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.
This post may contain affiliate links

 

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!!

Related Posts

Turn Her Winter Pants into Summer Shorts in 5 Minutes

Hi!
I have a super quick and easy tutorial for all my mamas out there. I did this last year and I thought I’d share with you this easy method to change your little one’s winter pants into summer shorts, and the best part is it should only take about 5 minutes. Since the kiddos grow at alarming rates, there’s a good chance her leggings from the winter or spring won’t fit by the coming fall. Instead of packing them away, why not make them into shorts that are perfect for play time or under dresses or skirts. I did this last night with these adorable lemon print pants. It’s such a cute outfit, but once it hits 90 degrees F, I know we’re not going to be wearing pants much more for the rest of the summer. I thought these would work much better as shorts.

kids summer shorts tutorial

Let’s get started!

What you’ll need:
– Leggings you want to turn into shorts
– Pair of shorts for size reference
– The usual (scissors, ruler, thread, marking pencil, sewing machine)

First, lay out the leggings nice and flat, and then lay the shorts over them, just like this.

Use a ruler (or even eyeball it if you’re not picky) to measure about 1 inch past the shorts for the hem. Mark the line across the legs.

shorts sewing diy

shorts sewing diy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take your scissors and cut across the line.

shorts sewing diy

Now turn the leggings inside out, and fold up the hem, making sure it’s even all around. It really doesn’t matter how much you fold it over, but I’d say about 1/2 inch. You can pin or even iron this if you’d like, but I found that it wasn’t really worth it.
Slide the short leg over your machine (you’ll need to take the storage compartment thing off….I’m sure there’s a technical name for this). Switch your machine to the zig zag stitch.

shorts sewing diy

kids summer shorts tutorial

I like to start stitching at or near the seam. Make sure you reverse stitch, and then continue forward all the way around the leg. You will want to make sure your zig zag stitch overlaps the edge just a little bit to keep the fabric down. When you get all the way around, go past where you started and then reverse again.

kids summer shorts tutorial

Repeat on the other leg. Check to make sure the hem matches the side you just did.

And that’s it! Turn the shorts over and iron. Trim your threads! Now, go ahead and cut through all those leggings, and you’ve got your little one plenty of shorts for summer.

kids summer shorts tutorial

How adorable these shoes by Carter’s would look with this outfit.

 

I don’t sell leggings, but you can check out my cute baby accessories here: SHOP

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Related Posts

Zipper Bag Tutorial, DIY, Sewing Tutorial

Zipper Bags Tutorials

Hi!

So most of you know that I have an Etsy shop where I specialize in handmade baby, children and dog accessories. I was getting an itch to try some new items outside of those categories and decided to try my hand at sewing zipper bags. I’ll probably make a ton of these, but for now 5 will do! These zipper bags are definitely not for beginner sewers, but an intermediate sewer can have some fun with these. These would be so cute in some of the fabrics I have available in my Cotton Woven fabric section of my shop here at Busy Bee Fabric Co (formerly Sew Jersey Mama).

I have a tendency to steer clear of anything with a zipper, and I felt like it’s time to get over this silly fear and tackle it. It is so much easier than I thought. The last time someone (my Aunt) tried teaching me how to sew a zipper I was a child, and the task was much more intimidating.

I tried a few zipper bag tutorials and the first bag I tried was the “Boxie Pouch” by So Chick Handbags & Embroidery. I love the boxy shape which allows you to fit tons of stuff in it. Perfect to gather electronics and wires, or toiletries to throw into a suitcase. These are also a great size for keeping some of these little teether toys and rattles contained. You can easily use waterproof material for the lining. I ended up using stiffer interfacing for the last two I made of these to help them keep their shape. I used Pellon 809 interfacing, which you can buy here on amazon.Pellon Décor Bond Heavy Fusible Interfacing 809P By the Yard

Link to blog post and tutorial here: Boxie Pouch 

The other zipper bag I tried is the “My Favorite Zipper Pouch” by Jedi Craft Girl. This one was a little quicker, and it is a great size for travel size toiletries to throw in a purse or diaper bag.

Link to blog post and tutorial here: My Favorite Zipper Pouch

After doing a few of these, I feel pretty confident with zippers and don’t feel like I need to avoid them any long. The possibilities are now endless!

Related Posts