Friday, March 19, 2010

Work Week Sewing

Readers, I haven't been able to sew a stitch this week and it's making me positively twitchy. Usually I try to fit in at least a little sewing at night, but it was just not happening these past few days. First of all, Daylight Savings Time made me stumble around like a zombie for the first half of the week. (How can that one little hour throw me off so much?!) Then there's just the simple fact that some weeks I seem to be able to juggle everything better than other weeks.

A lot of you often comment on my ability to get so much done - blogging, sewing, and working a full time job. I don't know that I ever really feel that way, that I'm accomplishing so much. My life circumstances certainly allow me to have the schedule I do. After all, I have no kids. (Minus Henry, who will always be my sweet little boy! Yes, I know he's a cat.) I adore my job and work hard at it, but I'm a mid-level employee without direct reports so my job responsibility level outside of working hours is manageable. My husband does (way more than) his share of the housework, including cooking almost every night. Yep, he's the best!*

But yes, I do have to make a point to dedicate a lot of time to the things I love to do. I get most of my sewing done during the weekends, when I can devote long stretches of time to a project. (Is there anything more delicious than sewing for hours at a time? Throw in a case of Coke Zero and the Glee soundtrack, and I'm in heaven.) During the week, evenings are often taken up with blogging. I usually write my posts at night and then set them to automatically publish at 7:00 am the next day while I'm still blissfully unconscious (Unlike Jeff, I am SO not a morning person). But depending on what I'm writing, I find I can usually slip in a little sewing these evenings as well - whether it's just cutting something out or sewing a hem.

The weeks I don't find time for this stealth sewing, like this one, I feel a little out of sorts. There's nothing like sewing to get you to slow down, breathe, step away from the computer, and just enjoy working with your hands for a bit. But I think it's important to be realistic about what one can really accomplish, and if sewing has to go on the back burner for a week to save my sanity, than so be it. It will make me appreciate it all the better when I can get back to it, right?

How about you? If you work, do you sew during the week? And how do you manage it? I'm interested to hear how others with different schedules (like stay-at-home moms) manage their sewing time too. I'm sure we all have a lot we could learn from each other!

*(Speaking of Jeff, I don't think anyone understands dedication to an artistic pursuit better than he does. He's been getting up at 6:00 am every day for the last several years to work on his writing. I've always been in awe of his tenacity and work ethic. It's all paying off today, when his fantastic novel is going to auction between several bidding publishing companies. Congrats, baby!)


  1. Well, I'm a stay-at-home-wife, and I still have weeks where I don't have the time or brain power to get much sewing done! (Like this week; I pretty much only got a skirt partially cut out and buttonholes made on another skirt; this after a nearly no sewing the previous week! Two weeks and no sewing is making me really twitchy!)

    I have definitely started to do more sewing on the weekends, since my husband is taking online college courses and is usually wrapping up the week's homework. So that gives me blocks of uninterrupted time to just sew (without the nagging feeling that I've got other work to do!). Plus he generally cooks on the weekends (yay for guys who cook!!! :D), so that frees me up there too. More and more the weekday sewing has become the time I do finishing handwork (husband likes me to spend time with him in the evenings, so I can do this curled up on the sofa next to him and not secluded in the spare bedroom ;), or cut out new projects. I just can't let things go for very long during the week around here in favor of personal sewing any more!

    I'm kind of curious to see if some moms weigh in on the topic of squeezing in sewing time! I know that's one of my fears about becoming a mom: will I shrivel up and die because I don't have any time to sew? (Or will I become really disciplined about using tiny pockets of time to sew?) lol.

    Congrats to Jeff about his book--that's fantastic!

    ♥ Casey
    blog |

  2. Thank you so much for this insight into how you juggle it all. Like yourself, I do bits of sewing in the evenings after my full-time job. Like Jeff, I am also working on a manuscript - but not at 6am. My weekends are devoted to the manuscript and my reward for all that writing/rewriting is an hour or two of sewing or knitting. I find my crafts a very necessary balance to my other creative pursuit. But wow - HUGE congratulations to Jeff. Please do let us know how it all pans out. Good things really do happen to good people. Good people who work really, really hard.

  3. I work nine to five and most of my sewing happens on the weekends, but I've found doing two things have helped me get more sewing done during the week:

    1- giving up TV for Lent
    2- having a dedicated table where I can keep everything out between sewing sessions.

  4. I'm a full-time student that travels home for the weekend. I take 19 credits, mostly lectures, in four days, volunteer all day at the campus food co-op, and take the next two days off. Usually I sew in between classes, only when my roommates are away since the noise the machine makes when I'm sewing is distracting to them. Usually I can get a lot done in between my classes, I did sewed nearly all of my current project in just a few hours, and then a week stretched by and I didn't get to finish it because I have midterms. It's usually like that until I can go home and work a bit on it on the weekend, but then I get home I don't want to do anything but be lazy. It's hard, and I have sacrificed my sanity trying to take up everything I can, but honestly it's how I roll. I'm either stressed or bored, there is no in between, and if I'm not sewing, I feel so unproductive. Artist paint or draw, I like to sew, it's just a good release.

  5. Don't panic, Casey, you'll still have time to sew! OK, maybe not much during the first 2 years when a kid needs 24/7 attention, but when my son was a toddler, I would work in the sewing room while he fell asleep. (This way I was nearby, but not right in the room with him, which is what he wanted, but which doesn't promote good sleep habits.) As he got older and more independent, my "me time" increased proportionally. Of course, I did have to let him "sew" a couple times--you know how boys are about anything with an accelerator pedal :-)

    I work full-time, do 80% of the housework, and do sewing and desktop publishing freelance. On weekdays, I can usually get an hour of sewing or crafting in between the time I get home and dinnertime (props here to my freezer, slow cooker, and once-a-month cooking recipes!). Now if I could just get more sleep ... lol.

    And Gertie, please give my congrats to Jeff! My teenager is writing a sci-fi novel and daydreaming of being a published author. We'll have to look for Jeff's book once it's out.

  6. @ didyoumakethat

    "I find my crafts a very necessary balance to my other creative pursuit."

    I definitely agree with this statement. The kind of writing I do for work and school lean more toward the technical side, and I find that doing creative projects provides a refreshing break from all of that since I'm making something tangible, rather than dealing with abstract concepts.

    **It's also a good way to procrastinate when I don't feel like dealing with schoolwork after a long day at the office.

  7. I'm single/no kids, and work multiple part-time jobs, mostly centered around teaching music, so my schedule is a little whacked-out. There are some days that I just can't fit any sewing in, because of running from one job to the next and by the time I get home all I want to do is curl up in front of the tv & computer or ipod and a book. On the nights I get done earlier, sometimes I can fit a bit of sewing time in, at least on the level of finish one small task, like get the side seams together. But most of my sewing is on weekends.

  8. I totally agree with your estimate of zombie-fication for the first half of this week. I only starting coming out of the fog yesterday. As for managing my sewing time (I work full time), I tend to try to use evenings during the week doing the stuff I hate but need to do for sewing - like making sure I've got everything I'm going to need, pretreating fabric and cutting out. Then, whatever chunk of time I get on the weekend (like everyone else, weekends tend to be used to get lots of stuff done as well) can be spent actually getting the sewing done. I hate starting projects from scratch on the weekend because the pretreating, ironing, cutting out, etc. seems to take up so much time that I end up on Sunday nights not feeling that I've gotten anything done. This way, I'm all packaged up and ready to go on Saturday morning.

  9. man, I've had a blouse that just needs the buttons sewn on, and I've managed to not find time for that for TWO WEEKS.

    I don't work, and I don't have kids - I just must really hate sewing buttons!

    though, this week I did have two freelancing jobs plus I helped a friend with some computer work. And I have two classes a week, with their accompanying homework.

    But really, I'm just lazy and would rather play silly computer games! :)

  10. I'm married and a full-time student with a part-time job. Truthfully, I do get sewing done during the week because it's for my job. The sewing for myself, however, is pretty much all reserved for weekends (if I'm lucky), though I usually have to wait until I have a break from school to get anything substantial done. I always come back to classes and to work from spring break so happy because I've had time to sew for myself!
    I have a sister-in-law who has four kids, I think from age 2 to 10, and I will never know how she gets all her sewing done, but she always has a new quilt or dress to show us!

  11. I have found my sewing is inconsistent! With kids and working part time (subsitute teacher and now 3 sewing students) I find that it is easier to have 2 projects going at the same time. Then there is usually one project that needs hand sewing/hemming, etc. so it is easier to veg infront of television with it or in the carpool line. I try to use one morning a week for long stretches for a project then I will mentally breakdown the remaining steps into 15 min sewing sessions. For example, I will take 15 min to put in the zipper and just the zip. Does this make sense? Bottom line the machine doesn't go on with kids and husband around! I sneak it in to finish a project! by the way, I love, love the orange skirt!! I am a bit behind on blogging!

  12. I don't have or get much time to sew. That's why the blogs are so importantant to me. I can check those from work. I work full time, am the sole responsible party in my home. I do work 4 days per week. the 5th day is devoted to catching up on housework and household shopping, oneday to catch up on sleep and the last day, maybe some sewing if I don't have a meeting to attend.....

    Please keep blogging!

  13. I work full time, am married, but don't have children. I'm in awe of people that find time to sew during the week nights, and often wonder what I do that they don't in order to fit in the time (seems like I have so little of it!). What with working, commuting, sport and dinner; I rarely have time to sew on week nights. I don't have a TV, but I don't like to sew after 9:30 (I live in a tenement flat and don't want to impose my sewing noises on neighbours) so I read after that time... that leaves sewing to the weekends. This is ok in winter, but in the sunnier months I feel guilty staying inside when it is lovely out. All works out in the end though

  14. Most weeks I only work afternoons, so I like to do crafty things before work. Quite nice! Esp as evenings are full of housework, cooking, dancing, working out etc. (Dancing really takes the majority of my free time.) The weeks I work full time, I really don't have the time for crafts during the work week, it has to be saved for the weekend.

    Also, I've discovered this winter that I can only be crafty during day-light! The sun is important in so many ways, but this is the first time I've realised its influence on my creativity. Someone else that has experienced this? I'm thinking perhaps it's mostley a problem when one lives close to the artic circle. All that winter-darkness stealing the energy and creativity... Anyone else having found a connection between sunlight and being crafty?

  15. I have a full time job outside the home, but a part-time kid! My stepdaughter is with us 2 weeks per month. During her hockey season, which is Sept.-March, we spend most weekends at her games, (many of which are out of town tournaments) even when it's not her week at our house. She's 13 now, so it's not like having an infant or toddler; mostly she just needs a ride somewhere...

    Hockey means I don't really HAVE weekends from Sept. through March, so I have to sew whenever I can. I also have a husband who does ALL the cooking (he used to cook for a living) which means I have more time to sew in the evenings. Sometimes it's a challenge to go out to the loft instead of staying on the couch, watching a movie, but it's always worth it.

    My hubby and I run a studio pottery, which means sometimes I need to be working in clay, or doing graphics or web work, etc. On weekends in the summer we have to stay home and keep the gallery open so that we can catch the tourist trade and sell some pots. My sewing room is the loft above the gallery, so I can just pop downstairs to wait on people. Very convenient.

    I've had to adjust my expectations, and that's why I have such a big sewing to-do list right now. There are always other things that need to be done or that I WANT to do: if it's not hockey, it's gardening, or kayaking, or housework, or...

    It's a challenge to maintain a nice balance, but I remind myself that all work and no play makes Nancy a very grouchy girl.

  16. Interesting to hear how other people manage their time. I used to work full time during the day, spend my evenings at university and my weekends writing essays. Now that I've finished my master's degree, I potentially have all that extra time after work but somehow it manages to get used up on... hmm... well reading all your lovely blogs soaks up quite a bit of time! I'm determined to dedicate Sunday to sewing though - a lovely way to take my mind off work for a bit.

  17. Thanks for this post! It really rang bells for me. I work full-time, but like you its a job I can leave in the office. I have two kids but they are teenagers so relatively low-maintenance in terms of "mothering". They are mostly skulking in their rooms listening to heavy metal! But my sewing tends to come at the weekends because of the DOG. My husband is ill so can't walk him like he used to, so I come home from work, walk to damend dog, cook dinner, eat it, walk the damned dog, and then try to squeeze in some needlework. It's usually knitting, because cutting out would require me to vacuum up the damned dog's hair, or clear the table of a week's supply of reading materials belonging to an at-home man... it just isn't going to happen! Friday nights, I blitz the cleaning and then settle down on Saturday morning to sew - bliss!

  18. I tend to get a lot done if I am inspired to sew. I work full time and have two smallish children. One is in Kindergarten right now and the other will start Kindergarten in the Fall. They aren't in a lot of extra activities, just swimming one day a week and dance in the morning on Saturday for the girl. I'm waiting to see how our first year in baseball will affect my weeknight sewing.

    Usually I work on stuff after the kids get in bed, as my hubby likes those computer quest games that I do not. We can happily spend our evenings pursuing our own fun things. Weekends I can usually get more sewing in for getting something done all at once.

    I'm a fairly fast sewer, though. I think that is something that really affects how much you get done. I've been sewing since I was 12 so I really don't need directions very often and cut the peices and get to sewing!

  19. Interesting respones! I'm married, have no kids, work full-time, have an hour drive both ways (ugh), and am on the Board of Directors of 2 non-profits. I can usually sew for an hour or so a few nights a week, and then I sew on the weekends. My hubby, like yours, is soooo helpful in that he is willing to take on more of the cleaning and cooking responsibilities so that I can indulge my hobbies (as his primary hobby is watching TV).

    I'm just like Toby Wollin above: I use the weeknight evenings to do the boring (to me) tasks like cutting pattern pieces and fabric and interfacing.

    I've found that it's helpful to have my sewing area tidy and ready to go for the next sewing session when I am done in the evenings: I have my machine set up with thread, or have my serger out, have the pieces interfaced and pressed, etc. Then I feel mentally more excited to get back to sewing the next day!

  20. Oh, and major congrats to your hubby! SO exciting!!

  21. I am a stay-at-home mom to 6 - 4 of whom are homeschooled (the oldest 2 are in high school!).

    However, I also work out of my home as a IT technical engineer for a friend!

    So my schedule looks like this...

    up at 530am to take teens to school (they have a super early class to my dismay!). Hubbie leaves for work about 15 minutes later.

    School starts in our home at 830am - so we all get dress, exercise, eat, chores by then.

    I sew/teach from 830-1130am.

    Lunch until 1230pm.

    Quiet reading time for 1 hour + free play time = blissful, uninterruptible, sewing time for me!

    Pick teens up from school at 230pm.

    Start work (in my quiet, private office!).

    Start dinner (with teens help) about 5pm.

    Husband home to finish dinner, cleanup, bedtime, etc - I take a break for 1 hour to eat and help prep for bed.

    I work until 9pm...then read until 10pm.

    And fall into bed - to sleep and be ready for the next day.

  22. This SO resonates with me right now. I work full-time AND I work freelance as a cartoonist (drawing 1-2 per week) AND I'm due to have my first baby in three months (or fewer if she shows up a bit early!) I'm still decluttering the apartment to make room for her, too. When she does show up, I get exactly 12 weeks of leave and have to go back to full-time work. Oh, and being pregnant often leaves me exhausted with no energy...

    Also, my sewing space is just a tiny expandable Horn cabinet in the corner of my living room, plus temporary usage of the dining and coffee tables, and I've promised my husband that I will not leave any sewing materials on those tables overnight -- so I have very limited evening sewing time since I always have to clean up every scrap before bed.

    So how do I find time to sew lately? First, I've cut back on EVERYTHING else--no more random hours whiled away watching Netflix instant watch or Hulu (we don't have actual TV service but those are real timesucks anyway). I've been reading less science fiction (except on my subway commute). I only knit during my work-lunch knitting group once a week. I take my walks for exercise during lunch (often to the Garment district) instead of after work.

    Oh, and I'm a slob. I do a minimal amount of housework, and I'm so grateful to my husband for always doing all the laundry and much of the cleaning and grocery shopping (I get out of changing the litter box every day since I'm preggo, too). I do still do all the meal planning and most of the cooking since I LOVE to cook, though lately I've taken to just given my husband the recipe and letting him do it (he gets home quite a bit earlier than I do).

    Finally, on weeknights I just break sewing down into small little tasks. For example, last night I handwashed and ironed some fabric, and taped together some downloaded patterns. The machine didn't even come out.

    But just so I don't neglect my husband or friends, I make sure to always plan regular get-togethers with friends and date nights with my husband.

    What will happen after my daughter is born I have no idea! She's going to be number one, so we'll just have to see what happens to everything else.

  23. Congratulations Jeff!

    For me, it's all or nothing when it comes to sewing or working on any project for that matter. If I don't have a block of time dedicated to sew, I don't start. As a SAHM, I find it hard to concentrate with my son always at my side(school time this fall). As Jan said, his fascination with the "accelerator" pedal, means most times during the day, I give up and we read a story. With evening sewing, I'm giving up spending time with my husband or sleep. Which means much time can pass before anything gets accomplished. Also, when I do sew, it's such tunnel vision nothing else exists.

    I'm working on changing my ways in order to create a more balanced approach instead of these marathon evening or weekend sessions. By scheduling my time with regular breaks I'm hoping to be able to create more without the guilt.

  24. I'm one of those "crazy morning people". I get up at 5am, shower and do all the pre-worky stuff and then get to spend 45 minutes in the studio before I have to run to work (have to be there by 7:30am).

    I find that the key to this whole thing working is organization. I pick out my clothes for the week on Sunday. I pack my lunch the night before. I've got a plan.

    It's rare that I have more than 2 hours of time available for sewing, so I've learned to "chunk" my projects into 45 minute intervals. I make sure that before I wrap up the session, I've got the next step set up so that I'm ready to rock 'n roll the next time I'm there.

  25. I'm married with a 9 month old baby and an office job that I can leave at the office. I sew on weekends, and weekday evenings maybe twice a week.

    Weeknight sewing only works if the stars align and my husband makes dinner and the baby takes an evening nap (7-8:30ish) and I can ignore the laundry heap. Most of my sewing-at-the-machine happens in short bursts on these evenings. The tedious pattern adjusting, layout, cutting and fitting happens on the weekend. I can't do anything that requires brain power when I'm distracted by the baby trying to climb the fireplace or eat the dog's food.

    Sewing has been a great reason to accept all the offers of friends and family to come visit the baby or take him for an afternoon. It's not just "we're coming to see the baby", it's "we're taking the baby for the whole afternoon so Jen can finish her dress". I love to show them how much I accomplished while they were out with Henry. Sewing is my reason for peace and quiet and maintaining my identity beyond "new mom".

  26. Boy do I understand being twitchy! Due to personal issues all, ok most of my stuff but all of my sewing stuff got moved out to my parents stuff at the beginning of February. Now I am trying to get it all moved back. At first it wasn't so bad. I was working most of the time and dealing with the personal stuff and finishing up a knitting project. And now I am not starting my new job for another month yet and I am BEYOND itchy and feeling unaccomplished. I can't even plan projects that well because I have to remember what I have. For some reason I didn't even leave myself a needle and thread for emergencies. Needless to say i feel like my soul is missing and it has caused fits of crying. i have always had a hard time juggling a more than full time job and my personal work/life. Mostly because there wasn't time in the evening for anything besides making and eating dinner and going to bed and then weekends were for chores. And Gertie, even if you don't feel like you accomplish everything all the time it is the fact that you devotedly have scheduled some kind of post that keeps me going everyday. I may not comment too much but you have made me think about sewing, what I sew and why i sew and how that reflects on me as woman and as a person. I think the time change has messed with me too. i didn't think about that until you said it. And B is usually the one who cooks too and i am eternally grateful for it.

  27. I work full time but thankfully I don't have a job that requires me to work any over time. My lovely fiance helps with the housework. I'm not really a fan of cooking but he's insisting that I learn how to so we are taking it in turns to cook for a week each at a time. Its working rather well so far! I find on the nights that I've cooked, I actually go and sew more than the nights that he's cooked. I have no idea why!

    I do try to sneak a couple of hours in after work but there are some days that I just want to get home and sit on the couch and not move. I've limited the amount of TV that I watch since I was losing so much time that way and it has really helped.

    Last summer I had a routine where I'd go to bed at 10pm, wake up at 6am and sew through till 7.30am. This doesn't work well in winter as its so hard to get up when its dark and cold. Now that its getting lighter and brighter in the UK, I plan on going back to that habit because I'm at my best first thing in the morning and have much more patience for my sewing.

    Sewing on the weekend is a rare luxury for me. Usually it only happens when my fiance is otherwise occupied with his hobby of photography or the new Xbox game I sneakily bought for him so I could sew uninterrupted!

    Lately I've had a bit of a sewing drought. I'm back on track now but its been a good two weeks since I've wanted to sew anything for any reason. Your blog has helped me a lot and provides me with daily inspiration so thank you very much!

    Congratulations to your husband! I can't imagine how difficult it would be to write a book. I really enjoy reading but don't think I could ever write a book. Wouldn't know where to start!

  28. It seems like I don’t have any excuses NOT to sew:
    1. I don’t have kids
    2. I live alone and keep my sewing machines and projects at the kitchen table at all times
    3. I don’t have a TV

    BUT, I have a full-time job (or more, as I’m working as a researcher, one often end up staying longer than those 8 hours), I have to cook my own meals, I have constant bad conscience for not going to spinning classes at least once a week, I’m quite social and like spending time with friends and as I don’t have a husband or boyfriend I basically leave the house if I want to be social. In addition I easily get distracted, as I’ve blogged about: I guess what’s left then is the days with determination…

  29. Oh, and congrats to Jeff!!! Very cool!

  30. That's so funny that you make this post because I was just going to email you to ask how you get so much sewing done and if you had some secret super-fast sewing powers! I work full time at a really really boring job, so when I get home I am usually so frustrated by it that I don't want to do anything but sit and watch TV or go out with friends.

    I try to sew on the weekend but my boyfriend has no hobbies other than motorcycle riding (lol) and since we live in Seattle it's not always the best weather. So he tends to bug me after a few hours of sewing with "siiiigh, are you dooneee yet? siiiigh" It's actually pretty funny most of the time. I always respond with "get a hobby or I'm making you hand sew" he usually disappears after that...teehee.

    Good luck to Jeff today and thanks for creating such a wonderful blog!

  31. Congratulations about the book! That's so exciting.

    I'm currently a SAHM and my days vary quite a bit. My son is 10 1/2 months old now and walking/getting into everything. When he was younger (i.e. not mobile) it was easy to entertain him with fabric scraps while I sewed. To some extent I still can get away with this, but for shorter increments. The bulk of my sewing gets done during his naptimes (I've actually started rating my patterns based on how many naptimes they take to complete). I layout/cut my patterns at night once he's gone down for the night because he hates when I'm doing this (he likes being under the table but whacks his head on it). I used to be able to sew at night, but his crib is now in my sewing room. I get more sleep at night, but I don't get to sew as much.

    Mostly I feel like our time that we spend together through the day is under constant negotiation. I'm constantly being redirected by him and redirecting him myself. Sometimes 5 minutes on the swing at the park across the street can buy me several hours of a baby who will entertain himself...sometimes not. Sometimes I get a lot done, sometimes I'll go a week and only be able to make a muslin. It makes me a bit dotty, but this is the life that I chose and I'm learning to be patient in the middle of it.

    The thing that I've been most surprised at is that I sew as much as I did before my son was's just distributed differently over the course of a week. Instead of having an entire day to sew on my day off, I have 30 minutes here, an hour here, but time wise, it's about equivalent. I have a friend with two young boys who is convinced that she can't have any hobbies because of them. It's really sad to me that she feels this way...if things are a priority in your life, you shuffle things around to make time for them.

  32. Big congrats to Jeff!!! Wow - selling a debut novel at auction is absolutely and utterly fantastic! Not only should this result in a nice advance, but it also makes it more likely that the publisher will give the novel a bit of a push. So, CONGRATS!!!!

  33. For the past two years I've been working full-time and going to grad school taking 2-3 classes per semester. There was little time for socializing and sewing/knitting, but I kept enrolling myself in sewing classes so I would "have" to spend time creating and be around creative people. It has helped me feel more balanced and improve my sewing skills at the same time.

    Congrats to Jeff on his novel!!


  34. I'm kinda perturbed by these chirpy morning people who sew before work! JK! I'm actually very impressed. My life runs me totally ragged and I'm always dying to do some sewing. I have 4 kids, 2 of my own and 2 stepkids that live with us full time. One of them is autistic, which means that he alone is a full time job. He also has to eat a gluten-free diet which is extremely labor intensive to provide. My husband is the president of a non-profit and needs more help than I am able to give, but I try. He doesn't cook or help around the house(congrats to you girls who's husbands do!). So, I try to have several projects going at once so when I do find some time to sew I can pick the best project to work on based on how much time I have. I often find myself breaking down in tears when I just can't seem to fit something properly or I make a major mistake because that time is so precious and I know it won't come again any time soon. Luckily, I don't have a TV so no time is spent there. My husband loves to talk in the evenings(which I'm very glad of, don't get me wrong)and he's the kind of guy who needs my full attention, input and eye contact so I can't really multi-task there. I am a major night owl so sometimes I bite the bullet and pull an all-nighter and just pay for it for the next few days. I totally hear you about the time change. I propose that we just say "NO!" to the time change. Why do we have to conform to an arbitrary clock change? The time doesn't actually change people!!!I think it may be a conspiracy to do all of us non-morning folks in!
    In short, I covet time with my sewing. I've had to adopt a approach to finding time that really goes against my personality, which is taking little chunks of time when I can find it. Before gaining 2 extra kids I was the kind of person that just busted out my projects in a night and worked tirelessly until I was done. Now that I don't have that luxury, I'm very cautious about what projects I start and I'm very cautious when I read sewing directions in an attempt to mitigate any disastrous mistakes.

  35. I work fulltime with 12 hour days and even though single and without kids I find it difficult to sew on weeknights. For a while I was making myself sew for just 30 mintues a night. I found I was very productive and re-energized. Being sick in February put an end to that.

    Now, I am just sewing on the weekend.

  36. I work full time and have an 18 month old daughter. I usually work from 5am to 2pm Tues-Friday and 5am to 9am on Mondays. After work I pick up my daughter at my MIL's house and by the time I get home my husband has dinner going (I strongly second the yay for guys that cook!). Luckily mt daughter goes to bed promptly at 7pm with no fuss so after that I work out for 30 minutes and then sew until 9:30 then it's off to bed. My husband and I also work at home together so finding time for us to be together in the evenings isn't as big deal when we see each other all day. On Mondays and the weekends I usually don't get to sew that much since I'm usually running errands or cleaning, but I can squeeze in a hour or two here and there while my girl naps. Sometimes I'll do things like cut and prepare my fabric while my girl is playing so when she goes to bed I'm all ready to sew.

    I have lost some of my "me" time for sure but keeping my girl on a consistent schedule has really helped me reclaim some of that time. It's nice to always know that I can count on certain hours of the day for myself and, really, a schedule is better for babies anyway. I also highly recommend an early bed time for little ones. My daughter sleeps from 7-7 everyday and my husband and I always have our evenings to ourselves, and keeping her up later never means she sleeps in any later.

  37. I'm a sahm. I used to sew during nap time but sometimes my machines bother dd so I like to trace and do finishing work then at least when I'm not doing other chores. thankfully I also have a very supportive husband who likes to live with a sane wife so he handles most of bed time for our 2 kids so I can go up and sew in the evening. I don't get to every day though and I start to get more stressed out if I can't. It also helps that I have a sewing room so I can leave projects half finished. Sewing is how I relax.

  38. First of all - congratulations to Jeff. I hope when his book is published you will let us know, Gertie. How very exciting!

    I'm one of the ones who constantly marvel at your energy and ability to get work done. I haven't sewn in 6 months (if you don't count hemming a tablecloth at Christmas). I'm freelance, working from home, which is great as it gives me the flexibility to look after my two children. But like many freelancers will know, when work comes along, you take it... which can result in months of working days, evenings, weekends, fitting work around time available. I'm lucky that I have a husband who cooks nearly every day and takes over childcare duties at the weekend, but it is nevertheless exhausting at times.

    It got to me being so tired a couple of weeks ago that my husband actually offered to pay me to turn work down... only for him to be outbid by a job offer I couldn't refuse! I wish I could say I was making tons of money on it sadly I'm in the wrong industry for that... Still, at least it keeps me mentally stimulated, so I can't complain.

    Anyway, I'm now taking my husband up on his offer and the next week is off. I have curtains to make and last year's Father's Day present (!) and I'm really hoping to get a couple of dresses in there too... Even when I've been away from the sewing machine for months, you manage to be such an inspiration and you keep the thrill of sewing fresh in my mind.

  39. I have my own business and work out of my home (I'm a piano teacher,) so you would think I would have lots of downtime to sew, but it really depends. I hardly ever sew during the daytime (except on weekends) so most of my sewing happens at night. I have insomnia, combined with a job that doesn't start til afternoon, so I do most of my sewing in the wee hours! I try to do something every day, even if it's just planning a project. My husband and I share a hobby room (our recently finished 3rd floor) so I can spend time with him while sewing sometimes on weekends, which is nice. I didn't take up sewing when I was working away from my home, but I'd imagine I would have had a hard time juggling everything!

  40. I'm a single working gal so I, too, feel bad when I fall behind on sewing and/or my blog. I finally realized that if the blog and the sewing are to be priorities, then I have to accept that other parts of my life will have to be sacrificed. I've decided to cut out house cleaning. Ha!

  41. I work from home, and I work whenever the mood strikes, which is all the time.

    I also haven't sewn much in months.

    I have to have everything spotless to sew, and I need to get on a schedule where I am working regular hours, but haven't managed it yet.

  42. What a great post! I haven't had a lot of time to sew lately and I've been missing it so much! So, I've been trying to do a little bit every morning before work. I usually like to spend long stretches working on something, but the little bits that I take during the week to sew are really adding up and giving me a little bit of happy time before I go off for the day. But I will definitely be spending Saturday and Sunday working on some long-awaited projects! :) I love your blog Gertie - keep up the great writing!

  43. I've enjoyed reading your post and all the comments about squeezing sewing into busy lives. As a grad student, I've struggled with finding the time as well as the physical and creative energy to sew. However, I know that when I do manage to squeeze sewing in, I feel more balanced and even more confident, simply because my identity is not based solely on academics but on my own creativity as well.

    So much of my time is given to abstract thinking that may or may not produce anything; with sewing, however, I’ve got something concrete to show for my efforts and tangible problems to solve. It’s refreshing to see my progress week by week—I may only get a few buttonholes sewn or pin fit a new pattern, but at least I’ve made real progress.

    Thus I’ve dedicated Thursday evenings to sewing and nothing else; it’s the one time I know I can set aside my schoolwork (guilt-free) and just sew for a couple of hours with an audio-book on in the background. I enjoy these evenings so much!

  44. Hi Gertie! I work full-time at a quilt shop, and spend all of my work day handling fabric, planning and making shop samples, and helping customers with their projects. It is kind of a dream job! I end up sewing after work a few days each week; I too have a sweetheart who cooks often. That helps immensely, though he has to ask more than once to get me to the table if I am sewing. If I am too tired to sew (sometimes I spend my creative energy at work) I look at fabric and sewing blogs online! On the weekends, I marathon and get the bulk of my sewing done.

  45. I'm a stay at home mom- My blog is called Sleepytime Sewing because the only time I can really dig into a project is when my girls are asleep. My 5yo is in preschool, and when the school year started, I hoped to be able to do some daytime sewing while my 2yo napped. About a month after school started, the baby gave up napping! So for me it's all about finding time when I can. Often that means staying up until WAY past a reasonable bedtime. When I try to sew with the girls around, the toddler yanks on the iron cord or pulls the spool off the machine or empties the shelves of fabric. The 5yo wants desperately to "help." I think she'll be getting her own machine for Christmas this year :) For me, having a dedicated space makes a huge difference. I also leave the house once a week for a 3-hour sewing lab with my sewing teacher. That chunk of time is sanity saving. I can work on projects without being interrupted, I get professional help when I get stuck, and I'm hanging out with other sewists. Plus my girls get some special alone time with Daddy. Win win!

  46. I'm a stay at home mum, but i am lucky enough to have Mondays to myself when my son goes to his playgroup, i try to keep this as my sewing day but often that doesn't happen, lol. I squeeze mine in during nap time or after bedtime, sometimes it hard if I'm working on something I'm really excited about. It can be hard to find time for everything but if you want to do it you find a way. Being organised helps and sometimes you just have to let the laundry sit an extra day.

    :-)Ruby Slippers

  47. I think anyone who sews or does crafts and works or has kids feels like there is never enough time. I am always telling my work colleagues that work gets in the way of my sewing/knitting/spinning/dyeing.

    I work full time and have a child who resists going to bed at night. I have taken a 'Zen' approach. Be in the present. I try to do a minimum of 10 mins a day. No matter what I am doing I am focused on doing what I can in that time. I never think about how long it is taking nor when it will be finished. It helps me to relax and get into the right head space to achieve a whole lot in a little time. All the little bits add up and I end up with finished pieces before I know it.

    congratulations Jeff.

  48. I work full time but live close to work so I go home at lunch and sew for 30 minutes. I try to sew for an hour in the evening but life gets in the way too often! I encourage my husband to hang out with his friend so I can sew! When my girls were little and I was a stay at home mom, I would put the baby gate up in the sewing room door and lock the girls out of the sewing room. They had the run of the house but they would stand at the baby gate and want in with me! It always cracked me up.

  49. Hey Gertie, I have two children (one is 2 and the other is 10) I work part time and my husband works shifts. I have to fit in sewing as and when! My 2 year old is into everything and when I tried to do sewing while she was around, she got everything out of my sewing box, pins were everywhere and my sewing machione screwdriver was wedged into the backdoor lock! Needless to say I have to wait when she goes to bed then sew but sometimes I'm so tired I only manage an hour or two. Sadly, in my head I have so many projects that I want to do, I just can't keep up! She will start playgroup in September so will have two blissful mornings to myself then!
    ps, well done Jeff!

  50. Congratulations to Jeff! We already knew you were lucky on that front, Gertie, but he cooks most nights too? *wistful sigh!*

    I'm another single girl with full time job who manages to do precious little sewing on weeknights and has to make up for it on weekends. Also I've really fallen into quite the late-winter slump and there is so much I had planned for this winter that is still undone. I am always super amazed by Gertie and all the other sewing bloggers out there- to maintain hectic lives and find time for both sewing and blogging! And add parenthood to the mix in some cases- gah! What do I do with all my footloose & fancy free time, anyway?

    Part of my lack of productivity lately I think is that we are on a pretty extreme "do more with less" (ie. fewer people) direction at work over the last year, and I come home so much more drained and wrung out most nights. I try to save simple bits and pieces for weeknights- straightforward hemming, seam finishes, etc, but I'm not very good at getting them done anymore, until the weekends. Maybe with the longer hours of sun in the summer I'll go back to getting more done on the weeknights- I'm pretty solar-powered, makes a big difference!

  51. Well, I've been a stay-at-home wife and mother since 1976. I didn't do much sewing when my kids were very small, partly because I was so busy. But mainly because I didn't have a good place to sew in.

    I think that what is crucial if you want to sew every day, is to have a dedicated space, someplace where you can leave your machine and project out and have it be accessible whenever you have a little free time. When you have very small children this means a room with a door which you can shut and maybe even lock! That way you don't have to deal with having to clear your sewing off the dining table before every meal. And you don't have to worry about small people (or cats) hurting themselves with your sewing stuff while your back is turned.

    Another thing I have found helpful, especially when you work on several projects at once, is some kind of container for each one. I often use the flat plastic boxes sold to scrapbookers. I keep the pattern, instructions, fabric, notions, etc. for each garment in one of these. As the garment progresses I might hang it up on a hanger, but I still find the boxes handy for keeping everything for that project together. This is especially so for quilt projects when I also need to store cut patches and completed blocks.


  52. I'm a stay-at-home mom to two kids. A five year old and a two year old. My son just started kindergarten this year, so that has made my life a lot easier. I do most of my sewing at night after they are in bed. Unfortunately that's only about half the time, because alot of the time, I am so tired, I just crash down on the couch with some knitting. Sometimes I can sneak in a bit of sewing during the day, mostly when my daughter is napping, or having a snack.

    My sewing space is set up in our living room. I find that having it relatively organized, and being able to leave my ironing board out (with any wip's on it) makes it much easier for me to get some sewing time in. I have gotten really good at doing little 5 or 10 minute sewing sessions. It doesn't seem like much, but it's better than nothing and it does add up eventually. Ironically, I don't have as much time to sew during the weekends because I have three people under my feet instead of just one. Ha!

  53. I work full-time, have a 2 hour commute to work, and am going to grad school part time. That doesn't leave a lot of time for much else. The house I live in with my fiance is very small and up until last weekend my only sewing space was the corner of my bedroom. But my fiance, being the wonderful guy he is, bought be a vintage kitchen queen Saturday. Although it's function if for cooking, I have turned it into my sewing nook. It makes me happy beyond belief to have a spot that is mine that I don't have to "set up" just to sew a seam. I can just get right to it!
    It will be interesting to see how much more work week sewing I can get done now with my own space.

    Sometimes it just feels like too much to try and sew mid-week, but once you are in the zone of sewing something, I find it hard to find a place to even stop! This is how I ended up spending Saturday sewing a Sencha blouse until 12am!

  54. I work from 9-6 and am at the dojo between an hour to 3 hours 3x a week. I sew at night (usually from when I get home to when I have to go to sleep). I try to leave my more complicated sewing (cutting, pattern adjustments) until the weekend when I don't feel rushed. During the weekdays I do less complicated tasks like creating muslins, adjusting for fit. I don't sew when I am tired or upset. I also try to take the time to master patterns so I don't have to re-fit and make muslins for basic wardrobe staples.

    Housework I usually leave until the weekend. I cook on Saturdays and Sundays and cook enough for the whole week.

  55. The vast majority of my sewing happens on the weekends when I can devote large chunks of time to it. Weekdays are mostly taken up with work, gym, making meals, and some basic housework, though there is the odd hour here and there that I can squeeze in a little sewing time. I wish I could do more during the week, but it just hasn't happened as of yet.

  56. I'm amazed to see how much balancing people have to do to get their bits of sewing time in!

    Up until a few months ago, I got a couple of one-hour sew sessions in once or twice during the weekdays and fit it all in with working full-time and running or swimming an hour or more a day, plus cooking (my main contribution to household chores) and getting evening time with the husband. Weekends were prime sewing time.

    Since January, though, I've been working full-time AND about three hours in the evening, so those weekday sewings are gone! So I've had to rearrange the schedule to get all run training in the early AM (6 am, yuck), swimming at lunch (very nice change!), and major sewing for the weekends. I usually save small handwork tasks for weeknights, when I might get a burst of energy for a hem or a button after the freelance job and blogging (which I'm usually done with around 11). Thankfully, this arrangement is only for a few more weeks... But whew. Sleep is at a premium.

    I can't imagine how people with kids (or neat house people) manage!

    I definitely think about sewing more now that I have so much less time for it... And I pick out projects that I'm 100% DYING to make.

    Congrats to Jeff! I hope you celebrate some great news tonight.

  57. oops--forgot that I was replying to this after catch-up reading! Glad to hear he got a great contract :-)

  58. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  59. I'm so inspired by all of you to find time to sew just a little during the week. I will try and turn the TV off in the evenings and work a little bit at a time at my sewing and drawing. Nothing like a little work life balance!


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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