewing mojo if you aren’t careful. You need to create mental space for those failures so they don’t rob you of your momentum. I think that sharing them is empowering and demystifying. I would encourage you to post those as well and consider them your make if you only have time for one project. I usually could do another and saved the failures for a second post any week they occurred. I called those “Flop Fridays”.
There’s a book called “Limitless Mind” by Jo Boaler. It’s an excellent read. She’s a math educator and she goes into amazing detail about how we learn. The science shows that the things we learn out of struggle create more enduring neuropathways than the things we easily pick up. Her book changed my view or failure and caused me to be less afraid of them and change my inner monologue about them. Realizing that it’s the struggle creates more lasting learning causes more gratitude and less fear.
I loved this challenge. It was fun and rewarding, but after I finished I tried two other forms of it without success. They killed my sewjo (mojo for sewing) and actually kept me out of the sewing room. Once I figured out that they were creating the opposite outcome I desired I quit them. If you start this and it’s stressing you out or stealing the joy from sewing then it’s probably not for you and feel free to try something different. Quitting because something has become unhealthy is not failure but wisdom.
Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever done something like this please share your tips and thoughts. I can’t wait to see who joins in!