There’s a lot of pressure on our time these days – even for people like me who’ve ben making clothes for a long time. Here are three things that have helped me to stay motivated and find precious minutes to sew and knit.

Go to a class

Hear me out! I’m not just saying this because I’m a teacher and run sewing classes 🙂 – it’s because sewing at home is full of distractions. There’s always something to do or someone calling for your attention. If your mind wanders, or you often feel guilty about doing things for yourself, a change of scene can work wonders.

Before the pandemic, I made time for piano classes every Friday. I can play and practice at home, but having something to look forward to each week, an encouraging teacher, like-minded people, and a reason to play was a good feeling. Plus, I actually played at home when I had somewhere to go and someone I looked forward to seeing. Give yourself a reason to be happy, not guilty, and let the company of others lift you up.

Don’t hide the sewing machine away

Out of sight, out of mind can be a big problem. If you were trained in childhood to put your toys away out of sight, that’s no bad thing, but sometimes that can work too well. Make sure your sewing machine has a home that’s easily accessible. This could be a shelf close to where you normally set it up if you can’t leave it out on the table. Then, when you do find time to sew, you won’t have to spend so much time faffing around and setting up the machine. You can just take the cover off, pop it on the table, and GO.

Learn to love hand finishing

Hand sewing often gets a bad rap for being time-consuming, but it can be a relationship saver. If your loved ones complain that they never see you or can’t talk to you because you’re always at the machine, try adding some hand finishing techniques to your skill set. This makes sewing much more sociable and portable. You can be in the living room, on the move, or not worried about waking anyone up.

Sometimes this is about where and when you have the time, and making sewing fit in with you and the people around you. Don’t blow things up with friends and family for the sake of a sewing machine. Find ways to bring all your loves together so that there’s no guilt or resentment. Then, when you really do need to use the sewing machine, nobody will be unpopular.

BONUS tip: Batching

This (sort of) relates to the second tip, and I mentioned it in detail here, but batching is also a brilliant time-saver.

With batching, you can group things up according to whether you need to machine sew, press, or hand finish (if the last point resonates). This way, you don’t have to get all your tools out just in case you get to a particular stage of your project. For example: If you’ve worked things out so that you have no ironing for a while, and you have half an hour to yourself, you can sew merrily along until you run out of things to do before you need to press.

Then, knowing that you have a small batch of pressing to do, you can ignore the machine for a bit until you’re done with the ironing. Bonus points for sneaking sewing into regular chores and not being anti-social – unless ironing is a time of peace and quiet for you. In that case – enjoy it!

And finally…

Thank you for reading! I hope this article has showed you a few ways to find time for sewing. If you enjoyed this post or think it’d be helpful to other people also struggling to find time to sew, please share it 🙂

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And if this is your first visit to my site, welcome!

Natalie Warner

I design size inclusive knitting patterns for clothes makers who want their garments to fit well. Clothes should serve you, not the other way around. You alter clothes to fit you, not alter yourself to fit the clothes. This is at the heart of everything I do.

I also teach other people how to design knitwear and am currently creating a comprehensive, year-long knitwear design course, covering everything from illustration to pattern grading.

If you’re enjoying my content, you can get more by reading my blog, which features several articles on garment fitting, alterations, knitwear design and sewing pattern reviews, following me on Instagram or Pinterest @natalieinstitches, or signing up to my newsletter.