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Today, I will share with you my secrets on how to avoid stress when it comes to making multiple outfits that are due on the same date. I will also share some tools that I use to achieve this. Learning and utilizing these essential habits and tools have helped me successfully run my design and sewing business while maintaining a happy state of mind.
Sewing: Beginner’s Guide To The Basics
Dance Costumes: Beginner’s Guide To The Basics
At first glance, the thought of making numerous outfits with the same due date is intimidating and overwhelming. Knowing that you are a one-woman team just solidifies the oncoming stress even more.
Aside from the precursor stress, understand that making a 12 piece collection is doable. Making dance costumes for an entire team is doable. All these things are possible and can be done stress-free. By following the process below and utilizing the tools listed, hitting that deadline shouldn’t be a problem.
The Bigger Picture
First, take a look at the bigger picture. Yes, I understand that there are so many components that you have to work on and there is much you need to do. However, step back and look at the bigger picture. Break down the steps that you need to do.
Start off with your design. Is your design set? Or is it still a work in progress? I find the tools that help me best when deciding on a design is a sketchbook. By having my design on a sketchbook, I am able to visualize the outfit.
Not only that, I can pair swatches of fabric onto the side of the sketch. This allows me to see if these are truly the fabrics that I want for this outfit. With my designs finalized, it’s easier to move on and avoid any stress. However, if your design is still changing constantly, that’s when anxiety hits you hard.
With so many moving components not nailed down, there’s nothing you can do but feel helpless. Don’t do this to yourself. Nail down your design so that you can move onward with the creative process.
Fabrics and Fluff
This next step occurs simultaneously when you are deciding on your design. As you work out the kinks in your design you are also choosing fabrications. I previously talked about adding fabric swatches to the sketches above.
Fabrics play a huge part in design as they allow the design to move a certain way. It can limit or enable the end result. Therefore, figure out what kind of garment are you producing.
Are you making a stand only dress? This is a dress where all you can do is literally stand. Or are you making dance costumes? Which would require a lot of mobility.
If so, will there be enough stretch in the fabrications that people can dance in? These are the various factors that you have to think about when deciding on fabrications as well as design.
Budgets and Deadlines…Oh, My Stress!
The next step is the most important and it is a dual step! Pay close attention. Set a budget and deadlines. Stick to these budgets and deadlines at all costs! Using a budget to see the bigger picture helps ensure that we achieve what we want without our bank taking a huge hit.
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Also, it allows us to plan for what we want in a timely matter. Your banks (you and your clients) will thank you for it as well. By having a budget, it helps us navigate through wants and needs on a garment. It’s essential and it will help you avoid many stressful situations.
Deadlines are also something crucial to avoiding stress in a project. Deadlines are dates that must be met regardless of any situation. Therefore, plan ahead and incorporate some dates for setbacks.
If you build in time for mistakes or delays, it will ensure that you will meet the end goal successfully. Not only that, because you already planned and prepared for delays, you avoid any major meltdowns.
Many designers I know, including myself in the past, tend to skip these steps because we felt that budgets stifle the creative process and deadlines just created more stress.
People often avoid having these conversations, because it causes much tension, anger, fear, and anxiety. Accepting that deadlines and budgets are beneficial, it will help you manage your time and money with ease in the creative process.
Once you have settled on the design, fabrics, budgets, and deadlines; next is getting all the materials in your hands. You can only start cutting and sewing when you have all your materials on hand.
While you wait for your materials to arrive, check and ensure that your essential tools are still working properly. There is nothing worse than starting a project and finding out at the same time that your sewing tools need repair and maintenance. For example, like your sewing machine tensions are off or that there’s a kink in your scissors.
Related Topic: Beginner’s Guide to the Basics of Sewing
These simple things can cause your projects to be delayed. Even though it’s not by much, the minor setbacks can lose you a day or two in your schedule. Remember, it is key to stay on schedule because it ensures that you meet your deadlines.
Once your fabrics and materials arrive, then you can officially start. By this time, you would have already nailed your design and created your patterns. Let’s start by cutting out all pattern pieces.
Cutting out pattern pieces is essentially what takes the longest. Why? You have to cut out so many layers and pieces. There is the outer fabric, the lining fabric, and then the interfacing, and etc. All these pieces and layers add up.
For the dance outfits that I created, it honestly took me 2 weeks to cut everything out. I factored in my other roles as a mom/fur mom, wife, blogger, dance director, etc and planned ahead for any delays. With effective time management, I was able to create 6+ outfits from cutting, sewing, and beading within a month’s timing.
Of course, planning and finding the correct materials took longer. Therefore, this entire project took me a little over 2 months in total. One and a half month dedicated to planning, designing, sourcing, and getting materials in hand. It took another month for cutting, sewing, and beading.
Avoid Stress By Having a Plan
I couldn’t have accomplished these many outfits if I didn’t plan ahead and build in time for it. Remember that the key to avoiding any stress in any project is to plan ahead. Have your design set so you can move along in the creative process.
After picking out your fabrication and sourcing all the materials that you need to complete the entire outfit/s. You will need to set your budget and deadlines. Remember to stick to these and don’t budge from them. Lastly, enjoy the cutting and sewing process.
All these things may seem trivial. However, they are key factors to avoiding anxiety, chaos, and stress. I hope these tips have helped you in your design process.
What are some tips that you feel have helped you in your process? Share them in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.