Finding Time to Sew as a New Mom – Tips and Tricks

I’m often asked how I have time to run a handmade Etsy business, be a mom to a toddler, and work a full time job…. well it’s a good question. A lot of times I shrug my shoulders. Working on my Etsy shop became just a normal part of my day, but it wasn’t always that ‘easy’ when I think back. I started my Etsy shop before I had Riley, so I actually had a lot of time, but I wasn’t as serious about it as I became. Admittedly, I couldn’t start back up my business again till she was 6 months old when we moved. All of my supplies were in storage, which was a huge bummer. There were definitely things I wished I could have made her.

When I did get back to sewing it was quite a challenge, but I wasn’t working. I had, what seemed like, an abundance of time, but I was learning to balance that with a young baby. I think this transition period helped prepare me with some time management skills. I wanted to share some of the things I learned along the way for those of you who are just starting out. Whether you are sewing as a beginner and just wanting to make something for your little one, or if you’re thinking about starting your own sewing business.

Busy Bee Vintage Co | Finding Time to Sew as a New Mom | Sewing Tips and Tricks | Sewing Blog | Fabric Shop

Tip #1

Don’t use naps to clean and do chores. Okay, just not all the time. Don’t sleep during every nap either 🙂 What worked best for me, and still does, is to get some of these household tasks done while your little one is awake. If you have a baby, fold laundry on the couch or floor while they do tummy time on a mat next to you. If they’re old enough to sit, get them set up with toys in a highchair or bouncer activity center while you do dishes. You can still interact with them, be alert and available, but you can get things done as well. Nap time is so precious, you should not be wasting it on chores. I did most of my sewing and business tasks during nap time or after Riley’s bedtime. Yes, it was still only a 1-2 hour chunk of time, and if she woke up early it was a bit of a bummer, but it was relatively uninterrupted ‘me’ time.

 

Tip #2

Sew in assembly-line fashion. This is especially helpful if you’re sewing for a small business. It also works if you’re making a few of the same item at once. For example, if I’m making a few pairs of baby bummies, I will cut all my fabrics, then pin them all, then do 1-2 steps for each pair, and repeat until done. The main reason I do this is it breaks up the projects into manageable chunks. This is especially helpful if your sewing time gets cut short as there’s a better chance of finishing one or two tasks of a project during each ‘session’. It makes it easier to stop and pick up again and not be completely lost. It also helps keep your space and supplies organized.

Tip #3

Keep your space organized. This feels like an obvious one, but I thought i’d put it out there anyway. First, keep all tools you need regularly handy. I have a mug with pinking sheers, fabric scissors, paper scissors, seam ripper, pencil, small ruler, and poking stick to turn stuff around. I can get what I need quickly and switch between tools. I also have tape, pins, safety pins within easy access as well. I find myself putting off stuff that takes longer to dig out like all the supplies for snaps. I do have these all in one place, but I have to drag a bin out, etc. I also have all of my patterns organized and easily accessible as well. When I had to dig through a binder to find them, I actually took longer to start a project. I know it’s so silly and minor, but as a tired mom, one more thing to do and dig through was just holding me back. I have my patterns organized in a rolling cart drawer bin, and then each pattern is in a labeled file folder with all the sizes labeled in side it. Each drawer is a different category: Dresses, tops, bottoms. I pretty much know where to find everything quickly and know I can find all my sizes.

 I have two of these carts. They’re cute and keep my supplies and patterns organized, and fit under my Ikea desk.
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Tip #4

Entertain your little ones while you work. If you do find you have to work while your little one is awake, you will need to find a way to entertain them. First of all, set them up in the same room as you. This depends on the child, but even when Riley was 3 and able to play independently in the room next door, she’d rather bring her toys into my room where I was sewing and come set up right next to me. It felt a little bit like “being annoyed” but naturally she wanted to be involved in what I was doing. What I found to work best, was to just sort of embrace this. I would give her a few fabric scraps, even got her a toy ‘sewing machine’ and set her up at a little table next to mine. Other times I would just let her bring whatever toys into the room and have her play near me and try to be engaged verbally with whatever fantasy game she was playing. It is not easy and a bit distracting, but if I had to get something done it was my only choice. Setting her up with a tv show and snack in the next room never lasted long and I should be relatively grateful in the grand scheme of things. When she was younger I would set her up with toys in the pack n play in the room I was in. Some days, this simply doesn’t work. It’s too distracting, they need too much attention, too much interruptions. That’s okay. Its not their fault and its not your fault. Take a break, see if you can get them set up with an engaging activity and try getting back to work. If not, come back to it later. I want to say, you do not need to feel guilty for not sitting on the floor watching them play every second of the day. You are setting an example for them and you are not ignoring them! You are showing them how to work independently, how to concentrate, how to create things, etc etc. Riley even started folding her washcloths perfectly from watching me fold fabric. She learned that mommy does work and creates things and makes things for people.

 

This is the toy sewing machine we ended up getting Riley. It doesn’t actually really sew (I think there are a few out there). I was even prepared to just get her a tiny portable machine, but she ended up really liking this one, does not care at all that it doesn’t actually sew, but she loves the noise. There are a few things you can make with the yarn and felt, but she just pretend plays with it for the most part. Toy Sewing Machine

Tip #5

Set Realistic Goals and don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to get everything done as a new mom or if you’re new to sewing. There are definitely projects that have stopped me in my tracks as well, but you have to get past it. First of all, don’t take on too much, and be realistic. It’s great to have goals and timelines in mind of when you want to finish stuff, but if it doesn’t happen, you haven’t failed. You still have time, and you can still finish. It’s even okay to scrap a project all together if it’s not working out or just simply too hard yet. Set it aside. Get back to it later, or not, it’s okay. If you feel like you haven’t been in the mood or don’t have the energy to sew, go shopping (in the store or through your stash) for new fabric and get excited about something new. I usually do a personal project I’m really excited about to get back into sewing after taking a break. Browse new ideas on Pinterest to try something new.

 

Happy Sewing! Find fun fabric here for your projects!!

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Free Baby Bib Sewing Tutorial

I thought I would share a special tutorial for the best handmade baby bibs out there (just sayin’). These bibs are a top seller in my handmade Etsy shop and make a great new baby gift. For one, they’re a great size – not too big or too small. They have snaps which babies can’t yank off, and gives you a few neck size options. Finally, they’re made with cotton and a thick terry cloth backing which makes them soft and soaks up mess. Find these cute prints here in my fabric shop tab right here and the super awesome waffled cotton terry cloth here.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Of course you can use different materials, and even add a layer in the middle of waterproof PUL for extra protection. Instead of terry cloth backing you can use two layers of flannel for a thinner but more flexible bib or minky for a super soft bib. Although, I would definitely recommend to stick with 100% cotton materials at least for the front which is best for baby’s skin and will soak up spills the best.

Find some fun cotton prints to make adorable bibs! Click the pictures to my fabric shop.

What You’ll need:

1 Fat quarter of quilter’s cotton, which you can find here.

1 Fat quarter of your backing material of choice. (My favorite is this waffle terry available here. It is very soft, and the loops are inside which makes it safety compliant)

Snaps or Velcro  (If you have snaps and snap pliers-awesome, if not you can use velcro, but I prefer snaps)

Printable Pattern – DOWNLOAD HERE Baby Bib Pattern (make sure to print at 100% scale. Check box is 1 inch. There are two pages, line them up and tape together)

Equipment and Tools: 

Sewing Machine

Scissors, Pins, Iron, Pinking shears

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Step One, Cut out our materials. Fold the fabric in half, line the pattern up to the fold, pin and cut. (The fabric is here is pictured folded in half)

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Pin your front and back pieces together, right sides facing in. Leave about a 2-3 inch gap on one side of the point to turn the bib inside out. Sew around the bib, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of the opening. Trim with pinking sheers.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Turn the bandana bib inside out and use a dull pencil tip or stick to push out the corners and ends. Iron it flat, making sure to fold in the opening flap where you turned it around.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Now we will top stitch to close the opening and to give it a professional, crisp look. Change your stitch length to 3 for topstitching.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

We will be adding the snaps now. If you are using velcro, pin down 1 inch strips of velcro on the ends. Make sure to sew to opposite sides so it matches when you overlap the back to close it.
For the snaps you will need your snap pliers, and this sharp point stick to make your hole. I also made a template from cardboard, so my snaps are evenly placed on both ends. (Pliers kit and snaps)

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Insert the cap into the remade hole on the outer side of the fabric. Insert the other half on the other side. It doesn’t matter if you use a socket or stud, as long as you keep it consistent if you will be using more than one snap on each end of the bandana bib. I like to put sockets on this side. Take your pliers, with the cap at the bottom, flat side down, and squeeze. Repeat for the other hold on this side (if adding snaps for adjusting).

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Repeat on the other side, but make sure to insert your cap from the inside, and use the opposite (stud or socket) from your other side.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Check that your snaps click and open easily, and use the pliers again on any that need fixing. Then you are done! Congratulations!!

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

One thing I do want to note. If you plan to sell these, you can not use flannel or a loop cotton terry (facing out) because it will not be CPSC compliant.

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FREE Baby and Toddler T-Shirt Sewing Pattern

Summer is by far my favorite season (sandals, beach days, iced coffee, camping are just a few of my favorite things), but I’m actually looking forward to fall! I think I feel like this every year, because at some point, the hot, humid days are just unbearable, and the tease of cool summer nights in August just make me crave that perfectly crisp ‘just cool enough’ fall air. I hate winter though, so lets not go there yet.

Okay, I’ll admit that one of my favorite parts of changing seasons is changing up the wardrobe. This year I’m excited about making Riley some fall clothes. I’ll still end up buying her some clothes (ok, ok, by some I mean way too many) but she still likes having some pieces made by mom.

I may have gone a little overboard making these adorable ringer t-shirts for her, but I had some irresistibly cute fabric, and they are so easy to make once you get the hang of it. You can find the pattern for the free baby and toddler t-shirt here at Brindille & Twig’s website. She has tons of adorable, well designed patterns, but you can find this t-shirt in the free pattern section! How awesome of her to offer it for free.Sew Jersey Mama | Free Sewing Pattern | Kids T-Shirt Pattern | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Pattern

The school bus fabric was a big hit, but it’s been sold out for awhile now. I have some other cute fabrics perfect for these t-shirts available right here.

Sew Jersey Mama | Free Sewing Pattern | Kids T-Shirt Pattern | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Pattern
Don’t forget to Pin this image for later!

My new plaids for florals would be adorable in these shirts in either the short or long sleeve versions. You can find my available jersey knit fabrics here.


Sew Jersey Mama | Free Sewing Pattern | Kids T-Shirt Pattern | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Pattern

You can make these without a serger, but it will be way easier with one! I highly recommend purchasing a serger if you plan to sew with knits a lot. It just makes it so much easier, and will be more professional. You may even find one in the Amazon warehouse deals. Many times the products on sale from the warehouse deals are brand new with opened or damaged packages. It’s worth a look for a deep discount.

I would love to see what you make! Come back and leave a comment 🙂

If you’re thinking about opening an Etsy shop I highly recommend you read my blog post here for some food for thought. This post will help you figure out what products to sell, and there are more posts to come soon, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support! 

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FREE Bandana Bib Pattern and Tutorial with BONUS instructions for Embroidered Customization

 

 

If you have not heard about the amazing-ness of baby bandana bibs, now is your time to learn about them! They are wonderful little bibs for drool-y, teething babies and toddlers. I loved using bandana bibs with Riley even before teething because she would spit up a lot! It would help catch the spit up and keep it off her adorable little clothes. The best part was that it didn’t cover her whole outfit. These also come in handy beyond the drooling and teething days when your little one might have a runny nose.  I’d like to think I’ve perfected the bandana bib, and I stand behind my product 100%, which is why I’m so excited to share my tips and tricks with you! There’s a few modifications I will be talking about to, so don’t worry about having all the right tools or equipment.

The bandana bibs I will be showing today are customized with embroidery. I never thought I’d own an embroidery machine, but my investment has definitely paid off. Customized items are very popular as gifts. Many Etsy sellers customize with vinyl, but it just won’t hold up to the wear and tear for a baby item like this. I have found that my items with embroidered text or designs have completely held up in the wash. I purchased my machine on Amazon through their warehouse deals. If you haven’t heard about Amazon’s warehouse deals, I’m here to tell you it is always worth checking out when making a larger purchase. I found my Brother PE770 5×7 Embroidery Machine as a warehouse deal for over $100 off. The only reason it was at the warehouse was because the box had been opened. The machine and all the parts were still sealed in all of the original packaging. It varies, but each specific item available to purchase lists the reason it is in the warehouse, so it is very transparent, and you can make the best decision. The Brother PE770 is an awesome machine, but if you are just looking to embroider for personal use, they have cheaper models as well. The biggest difference will be the hoop size, or space available for your text or design.

Let’s get started!

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

What You’ll need:

1 Fat quarter of quilter’s cotton -> My fave source is fabric.com!

1 Fat quarter of your backing material of choice. (My favorite is this waffle terry. It is very soft, and the loops are inside which makes it safety compliant)

Snaps or Velcro  (If you have snaps and snap pliers-awesome, if not you can use velcro, but I prefer snaps)

Printable Pattern – DOWNLOAD HERE:Bandana Bib PDF (make sure to print at 100% scale. Check box is 1 inch. There are two pages, line them up and trim border)

*If you are embroidering you will need the following: 

My two choices for stabilizer are Fusible No-Show PolyMesh which you can iron right to your fabric, or regular No-Show Polymesh which you will use an adhesive spray to temporarily stick it to your fabric. I find it quicker to use the spray, and it’s easier to peel off the extra you will be trimming afterwards, but both options work fine.

Embroidery thread color of your choice

Equipment and Tools: 

Sewing Machine

*Embroidery Machine (optional)

*Embroidery software (optional)

Scissors, Pins, Iron

**Side note** I love these floral prints these bandanas are made of, and the grey one in particular is from one of my favorite brands, Dear Stella. They have some other adorable florals, along with cute dinosaur prints and some irresistible woodland creature prints. Check it out on fabric.com!
Dear Stella Fresh Dew Blooming Bouquet White Fabric

 

Step One, Cut out our materials. Fold the fabric in half, line the pattern up to the fold, pin and cut. (Two bibs pictured, not backing material)

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

If you are not embroidering, skip ahead! Roll out the stabilizer, and cut a piece that is longer than your hoop frame. Then iron or spray and stick it to your fabric.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib   Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

Next we will line it up in the frame. *TIP* Iron your bandana in half both ways to create creases to help you center it. My text needed the 7 inch length of my hoop, so I had to turn my fabric on its side. I used the ruler grid to line up the center with my creases. Keep in mind, the text might not be centered height wise depending on how long your design is. You want to make sure your stitching does not get too close to the edge, so it may need to be closer to the top.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

Hook your hoop to your machine, and get started. Machines will work differently, but load your design into the machine, adjust your layout, and begin. For mine, I make sure there is a tail of thread, but I do not hold it, or it will jam. After it has done a few stitches, pause it, and trim any excess so it does not get tangled. Do the same as you continue, pause after the first few stitches to trim the tail from the last letter.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib  Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

Take your finished piece out of the hoop, and carefully trim the excess stabilizer.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib   Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

**PICK UP HERE**

Pin your front and back pieces together, right sides facing in. Leave about a 2-3 inch gap on one side of the point to turn the bandana bib inside out. Sew around the bib, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of the opening. Trim with pinking sheers.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib   Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

Turn the bandana bib inside out and use a dull pencil tip or stick to push out the corners and ends. Iron it flat, making sure to fold in the opening flap.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib   Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

Now we will top stitch to close the opening and to give it a professional, crisp look. Change your stitch length to 3 for topstitching.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib   Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

We will be adding the snaps now. If you are using velcro, pin down 1 inch strips of velcro on the ends. Make sure to sew to opposite sides so it matches when you overlap the back to close it.
For the snaps you will need your snap pliers, and this sharp point stick to make your hole. I also made a template from cardboard, so my snaps are evenly placed on both ends. If you plan to put two snaps on both ends to make the size adjustable, I highly advise making a template. Make your holes on both ends of the bandana bib.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

Insert the cap into the remade hole on the outer side of the fabric. Insert the other half on the other side. It doesn’t matter if you use a socket or stud, as long as you keep it consistent if you will be using more than one snap on each end of the bandana bib. I like to put sockets on this side. Take your pliers, with the cap at the bottom, flat side down, and squeeze. Repeat for the other hold on this side (if adding snaps for adjusting).

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib   Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib    Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

Repeat on the other side, but make sure to insert your cap from the inside, and use the opposite (stud or socket) from your other side.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

Check that your snaps click and open easily, and use the pliers again on any that need fixing. Then you are done!

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Bandana Bib | Baby Bib | Bandana Bib | Sewing Tutorial and Pattern | Bandana Bib Pattern | Embroidered Bandana Bib | Custom Bandana Bib

 

 

Have you seen my tutorial for adorable baby girl skirts  and how to make a matching head wrap style headband for babies ?

If you’re looking for another baby gift idea, check out my elephant stuffie pattern.

And don’t forget to check out my toddler survival kit list so you know what to register for beyond the 1st year!

If you’re thinking about opening an Etsy shop I highly recommend you read my blog post here for some food for thought. This post will help you figure out what products to sell, and there are more posts to come soon, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

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