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2012: Looking forward

2012 January 3
by elizabeth_admin


As I did in my year-end post last week, I am not going to talk numbers today.  Actually, I have only one goal for 2012 and that’s just to sew as much as I can.  I don’t have a list of must learn techniques or a “gotta make this new type of garment” list.  I am not going to set out to make 3 million dresses or participate in sew-alongs. 

It’s really not about quantity anymore for me.  What is it about now?  Well, it’s an obsession, pure and simple.  If I’m not daydreaming about sewing, I’m working out a sewing problem.  If it’s not actually handling fabric in my stash, it’s buying fabric in the Garment District or online.  If it’s not looking through my pattern collection, it’s perusing the pattern selection online.  If I’m not creating something for myself, I’m reading about other people’s creations in sewing blogland. 

I am 100% focused on sewing most of the time.  And this makes me really happy.

Before I get too far into this post, I feel the need to tell on myself since you all know now that I tattle on myself all the time.  Let’s talk about that elephant that’s been living in my blog that I have been ignoring since January 2011.  I’m talking about the absence of SEWN Market, my Etsy store that never materialized.  I had semi-grand plans if you will recall:

“I have modest goals for this new endeavor.  I will sell things that are simply designed, small and that maximize the high quality fabric I will use.  If I make just enough to pay for my fabric addiction, I will be happy.”

This Etsy store was part of the reason why I hired a designer in the first place to design my new logo/label and blog header.  I wanted a cohesive cool look and feel for both the blog and SEWN Market.  I wanted a brand. 

But once I started digging more into my research on Etsy (how it works, who/what sells on Etsy), I realized something.  I was doing the same thing to sewing that I once did with my singing: trying to monetize my passion.  I know a lot of people talk about choosing your passion and the money will follow and maybe that works for some people, but it doesn’t work for me.  One of the lessons I learned from my singing career was that trying to make a living doing the thing that I loved took the pleasure right out of it.  I won’t go into the particulars of sustaining a classical singing career here, but suffice it to say that it wasn’t for me in the end.

Once I made that connection between a potential sewing career and my past singing career, I asked myself some important questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish with my sewing?
  • For whom do I want to sew?
  • Will sewing in my private time be enough for me?
  • Why do I want to make my living from sewing?
  • Do I want to sew all day long every day for someone else?

The answers were either surprising or just plain obvious. 

  • I want to sew my own clothes
  • I want to sew primarily for myself and occasionally for others
  • Yes, sewing on my down time will be enough for me (this was the surprising one for me)
  • I do want to sew all day long every day, but…
  • I do not want to sew all day long for other people.

Those answers made my decision not to attempt to monetize my love of sewing really easy.  The answer was a resounding NO.  Was the blog redesign/new logo a waste of time and money?  No!  I love my new look and my still so shiny new name.  My labels make me happy every time I see them. 

Long story long: I just want to sew.  That’s all.  So that’s what I’m going to do.

Here’s my wish for you and your 2012:

May you all have endless sewing mojo and the time to use it.

25 Responses leave one →
  1. January 3, 2012

    We have a lot in common! I am *exactly* the same! Trying to earn money from my passion is the quickest way to kill it! I am fortunate to have a good job and I view that job as necessary for funding my hobby. 😀

    Happy 2012!

  2. January 3, 2012

    I totally agree. A lot of people think I should go into business sewing things, but I think no way! First of all, I know my stuff isn’t good enough to sell. Secondly, I would rather make things for me than for others. I will sometimes sew things for my family, but that’s about it. I know some people who think that because I sew a green wool coat for myself I should make one for them too? Ummm, no. Get your own hobby.

    In any case, I am happy you will be spending your sewing time doing things you want to do and making things you want to make. Can’t wait to see what you come up with this year!

  3. January 3, 2012

    You go, girl!! Happy New Year!!

  4. January 3, 2012

    I believe “do what you love and the money will follow” but the key question is HOW MUCH money? You’ll make SOME money most of the time, I believe, but not enough to live on. Of course there are exceptions, but for most people…

    Happy New Year!

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      January 3, 2012

      Ugh. Thanks Peter. You’re right. I couldn’t think of the right phrase for the life of me. It’s a family illness. 😉

  5. January 3, 2012

    ..a very enjoyable post – and very good reasons why to enjoy your sewing for what it is – a hobby that brings you a great deal of satisfaction.

  6. Lynn permalink
    January 3, 2012

    Love this post! Sounds very wise to me. Happy New Year!

  7. January 3, 2012

    Shams post said it all for me except for one thing…sewing keeps me sane so if I had to get paid for this it would take away that last thing that was keeping me off psychotropic drugs…

  8. January 3, 2012

    I am exactly the same way. I thought for a long time about trying to make a career of art, and I do sell my paintings occasionally. But I realized that what I really like about it is the freedom to work on my own projects. If I want to do the same thing over and over to “get it right” I can. If I want to drop something that’s half-completed because its not working out I can do that too. I’m glad you figured out what makes you happy and that you take the time to share it with us. Thanks!

  9. January 4, 2012

    Food for thought there. I think I have a similar problem! And that’s even before the economic issue of making enough to actually live on.

    I wish you a fantastic 2012 sewing beautiful garments and enjoying every moment!

  10. January 4, 2012

    This is insightful. I didn’t know you could sing as well! Very impressive indeed!
    At least you have a lovely new logo. I like it. Even if it is not commercially useful.
    I’m looking forward to the fun, inspiring stuff you will sew in 2012:-)

  11. January 4, 2012

    You took the words right out of my mouth!

    I sew because I love it, I sew for me, my family and my house. People ask if I sell things, make garments to order, alterations (*shudder*) and no I don’t, they think I’m mad I’m not using my hobby to make money. But I work full-time and have a family to look after, my sewing is for fun and enjoyment. I don’t have time to mass produce things and where’s the fun in that?!

    I started my blog 4 months ago just to keep a record of what I’d made and learnt, not as a selling tool. I got obsessed with at least one post a week, but I’ve realised this year I won’t put that pressure on myself, I’ll blog when I’ve got something I want to say, or a project to document.

    Love your logo, it was worth it if it makes you happy 🙂 xx

  12. January 4, 2012

    Yes.. yes … yes… I agree. Not that I am a prolific sewer but I think it is an outlet that really makes me happy and I’m proud of my sewing achievements even if they are flawed. Sometimes (most times?) because they are flawed. I like to have some talent that people are a little bit in awe of. So enjoy your hobby!

  13. angela permalink
    January 4, 2012

    I could not agree more–i do not need money to kill my joy not tomention the people behind it.

  14. January 4, 2012

    This is very perceptive. Hooray for day jobs!

  15. January 4, 2012

    I totally agree , Happy New Year !!

  16. January 4, 2012

    When yet another of my colleagues or friends says I should make a career of sewing, I am going to refer them to this post. This is exactly how I feel! Glad you could come to revelation and enjoy your sewing! I am really hoping your wish comes true for all of us. `-)

  17. January 4, 2012

    YEAH – it feels so good to work those things out. Good for you.

    I’ve been doing a lot of evaluating lately as I start in a new direction and while it’s a business – and I intend it to make money – I’m doing it my way. If that doesn’t work, it was still an enjoyable experience. That for me has been the invaluable learning curve to aging – to shape my world my way. LOL – of course, it helps that I’m not hungry.

    Have a fabulous 2012.

  18. Rosie permalink
    January 4, 2012

    Enjoy your sewing and do it for you! Happy New Year!

  19. Karen Mulkey permalink
    January 4, 2012

    I’ve sewn for money and it can definitely spoil the joy of sewing for yourself and family. You seem to have made the right decision as I did by taking an 8 to 5 office job and then having my free time to indulge my two loves – singing and sewing. Yes, I believe there are several of us out there that can sing & sew (Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics among them).

  20. January 4, 2012

    Re: singing for a living in NYC – WORD. I technically do that but I am also a part-time paralegal for the main reason that having music as my main source of money made me (a) crazy anxious and (b) taking gigs I wouldn’t wish on people I loathe.

    Good for you for teasing that similarity out. If you are like me (perfectionist), it’s tough to NOT do it all. But sometimes doing things for yourself and for FUN, is the best thing of all. congrats!

  21. January 4, 2012

    Good for you, I go through the same thought process when people ask me why I don’t try to make money from sewing and I completely agree with your conclusions. I’m impressed by those who can manage sewing both as a career and a hobby but it’s not for me.

  22. January 5, 2012

    Happy New Year, Elizabeth!

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