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!