If I had a dollar for all the times that people ask me how I find time to sew, I’d have a lot of dollars. When you’re a Mom with 4 kids, it’s true that time is short and with a lot of moving parts.
I’ll admit to feeling resentful at times when the comment of “I don’t know how you get anything done…” gets thrown my way. But still, just because you’re busy doesn’t mean that you can’t find time to sew. Let’s bust that myth x15!
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15 ways to make time to sew
1. Time block
What does your day look like? Are you working during certain hours? Do you have kid pick-ups at others? When do you need to do adulting things like cook dinner or fold laundry?
A lot of time management advice has you break down your day into small chunks of time from 30 minutes to an hour. For the more free spirits like me, I know that gets overwhelming fast. Instead, I like to take a piece of paper and draw rectangles on it representing my actual blocks of time. Once I have a general idea of WHERE my time is, I shuffle tasks around all day as I need to.
The order of my typical day goes like this:
Early morning work/make lunches/breakfast/workout
morning work block
general chores/family time/dinner
teach violin lesson
|wrap up the day/family time/|
hangout with husband
At first glance, it looks like I have a reasonable of time to work, but I have kids with me all the time except naptime and *maybe* early morning (see #12). You might be the same.
Your time will probably change on any given day, so be okay with being flexible. I know during soccer and baseball season, my day looks the Family Circus paths.
The big thing though: If you can i.d. what your day looks like, you will absolutely find a consistent chunk of time to sew.
2. Turn off distractions
For real, put down the Facebook and Instagram. I often put my phone in a totally different room when it’s time to sew. Sewing is for so many of us how we unwind a day, how we exercise our creativity, and how we can add some beauty to our world. You know what stops that flow–endless notifications.
If you’re the type to watch entertainment or listen to music or podcasts (me!) while you sew, fine. But bury your phone during sewing time!
3. Organize your space
Okay, this one is in the unsexy realm, but organizing your sewing space will really make you want to make time to sew.
Organize your fabric stash so you can see it all like I do in this video.
Make a place for all the different things you need for your craft. If you don’t have a dedicated space, or you share your space with family (all my dining room sew sisters!), having all of your supplies at arm’s length will take a lot of mental energy out of making time to sew.
And here’s your ultimate guide to sewing efficiently. Of the 41 tips in there, there’s several little sewing room organization hacks that’ll help keep everything ready to go for you whenever you need it to make your sewing time work the best for you.
4. Time hack your margins
You know the white space on old school notebook paper. You totally have that in your life too. It’s that’s area where you can squeeze in extra bits of time to work (or notes in the paper analogy) you didn’t think you had. It might be while dinner is in the oven, or that morning before everyone gets up.
One of my funniest margin times for sewing is the 5-20 minutes before my violin students come for a lesson. If I have everything ready for them, I will very often pop down to the sewing room to sew a couple seams, trace a pattern, or prep a hem for stitching. It’s almost become a game for me to see how much I can do in that time!
5. Pair low-focus tasks with low-focus times
There’s always sewing tasks that are simple but don’t require a lot of focus. Sometimes those things can become hated tasks simply because they’re boring.
And when you have little time to sew to begin with, what are the chances you’ll procrastinate on those things? Pretty good, right?
Instead, pair those tasks with the time of day when you’re not at your best.
Hate to cut interfacing? Grab a couple minutes to fuse your pieces and trim them for a project before you go to bed. You’re probably sleepy, and sitting down to sew now is probably going to lead to a whole lot of seam ripping.
The next day or whenever your next sewing block is going to be, that less fun task will be done. You’ll be able to sit down and sew away without that hanging over your head.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.