I often get asked how I manage to get so much sewing done with 2 small kids and I am going to share some of my top tips with you .
I know this sounds like an obvious first step, but the more you can get yourself organised in advance, the more you will achieve.
I am lucky that I have a dedicated sewing space, and if you can find a space in your home to have this it makes a massive difference. It doesn’t have to be a big space, just a desk or table that you can have your sewing machine sitting on so it is ready to go when you have some time. You can still keep all your potentially dangerous items in another space, but the biggest obstacle is having to take your sewing machine out and set it up. If you can overcome this then you are one step closer to getting more stitching time.
I love batch cutting my makes when I have the time. If my husband is home or I manage to get the kids to bed early I spend the uninterrupted time prepping as much as I can. I will either trace off all the patterns I know I will want to make soon or cut out the fabric.
Don’t stop at the fabric though! If you need interfacing, cut it. Even fuse it to the pattern pieces if you can. This is one of the biggest things that will put me off starting a project. Taking my interfacing out to cut one little tiny bit, it makes no sense. But it will put me off starting something I really want to make. You can take it a step further and gather your thread and other notions you need, and make sure you have all notches, darts and dots marked. Then put everything together in a ziplock bag with the pattern and instructions so you are ready to go when you have some time.
Read the Instructions
I always read through my instructions a few times before starting to sew. If it is a PDF on your phone or device this is even easier as you can do it at anytime. Or keep your pattern instructions out (and safe) and have a read through them when you have the time. I usually do this in the evenings.
If you have an idea of what the first or next steps are, you can save time and just get started straight into it. If you think you will get stuck on a step or it is new to you this also gives you the time to do a little more research on it so it wont hold you back.
You can also break your pattern down into little chunks at this stage. For example if you are making a dress, the first steps are generally stay stitching the neckline, sewing the darts and shoulder seams, and attaching the facing. If you can achieve all of this in one sitting then you have nearly created a bodice. Breaking a pattern down into these little chunks makes it all so much more manageable.
Stick with something Tried and True
If you really need your sewing fix make something Tried and True. Something you have made before, you know the constitution, you know works for you, and it will give you a quick fix to keep you going.
My favourites now are the Ruska T-shirt, Safiya Trousers and Kabuki Tee. It can be a good idea to have a few of your TNT patterns cut and ready to go.
Keep Your Kids Involved
When I am sewing, my kids usually aren’t too far away. I set them up with art and crafts or their current favourite Play Doh, and they don’t feel like they are missing anything. They don’t see my sewing machine as something that needs to be investigated, its just ‘part of the furniture’. Once they become accustomed to you sewing it will just be a part of everyday life.
I will let both kids sit on my knee while I am sewing something simple so they feel like they are doing it too. Usually they get bored after a few minutes and go back to something more interesting to them, but it keeps them involved and hopefully sparks an interest in sewing for later on in life.
I understand all kids are different, and what works for some might not for others. But I think the key thing is to try, you might find that they enjoy watching you sew or have no interest in it and leave you to it. And if you get 20 minutes to yourself during the day to clear your head then that is definitely a win!