How to Find Time to Sew
Let's just get it out there -- you'll never find time to sew, you have to make time to sew. Simple right? Maybe not quite...
First of all I wanted to tell you more about why sewing is a priority for my time.
Sewing has taught me great patience, something I never used to have a lot of. It takes time to choose, cut and then piece bits of fabric back together to form a usable object. I know it's very easy to skip off to the shops and purchase that thing you've been meaning to make but inevitably the pocket is not in the right spot, the fabric is not the right colours or it's just poor workmanship and you know you could do much better.
I love the problem solving element of my sewing projects. Manipulating the 3D shapes in my mind and figuring out the best way for the construction to come together - it makes me feel clever when the rest of my world is nappies, nursery rhymes and split bowls of cereal.
Sewing also gives me a greater sense of myself. So much of my life revolves around my family and the farm that it's nice to have something that's just for me and my inner world. I enjoy tapping into my creativity - we all have some - and carving out some time in the day to do something I enjoy (rather than horrid old housework, blurgh!). Those few minutes I spend thinking about fabric choices or how I'm going to sew that bag to be the right size and shape makes my heart sing and my lips smile.
So how do I fit sewing into my day? Here's a few tips you might like to try...
Sew while they're sleeping
I love getting up really early and sewing while the rest of my household are sleeping. You'll often find me sewing in my pyjamas on Sunday mornings. I love the still and quiet of air at that time and listening to the birds and feeling the warm of the sun flow in as dawn breaks.
I know sewing with little kids around is tricky but there are whole blog posts devoted to sewing projects you can finish in a nap time. This one
and this one
I also much prefer sewing in the mornings to late nights as my brain and eyes are fresher (I'm just ready to chill on the couch with my laptop after bed time) and even just a few minutes of sewing time will put me in a happy and productive frame of mind for the rest of the day.
Get organised with a plan
It's rare to find time to sew a whole project from start to finish in one day so I make the most of small pockets of time throughout the day. I often sew in 10 minute stints.
It helps to read through the whole pattern first and develop a plan of attack before you start.
You don't have to sew a pattern in order and you can jump ahead and prepare elements such as collars or pockets to sew onto the main garment later.
It also helps to gather all your supplies into a box or ziplock bag so everything is together and is ready to go. Pop the pattern and any notions you'll need in there too. Being organised stops you spending most of your valuable sewing time looking for that thing you swear you had in your hand just yesterday.... :)
Keep a note of any changes you make to the pattern and write down your next step so you can get you started again quickly.
Sew for short bursts more often
Sewing for a small period of time every day means that it becomes part of your regular lifestyle. Try it. For a whole week, set a timer, sew for 15 minutes every day and see what happens.
Having a timer and a set time scheduled will allow you to completely focus on the tasks at hand. Schedule a sewing appointment with yourself and set an alarm so you don't get stuck in the Sewing Room Vortex and miss the school pick up or feeding time at the zoo. I don't subscribe to the thinking that you only have X amount of time . There's plenty you can do - either sewing or preparing to sew.
Sewing in bursts, even if it's just filling a bobbin, will leave you feeling like you've achieved some forward motion so you look forward to getting back to it again the next day.
High standards of housekeeping are for someone else
I help run our farm, I run Hunting for Ladybugs as a business and I only have sewing as a hobby.
My garden is neglected, my house looks like something exploded most of the time (I keep on top of the basics - laundry, dishes etc) and I would much prefer to stay home and sew than make yet another trip to town.
Our house clean but rarely tidy - it looks very lived in - but I refuse to let the level of my housekeeping, high or otherwise, define me as a wife, mother or person.
Besides, it's not all my crap :)
Set up a dedicated sewing space, if you can
You don't need the luxury of a separate sewing room to do this. If you can set up your machine on a small table in your lounge or a corner of dining room, use that.
Having your machine out means that you'll use it. Same goes for an ironing board and cutting station (if you can manage it).
If you have to drag it out of a cupboard every time, you just won't sew.
Sew Sweetness blogger Sara Lawson has recently re-organised sewing space and although small, it's mighty. Check out the inspiration...
What's an Unfinished Object? Giving yourself a deadline
I make a point to finish what I'm working on before starting the next thing. I've learnt that I never get the time nor enthusiasm to come back to something once it's off my machine. It just adds to the clutter and nags me quietly from the corner. Argh! Horrid.
I use a countdown, only three seams to go, to help me push through the hard bits, good music to boogie through the boring bits and just get it done.
Every project has something to teach me and the sooner it's done, the sooner I get to move onto something new - UFO-free!
Stacey's hot tip to making herself sew was to give it a deadline. A new baby arriving or event to wear your garment to will do the trick ;)
Portable sewing projects
A few years ago I taught myself how to embroider. It was great to add to my set of skills but it was also something I could take with me elsewhere in the house or while out and about. You might like to try the hand-sewing hexie craze that's happening at the moment.
Watching TV with the family, waiting rooms, the commute to work on public transport or watching the kids at sports training are all possible places to finish a little stitching.
You can find a video of my favourite handsewing knot here.... Watch Video
What are your tips for fitting sewing into your day?