Reducing bulk (In seams, business, and life)

Any seamstress will tell you, in order to make something well, you have to reduce bulk as you go. Every seam allowance adds up - and unfortunately, if you don't manage that bulk, the finished project just looks homemade. But seam allowances are everything.. If you trim a seam too short, the garment won't hold up because the seam can't support the weight of the fabric. It's close to the same when running a business. 

It feels like just yesterday I was setting up a makeshift dressing room, putting an eight-foot-long table on bed elevators, and plugging in my sewing machines at the studio for the first time. 

We’ve (edit: It's actually just me.) hacked it for eight months in a commercial space, but I have to admit, it’s still scary. It’s still a baby - and it’s still getting its legs up under itself. It doesn't know how to talk yet and it often crawls without direction. It's fragile and prone to accidents, vulnerable and filled with teachable moments. Eight months with your neck on the line does one of two things to you: fold when the seams don't match up, or get scrappy, trim the bulk, and grow.

If you don't trim the seam - if you don't trim the branches on what's draining you - growth doesn't happen. If you leave too much bulk in the wrong places, the end goal won't look the way you imagined.


My end goal is in creating one-of-a-kind custom pieces: Pieces that would take fans by surprise and bring total joy, color, light, and sparkle... This is an inevitable, permanent direction for Music City Sewing - which means, eliminating bulk in areas that aren't in alignment with my vision of what it should be.

Learning the difference between negative space and bulk takes time.

If you trim away too much bulk, you won't stay in business. So in sewing, and life, we typically only learn about negative space when we mess up. With each project, the question becomes this:

Is this decision/project fostering true growth (necessary seams), or is it just adding bulk?

Sometimes the things we invest in most end up being the bulk. The things we neglect end up being the most important aspects of your business/final product. Knowing the difference - and where to trim - is where the real growth happens.

Pull the thread

Pull the thread

In the studio: making a custom Roxie Hart dress

In the studio: making a custom Roxie Hart dress