Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Guest post by Kirsty: Fitting sewing into your everyday life

Hi I’m Kirsty all the way from Top Notch. Big thanks to Claire who asked me to do a guest post on fitting sewing into our everyday life.

How do you fit it in? I’ve got a clock! Yep, a clock with a timer. That’s how I fit sewing into my life. Well it’s not the whole story but it sure goes a long way to explaining a big part of it. I asked for it for my birthday last year after I realised that my ‘5 more minutes’ was turning into a whole lot more and I needed a solution. The one more seam, one more button was taking over ... I have a family, other things and work that knocks a lot on my email after hours, so I have other things to do,  I can’t just go into a sewing bubble. Oh, the clock  isn’t just for me. Sometimes I use it for the kids when they are playing, but it’s mainly for me. The timer is set and when the buzzer goes, it’s down tools. For all of us!

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I bought an entry level Pfaff about 4 years ago, when Elliot was about one and I started reading blogs and having to prepare costumes for Oliver for 3 and 4 year old birthday parties. I started sewing basic things for them, moved onto making simple clothes for me from Japanese sewing books and then onto other patterns. I started my blog about a year ago to help document Me Made May 2012. It’s funny to me that I started sewing right about the time that I had less time on my hands. I probably have even less time on my hands now than I did back then, but probably sew more. Not an usual story I know, most of you are the same.  


Simplicity 2154 in Mawston Meadow

I rarely make because I’m obligated to make. In fact, I hate obligation sewing. Time is precious and there are enough obligations. I make and prioritise the time to sew, usually because I’m in love with a project. I love clothes and fashion and style and therefore I sew when and because I’m inspired. I sew a lot with Liberty of London fabric because I love the narratives around their seasonal prints which now form part of my style and my me made wardrobe. 

Finding time to make and improve and learn new techniques isn’t easy and there are always going to be times when it is just plain impossible to make.   

Drop waist shirt dress by Pattern Runway in Tiny Dancer Liberty fabric

What works for me, is that we live in a small house. I have my sewing machines set up in the main area of the house and thanks to a present from my sister last year, I now have my current project stored ready to go in a basket. I’m still around for the kids, but I can be my own little sewing island in a sea of legos and batman and superman and noise. Of course I dream of having my own room but for now, with the boys at the age they are, it helps to stay connected with what they are doing. I think that it’s also really good for them to see me making and creating.  


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I don’t have a set timetable for sewing. It depends on what I’m sewing as to when I can sew. I don’t always use the clock of course! I can’t sew so much during the week, but if I’m really excited about a project, sometimes I sneak time in the evening when the kids are playing (this is definitely clock time otherwise nothing else would get done!) or some hand stitching while supervising homework or tape up patterns while watching TV. I usually try to fit in a few hours over the weekend after sport and chores and sometimes late at night when everyone else is in bed.

Do you have a special time when you sew, or are you like me and squeeze in time and steal little snippets when you can? What helps you find time for your projects and to stay focussed, but not at the expense of everything else in your life?

16 comments:

  1. Great guest post Kirsty! I love your liberty library by the way! I have to admit, that I spend more time with sewing than I possibly should. I have just staretd to sew 8 month ago and so I am still strongly infected with the sewing bug. I tend to forget about washing dishes or wiping dust because I prefer to sew. On the weekend I usually do marathon sewing from early in the morning until late at night and during the week I try to sew at least 1 hour every day - usually it is less. But I am glad to hear that I am not the only own who forgets everything else about sewing. I just need to learn control :)

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    1. Thanks Daniela. I'm glad you like my Liberty Library as well :) I think there are a lot (a LOT!) of us around who, when making something they are really excited about, can just get carried away!

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  2. This is a really great post! I too have a small boy (aged 3) and I work, so for me time is as precious as it sounds for you. Luckily my boy is young enough that he's in bed for 7.30, meaning that I can be sewing by around 8/8.30 for a couple of hours. It does mean that housework goes out the window, but I'm not hugely house proud anyway! :) I am impressed that you manage to sew with your boys around - mine would just pick up pins and scissors (I know because I have tried) - he knows they are dangerous but it still doesn't stop him doing it to get my attention.

    My main way to get time to sew is by going to a sewing evening class. It's a beginners class and I am probably a wee bit beyond that stage now, but it gives me 2 hours a week to concentrate on nothing but sewing. I do have to pay for the privilege - and it doesn't always work, depending on what time hubby gets home, but it's worth it for the weeks I do manage.

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    1. Thanks Helen! Last weekend I realised that I just needed to down sewing tools and do some housework! It had been too long :) What a great idea to book in the 2 hours a week!

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  3. I love reading how sewers make it all work. Kirsty even with the little time you have, you make such beautiful outfits. I'm right with you on obligation sewing (in fact I have some I'm procrastinating on right now). During the school year, my daughter goes to bed at 9:00 so I sew after that. In summer I have to be a little more creative to find the time.

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    1. Thank you Shar! Sadly my boys aren't early to bed either so like you I need to be creative about the time. Isn't it funny how if it's something we really love and want to do we can find time from anywhere, but when it's not, there's just no time to do it!!

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  4. Kirsty, you are my hero! I admire you and other seamstresses like you who manage to juggle between work,kids and hobbies! Most of my time after work is spent on sewing and sewing-related activities. Unlike you, I try to squeeze other activities into my sewing routine ;) I try to spend one or two evening without sewing and that's when socialize with friends. Since a big part my projects are sewn by hand, I can spend more time with my darling, watching a movie together, or talk about life ^.^

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    1. Inna, you are too nice! I don't hand sew nearly as much as you, but I really enjoy the times when I can step away from the machines and spend time with my family, while watching a movie or talking about life etc.. but also creating.

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  5. This is great! I live in a small house so my sewing area is in the lounge room. I have three kids (5, 3.5 and 18 months) and am weeks away from having my fourth. But having my machines set up saves a ton of time and being in the lounge it means I can sneak in some sewing while the kids play / nap or in the evening still chat to hubby while he's watching tv. I can usually get a few hours of sewing in each night if I'm concentrating. But the kitchen bench is also my cutting/work area so it means I have to clean it first before I work!

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    1. Thank you so much Jacinta. Oh, it's so great to be able to sneak in a bit of time and having at least the machines set up does make it so much easier. All the absolute best for your next baby!!

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  6. All hail the mighty clock! I use the timer on my iPhone to get me going- I give myself 15 minute blocks and it helps motivate AND regulate my time use.

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    1. Ha ha ha yes! All hail the clock. What a great idea the 15 mins blook is. I usually go for 30 mins, but might give that a go :)

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  7. I am lucky, my child is almost an adult so does not need me so much. But I do work full time and my job is very intense, I am usually shattered by the time I get home. So I try and do a little bit in the morning before I go to work and plan what I want to sew in the evenings at the weekend. I sew in little batches in the evening, usually no more than 1/2 an hour, but it all counts. Great post and so interesting.

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    1. Thank you so much. What a great idea to try and fit some in the morning. You are so right that every little bit helps.

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  8. Great post. I know what you mean about 'obligatory sewing'. It then becomes a chore and a job and not enjoyable anymore. I prefer to take my time and even change my mind hundreds of times before I finish a project just to get it the way I want it. I like this process, it's very creative and I come up with many different ideas, so I don't consider it to be time wasting or taking too long. Happy Sewing!

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  9. I like how you sew with your family around you. That would really help you stay connected with them.
    Great post Kirsty.

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Do you have thoughts about this post? If so, please leave a comment - I really appreciate them! I read them all and try to reply as much as possible.

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