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A longtime reader of this blog wrote me recently, “Getting Things Sewn is all about making things happen, not just letting things happen.”IMG_1302 (460x345)

I let out a big sigh.

Oh, I know she meant to be complimentary.

But if I swivel 90 degrees in my office chair here in the planning corner, I can see the blouse I am not sewing this afternoon because I am writing this post.

The irony, readers, isn’t lost on me.

Three times a week I write about getting things sewn when I could be getting things sewn!

I could be churning out more muslins, sewing more garments, building more outfits and a wardrobe faster, but noooo–I’m stopping to take notes and pictures, mind mapping story ideas and threads before I write a single word in the next post.

But when I ask myself, “If you stopped blogging, would you actually spend the extra 20 hours a week getting more stuff sewn?

Would I have

without the push and pull of a blog?


But readers, let me save you the trouble of starting a blog to get your own stuff sewn.  Here is my number one discovery:

Getting things sewn doesn’t mean that I have to do every step of the process myself.

So what have I found so far to boost my effectiveness exponentially?

Designing setups that do the work for me

Creating zones that perform specific functions in my sewing space:

  • planning and writing
  • cutting
  • sewing
  • pressing
  • storage

Creating a chart to guide my choices:

  • designing garments
  • designing sewing projects
  • buying ready-to-wear
  • designing a wardrobe
  • designing a sewing space
  • buying equipment and supplies

Using tools I find not only useful but downright fun

  • the 3-in-1 Color Tool for finding color matches and relationships
  • mind mapping on for planning and for writing warmups
  • Microsoft OneNote for collecting ideas and images for projects and posts

Knowing my own aptitudes–and ineptitudes

Believe it or not, since taking the Johnson O’Connor battery of aptitude tests three years ago, knowing where I am mediocre or downright dismal has been more enlightening than knowing what I do pretty well.  The test results have actually liberated me from struggling to be merely competent to invest in my strengths.

My spatial abilities are only so-so. With training and practice they could get oh, 10 percent better. But what would be the return on that investment?

Which leads me to my next discovery:

Unabashedly seeking expert advice

Even though Edith has been my sewing mentor for a decade, only recently have I strategically tapped into others’ expertise. My behavior suggests I used to think that asking others for help was imposing on them or an admission of defeat: a method of last resort . That led to lots of frustration and unfinished projects.

Having a blog forced me to seek answers in order to progress in my projects and have things to write about. I started moving through challenges and having successes tapping into the special knowledge of others rather than avoiding challenges and remaining stuck relying on myself.

Now I positively revel in seeking and receiving expert help. As a matter of course I

  • mark the sewing salon schedule at Treadle Yard Goods on my calendar and attend often
  • consult with my sewing friends in a Facebook group one of them set up. (Thank you, Shelly!)
  • bring sewing questions galore to our group when we meet at each others’ homes.
  • make appointments with pros

Without defeatist attitudes holding me back, I’m accomplishing more. And guess what? Experts like to use the knowledge they’ve worked so hard to build. I knew that from the information-dispensing end as a reference librarian, but now I know from the receiving end.

From these discoveries I have concluded that doing it myself doesn’t have to mean doing it alone. On the contrary: if I’m going to succeed in getting my things sewn, I’ve got to use every trick, tool, professional and personal resource I can round up. Where I can leverage systems, processes, expertise, and even the knowledge of my own weaknesses, I can be more productive with less effort.

Who knows? If I stay on this trajectory long enough, I may accomplish all my sewing projects with no effort!

I’ll know I’ve reached the pinnacle of achievement when my longtime reader writes back, “Getting Things Sewn is all about letting things happen, not just making things happen!”