I often see patterned fabrics and fall in love with them enough to bring them home with me.  It doesn’t always follow that there is an instant happy marriage between the fabric itself and a specific garment pattern or design, but eventually, with thought, I come up with an idea that I think I would like to wear.

Then I lay out the fabric, and stare at it for a while.yardage

And drape it this way.

crosswise – perhaps a bell sleeve?

And that way.


And end up, at the end of a few hours, having not cut even one piece, and a long way back from where I initially started because so many possibilities for the use of the fabric placement come to mind as I play with it, I have accomplished nothing.  I cannot commit, usually out of fear of ruining/wasting such pretty fabric on an imperfect design.

And another block of sewing time is gone.


21 thoughts on “overthinking

  1. I have missed your posts; this isn’t to pressure, just hoping everything is ok with you and your family. I look forward to your next entry.

  2. It sounds like this boldly patterned fabric may be more daring than your usual fabric purchases. It definitely spoke to you when you bought it, though, so the challenge is nailing down why.

    Instead of trying to lay it out various ways, what does the fabric tell you it wants to be? What was the flash of inspiration when you bought it? In particular, what did it say to you when you bought it? I look at that fabric and immediately see an exciting long, Hippie-style tunic dress with bell sleeves and a v-neck, a similarly styled hip length tunic top, or a skirt that goes from fitted hips into a wide, swishy bottom at mid-calf. Paw through your favorite patterns in each garment type that you’ve been agonizing over and see if you get an electric response from one of them! Or flip through pattern catalogs for that “AHAH!” moment.

    Or save it for a few more years. Not the end of the world if you don’t make anything out of it this year. It will come to you. In the meantime, just having this pretty fabric in your stash gives visual interest and excitement when you peruse the stash, as well as the knowledge that you have something special stashed away for the future. Nothing says you have to force a match or use it just yet. Wait till you get that “Yes. YES! OMG, it would look so nice in this style” happy happy ka-chink in your mind. There is no science to this. With such an original, colorful fabric, matching it to a pattern isn’t a practical thing, it’s an emotional gestalt. Wait for your heart to sing.

  3. Not wasted time at all. Think of this as creative design process time; your brain will remember and then all of a sudden when you’re least expecting it the perfect idea will spring to mind.
    Really interesting fabric.

  4. I could have written this post!! I keep telling myself it is only fabric and if I use it up then I can go fabric shopping again, but I agree that when it is a unique print you really want to do it justice. If you have a pattern in mind then you are well on the way, maybe a few sketches will help you decide on the placement?

  5. I feel your pain. My solution is to set aside till everything aligns. Many times it’s a pattern that eventually gets published that is ‘perfect’ for the fabric.

  6. I’m exactly the same! Print placement is so difficult, I think. Usually I get so worked up about it that at some point I just cut any which way – many a nice fabric has been ruined this way, so I guess your method is better.
    By the way: I really do like crosswise on this fabric – but wouldn’t recommend that anybody listen to me 😉

  7. I completely relate. It’s a fine balance between taking action and putting in enough thought to make sure I like it. I think I’ve ruined more print fabric projects than solid ones!

  8. Take a deep breath and start cutting. Or [gasp] tearing. It’s the sort of stuff best used in simple styles made from rectangles- a nice full skirt, kimono, tunic or kaftan. Minimal waste, maximum pattern effect. You’re definitely overthinking!

  9. Oh, you are singing my song. In my case, I’m always afraid of ruining the whole shebang, from cutting out to fitting and finishing. I do know that whatever you come with for this oh-so-lovely cloth, it will be marvelous!

  10. Maybe it would help to cut apart the different sections and think of them as independent features like hems and cuffs or color blocking instead of using them all together on one garment. Sometimes sectioning off a particular area gets it a way to shine. Is the fabric sheer? What happens with a lining? Can you change the look and depth that way?

  11. That is lovely fabric. I have the same overthinking issue, about everything in my case. I realize that I am happier if I just take action, although I can’t always persuade myself to do so. Hoping you find the perfect marriage of design and fabric.


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