How not to sew a new top in a week! Part 2

As promised I’m back to let you know how I went sewing a top in a week. To be honest it was a little over a week; nine days in fact from blog post to new top at work.

‘Hey Kate you made a pretty firm commitment to this week thing – what happened?’

K: Oh yeah well I had one of those weeks… you know the ones you always have when you can least afford it.

‘Yeah I do, but I thought you’d be better than that – what gives?’ (Why did I set this imaginary conversation in 1967?)

K: OK well Monday was a right off, stayed up til midnight making a kid’s birthday cake.

‘Yeah but the cake was for your own kid, surely you knew his birthday was coming?

K: Der, yes but it’s not easy to make a cake with said child present so I was left waiting until he nodded off at like 9pm.

‘What, why on earth was your kid up at 9pm?”

K: Man you are one judgy disembodied voice! Yes it was late so that was Monday out and you guessed it Tuesday was out because of the actual birthday celebration.

‘OK so I’m getting bored with this story, does the rest of the week go on like this?

K: Yeah sort of, so I was exhausted by Wednesday. The kind of exhausted where you sleep in your clothes, in the car, while eating.

‘Oh dear so you didn’t start until Thursday night?’

K: Yes I could have but then Mark had to attend some staff night and I was sort of caught up having conversations with cranky over-tired toddlers about who was tired and who wasn’t in fact tired for about 3 hours until we all agreed we were all very tired and fell asleep. But not before I’d cleaned up several puddles of doggy diarrhea, ran a Royal Commission into why on earth anyone would give salami to a Chihuahua with a history of being unable to process man made meats and handed down my findings to an empty press gallery.

‘For the love of God, did you do anything at all this week?’

K: I feel like you’re a really nasty part of my personality that I would like to have exorcised. It’s not like I’m not already racked with guilt. I live with guilt. I know guilt. But I’m an optimist so there’s always tomorrow, oh wait, there’s the end of season hockey night so we’ll need to play the “I’m not tired game again on a different day but this time we’ll add I’m not hungry either’.

By the weekend I had now started to re-think the entire process. Working at night is clearly not working at night for me. My energy is low, my willpower is low and I can watch The Bachelor while rocking a baby but I can’t cut out a pattern. I’m learning the hard way about how my brain works and it is quite torturous when your expectations and your capabilities are this far apart. However I can salvage this, I can clear off the kitchen table. I can choose the fabric. I can circle the project like a scary extra from ‘Cats’.

Hilariously, the weekend was also a write off, so I reconciled myself with the fact that Jeff was away in NZ and therefore I would be free on Monday to sew like the wind.

‘Hang on, you spent the whole week torturing yourself only to do the whole thing in one day?’

K: Yes but it made me realise that I was trying to wedge an activity into a space that it really didn’t fit. And I also became aware that how I talked to myself about my creative project sort of sucked the fun out of it all together. I know I sound like I just ate a crystal but all of the ‘shoulds’ just made me feel terrible. And while I was busy berating myself for my lack of creative output I was potentially missing out on the important things in life like ‘Home Town Visits’ on the The Bachelor or another dog poo on the carpet.

So I sewed a top in a few hours and it was bliss! I had the time, the stuff (OK I stopped once to go and get thread but I came right back!) and the inclination. I was so pleased with myself! I was genuinely excited to see what I’d made out of nothing. I had the usual thoughts about how much I love this and how I’ll never stop sewing and how I’ll never let anything get in the way of this.

‘But then you kicked yourself in the shins right?’

Yes I did and I thought about how being creative is a real blessing, it’s the highest high you can have without shooting heroin into the back of your eyeball. And I’m lucky in so many ways to be able to pursue it. It’s time to stop making myself feel like the whole thing is a dreaded curse. It’s time for me to plan the times where it’s realistic I can get something done and then protect that time rather than pretending I can work in between all the other stuff.

Realism is not the easiest thing for me to embrace, I used to think it was an insult ‘can you just be realistic’? No I can not! However I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson this week.

‘Don’t you mean this 9 days?’

K: Oh would you please stop?! Yes over the last little while I’ve learned I can find a space to be creative as long as I make a sensible plan to do so. Not the stuff of bumper stickers or rock n roll legend but maybe the closest I’ll get to making any real progress.

Excuse the top underneath but Melbourne’s Spring weather is not quite here yet! Brrrr…


  1. Jeff

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