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Good habit of the month: daily sewing tasks


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Do you put off all those little sewing tasks? Things like fixing a broken zipper or organizing your scraps or sewing on a button that’s popped off? I know I do.

For this month, I have a new habit I’d like to form: I want to do something sewing related for at least 15 minutes a day.

I think this will have a few positive effects. One, it’ll give me a little time for relaxation and creativity, even when I feel I’m two busy. It’s a break from the day, which I sorely need sometimes.

Two, I might actually get some of those small tasks done!

Third, it’ll help me actually start some of the things I’ve planned. Often, I don’t start a big project because it seems too huge, like it will take too long. But in reality, it can be broken down into short and manageable chunks.

Here’s how I’m going to try to get this habit done:

  • Set aside time. I like to do a little sewing for myself before I leave work for the day. It’s like my transition between work time and personal time. I used to do this a lot more, but tend to neglect it when things get busy, so having 15 minutes set aside at the end of the day should really help.
  • List some quick tasks. Sometimes it seems like every sewing project has to take hours. So I jotted down a list of several quick things I could do, whether they’re parts of a larger project, or just small things I need to do.
  • It doesn’t have to involve stitching. It could be cleaning, it could be organizing, it could be pressing or cutting. As long as it sets the stage for more sewing, it’s good.

I think this will be a really fun habit to get into, because it’ll give me more creative time. What do you think?

By the way, I did very well on my habit from last month, mostly keeping pins entirely away from my mouth. I’m so happy about this one, because it’s something I’ve been trying to break for years, but sort of half-heartedly. Having it in my mind as the one thing to concentrate on this month was super helpful for me. What about you?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 36


I visit about 30 times a day, does that count?


I set the same goal about 2 weeks ago. (I said average though, so if I miss a day, that’s okay.)


This is such a wonderful idea! 15 minutes is an achievable goal, no matter how crazy the day has been. I’m going to do this with you….THANK YOU!


I love that you posted about this! I’ve been trying to do about 20 minutes a day for the last couple of weeks. Even if all I do is fill a new bobbin and thread the sewing machine, it’s better than nothing! I don’t have any large blocks of time for sewing right now, so if I wasn’t taking bits of time when I can, I would never have started the Couture Dress class. As it is, I’m not super far along, but I’m well into the muslin stage. :)


This is a timely post! I’ve finally just setup my sewing room this past week. We moved in the spring, but have been in temporary housing since June, and unfortunately my sewing room was the last room in the house to organize. I’ve missed sewing dearly and having that special ‘me’ time where I can unwind from my day and concentrate on making something beautiful for myself.

The move not only gave me a chance to completely reorganize my space (something that I should have done way back!), but it’s also given me a break to think about what projects and skills I really want to tackle this fall.

I’m with you Sarai! At least 15 minutes have been set aside in my books. :) Thanks for the inspiration!

Nancy Anson

I’m a list-maker, somewhat akin to TV’s Mr. Monk by nature. I break sewing into chunks; gather materials, prepare fabric, cut, interface, serge, sew, handwork.

Mending is in a basket, and it feels very good to get that thing emptied out…really. Those little chores do something to one’s attitude. When the basket’s empty I feel like I could sew a ball gown and a tuxedo to go with it in one afternoon.

I like to sort through things occasionally — fabric, scraps, patterns, notions, books, etc. I get great ideas from this (lots of fun in 45 years of sewing stuff). You should look through things once in awhile so you don’t forget what you have. I get pretty mad at myself if I buy a duplicate pattern.

A good deal of my sewing is accomplished in 20/30-min. blocks, but of course I’ve done a lot of child rearing in my life — maybe that helped create this schedule. Yes, I’m sure it did!


I’d be curious to know what little items are on your list. I am going to try this goal and would love 15 minute ideas.


So far, it’s lots of mending, and also doing some piecing on an unfinished quilt my grandmother gave to me. You gave me a great idea, though… I should occasionally tweet and/or post to facebook on my daily sewing tasks this month.


That’s a great idea. I have a stack of quilt pieces that have been waiting for a rainy afternoon….. But if I do a few each day, my daughter might get the quilt before she’s in high school. :) Thanks for putting this out there!


I’m going to participate — 15 minutes a day = 1.5 hours a week — one could get alot done in 1.5 hours


I didn’t think of it that way, but that’s so true! I’m even more inspired now.

I suspect this will be like exercising. If you tell yourself “just 15 minutes,” one you start going it will often end up more.


This is a timely post for me; I set a similar goal for myself two weeks ago (30 minutes every other day), since as a new mom, I no longer have those large chunks of time to sew.

The amazing thing is that by sticking to this, I was able to whip up a Ginger skirt in a little over a week just by grabbing 30 minutes to sew here and there. Pre-baby, those 30 minute chunks of time likely would have been wasted surfing blogs, twitter, etc.


I’ve been trying to keep pins out of my mouth too, and somehow I think that habit has shifted slightly – there’s some awareness now and that’s the key. As for those little jobs, it feels so good when you actually get around to them! Once I eventually re-attach that button or put a few stitches in that little hole that’s opened in a seam, I always wonder why I’d put it off so long. One thing I really put off, though, is darning – and that’s never a quick (or enjoyable) task for me. Not sure I can commit to darning a sock a week, I’m afraid!


I have been a long time fan/follower from your blog to your book. I purchased
your book for my birthday,and I love it. Your techniques are so do able. Thank you
for doing what you do to help us with our sewing craft. :)


Thanks Mariann. :)


This good habit of the month reminds me of a post by Studio Mothers about front loading creativity. Great idea to help schedule creativity!


I think I naturally tend to do this. My sewing area is in the dining room, which is open plan with the kitchen, so I often do the little jobs whilst cooking in the evening. Preheat oven; thread machine. Put food in; sew a seam. Put veg on hob; sew another bit. Stir:sew.


I’m blaming it on becoming a mother and having to fit several things at once into the short blocks of free time you get in the day!


I don’t always want to do mending when I sit down to sew at home -I want to do something new. But I have a pile of mending to do – much of which involves hand sewing. So I make an effort to put that hand-sewing aside in a basket that I take with me to my kids’ gymnastics class. This way, I can get some sewing done while I’m sitting there, despite not being in front of a machine, and I feel like I’m perfecting my hand stitching at the same time. Currently I’m adding a bra to a bathing suit which I love but which doesn’t have enough support for me, plus I’m installing a new invisible zipper in a skirt.

Elizabeth D

I guess I don’t think of my daily sewing as a task but as a source of great enjoyment: every morning as I wake up I ask myself,”Do I have time to sew today? And what can I accomplish specifically?” After my husband leaves for work I go directly to my sewing room and turn on the radio to listen to NPR for an hour, if possible, and work on a project before eating breakfast. I find it’s the best way to start the day.


This is how I start my day too! I’m not always near my studio, so when I am I have made it my goal to “play” for an hour before I turn on the computer or anything else. Sometimes NPR, but lately I’m so excited to be there that silence is fine with me. :)


Oh this is good…I’ve been struggling to fit sewing into the day. It’s so hard to keep energy up after work. I love sewing and it’s so satisfying but just hard to get in the groove some days. 15 min though? I can do 15 min!


I LOVE when I do those little tasks that have been sitting around for weeks, months, even years! And then I have a whole “new” addition to my wardrobe!


This is the best (for me) good habit of the month. I will try to do just that! Set aside at least 15 min every day to do something sewing related. I love your blog and I learn so much – thank you!


I think this is a fabulous idea. I think I’ll modify it to be – set aside time to finished my UFOs! I always get stuck on the lining and never finish the project!! Even if I do just a bit of it at a time, it’ll help me to finish some of those things that have been hanging around a bit too long… :)


This is an excellent idea. I got in some good sewing time on the weekend and I feel so much SANER for it. I know you all know what I mean! But I definitely get overwhelmed by how big a task sewing can be. I am finding that if I cut something out one day, sew it up the next, and then do finishing touches (fitting, hemming, pressing) another, I get a much much better result. And am more likely to start! I’m also making a real effort to keep my sewing room clear and neat. It really doesn’t take long if I put things away as I go, or spend a few minutes a day putting things away. And it means I’m able to sit down at the machine as soon as the spirit moves me, rather than looking at a table full of fabric and assorted rubbish, and deciding it’s all too hard to move it before I start.

15 minutes a day sounds about right! Count me in!


G’day – ‘they’ say it takes 30 days to create a habit or break one, so here’s hoping that is true, because I’ll do my darnedest(no pun intended) to do something creative everyday. Because yesterday a button fell off my pj’s and I was thinking I must sew that on, like I always do, well it didn’t happen, mostly doesn’t on my stuff, but tonight come hell or high water, that little suckers going back on:/ So thanks Sarai, I think that was a good shove in the right direction, for this month and every month; next stop – juniper pants, or maybe that should be the reward at the bottom of the mending pile and when I’ve organised my new ‘craft ‘ room a little. Off to do that now, ciao and thanks for all the great inspiration and information.


my september goal was to alter/restyle too-big garments for my husband and me . i achieved three
well-fitting garments! hurray for me! for october i need to continue this goal.. thanks, sarai, for this great encouragement!–anne


i recieve many compliments on my home-sewn garments. if i have a duplicate of the pattern, i like to give it to the person who gifted me with kind words.


I love this series. I now change needles before a new project, snip threads, throw scraps into a little bag, (mostly) keep needles out of my mouth.

I’m also a mother of two little ones, 18 months and 4 years. When you started this series, I’d been doing very little sewing, and I missed it. For whatever reason, it made me think about the little things that were keeping me from sewing, and what I could do about them – broken into smaller, more do-able projects, one or maybe two a month. I organized my stash, using a stash swatch pdf that was linked to from this blog a while ago. I bought a bunch of things that make sewing easier, and honestly faster- clear rulers and french curves, a ham, a variety sizes of needles just to have on hand for my machine, and the big one, a pair of great sewing shears. I wish I’d done it years ago. This weekend I cleaner out an organized my sewing box.

So thank you Sarai – this really has been an inspiration!

Rachel Steele

Such a great idea! Two things I really want to get done are to bar code scan patterns into my sewing app and cut bias strips. I always want to incorporate custom bias strips into my sewing for Hong Kong finishes but never have the time. I think this could add a great layer of creativity to my sewing.


This is SUCH a great idea… I have PILES of little tasks to do, mending, hand-sewing, etc. Not to mention that having a baby means I really only have 15 min of sewing time to myself – I should make use of it! Thanks Coletterie :)


I don’t think this would work for me. If the goal is to get rid of the pile of little sewing tasks, doing something sewing related every day doesn’t help for a bit. By the time I have emptyed my desk and cutting table I have so many ideas that I will end up sewing untill the middle of the night, but no way would have touched that broken zipper or shirt with a lost button.
A friend of mine however has a great solution for the handsewing things that have to be done. She trows everything in the car, and everytime her husband is driving, she is sewing on buttons etc. Although I find this a great solution, it doesn’t work for me neither since I don’t have a car :-(. Somebody else any ideas?


I’m going to try this! I always think little projects like mending will take a long time – but maybe not!

Julie A. Weaver

I love this idea of yours. I am going to try to do 30 minutes every day.

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