Tips to Find Time to Sew

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As a follow-up to my post about my struggle with finding time to sew with little kids around, I wanted to share some of the things that help me, and some of the great tips I received from other readers and friends. Some of these tips are great too, for anyone struggling with balancing it all {all women}, not just for moms of little ones. A few of the tips I credited to an individual, but a lot of what everyone said was along the same lines, or are things I do, so those I’ve just left uncredited.

Here they are:

1. Prep your machine the night before. Clean it, wind bobbins, change the needle, get the correct thread and foot ready for your next project. Then, it will be ready and waiting. {Tip from charliemarmalade on IG}

2. Have your project ready to sew. Much like the first suggestion, when you get to your planned sewing time, you can spend it sewing, not gathering supplies. This is also great, because if you get an unexpected free moment, you can actually sew, if you want to. I like to sort my projects into baskets, so that I can grab the one I want and work on it, then put it back when I’m done.

3. Sew where the kids are. Even though I have a sewing space, I spend most of my time at the dining room table sewing while my children play in the living, craft at the table, or eat a snack. {Jennifer Dewing, a mom of 9, echoed this sentiment}

4. Let them help out. Many of my sewing sessions are spent with a child on my lap, or my son pressing the foot pedal {my machine lets me lower the speed, so he can’t accidentally make it go too fast}. If I’m making something for my kids, I offer them fabric choices so that they’re excited to see the project progress.

5. Give them an alternate craft. When I really want to get a project done, I get out a craft for the kids to do at the same time. Whether we’re filling old water bottles with random things to make marrakahs, stringing beads, or coloring in a new coloring book, the excitement of their project keeps them occupied while I work on mine.

6. Have hand sewing at the ready. Whether it’s paper piecing, embroidery, or binding, having a hand sewing project that can go outside on sunny days, or to the living room while they play a game, this gives me a little fulfillment and keeps me right with them too.

7. Have a dedicated quiet time. This is an opportunity for children to learn self-entertainment, to recharge, and to give you a little break in your day too. We don’t do this in my house yet, but I’m going to start! {Tip from sevenblessingssewing on IG}

8. Take advantage of help. Whether it’s a free afternoon from grandma or hubby taking the kids to the store, use those unexpected free times to recharge and do what you enjoy without feeling guilty about it {it’s hard, I know}.

sewing-with-babyIt was hard to find a photo of me with Lydia on my lap sewing, as we don’t often have a photographer handy, but here’s one from last year, she was mesmerized by the machine! You’ll notice Legos and the play kitchen in the background, and that my dining room table are the setting.

I hope maybe these tips will help you sneak in a little more sewing {if that’s what you want to do!}. I know that our whole family is happiest when everyone gets a little time to themselves to pursue what they enjoy, even mom!

the Cecelia bag

ceceliabagToday we’re excited to release our latest pattern, the Cecelia bag {available in our shop here and at Patterns to Print for EU shoppers }. This bag is generously sized with lots of pockets for organization. It can easily be used as a diaper bag, travel bag, project bag, or anything else you can think up. It has two large elasticized pockets on the front, a magnetic pocket and zipper pocket on the back, and an divided inside pocket as well. It should also be available as kits from RJR Fabrics in February featuring the cover fabric, Lovebirds by Patrick Lose!

DSC_7057Here’s a look at the back. I really love the exposed zipper! I’ve been using this one myself for a couple months and have found it great for carrying everything, even hats and gloves in this cold, winter weather. Since this pattern is one of our more difficult {it has a lot of steps and is rated intermediate}, we had a bunch of testers, to make sure we didn’t leave anything out. Here are their bags:

Cecelia-bag-by-EllenEllyn from Ellyn’s Place / Blog / Flickr

ceceliabag1Emma from For My Little Monster / Instagram / Facebook

Cecelia-bag-by-DiDi from Willowbeck Designs / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-PattiPatti / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-SallySally / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-CamilleCamille from Camille’s Quilting / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-GwenGwen from  Tillalili / Instagram / Facebook

Cecelia-bag-by-YvonneYvonne / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-JantineJantine from Urban Style Jantine / Blog /Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-AlissaAlissa / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-MelindaMelinda / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-DyanDyan from Sew Joyful Handmade / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-KathyKathy / Instagram

Cecelia-bag-by-Kathy1Kathy’s Mom made one too!

Cecelia-bag-by-Sally-2Sally from Life in Sally’s World / Instagram

There are the tester bags! This pattern also calls for some specific hardware. Since I don’t live anywhere near a big box store, I order most of my hardware online, usually from Tantalizing Stitches {I have always had great service from El!}, the exact swivel clips used for this bag came from Sewing Supplies. However, if you buy your hardware elsewhere, there are also directions in the pattern to adjust the strap width to the hardware you have.

We hope you love this new pattern as much as we do! And thanks so much to all the testers who made this at the last minute for an excellent finished product!

the Cora purse {Free Pattern featuring Lovebirds by RJR Fabrics}

thecorapurse

Today we’re excited to share a new free pattern we’ve been working on: the Cora purse. For this pattern we used some adorable fabrics from Lovebirds by Patrick Lose for RJR Fabrics. We think this fabric would be perfect for new moms {aren’t the baby birds adorable?!}, as well as for cute baby or little girl items.

Download the free pattern here!

Cora-bag-1

Our idea behind this little purse was to a small bag that would hold all the essentials. It could be used as a clutch or a long, cross-body purse, depending on which handle was attached. The swivel clips and D-Rings allow two types of handles to be used without any extra hardware showing.

Cora-bag-2The clutch version, with just one handle, would be a great addition to a diaper bag or any other large travel bag. Pull out the clutch for what you need and leave the rest in the car, in the stroller, or with the babysitter. I know I’ve often found myself fumbling around for my wallet, lip gloss, phone, and pen, before leaving my big bag somewhere. This keeps it all in one place!

Cora-bag-3Attach the long strap and your belongings are close to you wherever you go. My mom specifically wanted this type of small purse for traveling. This way she can keep all her important items close to her, especially in a strange or foreign place.

Cora-bag-4This bag also features a small outer zip pocket to keep little things more secure {this pocket could also be enlarged to hold your cell or smart phone, we just thought it looked cute tiny!}. The inside is divided into two large sections. Small card pockets could also be added to help keep things more organized {see the Bella clutch free pattern for card pocket instructions}.

If you’re looking for the hardware we used, we bought ours from Tantalizing Stitches:

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Now, for the fun part of the post! RJR Fabrics is generously giving one reader a fat quarter bundle of Lovebirds in their choice of either the white or cream colorway! To enter, leave a comment on this post with what you’re most looking forward to making when the Christmas sewing is over {or, if you’re not sewing for Christmas, then just what you’re hoping to make next!}. One comment per person over 18 years of age or older. This giveaway will close Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 11:59 pm. Good luck!

Playing with Color :: Lydia’s Quilt

Lydia-Stack

With things settling down for fall, it is high time I got to work and made Lydia a quilt {she is one year old now!}. As you may have guessed, I really love purple {Clover & Violet}, but I feel like the options for purple in the fabric world are minimal and not always pretty {why is that? Do we as a collective quilt community dislike purple?}. So, over time, I’ve scouted out a few favorite purples and stashed them. I chose this stack {plus some more that I added later} for the quilt.

Photoshop-Elements

Then, I remembered seeing that Alyssa at Pile O’ Fabric made a Kona® Color Swatch for Adobe Illustrator. I went over to download it, did some internet searches, and discovered that, yes, I can use this in Photoshop Elements 12 too! So, now I am able to use her virtual Kona® card to make some pretty neat fabric photos too, for inspiration and for saving {and, of course, fabric shopping!}. Now, I just hope she adds the new colors so all 303 are there {and, I need a new Kona card too, since two of the colors I chose weren’t even on my color card, it is that old!}.

Lydia Quilt Small

So, here’s my stack for Lydia’s quilt with the Kona® colors next to it. Now I’ve just got to get the quilt sewn up!

Do you have a favorite color combo you’d love to see in fabric?

The Roly-Poly Pinafore in Harmony

Roly-Poly-Front

I made Lydia the Roly-Poly Pinafore by Imagine Gnats to wear to quilt market using Harmony by Jessica Swift for Blend Fabrics.

Roly-Poly-Back

I honestly wasn’t expecting the scale of the fabric to be so large and I was a little worried about how it would work out on such a small dress, but I think it turned out perfectly! I love how the pattern has such opportunity for using more than one fabric too {and it can be made reversible too}. I couldn’t deiced what buttons to use, and then my button hole on my machine gave me grief {it is automatic, but it isn’t consistent!}.

Roly-Poly-2

I eventually made it to the store to change the buttons to these white flowers and then elongated the button holes.  I love the result {and I love those chubby cheeks too}!

Roly-Poly-1

Photographing Lydia is a bit of a challenge, but the dress turned out really cute! She’s already worn it a couple times and I’ve cut a bigger one out for Norah too!

I really think my children need more handmade clothes in their wardrobe, what are your favorite patterns for toddlers {9 month – 3T}? Any I should try?