Too Many Choices, Too Much Indecision

My list of things I want to make has got badly out of hand and I’m in that weird too many choices mind-set.

MMMay seems to sharpen this effect for me as I look at my wardrobe and realise that I’m going to be wearing a lot of things over and over again in the month.  But this is how I live most of the time anyway; isn’t there some accepted wisdom about 10% or our wardrobe 90% of the time?!  However, the stark reality always makes me antsy and want to add a bit more variety!

So, I’ve resorted to lists.  There’s my list of patterns, my list of fabric, my list that pairs fabric with patterns and the list of things that I think need adding to my wardrobe.  That’s a lot of lists and whilst it’s cathartic it doesn’t get me any closer to deciding what to make next.  Too many options, too many choices, too much indecision and therefore nothing happens.

I was reading A Beautiful Mess (a blog I dip in and out of, but always has something to inspire me) and there was an article about prioritization and a paragraph stood out to me:

Instead of a huge list, force yourself to make a short list with only one or two projects.  It will help you focus and enjoy each one.  Each time you complete a project you can start a new one.

Pretty damn obvious but sometimes it takes someone telling me something for me to see it.  Wood for the trees and all that.

So instead of trying to decide which project of about twenty odd that are listed in my list collection, I’ve chosen two.  The two that have been in my head constantly for weeks.

Hazel V1247

Colette Hazel in Michael Miller Ahoy Matey Fabric
Vogue 1247 top in a brush stroke effect cotton lawn

Then;

B5748 and Washi

Butterick 5748 in Tula Pink Turtle Bay Fabric
Made by Rae Washi dress using some of the plaid from the Sewists Secret Santa swap

Lizzys Fabric

And of course there is the Australian Fabric of Glee that the wonderful Lizzy posted to me because I couldn’t make the meet up in London on the 20th April!  It was my youngest sister’s hen-do in Cambridge and I was under strict instructions not to bail on  it.  I’ve chosen New Look 6643 (a shift dress) so when that arrives, it may well bump its self up the que!

Does anyone else have problems deciding what to sew next or do you have a plan and stick to it?  Are you structured in your makes (looking at wardrobe needs and sewing to fill them) or are your sewing decisions made purely on a whim?  I’d love to know…

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41 thoughts on “Too Many Choices, Too Much Indecision

  1. I’m not terribly structured. I tend to make what I feel like. Although lately I’ve decided I need more tops like Renfrew, Alma, Pendrell, Datura for work and casual wear. I am a glutton for dresses and I need more separates. I also find these tops and my favourite skirt patterns are much more appealing to make after I’ve sew up something really hard, like a jacket. They are quick, easy and rewarding – and get worn loads!!!
    After a few weeks of cold UK weather I’ve realised how much I love the cowl neck Renfrew and want loads more!!!

    • Sorry the weather was so rubbish, I think I’m so used to it now I just accept it! That’s a good idea, mixing challenging with less taxing items. I need a few more separates too, but the call of the dress is strong! I’m hoping the V1247 tops will be great smart/casual tops, assuming I can make the french seams line up and don’t throw a hissy fit in the process!

  2. It’s hard to choose when you have loads of inspiration coming at you! I find I am way more optimistic with my time than I can ever achieve! That’s why I end up with never made projects! I tried the list route… But it only helps if I have a deadline. I personally think I need to scale down my expectations… I love the projects you planned especially the washi dress that is in my dream sewing list since it came out ;)

    • My expectations of myself are so removed from reality it’s ridiculous! I’m hoping this two at a time thing will help me be more realistic and also allow me to build in some room for whim sewing. I’ve been in love with the Washi for ever as well, I’ve never shirred anything in my life and I hope it’ll be a fab dress for summer.

  3. I have projects coming out my ears! I think two at a time is a great way to prioritise. I’m working on two Hazels right now then hopefully some kwik sew shorts and finishing off a Renfrew and a Jasmine that have been languishing. I think it is important to to go overboard. I could have so much more on the list but it does make you feel you have to rush stuff.

    • I am very very bad at pressured sewing, get shaky hands and everything. I can’t wait to see your Hazels, I’m really looking forward to making that pattern!

  4. I hear you – I often have this problem in a few areas of life! I have been trying to keep focused on makings toiles of garments I am considering and fitting them well. It is boring! But, I have high hopes of achieving an accurate fitting shell and have signed up for a day long fitting course in Birmingham with Gill Arnold. I hope to fit a few small projects in between as sewbusylizzy has said above. Happy Sewing!

    • Arrgh, the dreaded toile! Necessary but time consuming for me. Massive FBA makes it a necessity as I have to alter so much. I’d love to hear how your fitting course goes, it sounds like it should be brilliant!

  5. I get the same sort of over-inspiration too. I keep a mental list that looks pretty similar to yours, and then just sew whatever I feel like when I get to finally sit down at the machine. Usually the results bear no relation whatsoever to the list, but never mind! You’ve got some lovely stuff lined up there, I’ll be looking forward to seeing some of it!

    • I hope I can stick to it! Some of my recent sewing has been event deadline sewing so it’s nice if overwhelming to sew without that deadline pressure (shoving though of sister’s veil and large number of crystals to be attached to back of my mind…). I’m really looking forward to the Washi as it’s been on my pattern wish list for a long long time!

  6. Oh I know that feeling…I have so many things I want to make and feel like all of them are urgent or important to fill gaps in my wardrobe. I’ve got a teeny list, but it changes on a weekly basis! And I have inspiration coming out of my ears! I LOVE that red fabric, btw…gorgeous.

    • Thanks Evie, it is gorgeous isn’t it! Mine was changing on a weekly basis too but I am trying (and may fail) to exercise some self discipline as well as feel a little more in control as my list is far from teeny!

  7. I’m in that place too! I have plenty of projects matched up to fabric but don’t know which one to start first. My 3 year old is harassing me to make her another princess dress, there is a sewalong starting for Deer and Doe’s Reglisse dress, plus I have two other dresses and a coat I want to make. And that’s before I think about practical sewing for MMM13. I love the Butterick pattern too – have it in my stash but don’t have suitable fabric right now and I can’t possibly buy more yet!!

    • Oh, I know that feeling! Maybe instead of starting with the pattern, start with the fabric and choose something to go with it? Or just give in to your daughter and sew another princess dress whilst you ponder your options?!

  8. I’ve not been doing “straight” dressmaking for very long. But I’ve been making dance costumes, and I found that I’d get a ton of ideas & inspiration, and I’d built up a stash of costume-making fabrics, beads and other decorations, and I’d get into that “AAAAAArgh” don’t know what to start on next frame of mind. So like you, I’d make lists. Which at least made me work out what I had materials for and what I didn’t. And then I had that self-same realisation, that a list of 35 costume ideas & plans wasn’t helpful. So I’d use the long list to work out what the short list was.
    But I’d still reserve the right to ignore the short list completely and make something totally different, if that’s what moved me at the time.

    And now that I’m moving towards everyday dressmaking, I’m finding myself in the same situation!

    • Oh dear, your comment made me laugh because that’s basically what I did with all my lists. Organise myeself and then just sew what ever I felt like. I’m hoping that with two items planned at a time rather than an entire year’s worth (yep, I tried that!) I can mix in the new and shiny as and when I feel like it! Enjoy dressmaking, it’s a lot of fun and I bet you already have some amazing experience that will translate from the costume making.

  9. like a few of the others above, i’m trying to fill wardrobe gaps for separates and get holiday sewing done. i have a list of things i have fabric and patterns for and i’ll go through those before buying any more fabric. think i’m running out of time tho – 2 weeks til hol and i have a sinbad and sailor magpie dress cut out and ready to sew, a sorbetto planned and hopefully a dress, all before i go away. not sure that will happen! then when i get back i have another dress (poss a hazel) and a top to rub off, and a kelly skirt. i’m a one project at t time girl tho!

    • I bet you’ll get the Magpie and Sorbetto done in time for your holiday! I tend to construct one at a time, but it doesn’t stop me tracing and altering the next project whilst the first is still being sewn. I’m hoping that this way I wont have all these half prepped ideas taunting me so that I can relax a bit more. Have a fabulous holiday!

  10. Like you say, it’s an obvious idea but one that I for certain sometimes need reminding of! My current ‘to sew’ list is about 20 items – completely unrealistic and quite scary – so I’m going to follow your example and try and narrow this down to a less intimidating number tonight!
    That fabric you got is lovely and the V1247 is on my list too so I look forward to seeing your version.

    • I had to break down my list into something more managable as I was overwhelmed and then feeling guilty for not making more headway! A crazy mindset. I am in love with the red bird fabric although I will use it and not just stare at it… V1247 skirt is easy peasy and very fast, I’m hoping the top will be as kind (although I know it will take more work due to the french seams!).

    • Patterns have such a siren call – so much potential and so much variety all in one envelope. It’s taken all my will power to resist Megan Nielsen’s new line until I’ve used some more of the ones I have. I get distracted by bright and shiny I guess!

  11. I love making lists and I was totally having overwhelming list syndrome. I just wanted to make everything, buy all the fabric, try all the patterns and it was doing me a disservice as I wasn’t even sewing.

    I like how your two’s have one thing that’s fancier and one thing that’s more casual. Don’t know if you noticed that but that’s a cool way to sew. I’m not participating in MMM officially but I’m trying to see where the holes in my me-made wardrobe are. It’s fun.

    • I didn’t even realise that I was doing a fancier paired with more causal pattern in my short list, but now you’ve pointed it out that’s definitely what’s happened! It may be something I try and stick with too as that’ll build both sides of my wardrobe… I know what you mean about planning yourself into a stand still, I hope this is a way out for me!

      • I keep trying to buy fabric in pairs so I can have a fabric for a top and one for a bottom…but then the shiny stuff gets me and my intentions go out the window. ehhe

  12. I’m with you on the being overwhelmed by choice…I get rabbit in the headlights when faced with too many choices and end up doing nothing for a good space of time before I manage to focus…

  13. I can’t plan. I have to whim sew. It’s not productive, but I enjoy myself! On sunday morning I’ll round up about 6 patterns, grab some possible suitor fabrics for them and have a little cutting session at my Mothers biog diningroom table. Thats as much planing as I can do! I love your choices- and I want to see that red fabric- meow!

  14. Oh my god I can’t even tell you how crippled I am by choice. I have about 6 projects going at the moment and I’m so close to finishing some of them but I want to sew all these other things. Gah!
    Love the idea of the shorter list!

    • I try really really really hard to only have one thing on the go, in part because whilst it takes about ten seconds it just feels like such a chore to change the thread and bobbin in my sewing machine! Having said that, I have one cut out ready to go, and several traced… But I know what you mean, so many gorgeous patterns are out there!

  15. I think it’s really smart to prioritize tasks. I have a long list, and I try to move things to the top that I really want to wear or need for a specific occasion/deadline. Then, if I’m not going to get to something before the end of the season, I bump it to the bottom of the list. But I get distracted by shiny stuff and launch into projects that probably don’t need to be prioritized. I love the idea of being really selective. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a super long to-do list!

    • Ah, that’s a good idea, moving the seasonally inappropriate back to the bottom if it doesn’t happen. I just need the UK to have some seasonably appropriate weather! Although the last few days have been glorious. And I’m always going to get distracted by shiny, I just accept that now!

  16. And I meant to say that I really love your list! These are all such cute patterns, and that bird fabric is AWESOME! Can’t wait to see it in dress form! I’ve been meaning to mean V1247 for a while now, but I’m a bit intimidated by all those seams! :)

    • I’m the same sometimes! I think it’s a way out of feeling overwhelmed. I am going to try and manage things a little better though, I’m hoping this two at a time thing will make the most of my time and help round out my wardrobe!

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