Which are you: an opener or a finisher?

Five sewing patterns on a table.
The lure of the new: just a few of the uncut patterns trying to tempt me away from finishing my Thurlow trousers

What’s the most exciting part of a sewing project for you? Do you get more satisfaction from breaking out a brand-new uncut pattern, or from finishing off the hem? Do you have many UFOs lurking in your cupboards…?

Earlier this year, I read the new book by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. It’s called Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. It’s all about how we form new habits and why certain methods (such as to-do lists) work for some people but not for others. To investigate this, she asks you to think about your personality along different spectrums, including whether you’re an ‘opener’ or a ‘finisher’.

“Finishers love the feeling of bringing a project to completion, and they’re determined to use the last drop in the shampoo bottle; openers thrill to the excitement of launching a new project, and find pleasure in opening a fresh tube of toothpaste.”

I’m absolutely 100% an opener. I love the optimism of starting something new; the possibilities it brings. I have to force myself to complete projects – typically by deciding that I’m going to wear it for a particular event or blog about it on a certain day. I’m uncomfortable leaving stuff unfinished because it’s wasteful, but if money and resources were no object I’d probably have seventeen projects on the go at any one time and dozens of UFOs lying about the place. The thrill I get from cutting into a new pattern is right up there with chocolate cake…

As a project goes on, I often find there’s a tinge of disappointment that comes with my progress. That zip isn’t quite as neat as I’d hoped. The fit could be better around the hips. It isn’t perfect. Next time, I think, next time it’ll be perfect.

I’d love to know what it means to be a finisher – are you better at finding and sticking to your TNT patterns? Do you have pretty much nothing in your stash sometimes? Do you rush through projects just so you can tick them off your list?!


  1. I’m not sure which I am – I find that I buy more patterns and fabric when I am not working on a project, so I think I like to be doing and I am restless when I don’t have one!



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