why don’t I sew the hard stuff?

I decided a couple weeks ago that I was officially done sewing until after the move, and my machine is now packed. (The move is now somewhat delayed, so I’ll now have another couple of weeks away.) I’m still thinking about sewing, of course, including why I choose the projects I do.

I have no shortage of project ideas, and the number of ideas always exceeds the number of projects I can reasonably complete. The  ideas range from super easy (furoshiki) to not particularly difficult (fitted sheets, knit fabric projects like T-shirts and underwear) to complex (jackets and coats), from the familiar to the novel. In comparing what I’d like to make to what I usually end up making, I’ve noticed that I tend towards the easy and familiar, which means there are a lot of things I’d like to be able to make but tend to avoid even trying.

Why do I avoid them? They’re harder and tend to require some experimentation in order for the finished product to not suck. I don’t object to putting a lot of time into a project, but I want to see some progress. Two hours of a repetitive task like pleating gives more tangible results than two hours of repeatedly fitting a pair of trousers/pants, so it feels like I’ve accomplished more. But I suppose it’s apples and oranges: quantity of product versus quantity of time put in trying to learn something.

When fitting, I’m never quite sure that the proposed alteration is going to make it better rather than worse, which I find discouraging. I’ve got a couple of fitting books, but I haven’t found them very helpful.

But I think the crux of the issue for me is that I hate throwing fabric (or anything else) in the garbage. I’m not really a packrat – I just hate waste. This means that before I make a muslin or any garment that isn’t guaranteed to be wearable, I fret about what to do with it to keep it out of landfill. That tends to kill my enthusiasm.

If I knew before I started that there was something I could do with the wadders other than literally binning them, I think I’d be able to give myself permission to take the chances that might result in a screw-up.

I don’t have kids who could play with the wadders. There are only so many rags one can use when one doesn’t change oil for a living, and I’m highly unlikely to do anything with the scraps myself, such make quilts or rag rugs. I don’t think I know anyone personally who’d want the stuff. I think I found one business in my new city that may be able to recycle rags, but I’m not convinced the place still exists – I may have simply found its internet ghost. I have seen the occasional request on Freecycle for scrap fabric – that might be worth exploring.

Does anyone have any other clever ideas on how to responsibly dispose of scrap fabric?


About Zena

I sew sometimes.
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2 Responses to why don’t I sew the hard stuff?

  1. ravensmarch says:

    Well, with the cotton and linen, someone intent on making their own paper might be able to find a use.

  2. Tanit-Isis says:

    This bugs me, too. I wonder if cotton might be compostable? (or, as Ravensmarch said, at least recyclable into paper). Tissue fitting is appealing because it can (at least theoretically) knock out one muslin, anyway.

    Ah. I have heard people request scrap fabric/old and unwearable items for making (stuffing) dog beds for shelters etc… either for the shelter to use or to sell for fundraising. I would definitely keep Freecycle in mind.

    Currently I’m still saving all my scraps to stuff a tape dress-form, whenever I get around to making one. Maybe some big floor cushions after that would be a good idea, too…

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