You’re probably thinking, “tax season??” That is SO not related to sewing. And it’s not. Not really.
See, by day I fly a desk as a bookkeeper in an accounting firm and am really looking forward to the end of this season. Looking back at the last 4.5 months I’ve learned a lot that can be applied to your sewing projects.
Come with me down that geeky trail of numbers… You just might pick up a trick or two.
(I’ll make this in list form for all you nerds out there.)
1. Everything Will Take Twice as Long as You Think
Um..duh. What started out as a “quick” one month project, turned into a 10-week, drag-out, is-it-done-yet? costume. (Believe me, it turned out beautiful, but still!) Sometimes you have to PLAN for those extra days or weeks. When you actually use those additional sewing sessions you’ll accomplish more than you thought. Your dress will fit better. Your sewing will look more professional (and not sloppy). You’ll be happier with the finished results.
2. Don’t Blow Your Entire Refund at One Place
It doesn’t matter if the Treasury sends you ten dollars or $3000. Don’t spend it all on your costuming. Stupid mistake. Save some (for your rainy day). Give some (to those in need). Share some (for those memorable moments). But use a little (as much as you can afford after the above list) to purchase better quality goods for your upcoming historical clothing projects. Get some silk. Buy some embroidered ribbon. Upgrade your sewing tools.
3. Your Costume Hobby is Not an IRS-Approved Charitable Organization
Sorry. Feeding your addiction cannot be written off legally. Although, if you make clothes to be used specifically for a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, that cannot or will not be used elsewhere or for anything else, they may be tax-deductible. (Disclaimer: Check with your accountant as I’m not a licensed CPA but some of your sewing can be deducted if used in the proper context.)
“Julie’s [fill in your name here] Costume Closet” is not allowed.
4. Sometimes Messy Works; Sometimes it Becomes a Pain in the Arse
You will have projects that require you make a complete mess of your work area. One client may have 15 bank accounts, 45 credit cards, 3 personal loans and an overseas land investment that you have to somehow get down to a 2-page summary known as Form 1040. That, my friends, will take over your desk, the copy room counter and spread into the next cubicle. This becomes a pain.
Don’t box yourself in when sewing. Designing and draping are some tasks that need room to breath. Just keep it under control so your cat and husband will have a place to sit and eat.
5. Tremendous Work Can Be Accomplished After 5pm
Even if you’re an early riser, after the support staff goes home, the office quiets down and you can get some good work done. The reverse also works if you work before 8am. It’s amazing the control you feel when the noise stops. The achievements will surprise you when the distractions go away or are put to bed.
6. When You Get Different Totals With the Same Numbers After Seven Tries – Stop and Take a Break
The life of a bookkeeper is to record the numbers (i.e. income & expenses) properly. If I’ve totalled your Starbucks receips seven times and come up with different answers each time, it’s either *time* for a Starbucks run or sleep. Same thing goes with your sewing. If you’ve set the left sleeve in the right armhole twice – you need to stop. If the side seam is not lining up correctly and you KNOW the pieces were cut from the exact same pattern – it’s time for a break. Stepping away from the task, drinking some water, and simply looking at other things for a bit will contribute Hugely to your work. Take those breaks. Re-fuel. You’ll accomplish more after you’re refreshed.
7. Waiting Until April 15th (or whatever your filing deadline) Opens Up the Possibility for HUGE Mistakes
Seriously people! CPA’s HATE those that come in on April 13th with their tax info and say “Oh, it’s not much, just a single-member LLC, around 28k in deductions (most under $200 individual amounts) and my three IRA accounts (all with multiple transactions resulting in heavy capital gains and losses – you know, the stock market really bounced this year)”. And many people believe that they can get their return done by 5pm. Did you know that CPAs have several clients? Did you know they’re human? Waiting until the last minute when they’re tired and overworked just opens up the risk for something called “human error.”
Would you want to do the same with your costume? If you want to be proud of your period reproduction, allow yourself the time to get it done. Putting it off until a week or a few days before will only result in a haphazard dress that will only have to be remade later. Do it right the first time. Oh, and read #1 again.
8. Ordering Dinner in Can Save SO Much Time
When on a deadline, having someone else deliver (or make) food can keep you working all night long. No need to break to cook. Then to clean up….Have it brought to you. Inhale and get back to work! Done.
9. When You Can’t Find That One Necessary File, It’ll be Right Where You Thought it was
Alas, it happens doesn’t it? That file of bank deposits goes missing right when the income statement needs to be finalized. Argh. Search over and over and where is it? Under the Starbucks receipts, of course, and that cup of joe. It goes back to having an organized sewing room. When your scissors are kept in the same drawer or box, they’ll always be at the ready. Make it a habit to put things back after you use them so they’re ready for the next go around.
10. Chocolate Makes Everything Better (oh, and cookies too)
What isn’t better with chocolate? (Well, maybe when cleaning the kitty litter box. But a nibble afterwards will help dispel the scent in your nose.) Accounting offices really do appreciate all the goodies brought in during the season. It’s a little incentive to keep going. Plus you feel respected and your return just might get to the top of the pile faster. The same when costuming. Chocolate, or whatever treat you like – I’ve heard pink drinks are popular – can be quite motivating. Enjoy generously. But be sure to wash your hands before picking up that silk organza again.
What other tips can you think of? Post a comment below.