Monday, 19 November 2012

Sewing for 15 minutes


How long do you tend to sew for in one sitting? Long periods of time or small chunks? Yesterday's awesome Sewing Social Twitter chat focused on how to fit sewing into a busy lifestyle. A few people mentioned that their strategy was to sew for about 15 minutes. Every day. My approach in the past was to save sewing for days when I knew I had hours of free time ahead to get stuck into it. Yet those days so rarely come that I often feel frustrated that I'm not sewing more often. So I think I'm going to give the 15 minutes per day strategy a whirl.

The genius of this approach is fourfold:

1) There are 1,440 minutes in a day, so setting aside just 15 of those minutes to do something you love shouldn't be too challenging. You have no excuse not to, basically!

2) While the enormity of a sewing project can sometimes seem overwhelming, breaking it down into bitesize chunks makes it much more digestible.

3) If you stop sewing after 15 minutes, it leaves you wanting to come back for more. Those of you use the Pomodoro technique for working or studying will know how limiting activity to short bursts can keep you motivated.

4) Sewing for a small period of time every day means that sewing becomes part of your regular lifestyle. Hooray!

So I'm going to give this a go for a week, sewing for 15 minutes every day. Obviously I don't want to have to spend five of those minutes setting up my sewing table, so I'll keep everything organised so I can whip it out quickly. I also keep a note of the next actions of any sewing project, which really helps me to get started quickly. And when it comes to fitting, I'll give it longer than 15 minutes - I like to get all the boring fitting perfected early on, so I can get on and sew. Delayed gratification :)

Here's to sewing in short bursts! Who's with me?

PS. Thank you to the 40+ lovely stitchers who joined in the Sewing Social. It was so awesome to chat in real time to likeminded people! You really gave me a boost. And thank you to Inna for hosting the Asia Pacific version. There's a Tweetdoc here of the discussion, although our tweets exceeded Tweetdoc's limit of 500 so it's only documented half of the conversation...

[Soundtrack: 'Dynamo' by Si Cranstoun]

45 comments:

  1. I was just having the same thought when looking at this clock: http://www.holyfunk.com.au/clocks/retro-kitchen-wall-clock/# thinking how I'd be able to set the timer for all sorts of things. I tried to limit myself to an hour a day for Kids clothing week challenge and found that really stressful at first but then liberating because I couldn't keep sewing and sewing..

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  2. 15 minutes of sewing is better than none. I think i will try this too.

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  3. I feel like if I'm sewing in short bursts I don't actually get anything done. I know I DO, but it doesn't feel like it. I prefer to sew when I have lots of time to devote to it - this weekend I spent both Saturday and Sunday afternoons working my Vogue coat and I got loads done. I'm quite happy to spend 15 minutes knitting though.

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  4. We broke tweetdoc!? hahaha. Awesome

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  5. 15 minutes is a great idea. It is amazing what you can do in small chunks of time. Even if you really don't feel like sewing that particular day, 15 minutes is doable!!!!

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  6. 15-30 minutes is about my normal sewing jag. I'm recovering an arm chair right now (well, it's kind of a really fitted slip cover which is staple gunned in place) which is kind of boring. I've been making myself do three or four pieces of it every few days. Last night I measured and sketched out the wing back pieces. Tonight I'll cut them out and tomorrow I'll probably mostly assemble them. I hope to have the whole thing finished by the end of next weekend.

    Also, 15 minutes is the length of an NPR podcast. I get a lot of crocheting done in 15 and 30 minute chunks while listening to radio shows. Last night was a Planet Money about how Coke managed to cost $0.05 for 70 years.

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    1. Ooh that's a good idea - maybe I'll find a 15 minute podcast to use as my timer instead of the kitchen timer!

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  7. YO LO PRACTICO , desde que me subí la máquina de coser a casa y no utilizo a penas el taller

    Anilegra Moda Para Muñecas

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  8. I use this approach regularly - but with 20-minute chunks, and it works for me. I find it really helps me get through projects when I've got a number of different things on the go (eg, knitting, sewing and quilting!) - that way I can give it all a little bit of attention during the course of the week. Where it doesn't work is on the so-boring tasks of tracing/cutting - which I need to set aside a whole evening for.

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  9. I love this idea. Since having my son, sewing time is so limited, especially as he is not a good napper / sleeper! Instead of getting frustrated when that time is interrupted, this turns it into a positive and achievable choice, much better than waiting for that large chunk of time that won't be here for a few years!! I'm going to try it!

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  10. This seems like a great plan for those of us who have a permanent sewing space. My problem is that it takes 15 minutes to pull everything out, get set up and figure out where I left off!

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  11. This is a great idea. I don't have much time for long periods of sewing in the week and there are so many chores to do at the weekend! I need to organise my sewing space and then I'm in :-)

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  12. I am glad you brought this up. I think I am going to try it too. I do other things in 15 min sections (via the flylady) so I think a 15 min sewing session each day should be included. I haven't been getting around to sewing in so long and I really want to get it back!!

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  14. I'm in. Recently I have been marathon sewing which messes up my neck and shoulders something terrible. Even if I can sew longer, the timer will remind me to get up and stretch and move around. I am going to go and get a dedicated timer for the sewing dungeon. Brilliant idea!

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    1. Ha! I see I'm not the only one.... even if I really watch the posture, the upper back and neck are totally screeching after a sewing jag... this should definitely help us.

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  15. Brilliant Tilly, I will start today (Why I didn't think of it myself I'll never know … I'm such a wally)!

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  16. I'm up for this too, great idea.
    Off for my 15 minutes now!

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  17. I once wrote down all minor steps in a project, all steps as 'sew side seams', 'pre-wash and iron' etc and, of course, put them in order. It was really helpful for short time sewing sessions.

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  18. Oh what a marvellous idea:)Thanks because I have felt so down because I have not had time for any sewing although my machine is open.I will try this and when one considers how much time is wasted unintentionally during the day,15 minutes can be found for sure.Thank you:)

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  19. Great Idea - I'm going to use it for my Art too - that way i'll get both done!

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  20. This sounds like a great idea for me, not just because I'm avoiding the sewing room like the plague right now but because it will be much more manageable when the baby comes (without making me feel guilty or frustrated!). Seems so obvious... but then so do all the best ideas!

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  21. I'm going to try this. I often get mad at myself because I tend to not sew during the week cuz I don't have enough time. Enough time for me is a devoted 4- 8 hours non stop. Sewing a little at a time is definitely better than nothing at all and I can manage 15 minutes. Even if it only means cutting out a pattern, that's productivity!

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  22. Like Lisette, I no longer have a dedicated sewing area. When I did, I usually sewed in 20 to 30 minute sessions.

    Since I have to set up and take down all facets of projects each time I work on something, I usually try to work in two- to four-hour time blocks for cuttin and machine sewing. Hand sewing lends itself well to shorter blocks of time! And usually it is stored in an ottoman, which makes it an even better short-session option! :)

    Taja

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  23. I think I'll give this a go too. At first I didn't think too much could be done in 15 minutes, but all those minutes will add up!!

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  24. I use the 15 min method to clean my house (ex-flylady person here), so I have tried to cut my sewing into chunks as well to make it more managable. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I feel it is better to finish off the task rather then stopping.

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  25. I think a dedicated 15-minute session per day is better than nothing at all! Will give a try soon! :D

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  26. I swear Tilly, it works! I do my knitting like that too, except in longer time segments. It's amazing what you can accomplish in little blocks of time.

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  27. I tried this a few months back and it does work, although I still enjoy a marathon sewing session too.
    actually I probably should think about taking this back up with my lack of sewing productivity lately.

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  28. I don't know if I could get much sewing done in 15 mins!! I would probably try for 30 mins.

    Luckily for me I have the weekends and some nights during the week with free time so if I have the motivation I get stuck into for hours, till it's bedtime.

    If a project is stressing me out, I break it down into steps: cutting, tailors tacks, pinning, sewing and spread each step over a few days.

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  29. Looove the Pomodoro technique! It was a revelation when I discovered that. :-) I'm sorry I missed the social last night -- great topic idea. Oh, Tilly's brain and all her great ideas!

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  30. I prefer to just sit and sew for hours on end. I'll usually set myself a task - I'll just set in that zip, baste that hem etc. The problem with that is that it usually takes longer than 15mins so it's so difficult sometimes to find the time - I'm definitely going to try this instead!

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  31. I try for about 15 minutes a day too and that works for me. Long periods of time never seem to enter the picture for me! PS--love your blog!

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  32. I sew at two different times at the day, normally after having lunch and my husband went to work, so I sew from 330 to 4:45, then I come back to work to my office, then at night from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. , but there are day days I don't sit at all to sew.
    It's a good idea to sew everyday during 15 minutes, perhaps I'll try it.

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  33. I love this idea. I never seem to have any problem picking up knitting for a few minutes here and there, probably because it's so portable so I can do it in the kitchen or the living room or the bedroom. With my sewing area in the basement, I have to made a concerted effort to go sew. I feel like I go in fits and spurts with sewing and am nowhere NEAR as productive with sewing as I want to be.

    I'm eager to see how this works for you, and I may give it a try myself!

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  34. I have a horrible concept of time. So usually I'll sit down to sew for 15 minutes, and 3 hours later when I realize I'm starving, I'll notice that I totally lost track of time! haha! That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I do tend to get lost in sewing more often than not. If anything I have to make myself take a 15 minute break! lol

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  35. Sewing in 15 minute bursts is how I have been sewing since having baby no. 3! It is just the amount of time she will sit happily in the highchair while I sew or cut interspersed with saying "peekaboo" from behind the machine. As long as my sewing is easy to reach for and not too complex this method works well for me :)

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  36. Nope, I could never do that. When I sew, I go 'in the zone'... I'll spend all day (and night) at it if necessary, but the dribs and drabs approach just isn't for me!

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  37. Oh! I'm eager to hear how you like sewing in short bursts. I vacillate between short bursts and long days - depending mostly on where I am in my project. Cutting is typically done when I have a lot of time, also finishing since I tend to get to a point where I just can't stop until the project is finished. Everything in between is up for grabs. I do tend to clean and organize my apartment in 20-minute chunks a day though. I find it's much easier to manage if I do a little every day, and I don't mind putting that short amount of time into it.

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  38. I just finished a skirt for my daughter that has been unfinished for about a year by doing just a little bit each day. So I'm going to keep trying to do little bits, although I also prefer to have big chunks of time to do things.

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  39. So sorry to have missed out on the Sewing Social on Twitter, but I was away! I love the idea of sewing for 15min a day...sounds very manageable indeed!

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  40. I like the sound of 15 minutes a day - but with 2 toddlers about I haven't done any 'proper' sewing for about 4 yrs. (I don't think a bit of mending here & there counts really.)

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  41. I tried 15 minutes chunks, but I'm quite slow still, so it took me almost that long just to get set up and pin something. I aim for an hour at a time. :)

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  42. Sounds like a very good idea! And now that I have my sewing space, it's easier to just get started. I will try this in the busy pre-Christmas days!

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  43. I try this method this week, I was planed to try this earlier but always something stopped me on Monday%)) But this week I started! I think I will not finish my simple dress till end of the week, but I already see some progress!

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