Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do you give yourself permission to quit?

–verb (used without object)
  • to cease from doing something; stop.

Do you ever give yourself permission to quit?

  • I have no problems not finishing a book if I don't enjoy the story.

  • I have no problems returning a DVD unwatched if I don't enjoy the movie.

  • I have no problems not finishing a meal I've ordered if I don't enjoy the food.

  • But I just can't bring myself to say "Enough! I quit!" when I'm sewing something and I'm not enjoying the experience.

Let me share one of those somethings with you.

Two weeks ago, I pulled out a blouse I had begun work on quite some time ago. How long ago? Oh, I don't know. Probably a few years as I do remember purchasing the fabric from a JoAnn's store about seven yeas ago.

The pattern was an OOP Vogue Attitudes - Vogue 1620 - a Byron Lars design. It was one of those projects that I cut out; began sewing; got bored; put it aside; gained a few pounds; tucked project away; lost a few pounds; pulled project out; began sewing.

And quickly reached the "I'm bored" phase.

Bravely, I kept on going.

Every day I pulled the blouse out with the intent of finishing it.

And every day I would complete one unit of sewing and decide I really wasn't in the mood for sewing after all.

Slowly, slowly, slowly I reached the point where all that needed to be completed was the facing, buttonholes and buttons. But each step felt like a chore. Rather than take an hour to finish up, I put it aside and left the room.

I just.couldn't.do.it.

I began dreading going into my sewing studio, knowing that white blouse was mocking me where it sat, unfinished, by the sewing machine.

Monday evening I finally faced the inevitable.

I don't like this blouse. I'm never going to wear it.

And I gave myself permission to quit.

The blouse is now sitting silently in the trash and I am free to begin sewing something I'm excited about. Another version of Simplicity 2701 (blog post here).

So tell me. Do you ever give yourself permission to quit? Pin It


  1. Absolutely. Our style sense changes over time, for one thing. We've all purchased fabric that sat too long, and one day we wondered why in the world we bought that! Same thing with patterns and UFOs--"what was I thinking"?

  2. I've only been sewing for about a year really, so I've not gotten there yet, but I'm sure I will. And, yes I believe I'll be able to quit if I'm not enjoying the process at all!

  3. Of course but perhaps not as often as we should. Usually it is an impulse sewing project or an impulse fabric buy that was too good to pass by.

  4. The very first time I did taht it was a Navy wool blazer. I absolutely HATED it. Tossing that thing out was incredibly freeing!

  5. Yes, it's ok to quit. Sewing should be enjoyable, not a chore.

    I really don't understand some of the people who post on the sewing boards and always have to complete each and every item (or sew up every inch of fabric in a piece). I think that that's when sewing can veer awfully close to obsessive compulsive disorder.

  6. Absolutely okay to quit a project, especially if the process is such a chore that it kills your mojo and you know you're not going to wear it anyway. Who wants an albatross hanging in their closet? It's either in the trash, or if I do love the fabric and there are salvageable pieces I save it for a smaller project.

  7. Yes, yes, yes! I have a jumper for my daughter that is all cut out and waiting to be sewn. But...I hate the fabric and doubt I'd ever put it on her. I keep thinking I should sew it up for the practice and because I'll be wasting fabric (oh, the horror!), but why work on something you aren't happy with? So, its going in the trash. The larger pieces will go in the scrap pile, but I'm definitely quitting the project.

  8. Yep! If completing a garment is making me dread sewing, then out it goes, never to be thought of again. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff!

  9. Oh, yes, sometimes it just isn't worth it. The frustration or you put on the garment during the construction phase and think oh, my word, this is awful!

  10. Yes, I quit when things don't look right, don't fit right or are too hard to sew. I just did couple weeks ago with a boxy dress from McCall's. It is ok to quit and do something more enjoyable. I think that is why I would never progress on knitting. Everytime I start knitting something I get bored and finish like 3 months later (I only knit scarves).

    Yes, e-mail me some tips on how to sew knits without a serger. :)

  11. Sometimes I give myself permission to quit or at least to start over!!
    I just read your posts on puppetry. I directed a puppet ministry at my old church for about 10 years , years ago. Now, the church I'm in now, (actually the one i grew up in) "tricked" me into starting a puppet ministry with our youth. We only have 4 kids involved in 6th - 8th grade, so we're not big time. We started in Jan. We've done several performances already and doing another this coming Sun. I did a post on one of our shows in Jan. or Feb. I'd have to go back to see when it was.
    Be glad to be of help. I'm no pro, however.

  12. I don't quit. I finish things even when I know I'm never going to wear them. Once I reach that point, I change my focus. It's no longer a garment, but an experiment I'm free to try new techniques. "You can quit now" is just as good as "Who cares. You're never going to wear it anyway". I find the new attitude equally liberating.

  13. Anonymous6:14 AM

    Absolutely you should quit some things!

    But if you're wanting to get rid of that DIVINE pattern, I could find it a loving home...

  14. I figure after the project has lost its passion, and it becomes drudgery, it's gone. Don't want to waist any more energy, money and time doing something that either isn't going to turn out or I know will be well-done technically, but lousy look for me - it's in the trash and I'm off on another project. The waste in time & money that is lost in the passion-less project, is nothing compared to what I would loose fretting and driving myself to do something that doesn't turn out. So throw it away and go for the next project!

  15. I've had instances in which I've lost that spark to sew a piece. I leave it alone and eventually come back. Yes, it becomes a ufo, but I somehow want to give it one more try. And then there are those times where one more try won't be enough and you have to let it go.

  16. Sometimes I just give myself permmission to toss.in.the.trash. So yes, I do give myself permission to quit on projects I've lost interest in and/or too frustrated with for one reason or another. I'm learning to knit socks, and when I've goofed or not liking how it's coming out--I just rip it out and start again. Can't do that with a cut garment.



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