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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Penguin Stuffie Sewing Pattern

Winter is on it’s way! And what better way to prepare than make this adorable penguin? Okay, so I kind of actually don’t like winter. I do, and I don’t. I like the decor, actually a lot. But the miserably cold weather and slushy snow, I could definitely live without. The decor definitely cheers me up and makes it all worth it. I developed this pattern for a penguin a few years ago for a special request. I made one for myself as well, and thought it was time to share!Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

I would say this project is intermediate or advanced beginner level. It’s not hard, per say, but there are a few tricky spots when attaching the head. I have made my penguins with regular quilting cotton, but I’m pretty certain this would be adorable in minky or fleece. Working with minky will definitely make this a bit more challenging though because it tends to be slippery. I love getting my fabric at fabric.com because of all the choices and great prices.

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

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(By the way her adorable socks are available on amazon here.)

The great thing about this penguin is that there are no small parts so it is definitely safe for babies and kids, just make sure your seams are strong. You can also use this as decor if you are making it with fancier fabrics.

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

The sewing pattern and tutorial for Penny the Penguin are available for just $2.99 in my shop right here. It’s an instant download PDF. All you need to do is print it (making sure not to scale it), and cut out the pattern pieces and get going! Click the photo to go right to the pattern!

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

I hope you enjoy!

Please check out my elephant stuffie pattern here !

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Adorable Girls Dress Pattern with Mommy and Me Pattern

As I move into the world of handmade children’s clothes, I”m so happy I can count on Brindille & Twig’s sewing patterns for easy and adorable patterns to start with. Kids are way comfier in this stretchy jersey knit fabric, which is what her patterns are primarily made for. This t-shirt dress pattern was super quick and easy, and it’s a super versatile garment for a little girl’s wardrobe. It is a comfy dress that can be worn with tights or leggings. It can also be made with long sleeves as well. The pattern is provided from 0 months up to 6T. You can find my selection of jersey knit fabrics for sale in my shop section here at Busy Bee Fabric Co (formerly Sew Jersey Mama).

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Blog | Sewing DIY | Sewing Tutorial | Dress Tutorial | Dress Pattern | Girls Dress Pattern

Head over to Brindille & Twig’s website here to find the pattern.  She also has a very similar matching pattern for adults called “Flare T-Shirt Dress”. Be sure to check out the women’s pattern tab to find it!

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Blog | Sewing DIY | Sewing Tutorial | Dress Tutorial | Dress Pattern | Girls Dress Pattern

This adorable Dino print was from Joanns, but you can find my selection of jersey knit fabrics for sale here.

Back to the dress…this is seriously an easy sew! I may have mentioned this in my cuff T-Shirt post but you can make these without a serger using a zig zag stitch, 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.

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Blog | Sewing DIY | Sewing Tutorial | Dress Tutorial | Dress Pattern | Girls Dress Pattern

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Girls Dress Pattern | Sewing for Kids

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Blog | Sewing DIY | Sewing Tutorial | Dress Tutorial | Dress Pattern | Girls Dress Pattern

I would love to see what you make with this pattern! Feel free to come back and post in the comments, and make sure to pin those awesome images to save for later!!

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 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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Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern

I am so excited to release my first sewing pattern and tutorial for my original Elephant stuffie. These little elephants are so adorable, and make a perfect gift for a new baby or even a growing toddler. I love this project because it can be customized a million ways with fabric combinations. If you’re advanced, you can perhaps embroider a name on the ear, or hand stitch a face on. Another way to take this project up a notch is to make the elephant with minky for an even cuddlier toy. Sewing with minky is definitely a challenge, so if you’re not ready for that, I highly recommend quilter’s cotton. Just wanted to note that I do not add a tail to these any more so they are super safe for our littles under 3 years old.

I made Riley this adorable creamy white minky elephant before she was born. It’s so cute, and she loves it.

Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY

The minky is similar to this Shannon Minky sold on fabric.com
Shannon Minky Luxe Cuddle Hide Natural Fabric

Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY     Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY

This super fun mermaid print elephant is going to be sent to one of my brand reps, Ciara, for her little girl, Rory. She doesn’t actually know that yet, so surprise! I think her little will just love it!! This print is all sold out, but here’s a super cute similar one!
Timeless Treasures ABC's Under The Sea Mermaids Sky Fabric
Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY

Also, I can’t get over Riley’s adorable watermelon top. It’s from Target’s Cat and Jack line, and it is too stinkin cute!!! I love their clothes, and have a hard time resisting checking out the toddler clothes section any time I’m in the store. Target has free shipping on orders over $35 right now!

            Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY         Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY

I have three more slated to make. Two regular size and a mini for my other brand reps 🙂 I can’t wait and will update with more pictures.

If you’re looking for fabric for your project, check out my new shop section here at Busy Bee Fabric Co (formerly Sew Jersey Mama) for a great selection of cotton woven fabrics, which are perfect for these little elephants.

My sewing pattern for both the regular size and the mini with instructions is available for only $2.99 in my shop: here. It’s an instant download PDF. All you need to do is print it (making sure not to scale it), and cut out the pattern pieces and get going! Click the photo to go right to the pattern!

Sew Jersey Mama | Elephant Stuffie Sewing Pattern and Tutorial | Sewing Pattern | Easy Sewing Project | Sewing for Babies | Sewing for Baby | Baby Gift DIY

A little update! I added my second pattern for an adorable Penguin plushie. Perfect for winter time!

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.

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