7 Ways You Can Find More Time To Sew – Part 2

Tip #4: Set up a Dedicated Place to Sew  I know,  I know….you would if you could! But even a closet or space against an unused wall in a bedroom can be big enough for a folding table and a hook to hang up the current project.  Having your projects close at hand will increase the time you can actually spend on sewing by reducing the time spent taking your project out and putting it back, but it doesn’t come without its own drawback.

But there can be drawbacks. Even when I finally had enough room to have a separate sewing room/office I was reluctant to move into it. For years I had sewn on the dining room table while my husband watched TV near by and my kids ran around under my feet. Moving my sewing into the room upstairs took me away from them but increased the amount of sewing I could get done in one sitting with the added advantage that I didn’t have to put everything away when I stopped. I could merely close the door.

 

  

Tip #5 Destroy and Banish all UFOs:  Anyone who sews has at least one or two UFOs hanging around. UFOs stand for UnFinished Objects. I had a dress on a dress form in my dining room looking at me everyday for a year.   Looking at this dress daily stopped me from sewing anything – for over a year.  What a waste of time  think of all of the projects I did not do because I felt deep guilt from having this project around unfinished.  I finally  moved it up to the attic – out of sight although I should have thrown it out!    When UFO’s are lying around they remind us of what we have not done and that can keep us stuck.  When we are stuck we can spend our time ruminating and feeling guilt instead of getting stuff done!

 

Tip #6: Have Realistic Expectations of What You Can Get Done.   Am I the only person who has agreed to make a prom dress, bridesmaid gown, or Easter dress and then spend the day before sewing ‘til dawn?  I often think that sewing projects will take a lot less time than they actually do – even though experience tells me how long things actually take.

In my past life as a computer programmer a good rule of thumb I would use when giving a client a time estimate for a project was to take the time I thought it would take and triple it.  For example, if I thought a project would take 20 hours, I would tell the client 60 hours.  It might sound like overkill but more time than not the tripled estimate was the right one.

 

Tip #7: Have the Right Tool for the Right Job.  Wow! This is the tip that should have been number one.  I can’t tell you the time I’ve wasted trying to rip out a seam sewn wrong with a pair of open scissors and the seam held taut between my knees  all for want of a seam ripper!   Or how I’ve used heavy household objects to hold down pattern pieces when I’ve run out of pins.  The right tool used at the right time, in the right place saves massive amounts of time!  So now, I make sure that everything I need is within reach before I get started.  All I have to do is sew!

I hope these tips will save you time and make you a more productive, more stress free sewer.  Have Fun and Happy Sewing!!

7 Ways You Can Find More Time To Sew – Part 1

For me one of the biggest barriers to sewing has always been finding the time. In my mind I need to have 2-3 hours of continuous, uninterrupted time that I can carve out before even sitting down at my machine.  But by using simple strategies I have found that I sew whenever I have as little as half and hour to spare.

With a husband, three kids, and a dog I realize that I sometimes do more daydreaming about sewing than actual sewing. But when I use the tips below I can turn sewing into something "done'  not just something I dream about doing.

 Tip #1 Set An Intention to Sew: It may be in the back of my mind that when I get home my reward will be to sit down at the machine and sew for a while. That is totally different from setting an intention to sew. When I say to myself "Today, Im gonna sew for one hour from 7-8pm." I tend to take myself more seriously than when the idea to sew is just a vague idea in my head.  I find too, that when I say it out loud, or write it down everything seems to conspire to bring it about.   Try it and see if it works for you.

Make Time to Sew

Clock

Tip #2 Make Sewing A Priority:  This tip is a sister to the one above.  I don't need to tell you that as mothers, wives, employers and employees we don't consistently set ourselves, and what we want to do, as a priority in our lives.  Most of the time I used to feel like if I got myself home from work, got everybody fed, got the dog walked and spent a few minutes watching my husband watch TV, that I had a pretty successful day.  But that really is only part of the story.

The real story is that I fell in love with sewing when I was five years old and  watched my grandmother on her old Singer treadle machine.   Seven vintage sewing machines,  4 large bins of fabric and two dress forms later, its time to make this passion a priority. And no one is going to give me permission to do it but but me.

Tip #3: Organize, Organize,  Organize My  Project:  When I get ready to start a sewing project it helps me to break it down into manageable steps.  If Im organized i find I can pick up a project from where I left off whenever I have  some spare time in your day.  I think of a sewing project as having 3 steps, with many sub-steps inside. The three steps are:

  • Prep or pre-sewing
  • Sewing
  • The Wrap-up.
Image of woman cutting fabric

These are all of the tasks I do before I actually sit down at the sewing machine.  And while the machine is the actually the most fun for me, if I have all of my sewing supplies organized I can actually get a lot of pleasure out of the prep phase.  This is when you:

  • Select the fabric from your stash
  • Press the wrinkles out of your fabric
  • Cut out the pattern
  • Pin the pattern to the fabric
  • Cut out the fabric
  • Transfer the markings from the pattern to the fabric

If you think about it, each of these can sometimes be completed in an hour or less.  And they each can have their own fun factor, if you look at it that way.  Completing a step that helps you make progress in your larger project is very fulfilling and satisfies the spending some time on me need we all have.

These are all of the tasks I do before I actually sit down at the sewing machine.  And while the machine is the actually the most fun for me, if I have all of my sewing supplies organized I can actually get a lot of pleasure out of the prep phase.  This is when you:

  • Select the fabric from your stash
  • Press the wrinkles out of your fabric
  • Cut out the pattern
  • Pin the pattern to the fabric
  • Cut out the fabric
  • Transfer the markings from the pattern to the fabric

If you think about it, each of these can sometimes be completed in an hour or less.  And they each can have their own fun factor, if you look at it that way.  Completing a step that helps you make progress in your larger project is very fulfilling and satisfies the spending some time on me need we all have.

Sewing

        This step needs no explanation!  Fun, Fun, Fun!

Sewing Notions
This step comes after most of your sewing project is complete and there are just a few little odds and ends left to do.  Odds and ends might make these tasks sound unimportant, but really this is the step where some of the decisions you make will effect the quality of the overall statement that your project makes. Some of the parts of the wrap-up step are:
  • Button selection 
  • Buttonhole crafting
  • Hemming
  • Final Press
Each of the wrap-up steps could use their own  post related to time-saving, but like the tasks in the prep step, they can each be broken down into smaller tasks that allow you to complete them in an hour or less.
 
Thats it for now I will cover the last four steps in my next post. Happy Sewing!