Sewing With Young Children In Tow

   When I was pregnant with Rumer, I sewed all day long. Days at a time. I mean, I stopped for meals and to sleep, but pretty much, other than sustaining my body and making My-Better-Half happy, I was content to just stitch away on my vintage Singer Featherweight.

Enter Rumer.

Suddenly sewing of any kind became not only impossible logistically, but my mind couldn't wrap itself around anything even remotely creative. While I was pregnant, I would fill like my mind was a large, overstuffed Moleskine filled with thousands of ideas for creative undertakings. After--BLANK.

   It took me a while to realize that those creative juices weren't going to flow on their own. I really needed to MAKE them flow. At first I balked. "Really? Work at thinking up things to sew?"

Then, I sighed, and I cleaned my sewing table off of random baby things: cloth diapers, covers, thermomters, eye drops, etc... and dusted my machine. And I dove in.

I can't say that I kept much of what I crafted in those first few months of babyhood, most of it was a mess of miss-layed stitches and odd shapes. But it helped the creative juices to flow again.

I learned a few tricks that I hope can help other moms out there who are wondering how their sewing life will ever come back.....

  • if at all possible, have a sewing corner. However tiny, make it yours and have your machine out ALL THE TIME. If you have to completely set up every time you want to sew a stitch, trust me, you won't do it.
  • make a bulletin board in your bathroom just across from the toilet and pin pages ripped from Parenting Magazine and Mothering, or Brain, Child, whatever you read! 
  • Next time the baby is going to take a long nap, pop her into a carrier and head to your local fabric shop. Browse and run your fingers over the fabrics as you stroll the isles. Take a couple home!
  • Embark on short and easy projects. Try to reward yourself with semi-instant gratification.
  • Don't wait until you have a whole hour to dedicate to a project. The beauty of having your machine always handy (OUT!) is that you can sit down for even a three minute stitch. It keeps your brain in the creative zone, really!
  • try working with felt. You don't have to worry about finishing seams, and you can create all manner of baby toys that are safe for baby.
{photo from a vintage Dick&Jane book, illustrated by  Eleanor Campbell}

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