7 Ways You Can Find More Time To Sew

Pincushion watch

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 can actually get some work on a sewing project 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 My 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 sewing 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 a bit more seriously than when the thought is just a vague idea in my head.  I find too, that when I say it out loud, or even write it down as a goal for myself, everything seems to conspire to bring it about.   Try it and see if it works for you.

Vintage woman at sewing machine

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, entrepreneurs and/or employees we don't consistently set ourselves, or 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 this for myself but me.

Tip #3: Organize, Organize,  Organize The 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 that I can pick up a project from where I left off whenever I have  some spare time in my 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 sewing at the machine is the actual best part for me, if I have all of my sewing supplies organized I can get a lot of pleasure out of the prep phase, too.  Prepping 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 often 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 that we all have.

Sewing at a machine

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.

The Simple Beauty of Ironing


Kansas is flat.  So level, that when I looked out my grandmother’s kitchen window I could see my elementary school, Parkdale, like it was right next door.   Monday was washday at my grandmother’s.  I remember scalding hot water, Octagon soap, bluing and a manual wringer that could crush a finger to bits if you were unlucky enough to get a hand in the way.

I helped my grandma put the still steaming laundry on the line after they were wrung out to near-dry.  The tea towels and handkerchiefs were mine to hang. Drying time was 7 minutes tops for those items in the hot Kansas summer sun. The irises, lilacs and roses danced on the fabric of my grandmother’s shirtwaist dresses, gently sweeping the grass as they hung on the line.  The dresses piled in the clothes basket when dry carried the same sweet smell of grass, and wind and summer.

Tuesday was for ironing, and it would take up the entire day. My grandmother set up the ironing board in the dining room. She threw the windows wide open and turned on our one large fan full blast.  She started the ironing with the household items; the tablecloths the napkins and sheets.  She’d move on from there to my grandfather’s dress shirts and his handkerchiefs.

As the afternoon began to wind down she would spend the last part of the day on her flowered dresses, lovingly and expertly pressing every pleat straight and every collar until it was standing at attention as if it had a mind of its own.

My grandmother’s dresses wore well and some were decades old by the time I was born.  But the flowers were still bright, the hems still straight, the buttons still tight.

Now, everything is so chaotic. Too many things to handle at once. Grandma never rushed. As I grow older, I want the luxury of returning to a time when life is a slower and steadier.  I learned the lesson you taught me grandma, there’s a time and place for everything. And I will always do my best to get it right the first time.