Knowing When to Care

As you may have guessed from the title, today we’re going to talk about knowing when to care.


I believe that at some point in every person’s life, there comes a time when you have to decide whether you are going to care. Lucky for me, I’m not a doctor and I don’t have patients dying. And I’m not talking about your acquaintance in an unhealthy relationship who swears they are made for each other. I’m talking about something that, for some people, is much more emotional: caring about the imperfections in your sewing.


When I initially said that it’s more emotional, I was making a joke. But the more it fomented in my brain, the less of a laughing matter it became. We sew for the process, but also for the finished product and we want it to look good. As well we should! When you make a mistake, or – heaven forbid – someone points out a flaw in your work, it can seem like a failure in ourselves and our abilities. Let’s take a look into when it’s a good thing to care and when we need to practice L.I.G. – LETTING IT GO!


There are personal policies that some people use to judge their work objectively. The idea is that you get out of your head and out of the perfection we saw all over Pinterest. One rule is the “three-foot method.” If you can’t see the mistake from three feet away, you don’t need to fix it. This is great for garment sewing, when most people that will bring negativity are at least three feet away. And hopefully the man who stands uncomfortably close behind you in line at the post office has the decency not to say anything; though if he did, maybe he wouldn’t be standing so close to you.


If you have a personal policy for dealing with imperfections, please share it! What works for one person may not work for another, so the more ideas, the more likely everyone is to find something that works.


When to Care

When to NOT Care

  • You care deeply about the project
  • You want to take it somewhere fancy
  • It's a family keepsake you want to last
  • The purpose is for decoration
  • It's a gift for a loved one
  • You can't see the imperfection (i.e. inside the garment, covered by bias tape or backing)
  • Your (grand)kids are going to destroy it anyway
  • It's pajamas
  • Purpose is purely funcitonal
  • It's a gift for a coworker...wait, why are you putting so much personal effort into office gifts?!

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DIY: Project Containers

A way to plan a project and keep all your supplies together

  • Bags/Bins/Boxes
  • Labels or Sticky Notes
  • Marker or Pen
  • Your project supplies

Most of us know the feeling: we find something we love and it conjures an image of the completed project. Maybe a fabric inspires a particular garment, or a quilt pattern reminds you of the fabric you have been saving. Usually when this happens to me, I’m not at the store, and I don’t have all the supplies waiting. So I’ve developed Project bags as a super simple way to keep supplies together until I’m ready to sew.

There’s two main steps, and you can flip-flop them based on what makes sense to you.


On each label or sticky note, write a name for the project that will make sense to you. For example, if I’m sewing a Simplicity pattern, it won’t make sense to write Simplicity 8622. I’m never going to remember which pattern number 8622 is. But if I write Nursury Decor, I’m going to know exactly what it is. If I’m working on a shirt, I might write Butterfly Peplum Top. It doesn’t matter what your title for the project is, as long as you can interpret what it means.

Underneath your title, write all the supplies you need to complete the project. Whether you’re sewing, quilting, or knitting, this information will usually be on your pattern. (If you don’t have a pattern, a quick sketch of the design might be helpful to determine what you will need.) Once your label is complete, affix it to the outside of the container where you can easily read it.


Your containers may be bags, or small bins, or boxes. Anything that will keep items contained. I prefer that they all match, so I know it’s a project bag without having to open it. If you’re less forgetful than me, you can choose whether to match them. Place all the supplies you currently have in the container with the coordinating title and list. This might be your pattern, your fabric, and your thread. Or maybe your pattern, half-finished dress, and a zipper. Or it might be as simple as torn pajama pants and thread. Or a shirt and fabric for applique. It doesn’t matter what your project is, how simple or complicated, it can have a container.

As you place items in, either highlight or cross them off the list of required supplies. This is how you tell what you still need. I also like to keep a list in my phone so that I can have a reference with me wherever I go. If you don’t want to keep a list in your phone, you can simply refer to your labels before you go shopping to know what you need. Once all the items are marked off, you know that you can complete that project.

Please note that you don’t need a complete list to work on your project! If it involves cutting fabric, and you have the size, shape and fabric you need, you can go ahead and do it right then. If you have cut fabric and thread, you can start sewing before you acquire bias tape or buttons. All it means if your list isn’t complete is that you will reach a point where you will need to stop and get your next supply before you can continue.

If you want to reverse steps A and B, you would gather your supplies into containers first. Then you would make your list of what you already have in the container and what you still need. It is still important to: 1) give it a title you understand and 2) mark off what you already have versus what you still need.

I’m in the process of reorganizing my project containers! Previously, I had plastic grocery bags that I stuffed in a storage bin. Not very easy to see! By putting them somewhere I didn’t see them, I often forgot they existed. I didn’t know what I needed without taking time to go through them, and I didn’t have a reminder to work on (and finish) them. When I’m all done organizing, I’ll add pictures to this post.

Do you have your own way of organizing materials or works in progress? Have stitching organization questions you want answered? Tell us in the comments or send us an e-mail!