Want to learn your dance or skate routines faster with less stress? Are you a starter or finisher?

Need to know why you love some aspects of dressmaking and despise others?

Know your strengths to maximize your dressmaking skills plus your Dancesport, Country, and Figure Skating performances.

Many business and personal development coaches tackle this “starter finisher” topic.

Not one of them addresses how being a Starter or a Finisher affects your dressmaking as well as your dance or skating performances…. until now.

fade-leftfade-rightWhat is a Starter Finisher?

Classic "Starters" love to begin new projects, often having several ideas going at once. Starters are usually the ones who have interesting or fresh ideas. They work well on creative teams or in think tanks because coming up with new solutions is part of a Starter's assets.

On the down side, Starters may have a difficult time completing projects so they often take far longer to finish than what is physically necessary. That's okay. In my post about finishing a ballgown, I talk about how my friend Teri took a six-month break on the dress she was sewing before coming back and viewing the project with new eyes. But sometimes the Starter mentality gets in the way. In extreme cases, Starters are unable to finish tasks at all without help.

Entrepreneurs are often Starters and can create a thriving business if they bring on a "Finisher" or if they are logical and disciplined enough to weed out and follow through with solid ideas.

Classic "Finishers" are slow beginning any new, small task and will put off starting large projects until absolutely necessary - as in imminent death or divorce.

Finishers are usually detail-oriented and great at accomplishing things on the to-do list. They're good at focusing on the task at hand and often do not like getting pulled off their current project and thrust into the middle of another one.

If you're a dressmaker, look at the chart below.
Are you most like a Starter or a Finisher?


  1. LOVES researching inspiration photos and the design process (though finalizing the sketch is often difficult for a Starter since it finishes this phase.)
  2. ENJOYS choosing colors and looking for fabrics.
  3. LIKES cutting out fabrics ??? Maybe  (Some Starters do not like the precision and focus involved in cutting.)
  4. ENJOYS a creative challenge when something on the dress does not fit well and needs a fresh take on how to make it work.
  5. LOATHES final sewing steps such as finishing off neckline and legs, hand-sewing bra cups and hook & eyes.
  6. DISLIKES rhinestoning… Though rhinestoning has a beginning, middle and end so a Starter may find the early stages of stoning fun, but will likely lose interest about half way through and wish the dress was finished already.


  1. DESPISES the design process. Finds it extremely difficult to merge the inspiration dresses into viable sketches.
  2. ENJOYS pattern making and cutting fabrics since both tasks require focus and precision and not are long-term tasks with a creative beginning.
  3. LOVES most sewing tasks because a lot of items can be checked off the to-do list!
  4. DISLIKES doing fittings since it can be highly creative and imaginative.
  5. ENJOYS detail hand sewing that completes the dress.
  6. LIKES rhinestoning because it’s detail-oriented and truly is the finishing touches on the dress.

If you perform or compete in Dancesport, Country or Skating, whether you're a Starter or a Finisher can determine how you learn your routines, and at what points in the process you are most frustrated.

After looking at the chart below, which style best suits your tendencies?


  1. LOVES thinking about ideas for a new routine: music, overall feel of the steps and even costuming
  2. LIKES listening to the music to find where the crescendos are and where highlighted steps should be.
  3. ENJOYS learning the routine and usually picks it up very quickly.
  4. BEGINS TO DISLIKE the routine as it comes time to implement technique and arm styling.
  5. LOATHES the last few weeks of rehearsal. Gets easily bored or distracted and often tries to stall performing since it doesn’t feel ready. … Starters may even suggest changing choreography or starting a new routine since the current one just “isn’t good enough”. 🙂


  1. DISLIKES the thought of beginning a new routine. Finishers often prefer to keep doing the old routine until they’re so sick of the music they cannot stand it one more time.
  2. DISLIKES / HAS DIFFICULTY learning or remembering the routine. This lack of retention is most often because there is so much internal resistance to starting the project, not because there is a learning deficiency.
  3. MAY LIKE OR DISLIKE deciding on costuming. If this task is discussed later in the routine’s learning curve, a Finisher is most likely to be engaged since it will be part of “finishing” the routine instead of being part of the creative beginning.
  4. ENJOYS implementing technique and arm styling and most other detail steps involved in rehearsing and perfecting the routine.
  5. FEELS READY TO PERFORM when the time comes. Says, “Let’s do it and check it off the list!”

Once you knows your strengths and weakness you can be more kind to yourself when things don't go the way they "should". Or, call on someone who has opposite strengths as you to help create a well-rounded, highly productive team.

Watch the video for more details and explanations ... plus my confession about laundry and how much I hate finishing dresses. 

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WATCH NEXT:  Need a break from dancing, skating or dressmaking? Take a deep breath. Stop and enjoy the beauty as Teresa shares a personal video from a trip to the Oregon coast.


starter finisher for dressmaking, dance skate performance

starter finisher for dressmaking, dance skate performance

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Thanks for watching!

Are you a "starter" or a "finisher"?

What A-Haaaa moment did you take away that helps you better understand yourself?

Send me an email or leave a comment below!

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