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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