Sewing in the age of ADHD

Every now and then I get curious about what other people do when they sew. I have an almost ritual-like approach to sewing. Which goes down like so:

Once I’ve picked out the fabric to pattern pairing, I lay the fabric out on the living room floor in front of the TV. Because my husband is usually in there with me, working on his hobbies (always something computer-related and more impressive and baffling to me as time goes on), we put on a movie to half-watch while I lay out my pattern pieces and cut. Depending on the movie and the pattern, I often finish before the movie does, but occasionally they synch up just right (matching plaid patterns makes for a full-length movie watching experience).

Once I’m done cutting, I get up I realize I have nearly broken my back by sitting bent over on the floor for hours. Good lord, I’m gonna do myself in this way. Do you cut on the floor? I dream of the day when I can have a large cutting table. And room for said table. Anyhow, my sewing machine is in the next room so sometimes I’ll just keep listening to whatever movie is on the TV on the next room, but that can be distracting, so lately I’ve been putting on my headphones and listening to music or a podcast.

The music I listen to when sewing is not unlike the kind of music I listen to when exercising or working on a hectic deadline. Fast, pounding and with some kind of anger or urgency. Decidedly not the kind of music that pairs with the old fashioned clothes I’m making. While I certainly have tons old timey stuff my music collection, but I find it kind of funny that I approach sewing much the same way someone might approach getting on a treadmill. Like, yeah, I’m gonna sew the crap out of this dress – RARRR!!! Whatever works, I suppose.

But I’ll tell you this — I can’t sew in silence and I can’t sew with nothing else going on. In order to concentrate, I have to distract myself. Modern problems.

Most of the time, I finish my projects in one day. Maybe I’ll leave the buttons or hem for later, but more often than not, I soldier through without stopping. I think this comes from many years of unfinished projects sitting on my sewing table collecting dust and spite with my inattention. I have a fear of unfinished projects. Which is why my Frankenstein dress is tormenting me still. Every day that goes by I worry that I’ll never go back to it. Defeated. That was the kind of thing that led me to avoiding buttonholes for so many years.

I’m all about the finish now. I keep at it even if it means I sew until 3AM (weekends only, of course). This has helped me tackle problems and learn something new, but I don’t think it’s ingratiated me any to my poor neighbor downstairs. Fortunately my sewing machine is over their kitchen.

So what are your sewing/craft habits?

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