The Power Of Saying No

I am not particularly proud of this, but I wanted to talk about how recently I let several people down. Before I got my new job (that I wrote about in my last blog post), I had agreed to several blogging/sewing opportunities which were all due within a few weeks of one another. However, suddenly working five days a week, plus parenting, still carrying on with my small business, and having existing regular blogging commitments – I was starting to struggle. There were some commitments that I couldn’t get out of (such as, I would have to pay for the fabric that I used for this dress if I didn’t use it by x date – and I don’t really have the money spare to pay for it!) but it had become abundantly clear that something was going to have to give.

I wrote down all my commitments and their various deadlines and figured out which ones were completely impossible for me to be able to do in the time frame and which ones I felt weren’t valuing my time. Then I had a list of three people to contact and let them know that I was going to have to let them down. I don’t mind saying no to opportunities that I think aren’t relevant to my audience or that I don’t have time for, but I am not used to going back after I had already agreed to something and have to back out of it. It felt pretty shitty but ultimately I knew I would just let them down at the last minute if I didn’t pull up my big girl pants and let them know in advance of my change of circumstances.

I worked it all out one weekend and decided that before I started work on the Monday morning I would send the relevant emails and start the week with a clear head. Of course, I was way too anxious for that and it took me two and a half days to build up the courage to finally send those emails on the Wednesday lunchtime, but do you know what happened? I felt like a weight had been lifted!! Along with a bunch of nerves to hear back from the relevant people, I was surprised to feel a huge sense of relief that I suddenly wasn’t overburdened with too much to handle. And then the excitement started, excitement to be able to sew whatever I want. And I started planning.

That’s how this new dress was born. Planning new makes, matching fabrics with patterns, and feeling an enthusiasm for sewing that I hadn’t felt for a long time. I think this was partly to do with having some disposable income for the first time in a long time, and partly that I have meetings to go to and reasons to leave the house occasionally that I haven’t had (apart from the school run) for over a year. I also don’t HAVE to make anything and that feeling of liberation comes with a strong feeling of enthusiasm and excitement for sewing.

So even though I have less free time than ever before, (this is my first time with steady working hours while being a mum) I am now finding ten minutes here and half an hour there to sew BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO! That is how this dress was made, by sewing for an hour or two after putting my boy to bed, and doing half an hour in a morning, or pinning the next thing while dinner is cooking, or ironing the next pieces while I iron school uniform for the next week. Bit by bit, this dress was made and I enjoyed every minute of it. It helps that the pattern was ridiculously simple to put together (the pattern is the Style Arc Hope Woven Dress) and I made it even more simple by cutting the back on the fold and eliminating the back fastening.

The fabric is a linen cotton blend and is truly beautiful, the print is crisp and the fabric is weighty. It presses beautifully and behaves well when sewn, I had zero problems with it. Bear in mind it is quite narrow though, so check your pattern carefully to see how much you would need before ordering.

I hope I don’t come across as though I am drowning in opportunities which I definitely am not, I just realised that my time is valuable and in some cases I felt I was being taken advantage of. It’s truly f*$%ed up that I didn’t recognise the value of my own time until I got a job – being a stay-at-home mum is hard (particularly when homeschooling!) but until a big chunk of my week was being taken up by paid employment, I just didn’t recognise how much my time was worth. It’s shitty that my self esteem is so closely tied to my status as a useful worker and without steady employment, I was essentially viewing my time as near worthless. Quite frankly, I had agreed to things that were asking me to sew an awful lot for not very much (or anything!) in return. Maybe writing all this down will make sure I don’t make the same mistakes (and let anyone else down) again!

11 thoughts on “The Power Of Saying No

  1. Been going through similar things. I wrote a blog post about it last year and I am still learning to say no! The lure of free fabric or a pattern is sometimes so strong! But I’m more and more wanting the freedom to sew whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m limiting what I do for free and feeling more bold to ask for pay.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Also had to let someone down this week. I felt awful about it, when I had agreed to the project the time frame suited me, but at their end the date was pushed back, then my fabric took ages to arrive. I rushed the project and ended up with a disaster trying to complete it and had to pull out. My work commitments had ramped up as well as other things and it just couldn’t be done.
      I’ve decided to only take fabric or pattern reviewing if it’s actually something I want to make and I have the time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh gosh that sounds like a total nightmare – I am so sorry that happened to you. When sewing is supposed to be our hobby it’s awful when it turns out to be so stressful! This is exactly where I was headed when I realised I had taken on so much.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I have been thinking about this and don’t think it’s an accident that I feel more emboldened to say no now that I am earning money and can afford to buy fabric if I want to. It’s definitely harder to say no when you can’t afford fabric!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. This really turned out well! Your photos really sell the pattern because the line drawing just looks strange and extremely overpriced.
    Good job!!! You look lovely!! Well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, the line drawings don’t really do it justice do they? It’s a fab pattern and Style Arc often do good sales )and offer a free pattern which changes each month which makes them good value!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. StyleArc has sales? How you hear about them?
        I have tried to subscribe to them many times over the course of 2020 and it never worked. But they did great at checking me out with paypal on my purchases! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I too am about to embark on a new job in a couple of weeks and have made some sewing commitments. Same feelings about self worth tied to productivity. We were trained to be this way. So lovely to know that it is possible to unwind it, disconnect those two thoughts, and feel less heavy when we chose ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It definitely was a struggle, realising what I had to do and then actually sending those emails but I feel so much better for it. Congratulations on your new job! You are so right, we were wired to be this way – so glad you are embarking on your new adventure with open eyes – good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Vicky. ‘I just didn’t recognise how much my time was worth’, has been ringing around my brain since I read it. So true, and yet so hard to face up to and do something about it. I’m really happy for you about your new job and that you felt able to say no. Xx


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