The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Help with giving up RTW Fast for a year

There’s a fun meme going on through out the blogosphere, and I really love it.  Most of the memes are just fun and that’s OK too, but this one is REALLY useful.

The one about pledging to go without RTW for the year.

Not only is this a great pledge but it can lead to some really eye-opening revelations for you….but that’s later.

So to help you, I’d love to hear if you’re having problems with this, or when you run out of steam, or anything that might get in the way of this.


Here’s the first bit of help…..from this article.  It’s short and sweet, and I don’t like programs, or promises for that matter, that say you can learn to make a dress in 3 hours, because you know what?  You can’t.  You can make a great dent, but you can learn how to sew a whole dress in 3 hours.  It may take you 3 long days to learn a lot of the basics of the assembly of a dress, and telling you it’s only going to take 3 hours is just like pimping you out.  I know it’s popular to present “quickie” projects, but  I don’t do that here.

The projects I encourage and inspire, take time.  And they last most often 600 X longer than they took to make (that’s 3 days to make and 5 years to wear, and 5 years is SHORT!).


So what I like about this article is that it lays out some clear expectations on how long it takes we humans to “learn” a new habit, and some definitions along the way.  Habits worth learning aren’t going to be over night, and will take some concentration and effort, but here’s the thing:  Once you’ve learned them, it’s hard to unlearn them.

The study also says that if all you want to do is learn something simple (like drinking a glass of water after breakfast every day), this won’t take any time at all.  The more complex, the more time it takes to get into the habit of it.  This is great to know, so that you won’t expect (and therefore be disappointed) that you didn’t make this a habit after 21 days. There’s a 21-day rumor out thee, which is fine if you want to learn something simple.

So be gentle with yourself while you’re learning something monumental like this, and let me know about your problems or frustrations or roadblocks.  To think that all of the experts who have the knowledge they have today didn’t have a lot of the same ones that you will no doubt encounter, is wrong!  If you don’t want to share here publicly, you can always click the logo at the bottom of the  page, and it has all my contact info and my social media links – share here, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or email or whenever you would like to so that we can all learn from this whole adventure!

LMK the roadblocks and hopefully I can help you with them.





  1. “It may take you 3 long days to learn a lot of the basics of the assembly of a dress, and telling you it’s only going to take 3 hours is just like pimping you out. I know it’s popular to present “quickie” projects, but I don’t do that here.”

    PREACH!!! Those “super simple three hour dress/blouse/whatever” tutorials drive me up the wall! It’s always some junky-looking saggy-baggy piece of crap with zero fitting, it only works for one body type (theirs!), and at least half the time it starts with “take a t-shirt from your closet to use as a pattern” (because we all know that slapdash RTW stuff is superior to those patterns made by design professionals). They should be honest and call the tutorials “how to poorly imitate some cheap rag from a fast fashion store instead of investing time and money into making yourself a real garment.” Whew! Sorry, that hit a nerve.

    So yes, back on topic! As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been fasting from RTW and retraining my brain. One habit I’ve developed is instead of thinking “Oh, that’s cute, I want it,” I think “Oh, that’s cute, I can make that.” Sometimes it’s the color or the print, other times it’s the shape or a design idea. What really helps is that RTW tends to be so pathetic and cheap-looking…which makes me think “I can do better.” Not everything should be borrowed and copied because sometimes it’s just downright shoddy.

    • Courtney – you make an excellent point. This all starts with some “brain re-training” or “shopping stoppage” “shopping intervention” or something like that, cause once you start looking at the goods, you’ll start realizing how cheap it is, and take the cute, fun, color, design element or whatever from what you liked about it, do it yourself and it will be sooooo much better.

      But the great place to start is at the beginning….I like “brain re-training!”

  2. Such a great article Claire. I’d love to mention it on my Facebook page 🙂

  3. Absolutely – you can link to here if you don’t mind!

  4. In the past year, I’ve probably bought less than 10 pieces of clothing ready to wear. Maybe the “weaning” process is over and I should try to go cold turkey in 2014!
    Knowing how to sew is very freeing, and I agree with the above comments. Whenever I see RTW now I think “How can I make that better by making it myself?” It takes more time than just snatching something off a rack, but it’s so much more gratifying of a process, and it really enables you to develop your own sense of style.
    Before I really got into garment sewing, I would wander around clothing stores in frustration. A few years back I spent an entire afternoon looking for a dress…. ANY dress… that I could wear to an upcoming wedding. Everything was either too short, fit weird, or too expensive. I ended up settling for a dress off the clearance rack that was cute but slightly too big for me.
    In contrast, this past month I spent making a gorgeous customized blue brocade dress that I will wear to a wedding in a few weeks. It fits me, it’s gorgeous, retro inspired, exactly what I wanted… and I never had to step into a department store!
    Claire, thanks for helping inspire me to at least attempt to make a lasting habit this year!

    • Here’s the thing…..all that time you spent shopping could be spent sewing. And this is EXACTLY how I think of sewing….as empowering, freeing and so expressive of my exact style and look that I want. Hurray for you that you get to wear exactly what you want to your upcoming event!!!! And even better, take all the credit for it! Now, when they ask you to sew for them, you can say no, but they can learn, just like you learned to!

      Keep sewing!

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