It's that time of year! Can you believe we have less than three months until Christmas? Are you ready for holiday sewing? I'll share some tips for making your holiday gift sewing more productive and the whole process go smoother!
If you're like me, you have a tendency to wait until the last minute to get some things done. Or you think you have enough time but, all of a sudden, time has run out. It's time to change all that! It's already holiday sewing time now, but there's still time to evaluate your expectations and get a handle on what's actually possible.
Now I try to plan early (before July) to create a schedule, and see if I am being realistic with my expectations. The idea is to get ourselves organized so that we're not basket cases by the time Christmas rolls around. No all-nighters and things like that to get our projects done.
Getting Started Checklist
Get Your Machine(s) Serviced
If your machine hasn't been serviced it in a while, make an appointment. Ideally, get it checked over the summer, during a slower sewing time of year.
When I was working at a dealer, I noticed that around Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas, we saw a lot more machines coming in for repairs. It will not take nearly so long to get service and repairs in the “off season” than it will during the holiday season.
Organize Your Creative Space
While the machine is being serviced, tidy up your sewing room so that you're ready to get going as soon as it comes home.
Make sure your scissors are sharp. If they haven't been sharpened in a while, it might be a good time to do that.
Secure Good Lighting
I like to have extra lighting when I'm embroidering, especially when I'm working at night. A small table lamp with a natural daylight bulb works well.
The other thing that is a must is a comfortable chair. You're going to be sitting for a while so your back will appreciate a nice, comfortable chair.
Make a List (and check it twice!)
List everyone you’d like to sew for and what you’d like to create. Don't hold back, put everything down you're dreaming of doing for friends and loved ones.
Making a Schedule
I was astounded at how many projects I have rolling around my head that I want to get done before the end of the year. I had something in the neighborhood of 26 to 30 projects. No wonder I get disappointed when I can't get everything done. My expectations might have been a little bit unrealistic.
Add other “life” items as well. Write everything down, whether it's holiday related or not. They will cut into how much time you have available to get holiday projects done.
Take your list and start prioritizing. Can you get everything done? Are your goals realistic? You can knock out some projects in a day or two. Others are going take a couple of weeks or more. Work your way backwards and then adjust the timeline if necessary.
Don't be afraid to throw on an extra day, just because everything always seems to take longer than we think it will.
Don't feel bad, nobody can get it all done. Even two people can't get it all done, so don't set your expectations so high that you set yourself up for disappointment. Give yourself permission to say, “no” or let something go.
Download the Holiday Sewing Planner here.
Each page identifies what the project is, who it is for, the date it is needed, and has a spot at the top where you can either put a picture of the project or little fabric swatches.
When filled out, I put them in a three-ring binder and keep it in my car. That way, I have it any time I am out and about shopping.
Creating Project Kits
After I decide on the projects, I create kits for each one.
Get jumbo Hefty plastic zip bags, the 2.5 gallon size. They are nice and big and keep fabric, pattern, threads, piping, buttons, and whatever else I might need to finish the project, all together.
When all materials are gathered, take the corresponding page out of the Holiday Sewing Planner and keep it inside the project bag for reference.
When I have time, all I have to do is unzip the bag and I have everything I need right there for that particular project. Maybe it is only 5, 10, or 15 minutes, but I can wind a couple of bobbins or cut fabric to size. Put works in progress back in the bag, ready for the next session.
For projects that are too large to fit in a zip bag, use a plastic tote. Plastic zippered bags from past purchases of bedspreads, linens, etc. work great too!