The Fair Fit Daily Sew process started out as a proposal I made in the newsletter one week when I was really struggling to find ways to fit everything I want to accomplish into my schedule. I research time management often, because when I was first working as an artist, I would only be productive if I knew I had a block of 6 hours to work on a creative project. That’s just not the way my life is set up anymore, and I realized I was losing months at a time by keeping that mentality. And as a teacher, I know that the key to student success is practice, but finding the time to practice is a very common hurdle.
During my weekend reading, I found a blog post by Christine Haynes and it really inspired me. She has a great blog to check out, and her post includes more suggestions for those of you who might sew in large batches. Last year I pretty much sewed for professional freelance and worked on a costume team. Other than a few weekend projects, I had to put my personal studio work on hold in order to focus on some really big goals. I was so burned out and needed to make some of my own personal work. I’m sure you can relate, when you try to find new time to sew into an already tight schedule, you can feel like its not going to happen. When I read about her process, I was compelled to try it. This was something that I could take action on, and I knew it would help me get back to my process of design, and I had a lot of patterns I wanted to develop and test.
1. Pick out one project or more that you really want to sew.
For me, I would cut out 4 to 5 projects at a time because cutting requires me to clear my workspace and table, and I like to batch my tasks. I found that completing the cutting all at once was the key for me to knock out a lot of sewing projects during the daily sew.
2. Put them in project bins.
When I worked on a costume team, we made project bins to organize the project in one place. When the stitcher was ready to start on the project, he or she would have the garment pieces, thread, buttons, proper interfacing, and a sketch and be able to jump right into sewing. This project management technique really helped me in my own studio, so that no matter how busy I was and crunched on time, I could start right where I left off.
3. Have your machines and kit set up.
Having my conventional machine and my serger set up along with having all of my proper tools nearby really helped. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but this cut down on my set up time. Sometimes finding everything and setting up takes 15 minutes and then there’s no time left for sewing.
4. Commit to 15 minutes a day.
What worked for me is to commit that at some point today, I was going to take a break and work on my project. I didn’t pick a particular time of the day to sew, but for some people who need to build routine, doing so can be very helpful.
Trial and Error
Of course during the one month that I worked with this process, I really learned a lot about what works, and what doesn’t.
Planning is essential. I know, that the key to a successful design is in the planning before the execution. However, I can get so gun ho because I like to get through projects quickly. I realized last month as dresses were completed, that I did not spend enough time in this critical step of really considering the details like facings, fabric choices, details, color combinations, even if the color or textile pattern was going to be flattering on me to wear. I was trying so hard to get to the #ffds process, that I was cramming too many projects in at once and ended up with some final sews that I didn’t like. Seriously, I need a competitive sport to channel some of my need for speed, and not force that upon my sewing.
What I learned is to take your time and plan out your project. Swatch your fabrics, and play with color combos before you cut. Just because the sewing is fast doesn’t mean you have to compromise your compositions.
2. Project Bins
The project bins inspired me to throw a ton of stuff into them instead of just being considerate of what is really possible for me to do. While this was really helpful to get a lot of random things done, like alterations or quick tear outs- that made me treat the #ffds like a job which is not the intention. I think a bin limit is really good- the point of this is to be able to find time for personal sewing and not create stress and pressure. LOL, maybe I will color code my bins for professional work and personal work. But the professional work needs to stay out of my exploration time or I’ll mix the objectives.
3. Sewing Time
There are some aspects of the sewing time that I did slip on. Sometimes, I got so into my project, I continued past 15 minutes. That’s fine when I have all day, but it would create some time crunches on my schedule. Because I work from home, and I am responsible for my time, I do my best to treat my business and professional work like a job and show up and stay on task and within certain time frames. The #ffds is great if you have a very constricted schedule with work and kids, but if you are working from home, I found it easy to slide into my sewing and then be stressed out with my freelance sewing. When I try it again, I am thinking of using a 30 minute block instead of 15, because that will help me experience more enjoyment.
4. Moving Forward
I am not going to use the #ffds process all the time. If I do- I will have sewn so much stuff that I will over produce. Its a great way to change your schedule and challenge yourself, but kind of like a diet, you gotta be able to give yourself a break. However, when I have a lot sewing I want to accomplish, I am definitely going to use it. Next time, I may only use the challenge until the projects are complete, or set a timeframe, like 2 weeks to use the challenge. Then I’m not turning the sewing into another stressor, rather, creating some better practices so that I can accomplish my project goals.
This weekend, I cut out 4 more patterns to test. I am going to use the #ffds process and see how far I get!
Did you try the challenge and have hits and misses you want to share? Or do you want to give it a go and see what happens for you? let me know in the comments below.