Improvising out of a problem

I wrote recently about crafting overwhelm, and how hard it can be when you want to create, but you’re so befuddled by the decisions that you need to take, you can’t even get started. I had lots of comments from people sharing similar/related experiences, so I thought I’d share a bit more of my efforts to learn how to deal with the negative stuff a bit better.

I had the overwhelmed feeling just this morning when I arrived at the studio to start a new day. Last week I completed some magazine work with a very specific brief, and didn’t have to make a single decision about the style or the fabric I used. Today it was time to start something fresh, and I was on my own… Initially it felt great to be working on my own stuff… what a treat. But (damn you anxiety!) it didn’t take long for the usual decision-making nonsense to kick in. I had a plan to make more pouches and wallets for my Folksy shop and for our Christmas Artists and Makers Market at Spode but just didn’t know how to get going.

Thinking back to my original post about being overwhelmed, I remembered that I’d looked back to my earlier, more confident crafting, and picked out the things I’d really enjoyed making. Improv quilted pouches featured strongly, so I grabbed that idea like a lifeline. Then I thought, why not give myself even more freedom and pick out fabrics for 2 or 3 different projects, allowing myself more space to have fun and to make mistakes? I also limited myself to working from bits and pieces in my scrap bags (not that that’s much of a limit, but you know what I mean!), so I wasn’t rooting through my whole fabric stash…

I started with 3 quirky scraps which appealed straight away and then built on them, building colours, themes, and print textures.

selecting-fabrics-for-improv-pieced-pouches-pink
I have a ton of sewing themed scraps, so when I spotted the  little ‘Fabrics’ scrap, it was easy to build on the idea. I even managed to include some of my precious sewing machine selvedge!
selecting-fabrics-for-improv-pieced-pouches-bears-2
I adore this bear fabric (look at the sweet grumpy bear face), and loved pulling out all the teal fabrics I have in my scrap boxes. I buy loads of teal and sea-coloured fabrics. I’m hoping to pull out the word ‘sweet’ from that texty fabric you can see in the pile, to pair with the bears.
selecting-fabrics-for-improv-pieced-pouches-bengal
This is a bit more outside my comfort zone, and I’am already thinking that I might tweak it a bit when I start sewing tomorrow. I started with the awesome ‘Bengal’ scrap (which is actually a selvedge) and wanted to do a spicy navy blue and orange combination. It needs more orange!

I really had fun this morning, so much so that I was late for a meeting with my colleage at Spode (good thing she understands creative inspiration..). And I’m so pleased that I’m going in tomorrow with these lovely scraps clipped together and ready to go (another use for Wonder clips, thanks to Renee for the reminder!):

selecting-fabrics-for-improv-pieced-pouches-pink-clipped-together

selecting-fabrics-for-improv-pieced-pouches-bears-3

selecting-fabrics-for-improv-pieced-pouches-bengal-3

Hopefully I’ll have some pics of completed pouches to share really soon, and I have a technique to draw on for the future, which is a good feeling.

2 thoughts on “Improvising out of a problem

  1. Pouches are one of my go to presents. This week is half term, and as I am off work I have set aside tomorrow to make a few for Christmas. I love the bee fabric form your first selection of fabrics. x

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