Take Part In The Sew Sessment!


Will I ever make a dress like this again? And should I?

Do you ever wish you could step back and analyse your sewing? Struggle to see a clear path forwards? Wonder why you keep making outfits you don’t actually wear? Yeah, me too!

So I decided to take action and drew up a self assessment form – a Sew Sessment, if you will. I didn’t overthink the process, just typed up a list of questions. I used the Power of Three to frame my questions. (Three is a good number, don’t you find?) Then I made myself answer. Quickly. No thinking time. Just writing down what sprang into my head.

The outcomes were interesting. My top three sewing talents had nothing to do with technique and everything to do with mindset. Colleagues came in as some of the people who enable me – odd, when only a few colleagues sew. (But many of them congratulate me on my makes!) I found the reasons I CAN sew a bit uncomfortable to read back. Seriously, I don’t have kids and I do have disposable income? They’re the only reasons I can sew? But, hey, maybe let’s not over analyse. At the very least, this exercise allowed me to recognise what I want to achieve moving forwards – to test myself again with makes like this and this!

If you like, you can download the same template here. Have a go at filling it out – spontaneously and without too much thinking. I’d love to hear your results! What will YOUR Number One Challenge be? And do you think there are any key questions missing from this Sew Sessment?

SEW SESSMENT! Seeing How My Sewing Lines up

Top Three Items That I Wear For Home:

Leggings, comfort wear, jeans

Top Three Items That I Wear For Work:

Dresses, skirts, power dressing

Top Three Sewing Talents (go on, show off!):

Patience, aspiration, determination

Top Three Sewing Weak Spots (ouch!):

Bodice fitting, skipping toiles, lack of style judgement

Top Three Sewing Goals:

Return to learning, new challenges, rediscovered energy

Top Three People Who Enable Me:

Blogging friends, colleagues, family

Top Three People I Enable:

Other Sewists, beginners, friends around me

Top Three Reasons I Can’t Sew:

Lack of time, lack of energy, other demands on my life

Top Three Reasons I Can Sew:

Lack of dependents, financial independence, because I want to!


A project that challenges me & takes me beyond the easy makes I currently rely on


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37 Responses to Take Part In The Sew Sessment!

  1. This is absolutely so true!!!!!

  2. oonaballoona says:

    oh karen I LIKE THIS.

    (and i love that hot georgia on you.)

  3. Ooh, excellent questionnaire. Wonder what I’d answer. Might give it a try. Thanks!

  4. Ooh nice! I like the way you made yourself answer quickly so there wasn’t too much analysis and the answers ‘came from the heart’.

    That dress looks fab on you!


  5. Nakisha says:

    Ooooh now I’ve gotta do it! 🙂

    I love your answers. LOVE!

    And you should have 27 of those dresses because it’s friggin amazing!

  6. Shar says:

    I downloaded your Sew Sessment and made sure not to peek at your answers first. I’d tried following along with Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series but due to lack of time and being much less introspective than I’d like, I didn’t keep up with it. This is much more my style! I went skill specific on my ‘talents’ but my number one challenge is the same as yours. Case in point I’m currently working on the Robson trench (with the enabling of my sewing blogger friend Gail). One suggestion for a question is ‘What would be your dream sewing project’. I love your Gertie Bombshell dress and that coat is amazing!

  7. Rochelle New says:

    This is brilliant! I often ask myself these questions in passing, and occasionally jot down a note or two, but I love that you’ve made this an official thing that I can consult and keep track of. Thank you!!

  8. Pingback: Sew Assessment! By Did You Make That | Bird and Bicycle

  9. that’s a very interesting list. Do you think that you presently rely on your easy makes because of the time and energy constraints? I plan a lot, and in my head I sew heaps, but I find that the reality of my situation often deters me from doing much but rushed jobs. I’d imagine that, even without the dependents and with a degree of financial independence, you’d still sometimes be struggling to allocate the extra time that a truly challenging project might require? I’d probably have to overthink my answers to come up with anything that didn’t sound like gibberish, but I’ll certainly give that list some thought, now that you’ve very generously sneezed it around the blogosphere. 🙂

  10. Pingback: Sew Sessment | dottie doodle

  11. Great idea to pose yourself questions. One of my skills is my determination not to have UFOs but one of my failings is my llack of accuarcy in sewing. I’m hoping I can get this through lots of practice as I can’t afford lessons.

  12. Angela says:

    I did my own sew sessment and came to the conclusion that sewing is a very strange hobby. Most sewers, me included, admit to making things that they don’t wear, aren’t happy with the fit, are disappointed in the finishing, etc and yet we keep doing it. That fact is that sewing is a craft and a skill that takes years to master so self taught sewers should be proud of what they make and put the disaster projects down to experience! I think it’s possible to take sewing too seriously. It is meant to be fun, isn’t it? As someone with limited income and a child I find myself being very picky about what I make and I think that isn’t such a bad thing. Making more than one version from the same pattern is the way to go. And being very careful about what fabric I buy is another must!

  13. Kat H says:

    Oh, this is great! I just did it, whizzing through and not allowing myself thinking time. Interesting, turns out I live in dresses and cardigans for both work and home. Clearly, I need more of them. 😉 (And I also need to sort out the chaos that is my craft space, since that’s one of my main blockers and the only one I can really control. Gah.)

  14. Steph says:

    Wow – gorgeous dress. You look so pretty! I like the assessment list of questions. Recently I found Sarai of Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series quite fun to do also. Her idea is that if you’re clear about your core style you can prioritize your sewing to ensure that your sewing reflects that style. My priority is to sew things that fill a genuine gap in my wardrobe. I have a lot of different hobbies and much as I love sewing I like to leave time to enjoy other diversions. Mostly, I don’t feel good when I make something that just adds to my closet without becoming something I wear on a regular basis. I have a rule with regard to buying things that I stick to buying things that will “help me to flourish” rather than fill an instant want, which includes fabric. You’ve also got that there in your growth/challenge notes. My challenge is therefore to sew a small capsule wardrobe this year that reflects my genuine style and adds to my life.

  15. MaciNic says:

    Thank you for the qns & prompt! I went through a similar ‘sewing plan’ by looking at my laundry, but brainstorming rapidly goes really well with that – and I love the suggested extra qn of what is your dream make – a leather or french jacket here – I’m a way off on either! 😉

  16. Sewer from across the Pond says:

    Plusses: Great patience (tracing patterns, toiles, hand sewing), good taste, exceptional willingness to learn new techniques, tendency to choose only styles that are wearable.

    Minuses: No dedicated sewing space, disorganized life, need a fitter and have neither fitting buddy nor dress form, too timid (but at times, for a good reason), sometimes too OCD, too much reading of sewing blogs, fora and books instead of sewing.

  17. Lynn says:

    That’s very interesting. I used to sew a lot of things that I never wore because they didn’t suit my lifestyle. So a few years ago I started putting more thought into both what I sew and what I wear. Now I sew more casual and dress a little nicer than I used to. There’s no reason why one can’t look nice just for hanging out at home or shopping at Walmart.

    On the assessment, I found it hard to come up with three answers for most of the questions.

    • Aileen Brown says:

      I took up sewing again a couple of years ago and am only now starting to realise that I should sew what I actually wear rather than what I want to make! I have a good half dozen dresses that will never be worn – at least not by me!

  18. Dana says:

    This is really inspiring! Good balance of affirmative questions and critical questions. I’ll definitely need to spend some time mulling this list over for myself! I’ve been doing some sewing self-reflection recently.

  19. Marianne says:

    Interesting! Items I wear for work, items I wear at home….wait, where is Items I Wear For Special Occasions??? Looking at my me made wardrobe you could think it is Christmas every other day. Gala at short notice? No problem. Then why is my daily wardrobe so boring? There’s my number one challenge!

  20. Pingback: Prolific Project Starter | Sew Sessment

  21. Done, I’m hoping it will shake me out of my post holiday lack of enthusiasm to sew and give me a kick up the backside to make some useful stuff for me http://prolificprojectstarter.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/sew-sessment/

  22. Ooh, love the idea of a sew-sessment 🙂 I most certainly need to tame my inner ‘magpie’ tendencies: while I love pretty, showy pieces; what I actually wear are the more practical, mundane items. I somehow need to merge the two… As for dream challenges- a perfectly fitted Chanel-style jacket all the way, sigh!

  23. Fadanista says:

    This is a great idea. My assessments are similar to yours, except that I sew (and knit) to reclaim my work/life balance (I had almost none for years) and to make a personal stand environmentally.

  24. This was a timely questionnaire for me as I have returned to sewing after a long break and it has shown my sewing priorities have definitely changed. I used to make items I needed that I couldn’t afford to buy which were usually dresses (often in silk). Now I sew for relaxation, the joy of creating something new and I want to be able to wear the stuff I make everyday or see it around the home. I do have kids and a job which keep me busy but I make time to knit and sew for myself.

  25. Pingback: The did you make that Sew Sessment! | Barmy Beetroot

  26. dokucug says:

    YES to the bombshell dress – you look amazing in it!

  27. Lorna says:

    Yes, you should make another dress like that – you look fanastic!. Love the questions. I had a baby three years ago, and my figure has changed to a ridiculous degree. I’m a box, with a waist half an inch larger than my bust. I live in leggings and tunics at home, but keep sewing skirts, because that’s what I want to wear, but they look terrible on, and never fit quite right. Am halfway through a Coco, but can’t get on with it because of the Tiny Despot, who is 3. Apparently it’s not acceptable to park your toddler in front of the tv whilst you disappear up to the attic to sew… so the toddler tells me, anyway!

  28. Kat says:

    Love this. I am also *quite* guilty of making stuff I never wear. I think I need a life that matches my wardrobe 😛 My number one sewing challenge is to draft more stuff from my block – I’m just so happy with the fit when I do!

  29. Pingback: Sew Assessment! By Did You Make That | a Crafty Scientist

  30. ipires says:

    Great idea! And in line with the Wardrobe Architect, complementing its thought processes. If I only had more time to sew…


  31. Regina says:

    Your Sew Sessment is such a great idea and I had much fun and reflection completing it!


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