kcw: overcoming challenges

overcoming challenges

My kids were so kind as to share their stomach virus with me and it hit at the very worst time, day one of Kids Clothes Week. The next day, I got home late from work and discovered that I was missing a part from my machine. What I did find was a half eaten Cheeto where I thought it should have been. After 30 minutes of trying to get my three year old to tell me where he had put the “little white plastic thingy”, it had been recovered but my spirit had not.

The list of makes that I was so excited about, now seemed impossible. I was feeling like a failure before I even began. I kept seeing all this awesome stuff popping up in my Instagram feed and I’ll admit, I was super jealous.

kcw post 2 productivity superstars

1. Party Cocoon 2. Ole 3. Banyan Tee 4. Plaid Playtime

I could let this depressing monologue continue on but let’s get to the point of this post. I’m writing today about how to OVERCOME challenges during Kids Clothes Week. 

For me, it was all about a change of perspective (and a good long nap). In my head I had these items, photographed on clean and smiley children, in perfect light, without a wrinkle or rouge thread in sight. Those beautiful photos would then get posted promptly to await a near immediate barrage of likes and comments. I needed a good reality check. Some of these things don’t even happen in the best of circumstances.

Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but we really are our own worst enemy sometimes. Although I marvel at some of your productivity, I feel like the real purpose of KCW is just to be purposeful in this strange hobby we love for a whole week. So, here’s some unsolicited advice on how to get out of your own head and regain your sewing mojo.

Pet some pretty fabric. Most of you have a few yards in your stash, yet to be cut, just waiting for the perfect project or until you feel worthy of its use. I have some Nani Iro with a magical ability to tame even my most foul moods and get me inspired to sew again.

fabric pic 2

1. Moonlit 2. Mountains 3. Raindrops 4. Liberty

Go to your tried and true. I hack a pattern every KCW and every time, I wonder why I didn’t just sew the darned thing according to the directions! If I really wanted to minimize stress, I would stick with patterns I’ve made several times before. Here are a few that I think many of us could make with our eyes closed, they are just that good.

tried and true 2

1. Playtime tunic 2. Bimaa sweater 3. Geranium dress

Stop comparing. It’s easy to get down on yourself once you see the quality and quantity that everyone else is posting. Try to just click that little heart, leave a kind comment, and shut out the self doubt that might follow. Meg gives us this encouragement every season and it is always a valuable reminder.

Get some sleep. I make a lot of silly mistakes when I’m tired. Sometimes those late night sessions involve more seam ripping and cursing than sewing and smiling. Honestly, if it isn’t going well, what are the chances you are going to pull it together when you can no longer see straight and you’ve  already drowned your woes in a glass (or bottle) of wine? I say, quit while you’re ahead.

So make a frozen pizza, take grainy pictures of crabby kids, put off bath another night, and embrace the chaos. Try to enjoy the process without stressing so much on the end result. Revel in the fact that you sew your kid’s clothes. You’re kind of a big deal.


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  • Reply stacey November 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I’m soooo with you on this one.  I can’t tell you how many KCW seasons were interrupted by some form of family illness.  I think part of my preparations next season will be to fortify everyone with Airborne and orange juice. Definitely some good advice here.  Petting pretty fabric is always a quick fix for me.

  • Reply Sarah J. November 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, yes, yes!  This is how I feel with my lackluster photography skills, poor time management, and kids who will not stand still long enough for a photo of the ONE item I could get done!  Thanks for the support and for making sure I know I’m not the only one (which I know, but sometimes forget!).

  • Reply Ann November 9, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Haha! I thought it was just me that dreamed that way! Thanks for the  fun and honest revelation! 

  • Reply Lightning McStitch November 9, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Ooooh. That was a gentle poke with a sharp stick to the collective narcissistic underbelly of sewing bloggers. 🙂 (i include myself in there) touche.
    But you’re right, the temptation to make things more awesome and photograph them more beautifully is strong during KCW.
    And our kids are wild, unpredictable beasts. I usually like the sticky taped to the wall garments as much as any other – and even better, no one can tell if it didn’t fit.
    Probably sage advice about knowing when to stop – both the wine and sewing. But I reserve the right to ignore it. 🙂

    • Reply Lindsay November 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      No poke intended 🙂 Just hoping to encourage others to cut themselves a break a little sooner than I did for myself. Please reserve the right to ignore any of my advice, especially about the wine! 🙂

  • Reply Andrea November 10, 2015 at 12:48 am

    I wish the challenges I have faced over the past couple of KCWs could have been fixed by petting some nice fabric lol. I’m beginning to think some higher power is trying to keep me from participating. Since I first spotted KCW and decided I’d like to take part – you know, like “next season” – all sorts of things happened just during that week (in random order):

    – I was down with a bad flu with fever and shivering fits.
    – I was teaching a seminar that had me up and running from 6.30 am to 2 am every day. Hm, 4.5 hours of kid-interrupted sleep, or can I squeeze in some sewing?
    – Stomach flu hitting the whole family. That was nasty.
    – We went on holiday, and even cheating (i.e. sewing beforehand so I could post the most awesome clothes on day 1) wasn’t possible because I had some car seat covers to get finished just in time for the road trip.
    – Okay, I got in my own way once or twice, trying to be be too perfect, being scared I couldn’t do it, procrastinating. Yes, that could have been helped.
    – That one time I wasn’t prepared at all and couldn’t get the supplies I needed on time? Let’s not talk about that.

    But then, this time, I was really well prepared. Nothing could go wrong. All fabrics washed and pressed. Notions ready. Special thread and needles for softshell fabric? Check. Measurements taken. Pattern printed and cut. I had even made sure NOT to schedule anything during that week. I was looking forward to a week of sewing bliss. I was sooo ready to get started on day 1. And then, on Friday before KCW, my MIL said this: “I just wanted to sew some curtains, and I’m almost finished, but I think something’s wrong with the sewing machine.” What an understatement. I still haven’t got the machine back, and the repair guy doesn’t seem too concerned about getting it done in the near future. Probably the electronics have to be replaced entirely, which will cost me 160-180€. I have a couple of things to sew for my kids’ birthday and for the holidays, and now I’m stuck with my mom’s machine that she bought in 1970.

    Sorry for the rant. It’s just a little frustrating…

    • Reply Lindsay November 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Oh Andrea! Rant on girl, that’s quite the list! You’re right I don’t think even Nani Iro could fix that. Here’s hoping things go smoothly for you next season!

      • Reply Andrea November 12, 2015 at 9:12 pm

        Thanks Lindsay! My hubby thinks that spending 200€ for repairs on a machine that cost 800€ nine years ago wouldn’t be the best choice. But with my birthday and Christmas just around the corner, there might be something new filling up that (still!) empty space soon 😀 So I’ve been looking at lots of new shiny machines. There’s nothing better to lift one’s mood again 🙂

  • Reply Maria November 10, 2015 at 5:08 am

    Great post! I had face a couple of challenges through the KCW all these years. The ill kid is the main one, but also not having the right material, the kid refuses to take pictures and maybe damaging the materials (cutting wrong size, for example). The illness bit runs me really down, as I can’t concentrate at all when sewing while one of my kids is poorly. What I try to do when this has happened is using some time every day  sending love and commenting on the lovely creations, that really cheer me up! 

  • Reply Mieke November 11, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Love this post. So recongizable.
    Before any KCW, tension is always building up for me. In a good kind of way, like a kind of inspiration bug! That’s when my expectations are rising and my plans are becoming close to surreal.  Then… I have to be carefull…  
    This time I tried to keep my ‘to-do’ manageable. And it helped for me. Because, even with the kids and I who got ill, a filled up weekend away from home plus the monthly quiet sewing time out of the house that got cancelled, I still finished what I wanted without extra sleep deprivation. And the fact I planned something in the first place made me close the computer for some time to actually use the time I had to sew. 
     Let’s see how things will go next time. But I’ll do some fabric patting any time, not going to wait untill next KCW for that one. Glad there are some people out there who understand the healing capacity of it … 🙂

  • Reply Jess November 16, 2015 at 6:07 am

    This is a great post Lindsay!  I have definitely spend too many late nights in my sewing room, drunk and yelling at my seam ripper…..

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