The Art of Decluttering and Letting Go..

I’ve taken a short little break this month. August is traditionally busy with back to school preparations and loads of birthdays in my daughter’s friend circle, so I wasn’t unprepared for how occupied I would be. What did take me by surprise was how much I didn’t want to sew. How the thought of cutting fabric and sewing it up didn’t excite me one bit. How I dreaded even going into my sewing studio. Shocked? I think I have been going so hard at testing that I’m completely burnt out. I now see tester calls and think, “Meh.” Which is so dangerous for me! What will I ever do without testing new patterns? How will I motivate myself? Sewing has been #3 in my life, after my husband and kids – how can I possibly sew less?

The big thing I’m working on while on this little break is decluttering my life. I have accumulated so much junk, so much stuff that is weighing on my soul. Books that have no purpose other than to look Pinterest-pretty, since I’ve read them all and reading murders heightens my anxiety. Kids’ clothes, my husband’s old clothes, so much of my crafting stuff and fabric. Everywhere I look there’s stuff, and it’s dragging me down. Each time I see a fabric on sale, I *have* to go shopping. It’s very rare that I close the browser before I checkout.

warm weather sleeveless tops

While I worked through this morass of belongings, I came to a little realization. All the clothes I have sewn are brightly colored, the fabric picked to be “stylish”, perfect to sell the pattern, perfect to spam in various fabric groups. It’s all mostly polyester, mostly tired and jarring because it’s what sells a pattern. I don’t sew solids, I don’t sew obscure indie designers, and I don’t sew what I need to sew. I sew the latest pattern in the latest fabric in the latest colors regardless of whether I need another floral trapeze top or not. And with polyester, it’s usually not, because that stuff is indestructible.

Warm weather tops with sleeves

I pared down most of my clothes, and really felt sorry for the state of my pants pile. Everything is either dowdy, pilling, worn out at the inner thigh or too freaking tight on the abdomen. Looks like I’m not a size 12 anymore – pregnancy and lavish eating (while dairy and soy free, too!) put paid to *that* notion! The only comfortable items I have are cotton joggers, my (polyester ponte) Sabrina Slims in green and grey which were my tester muslin and final, and a maxi skirt which is definitely not Fall-worthy. So what did I do? I planned to make a few leggings in my Fall/Winter Capsule. Yes, they will be polyester. Yes, they will be floral, at least a few. Yes, I do like my Granny’s style. Ha!

The only Colder weather tops I have left.

I proceeded to pull out all the Fall colors I want to wear from my fabric stash. Stacked them high on a chair, and then promised to sell what I didn’t want. You know, if they lie around, visible to the eye, you’re going to want to pull them out of the Sell pile and put them back into the Maybe pile. And then Maybe never comes. In being such a voracious sewist, I find I have exchanged the fast-fashion consumerism that plagued me through my teens for the faster satisfaction of buying fabric for the sake of it. It looks different so I must have it. In three colors.

Fall/Winter 2017 Capsule Fabrics

In the next post, I’m going to talk a little about my Fall Capsuling process. I’m not a purist, I don’t like to sew *everything*. I draw the line at jeans and jackets. I am hoping that by documenting my Capsuling journey that I will stop myself from frivolously buying more. It already worked yesterday when I saw a divine tunic that looked like silk but was 95% polyester, and I just quietly closed the browser without a qualm. Trust me, it can help you too.

I’m now going to move towards putting what little time I have into understanding the design process, slowly sewing it *right*, instead of buzzing through my piles of fabric and three tests a week. Perhaps I truly am burned out.


4 comments on “The Art of Decluttering and Letting Go..Add yours →

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  1. I have purchased far too much fabric lately, too. I need to reign that in and spend more time sewing up what I have. I sew a lot for my daughter who is growing up, so there is usually something for me to sew. I need more clothes that fit right now, too. I am working on it, but losing weight after 40 is hard I’m finding!

  2. I am with you! I reached that burn out point last year and haven’t really done any testing since. And I really don’t intend to do it ever again! I did that, I burned out, and now I’m done with it. Now I’m enjoying taking my time with my projects. Tackling more complicated sews if I want to , or making a quick t-shirt just because I feel like it, and not because I have a deadline. And sewing lots of solids because that’s what I wear 🙂 After you take some time off testing, you may find that you really enjoy sewing and blogging, not to sell the latest greatest pattern, but as a true creative outlet that can be a retreat rather than a source of stress. At least that’s what I found 🙂

  3. You are not alone in the addiction to shopping. Particularly brightly colored and visually exciting prints. I have just made a huge destash pile but I don’t think I will be putting any back in the “maybe” pile because I realized I just don’t like to wear that stuff. I have just finished reading “Organized Enough” which talks about limiting what you own based on how much space you want to give that in your home. Fabric and patterns I won’t really sew, and clothes (okay, shoes, too) I don’t wear have taken over my bedroom and my spare room to the point where it, as you say, weighs on my soul. That’s not how I want to live, and it’s really not conducive to crafting, either. It’s no longer fun, it’s oppressive and an obligation. Bye-bye, fabric I don’t want to sew and clothes I don’t wear. The book also talks about forgiving yourself for your mistakes so you can let go of all that stuff. True, that. A lot of guilt. Good luck on decluttering, and don’t feel like it’s a failing to need a break now and then. I took a break from sewing for many months, spent that time knitting and spinning, and suddenly felt the urge to sew again this summer.

  4. I was moved reading your post. I’ve become the most ridiculous hoarder of patterns imaginable. I can’t stop myself and I had this insight yesterday that pointed to the problem (but failed to stop me from ordering 4 more when I was on the Butterick site through another link and discovered they were having a serious sale!). I am a returned to sewing sewist (having stopped in my early ’20’s and just returned to celebrate my 60th) so I bought all my clothes RTW. I would see a garment, like it and buy it if it met all the necessary criteria. Now I see a garment on a pattern and think, “Oh I like that!” Buy the pattern and soon have realized that there’s a LOT more work involved here to actually possessing that garment than simply ordering it! I really have to get a grip on this because there is no way I’m going to get through all the potential makes I now own nor do I even need all those clothes! I’m not so terrible with fabric although a little crazy considering how long it takes me to make a garment. I never sew with poly (it’s too hot and slinky for me) so my fabric is quite pricey (typically a top or tunic will cost me between $60 – $200) in fabric plus the cost of the pattern. This actually works to keep my stash under control!! Thank you for this provocative post 🙂