Category Archives: 30 minutes a day

Question of the Day: Mojo

Merriam-Webster lists the definition of mojo as follows:

    Etymology: probably of African origin; akin to Fulani moco’o medicine man Date: 1926 : a magic spell, hex,  or charm; broadly : magical power <works his mojo on the tennis court>.

When sewists speak of mojo, I believe they mean something more specific like the will to sew, an inexorable pull into the sewing area, a compulsion to create something through the act of sewing.  I find that my sewing mojo waxes and wanes in indirect corelation to the difficulty of each project.  Funny how that happens, isn’t it?  I am working on the crazy skirt (as my teacher Thea calls the Knip Mode skirt).  By all rights, I should have been done with this baby already.  But I keep procrastinating.  Each step is excruciatingly slow and not because it takes long to do, but because it involves a lot of procrastinating. 

Much as I am wont to complain about pattern instructions and their inscrutable-ness, I still feel at sea without them.  I am such a play by the rule book girl (on most things, but not all).  I use recipes.  I follow directions (when I can understand them).  I like knowing the “proper” order.  Not having directions on how to construct this skirt is such a rudderless feeling to me and causes me to have slight panic attacks.  Ok, ok.  I’m not having panic attacks really, but it does make me procrastinate. 

So I’ve cut out my fashion fabric (LOVE IT!!!!) and of course made my requisite cutting error by forgetting the hem allowance on one of the pieces, but I am ignoring moving forward anyway.  I have yet to cut out the lining (will do that tonight) and need to decide how to interface for the button area.  Should I interface all the way down or for each button individually?  And since this is a wrap skirt, should I piece the waist band to match the skirt pattern pieces (i.e., one for the back, one for the wrap and one for the under wrap?  Or just make one long continuous waist band?

Going back to mojo though, as I mentioned earlier, I find that my mojo mysteriously disappears when I am working on an intimidating project or the difficulty meter heads north.  But something miraculous happened last night.  I was procrastinating as usual and it was 9:30pm before I actually started working on my skirt.  If I want to wear this skirt to the PR Weekend in Philly, I gots to get moving on it pronto!  So, I set up my navy thread, did some practice serging and stitching, and just started working.  (Because my fabric is ravelly, I serged all the sides of the cut pieces before I handled the fabric too much.)  I did one seam, and thought, let’s do another.  Next thing I knew, I had the fabric shell finished (except for hemming and the waistband of course).  I couldn’t believe it.  It was 1/3 constructed in a couple of hours.  I was just going to do my 30 minutes a day, but once I got into the groove, I didn’t want to stop.  It was amazing. 

So the question of the day is this: How does your mojo work for you?  Do you have to just do the work so that it magically appears?  Or do you have to wait for the mojo to appear to do the work?  Which comes first?  The chicken or the egg? 

When I originally set up my 30 minutes a day discipline, my secret hope was that it would jump start my mojo.  And I think it really works!!!  Now I just need to start earlier in the evening, so I have the whole evening to work.  This stupid procrastinating thing is cutting into my mojo time!

Leave your mojo talk in the comments section below please.


A Mixed Bag

Today’s post will be a mixed bag.  I have received so many great comments on my last few posts (thank you!!!) that I want to call out a few several for you all.  


In response to Frustrated, many of you commiserated with me on the process of fitting a pattern to our bodies.  Phew!  I am so glad that I am not the only one.  Patricia  linked to her sewing forum where she has tips and tutorials for fitting.  Check it out! 

Several people recommended fitting books/videos like Nancy Zieman’s “Pattern Fitting with Confidence”, the “Fit for Real People” book, “Fast Fit” by Sandra Betzina, Peggy Sayer’s video (sorry no link) for fitting a muslin, and the G Street Fabrics book, “Customize your Sewing Patterns for a Perfect Fit”.  I definitely have to get my hands on one of these references.  Sue suggested joining my local ASG chapter which I have considered, but since I have challenges with childcare, it’s not an option right now for me. 

I loved Helen’s comment about those annoying I mean prolific sewists who just whip up garments left and right.  She rightly pointed out that they’ve probably worked with the pattern before and are very careful with their fabric selection.  Sewingatnight also mentioned working out slopers for each kind of garment.  TNT’s are the way to go people.  I know that and that’s why I am on a quest to find some.  There’s just that painful process of getting patterns to fit you that’s the problem.  😉   


My post about how our home sewn clothes wear generated some good discussion too.  But first let me post some pictures of my trench where I think it’s showing the wear and tear which prompted the post in the first place.  Some of it is poor hand sewing and some of it is lack of interfacing for the buttonholes.  DOH! 

faulty hand sewing of the lining

more faulty hand sewing

button hole fatigue

button hole sadness

My mom suggested that I get my local dry cleaner to water proof my trench coat.  Great idea.  Thanks Mom!  I didn’t know they could do that.  Mary Nanna pointed out that as she became more experienced, the more durability she built into her clothes.  I am noticing that already with my clothes.  Sheila got me to thinking that I probably shouldn’t have used silk charmeuse as my lining in the trench coat as it is an item which will get much wear.  Live and learn.  *sigh*  Wendy also commented on the trench saying that she interfaces everything in coats so they will last longer.  Noted!  

Mary in FL asked which pattern I used for the red border print dress.  Simplicity 3678 of course.  The only dress pattern I’ve used yet (until this week). 

Toocutedobs mentioned that she’s not worn any of the clothes she’s sewn, but promised to do so last weekend.  And I can report back today, that she did.  Yeah!!!  Heather said she also had a mental block about wearing her own sewn clothes.  Heather, how about this weekend?  Wanna make me a promise to wear something you’ve made like Toocutedobs? 

Carolyn pointed out that in thinking about what clothes I’ve made that I wear on a regular basis, I’ve discovered what I like to wear.  My mom will most likely note for you all that I was known in childhood as the girl who wore dresses all the time.  So I guess that is my true nature.  😉 

Peter admitted to wearing the same pair of jeans he made last August almost every day since.  I hope they make it to the washer every once in a while. 

Sherry shared that she had a tutorial on her blog on using twill tape for waists when there is no waistband.  Thanks!  

Evelyn offered some ideas for making clothes more durable like using your sewing machine after serging a seam to make the seam stronger and using twill tape on curved waist bands. 


My last post about taking the 30 minutes a day plunge came up with some great tips as well.  Sheila takes her projects to work when they’re portable.  Now that’s dedication.  WOW. 

Darci says she sets herself up to start sewing right away the next time she’s at the machine, so she doesn’t spend precious sewing time prepping.  I’ve done that several times before including last night and can vouch that it works.  Not only does it set you up, but it stops you from sewing when you’re tired because you stop early enough in the evening to do the prep work the next session.  A win-win situation! 

Trena mentioned something of which I suspected about the 30 minute a day method: that while you do make progress on your projects every day, you don’t get the high of making something in one long stretch.  There’s no immediate gratification.  And speaking of Trena, go check out her new vintage dress.  It’s gorgeous!!!!!

So, the last two nights I have been working on my DVF knockoff using Vogue 8379.  I worked longer than 30 minutes each day which is what I was hoping would happen.  Let me tell you though, Everything. Takes. So. Long.  OMG!  I guess I will get used to this process eventually, but for someone who’s always impatient, it’s such a pain to endure.  But back to the wrap dress – I can tell already that I will be making this dress again and again (with some tweaks of course!).  I even have plans to make it with my navy ombre knit that I bought from Kashi a while back.  Oooooohhhhhh, I can’t wait (remember, I’m impatient).   I feel a TNT coming on folks.  

Anyway, that’s my mixed bag post today.  Hope you liked the round up.  I’m not promising anything here, but I think I can finish it by Friday.  Here’s to hoping! 

Happy sewing my friends.