Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tilly and the Buttons Sewing Productivity, the results are in!

Here I am in  my snap up vintage house dress with my geek glasses! I am always checking fit as I sew,  the snaps are helpful with getting changed quickly. The readers help act as a magnifier.

Well, with all self reflection comes answers to questions we ask.

Tilly asked, how do I feel before, during and after sewing?

 Mostly happy and hopeful to start. During- I feel totally engrossed in the craft. The house could be on fire and I wouldn't know! After- I feel guilty for spending so much time sewing for myself. Time flies, and I am unaware.

What are the factors that effect my sewing time?

 My attitude, kids needing my attention, phone calls, preparedness, and general learning curve! The biggest factor is this,
I am cheap when it comes to my hobbies! This causes me to be very unproductive! The scenario is, at the store with list in hand, I find myself looking for the red tags instead. Often leaving with bargains, but not items from my list. My thinking is, I'll find better quality items and on sale at some other store. This is robbing me of time and money. To add insult to injury, Joann's is near the thrift shop.  One hour later, I go home with a bag of clothes, but without the zipper I need to complete a dress. Bottom line, I need a plan to buy the all the stuff for a project. Sometimes good is good enough!

Tips I found helpful for me are,

1.  I need to slow down to speed up.  Rereading through the pattern one final time equals less mistakes!

2.  Another tip I am finding valuable is to, coordinate my sewing projects with my existing wardrobe. Before choosing a pattern and fabric, I am asking, what are the gaps in my closet that need to be filled? If I make this item, what shoes and accessories will work with it? This week, I did some soul searching and decided it was time to clear things out and get a thoughtful plan!

3.  I can feel overwhelmed when having too many projects up in the air. I have decided to just have two projects, no more or I become unhappy mommy, and no one wants that girl hanging around.

4.  Fitting before sewing is success for me! A sloper is the best way to check for fit quickly. I now make a sloppy copy every time I use a new pattern.

5. A prepared sewing room with materials ready is a key for me. I wind up 2 or 3 bobbins right before starting a project so I am not winding right in the middle of sewing. I also have a basket with all the materials for the dress I am making, so I am not hunting around for these things when I need them.

6.  Clearing my head of any "baggage" from the day helps creativity to kick in and dreaming to emerge. Sometimes if my mind feels unresolved about something, I take some time to let go or deal with anything that may hinder me from being in the moment of just sewing. I find I sew better when my heart feels light!

7. Two to three hours of sewing is a breaking point for me. It's like eating too much chocolate, some is great, too much and I feel like I have overindulged. Also, I become sloppy at the machine. So, a break is in order here!

The biggest take away for me is, I must have a road map. Take an inventory, know what I need, so I don't waste time and money. Sewing has become a way of life for me, but sometimes it's encroaching on the time that I want be spend with hubby, loving on my boys and maintaining my home. So, I am promising myself that I will think through what to sew, write it down, get the materials needed, stay organized with my trips to the store, and not let the house burn down from me being unaware!

Thanks Tilly, learned a lot this week! I am hoping to learn from all your tips too!

Have a wonderful vintage day!



  1. I always find it interesting to hear about the creative process of others. I think sewing with kids around really ups the ante. My daughter is 11 and I finally feel like she can mind herself when I get into my sewing. She's been known to make some scrambled eggs if she gets sick of waiting for me to come down and fix her lunch. I'm very single-minded when I sew. I find 10 hours can go by if I'm not careful. (Obvs, that can't happen when my child is around!)

  2. Nice thoughts! I was going to participate but it's the end of the semester and that equals a weird schedule for me. I'll definitely be using the tip about winding a couple of extra bobbins. I hate having to unthread and rethread my machine every time the bobbin gets empty.

  3. I love your 'sewing outfit' - too cute! I'm very sporadic when it comes to sewing. When it's going well I like to keep at it. When it's not going well I take lots of breaks and work on other things. But, I can never leave a project for too long - I want to get it finished and wear it! : )

  4. Gina I was looking at my patterns and found one for you which I will mail out Monday. It's a vintage Advance pattern of a blouse. I think you might like it. Have a great Easter with your family. We're having 11 guests here not my normal thing to do.

  5. Great post! Good idea to wind several bobbins at a time....

  6. Thanks for sharing :) Your tips are great, so useful :)
    Ashley x

  7. Great tips, Gina. I particularly like the one about having a well-stocked and prepared sewing room. I often forget about all the bits and bobs I need for any project.

  8. Like you Gina, I also have to have a road map in what to sew. I find myself becoming quite tired if I am at the machine too long.

    Your tips are wonderful. Great to keep in mind as we continue to create a wardrobe that fits and that describes exactly who we are individually :)

    Have a very blessed Resurrection Sunday!

    Mrs. M.

  9. I absolutely love this idea - if I were to slooooow doooown a lot more, my finished work would be so much better, and maybe I'd even want to wear more of it? then again.... I need to ruminate on this a little.

  10. Thanks for your feedback! Nan- you are so sweet to think of me. Thank you so much for the gift!! You are having a houseful, fun!
    Everyone- I hope you enjoying sewing and find ways to make it happen for yourself. Have a fab day!

  11. I so know what you mean about being budget, I too get distracted by 'bargains' even if they are not what I went in for, then of course their relative cheapness puts you off the thing you wanted in the first place! Love your blog and am very envious of your sewing space!

  12. Oh my goodness! I love that you have a dress that you wear for sewing! That is such a smart suggestion about the snaps too... I never thought of that. Thanks for taking the time to write up and share your findings, it is very interesting and helpful. Sam xox

  13. Great tips! O feel excited before a project too. I also have a 2/3 hour limit, l can get frustrated otherwise.

  14. Gina,

    There were some interesting reflections.

    Although I currently don't sew, I thought the idea of having several bobbins handy while pursuing a project could be to one's advantage. Also, tackling only a few projects at a time is wise, as if you do more than this, you can tend to become "sloppy." :) I know this is the case for me.

    -L. Rose

  15. Oh, I find myself as that old man in the picture, many times ... I'm stingy with my time sewing and then my brain is dulled and ended badly,
    then it is time to move on to another hobby. Great advice, I have to be more careful with my time ....

  16. I think prepping to sew is a great idea! It seems so obvious, but I never, ever would think to wind all of my bobbins ahead. Thanks for sharing what you discovered- I will have to make a point of trying a few of these ideas out! Oh, and I tried a couple hems based on your tutorial. Thanks a lot! They are so much better than the hems I did before!

  17. Gina - first can I say how wonderful you look at your machine? So sweet :)

    This post is full of great ideas and all the preparations you mention will only save one time in the end, tempting as it is to plunge straight in! I'm going to re-read this before I start my next project :)