Much as seamstresses love to sew, sometimes we can get excited about a new fabric or pattern, and even go so far as to pair it with the perfect match and cut it out. There it is, neatly stacked and folded beside the sewing machine...and we just can't find the initiative to sit down and actually work on it.
Here are a half dozen tips I've found helpful to save another project from the UFO pile, and break through the fog of sewing procrastination to get things done.
1. Set rewards for yourself. If you have to work on something more mundane (say, like maybe a slip you really need instead of the detailed 1930s dress you feel like making), set yourself the reward of making a Want project next. When I have things I need in my wardrobe, I'll alternate them with projects that I want to make. This spurs me to finish the Need project...and of course, I'm always glad I have it to wear when it's finished, even if it wasn't the most interesting and exciting project.
2. If you have a hard time getting started, fix it in one of two ways. First, set a timer for yourself for just 30 minutes. Force yourself to sit down and sew for those 30 minutes. You'll be surprised how fast you can get a project done in increments of only 30 minutes at a time. It's not that big of a time commitment, and should be easy to fit into your day. The bonus is you'll likely get interested and want to sew longer, which is fine too!
The second fix is this: look at your pattern instruction sheet. Decide to do Steps 1-3, or however many steps it will take to get to a good stopping place. This might be just the front and back darts and shoulder seams of the bodice. That's ok. Next time you are that much farther along. The main thing is to keep coming back, even if it's just for a short time. A little a day really does add up!
(The first fix also works well for mending and UFOs. Work for 30 minutes on your mending and UFO pile, then allow yourself to get back to what you're really itching to work on.)
3. If there is a particular step that you are dreading in a project (sleeves, interfacing, hand sewing, buttonholes, a flock of tiny tucks or pleats...) sew right up until that particular step. Then stop for the day. The next day you can start right in on the dreaded part while you are fresh, and it likely will be much easier and go faster than you anticipated! It's no fun to put in and rip out a sleeve 3 times just because you're tired. Don't force yourself to keep going if it only ends in frustration.
4. Take a break from sewing. Do something else for a while. Then browse Pinterest for photos of clothing you're interested in making. Often that will get the creative urge back in full swing and you'll be excited to start another project. A trip to the fabric store is often inspirational as well...though perhaps more expensive. :-)
5. If it's hard to finish a project because you were initially excited, but it isn't turning out like you had hoped, or maybe doesn't fit or flatter you as much as you had anticipated, you can either decide to finish it anyway and sell or give it away, or put some thought into a refashion before you spend more time on it. Sometimes a dress will work better as a skirt, with the bodice pieces used as trim for a coordinating blouse or beret. If it turned out too short, try adding a band of a contrasting solid color, which you can tie in with little bows of the same fabric on the sleeves. If it's a button-up, try it with another kind or color of buttons - it's amazing how a dress can be taken from ordinary or a wee bit boring to elegant and stand-out with just a few finishing touches. If you are adventurous, try using buttons of different sizes, or covering your own with a bright print.
Make sure you try it on with a belt and shoulder pads before you despair, though. Shoulder pads can be magic in making a bodice suddenly fit well, and a belt is even more amazing to give some definition and interest to what had been a too-shapeless dress.
6. Clean up your sewing space. It's amazing how much more you'll feel like working in a tidy space. Dust the table and sweep the floor. If you don't have room for your things on shelves or drawers, at least stack them neatly. Then sit down with peace of mind and get some sewing done. Never mind that you're just making the floor dirty again! :-)
Actually, interestingly enough, the same thing goes for you too. If you are dressed and combed and feel well put together, you're more likely to want to sew, and to do things well. How you dress affects your attitude. Try putting on nail polish and heels to spruce yourself up before you sit down at the machine!