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Divide projects into manageable chunks and actually complete them. Avoid saying, "I'll add that later." Decide if it really needs to happen, and if it does, do it.
Laurie Tavan


We’ve all done it. There’s an event to costume yourself for. In a flash of unnatural brilliance, you come up with the idea of the century. Yeah! With wings! And a collar that defies gravity! And it’ll be bias cut with an in-built corset and diamante sparkles. Oh – and the hat! You’ll make that too!

Even if you’re not that ambitious, it can still happen. You get a pattern, you get fabric, you cut it out and it’s half made, and then something happens. The muse leaves you with another half-finished project that just won’t get done.

Here and now, I invite you to finish these projects - and all your future projects, too. Use them to learn the lessons they have for you, improve your skills through them, and set yourself free instead of letting them hold you guilty hostage.

You can finish any project, and here the principle is just the same as for any project: break it down. Select the back of a convenient envelope and pick up a pen. Write down the things that need to happen to finish it. You’ll find this satisfying in itself, since the hard parts are just as easy to write down as the easy parts. “Set in sleeves.” “Eyelets.” There’s a strange release in naming the monsters. Even if there’s a huge section that you don’t know how to tackle, just name it: “Ruff.”

You may find it easiest to start with only one or two items, and then begin to break them down into sub-categories. “Finish gown” becomes “1. Finish bodice. 2. Finish skirt.” Keep breaking each one down. “1a. Fit bodice. 1b. Do sleeves. 2a. Waistband. 2b. Hem.”

The key is to break each step down so far that the little steps you end up with become easy. Baby steps; micro-movements, as SARK would say. “Lay out pieces on table.” “Get sewing machine out.” Once you break it down this far, it’ll look a lot easier, and it’ll also become a lot easier to commit to do just a step or two each day or each weekend, one baby step in front of another, until your project is complete.

ImageLaurie’s other point is just as useful. Be realistic about the details. If a final detail is so surplus to requirements that you’re content to do it “later,” then you don’t need it. If you need it, do it; if you don’t, let it go and move on to your next brilliant creation!


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