How to develop good sewing habits
I want to develop some new sewing habits.
You see, I’ve been noticing some bad sewing practices in myself lately. For example:
- I don’t throw away old used sewing needles (always forget).
- I don’t get rid of scraps I’ll never use (hoarding).
- I don’t clean up my workspace when I’m done (lazy).
- I don’t cut my threads off as I sew all the time (see above).
- I buy far more fabric than I can reasonably use sometimes (don’t we all?).
But changing my behavior has been hard, because these are old habits and you know what they say about old habits. But I have a good idea for breaking some of these, and you can try it with me if you want.
It’s actually super simple. I first read about this idea on Zen Habits, and just this week I heard a psychologist on NPR talking about how effective it is. The big idea? Make changes by doing as little as possible.
Instead of thinking about all of the habits you need to change and half-heartedly committing to all of them, you focus on one small habit every month. Just that one, and don’t worry about changing anything else.
By spending a whole month concentrating on one habit, you actually remember to put it into practice. By the end of the month, the new habit is second nature and you can move on to the next one.
This idea of doing the bare minimum appealed to my lazy side, so I tried it out. For the first month, I tried eating a salad every day in order to get more raw veggies in my diet. It really did become second nature, and I’ve been eating way more salad ever since.
Then I put two and two together and thought, what if we applied this to sewing? I bet we could do it together and break some of those less-than-optimal habits that we get into. You know, leaving your workspace a mess, or forgetting to prewash fabric… whatever it is you’d like to change but just can’t.
Here’s what I’m going to do…
Every month, I’ll post my own good habit of the month. That will be the thing that I, personally, will be working on that month. Anyone who wants to join me in that habit can, OR comment with their own habit for that month. What do you think?
One more thing. I find it helpful to phrase these as good habits you can practice regularly for a month (and beyond), rather than vague things you’d like to change. Make them concrete. So instead of “buy less fabric” or “use my stash” I might say “For every project I buy fabric for, sew one project using supplies from my stash.” It’s helpful if you can ask yourself “Did I do this?” and be able to clearly answer yes or no.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what habits you’d like to start or break when it comes to sewing. Maybe it will give others some ideas too!