Before my son was born there was a lot more time to sew. Mr Wardrobe would go out to play club cricket on summer Saturdays, and I’d have a lovely long sew-in all afternoon and half the evening, immersing myself in fabric and fitting for the day, half-listening to TMS. And one evening a week I used to go to a sewing class at my local FE college for a full three hours of sewing with like-minded ladies. Bliss.
These days, as I scurry between work, childcare and chores (to a soundtrack of ‘Mumh-maaaaay’ rather than cricket commentary) I now have what’s described as ‘time confetti‘: unpredictable snippets of five minutes here and ten minutes there in between conference calls and pre-school pickups.
And my dedicated sewing space that used to be in what’s now my son’s room has upped sticks to the home office, so I have to pack my machine and fabric away after each session.
If your sewing time is similarly fragmented, here are some things I find I can still do even when time is short.
If I’ve only got five minutes
- Start a project bag or box to collect all the things to make my next project
- Go through my notions and choose the buttons and thread
- Neatly cut out one pattern piece*
- Load a bobbin
- Stitch or finish a seam, or two or three if they’re short
- Sew on a button
- Descale the iron
*Once I’ve laid out and pinned my pattern pieces to my fabric, I cut around each one roughly with my shears so I can stack them on top of each other and pack it all away quickly if I need to. I then come back to the stack and cut each one out neatly, adding the markings for that piece before I move on to the next one.
If I’ve only got ten minutes
- Go through a sewing book or magazine to look for a pattern
- Cut out interfacing or lining pieces
- Fire up the iron and press as many seams as I can
- Try out different stitches on some scrap fabric and perfect the tension – then write the settings down in case I forget later
- Try on a toile and snap some quick mirror selfies so I can assess the fit later
- Clean the lint out of my machine and
I can’t say I’m managing a garment a week (I can still dream!) but I am spending more time sewing and less time just wishing I was sewing.
Interested in speeding up the sewing itself? There are some great posts out there by other sewists with tips for sewing faster.
Advice from Colette on what we can all learn from industrial sewing
What sorts of sewing tasks do you tackle if you only have five or ten minutes? And am I the only person left in the entire sewing community who still uses pins?