I’m trying to make a new skirt. I want to wear it for an upcoming photoshoot so I’ve got a loose-not-so-loose deadline in my head for when it needs to be finished. But, to be honest, my skirt feels more like a mountain and less like a piece of clothing at the moment, and I’m feeling a little daunted. I’m not sure how to fit it in around all the other things that have to be done; new designs to be knitted, blog posts to write (!), dinners to be cooked, groceries to be bought and kids to wrangle. So, I’ve tried to remember how I used to make clothes when I had babies on my hip and have come up with some tips (for me as much as you) on how to tackle big projects when you’ve got no time.

  • Take a good look at the mountain before you take a step. In fact, take a step back and see the whole mountain. I read over my pattern. What did I actually have to do to make this skirt? Was the pattern already cut out? How many seams are there? How many buttonholes?

  • Can you see ways to break your project into small chunks that can be tackled a little bit at a time? Maybe write them down.

  • Organise your tools. This saves fluffing around trying to find what you need and means you end up with more making time.

  • Start. Just do one thing. Even a tiny thing. Starting can be the hardest step. For my skirt, I printed the instructions for the pattern and funnily enough, it felt like quite an achievement.

  • Do it every day. I don’t mean all day, although that’d be lovely. But, making “making” a normal part of your day and turning it into a habit is a good way to get more done. Can you do one of those small chunks today and one tomorrow? If not, how about half a chunk? A quarter?

  • Create making rituals. I knit when I watch tv. I’ve been doing it so long that it feels totally weird not to. I think that’s a kind of ritual. Is there something that you do every day that you could add making to? Is there something that you could drop and replace with making? Just a few minutes regularly quickly adds up.

  • Create making spaces. A basket of needles and yarn next to the sofa. A small desk for your sewing machine in the corner of the bedroom or in the hallway. A box of craft supplies on a shelf next to the table. Make it easy to get back to your project.

  • Take your project with you. Obviously, this requires a bit of planning (see above) and works better for some crafts better than others. But some ways to take your projects with you include; knitting when you’re out and about, hand-sewing, or taking your sewing machine and meeting a friend for the afternoon to sew together.

  • Make everywhere. This ties in with taking your craft out with you but it’s a little different because here I am advocating that you throw caution and self-consciousness to the wind and do your making anywhere and everywhere. Be fearless. You’ll get so much more done and you’ll never care about waiting in a queue ever again.

So, that’s how I’m going to get my skirt finished. One teeny chunk at a time.

How are you going to climb your mountain?



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