Sewing When You Don’t Have Time
A bit about me
Hello, I’m Jo. I live on the South Coast of England with my husband and energetic 3-year-old son. I also work as a nurse and, what with fitting in some social and family life, time is scarce. I’m sure I’m not the only one juggling in order to fit in a bit of sewing here and there. So I thought why not write a little blog for In a Haystack about sewing when you have a small child, and therefore no time to sew.
I’ve been a In a Haystack subscriber for over a year now and it gives me some sewing escapism when I don’t have time or energy to sew. Time is precious and I love that the Haystack pack gives me so much inspiration without me having to spend my precious sewing time hunting out all those innovative patterns and fabric shops which are featured in the pack. I also love that you can listen to the pack so I can hear Kate’s beautiful voice inspiring me as I’m sewing as I’m often too tired at the end of the day to read.
Sewing with a young child
I’ve been sewing off and on for ten years now and I’m ever so slightly obsessed. I sew when I’m happy and when I’m sad and all the times in between. When I first had my son, like lots of new mothers, I felt like I had lost my identity and sewing helped me find parts of me again I felt I’d lost. The bonus was I also had clothes that fitted my vastly changed body. Sewing grounds me when things aren’t going right for me personally or globally. It’s a space where I can just switch off from the everyday and just create. It’s like stepping into a place where time is suspended, and alchemy is performed. Where I’m surrounded by plumes of colour and endless possibilities and any stressors or worries just melt away. I would stay all day suspended in that sewing trance if I could but, like most people, real life calls.
So how do I do it?
People often ask me how I do it…sewing, work, social life and looking after a small person. Firstly, I have to let go of perfectionism, both in my sewing and in life, which is a skill I’m still working on. I also make sure I make time for sewing. I know this is easier said than done. The house is often a mess, I probably should exercise more than I do, and rest and sometimes sleep often go out the window. But it’s okay if I get that sewing fix. I must say, I also have a very supportive husband who knows I’m a much nicer person to be around when I’ve had my creative hit. Ultimately, it’s about balance and lots of juggling. I’m Libra so I’m constantly striving for that balance, but I’m often tipping the scales too far in one direction by focusing too much on one aspect of my life at the expense of others. Not to mention the added Mummy guilt if it’s tipped away from time with my son. But I’ve learnt that sewing is so important for my mental health and shows my son the importance of having a hobby that you’re passionate about. So I guess you could say sewing has given me many life lessons. Throw a child in the mix and it’s like a self-improvement book on steroids.
Naps. Naps are your friend when attempting to do anything with a small child. Alas, my child preferred to nap on me, but every so often I would get those mythical 3-hour naps other mothers talked about and when they happened nothing was going to stop me from getting in that sewing room. Naps are almost a distant memory now, so I snatch time when he’s in bed and he gets to drift off to sleep to the dulcet hum of the sewing machine. I like to think it comforts him – he knows that I’m close by.
Having a small child makes time speed up and slow down at the same time. Life is more hectic and means juggling and snatching time for yourself where you can. But you also appreciate what a precious gift time is and not to squander it, although I’m still guilty of this. Small children make you slow down and look at the detail and appreciate time in a way you never have before. Practically speaking, this means sewing in small chunks and appreciating that just sewing one seam is maybe all I can squeeze into my day. I’m surprised how ten minutes sewing goes someway to scratch that itch. I do miss those all-day sewing marathons where you are really in your flow and time floats away. However, those few snatched moments at my machine feels like such an achievement and an act of self-care that I would never have appreciated before. As a side note, I particularly like Tilly and the Buttons’ book, “Make it Simple” as it recognises this, and it breaks down sewing tasks into small, manageable timed tasks and celebrates these small gains.
So, apologies if you’re reading this blog post looking for practical tips on how to sew with a small child in tow as I haven’t mastered this yet. I rarely sew when my son in in the room as, when I do, it’s very short lived and the dials on my overlocker are all changed or my stitch length has gone awry – those twiddly knobs are too tempting for a little one! I do find the button stash is a good distraction when they’re old enough to be trusted not to put them in their mouth. Stray pins are one of my biggest fears so, from an early age. I taught him to watch out for pins when he’s in the sewing room. He loves it when he does find one so he can run and get the magnet to pick it up. Probably not the finest example of mothering! I can’t wait for when he’s old enough to sit at the machine together and I can teach him how to make toys. If he’s not interested though, that’s also okay. I just hope he finds his own equally rewarding and fulfilling hobby that sewing has been for me.
Finding me online