Tuesday, October 06, 2009

6 tips for sewing with little kids around

Sewing when your kids are babies or toddlers can be frustrating at times--my 11 month old has developed a habit of crawling under the table and playing with the foot pedal while I'm sewing. She can also--just barely--reach up and grab things off the table now, too. I've come up with some ideas to ease the frustration and get a sense of accomplishment with your sewing when you have a little one.

1. Focus. Staying focused on one project until it is done can lead to finishing projects more often! I'm not saying I never start a new project when I already have several started, but when I start to feel like I never get anything finished, sometimes I will pick a project to stick with and do my best to avoid distractions until it is done.

2. Lower your expectations. If you're caring for small people, you usually can't get as much sewing/quilting/crafting done as you might have been able to at previous stages in your life. It's probably a good thing to accept this and know that as kids get older they will become less demanding and eventually you'll be able to have more time for sewing again.

3. Go with the flow. (Shout out to my 9-year-old who used this as a slogan on his student council campaign posters the other week.) Do what you can, and don't forget to enjoy your kids.

4. Just do a little. Break projects up into small steps and focus on completing each step. For example, you could trace several patterns, then cut out a few outfits, and then focus on the sewing.

5. Handwork. Figure out some hand sewing or other portable projects that you can do while hanging out with the kiddos. I've been sewing on quilt binding by hand quite a bit lately, and I can do that while watching The Princess Bride with my kindergartner or watching my baby play with her toys. I just found this site the other day and printed off some hexagons to start some Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt blocks. (Yes, this seems to contradict #1, but I am also going to take this handsewing project on a couple trips I have coming up!)

Finished bindings on 3 Project Improv quilts!

6. Use naptime. When I had only one kid, I had a rule that I never did housework during naptime, but it was time for me. Now sometimes I do feel like I really need to do housework during naptime, but I try to work on my sewing projects or take some other kind of break for myself during naptime on a regular basis.

I'd love to hear your tips or secrets for working on sewing or quilts with babies or toddlers underfoot!


quilting gran said...

These tips could also apply to those of us who have retired husbands underfoot too! LOL

Leslie said...

great tips...thanks for sharing. i can not imagine trying to sew while someone else was helping control the foot pedal.

Katherine Chaffee said...

This is an awesome post! I too use naptime for just me. Unfortunately, my two-year-old is trying to phase this out. Argh

I do let my boys 2 & 3 help me fill the bobbin. We use racing terms.

Make a HUGE deal when you cut yourself! I've scared mine from touching anything on my desk.

Audrie said...

I don't have kids but when I babysit my niece, I always wonder how I'll get any quilting done when I do have kids because she never stays still! And naptime's always pure bliss haha!

Sudie said...

What great advice! I may take the sewing machine out more often. thanks! Sudie Jump Create

roseylittlethings said...

Great tips!!!

Jenni said...

Great tips!
The play yard is my favorite sewing tool, LOL. My son can see what I am doing and "help me" but not be in my way. He is 16 months old and has walked since 9 months so I hardly get things done unless he is contained. Plus he is very curious.

TiLT said...

That sounds a lot like me :) Naptime is wonderful for getting projects done. My youngest has a hard time with the sound of the sewing machine - so I tend to do that while he is asleep. Looking forward to all day school too :P

Jaedyn said...

I love this post! Thanks for sharing. :-) I want to learn to sew but am a little overwhelmed with my busybee toddler right now. :-) Maybe I'll make myself learn. Problem is I'm a blogger, I work at home, and I feel too busy! It would be rewarding, though - I love to craft.

I added this post to my Creative Mamas Monday blog hop linky - hope you don't mind!

RootsAndWingsCo said...

My boys are now 5 and 7 and they still come by when I am making things. Often times I find that if I set them up to make something of their own, I can go on making my project. My 5 year old was really interested when I was teaching myself how to knit. This upped the frustration level 10 fold. So I purchased some large needles for him to use on his own project. Once I got him going, he sat happily by my side while we were knitting. My 7 year old didn't make it through the instruction phase of learning how to knit. LOL

Thanks for sharing. I am always interested to hear how others handle doing crafts around their kids.


RootsAndWingsCo said...

Oh and thanks for the link!!!

We are happy to distract. ;)


Pandora31 said...

I let her sit in my lap and pull the pins out and put them in the pincusion. And when she got bored, she would leave me alone!

Alisa said...

Very good tips. I have 5 children and it is true, I've had to lower my expectations. By doing this, when I do have the time to sew/quilt it is so enjoyable and I look at it as a 'bonus' of sorts. I do have trouble focusing though :-). I have my sewing room in the same area as my kids toys. It's a big room with definate areas. They like being by me and this works for us.

Dipankar Kuzzuk Subba said...

Thank God, I do not sew :) but great tips and a great response to the pb.com challenge. See ya around pb.com

Samina said...

What a great post. When I was a tot, my mom used to give me bunches of scrap fabrics to play with in a little basket.

Anne said...

Great advice!! One thing that I do is try to carve out a little space so my daughter can play in the same room while I'm sewing. That way she doesn't feel like mommy's ignoring her, but I still get some sewing in.

I posted a link to your article on Craft Gossip Sewing:
(link will go live at approx. 10:30 pm CST)


RootsAndWingsCo said...

Wow! I love your blog! I'm so excited to see you liked something I made to distract you;) Love the 6 tips!!

Anjeanette of the R&W girls

Sylvie - Madame Créative said...

Thank you for the tips!
I am happy to know that I am not the only one to use naptime only for me.

Me? A Mom? said...

Great post!

I try to involve them in some way in every step. So if I'm cutting, they watch but get to play with the scraps. Or I give them a play scissors so they can pretend to be cutting too. I sit them on my lap when I wind bobbins and try to give them little sewing projects to do when I'm piecing fabric together. Honestly though, I get very little done when they are around but I love exposing them to the craft!

Mrs. M said...

My almost 4 year old can sew a straight stitch already because shes been helping me with my sewing since she was 2. My 2 year old knows how to thread the machine all the way up the needle(just make sure the machine is turned off so if big sister comes to help they don't end up hurt). Im always right there with them so I don't feel bad about it. Other things my girls do: help "tracing" patterns, runners to get things from the sewing closet, puts pins into the cushion, "helps" cut (I put my hands over theirs so the fabric doens't get messed up), sprays fabric with water when Im ironing.. Theres tons more to. I find its easier to include them then try to get them distracted elsewhere (specially since they don't nap!).

Another thing, use your husbands if you are married! Mine takes the girls for a couple hours, a couple times a month so I can have some time. The only "rule" to it is I have to do something fun for me, whether it be sewing, take a bath, reading, talking on the phone whatever it is I want. Being a SAHM I this is the only time I get away from the kids. I look forward to it and miss it when my husband is away on business.