Like most people with a demanding job I have very little time to spend on my crafting projects, and most of the time I have a lot of other things that require attention.
If I postpone sewing projects “until I find the time” to make it kind of a ritual with setting up a work table, arranging everything, brewing a nice cup of tea to get into it and doing it all at once I never get things done. But I found a way to be surprisingly productive without all that. Because I do have time, a couple of minutes every day here and there, waiting times in between appointments, slow days, 20 minutes on the train, breaks.. it all adds up.
So I figured I might as well use it instead of wasting it with whatever distraction I used to find. I started with making a nice bag for ongoing sewing projects. Just big enough to put some pre-cut fabric, yarn, scissors and some needles in it and small enough to carry it with me to work. A simple plastic bag would have done the job as well, but I am weird that way ;). I like things to look inviting to work with, so I made the bag using some left overs and very stiff canvas to prevent needles and scissors from getting stuck in the fabric.
I sew a lot by hand, jersey tops, sleeves, all the buttons and rolled invisible hems. Every time I have some spare minutes I just grab my bag and continue – a seam, a button, – it’s really surprising what you get done in 10 minutes. And it adds up. There are always a couple of pre-cut pieces in the bag, I just have to sew them together, work on a hem or add a button. Stuff that would usually end up on the I’ll-do-that-when-I-find-the-time-pile is finished when I come home. A shirt, a skirt, socks, borders..
When I work on clothes that need fringed hems I use the sewing machine, or for the parts that are done quicker with a machine – and just put it in the bag to finish whatever hand sewing is needed.
Since I started working like that I made a lot more things without really noticing the time I spend on them, and it became a habit to grab the bag as soon as I finish an appointment and have to wait for the next customer. Like the ladies in Jane Austen books who always have some needle work to keep busy ;).
So, this is the secret how I get all the stuff done. I am sure some people laugh at the thought of a tattoo artist with a skull decorated studio working on doll clothes in a flowery laced bag, but hey- I am cool with it :D.
And there’s a woman I used to see on the bus every day on my way to work, she was always playing with her cell. She sat next to me one morning and she saw me grab my bag. We started to chat, and now she has a bag as well :-). She’s making lovely embroidered pillow slips. It always makes me smile when I see her.