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Sewing Chatter: How do you find time to sew in the summer?


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The first day of summer—in this hemisphere—was yesterday, and I’ve hit a sewing block. I’m too busy with warm weather activities to sit down and sew!

I forced myself to work on my #therefashioners2016 project this weekend, but as soon as I finished, I practically ran away from my sewing machine. I even growled a little inside when I remembered a few things I committed to sew this month. That’s not the right attitude!

So I need some tips. How do you stay motivated to sew when it’s nice out?

  • Do you get distracted from sewing in the summer?
  • Did you panic a little when you realized you needed more summer outfits to beat the heat?
  • How to you manage your sewing projects and keep your motivation when the weather gets warm?
  • If it’s winter where you live, be honest, do you get sick of the Northern Hemisphere talking about summer sewing plans when it’s cold? Or do you get motivated?

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

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Comments 46


It’s difficult for me to identify! I live in a southern state and even though near the mountains, it’s hot and sunny this year especially, which I can’t tolerate much anymore. Also, I am unemployed with lots of free time, and have a huge stash of fabric and patterns. So this year at least time is on my side. Also, counter intuitively, my makes are long sleeved and log legged, because sunscreen is uncomfortable and somewhat ineffective. I am spending lots of time indoors, sewing clothes, albeit lighter weight and of simple design and construction. I mostly sew in the afternoon and evening when the AC is running. Mostly I try to keep myself from sewing too much, because I have no of other things to do that I ignore…like job hunting.


Meant to say, I have lots of other things to do, like job hunt.


Sounds like time is on your side for sewing projects, and good luck with the job hunt!


I am in the same situation! Live in the South and am currently unemployed. I’ve been sewing up a storm. Mostly stockpiling/making gifts for the holiday season.


I suppose it’s about balancing what you think is important. I’m fairly introverted, and am much happier sitting under a parasol on my balcony with my sewing machine with an extension cord running into my apartment than I would be at a barbecue or some other social function, so I can’t really relate to having other activities compete for my attention. But the effects of the temperature I understand! I don’t knit it the summer, the yarn sticks to my fingers too much, and I definitely sew with other fabrics. Sheerer, lighter stuff, always all natural. Recently, while I lived in Japan, I learned how much cooler being fully covered in a sheer fabric can be than walking around in shorts and a tank top, and it really impacted my wardrobe task list, sewing, and finally comfort level in a positive way!


Sewing on a balcony under a parasol? How dreamy! :)


I find that I get more sewing done in June and July than any other time of the year. I hate it when it gets above 80F and the past few Summers in the Willamette Valley have been far too warm for my liking. I do outside and gardening chores in the morning and then household chores and sewing in the afternoons if we’re home. In the winter we’re always busy with school and the holidays and I end up knitting more because it’s more cold weather friendly and transportable. Any way you look at it I’m a slow maker so more sewing generally means 2-4 things a month instead of just one. This spring and now summer has been dominated by my need for lightweight summer tops and some dresses all in the same pattern but different fabric for my daughter, my niece, and the girl I babysit.

Nicole Shepherd

I sew at night after I put the kiddo to bed. And depending on my mood, I will sew a bit in the morning before everyone gets up, at lunch during my lunch break (I work at home), and after work before I go pick up the kiddo from daycare. I’ve been pushing myself to get outside MORE, so I actually have the opposite problem, lol. The dog needs walked, the kid needs to burn energy on the weekends, so I have been trying to be more outdoorsy.


I also seem to get a lot more sewing done during the summer. I’m still in college and I work, so summer is when I have the most free time, and in winter I knit a lot. I think most of the things I’ve made so far have been summer things because they’re a little more beginner friendly. Working up to all seasons though!


I really make a point to try to keep organized and focused so I make sure there is time to go to the lake to swim/kayak/fish, play with the kids, go camping, and the mundane stuff around the house including sewing, laundry, cleaning and cooking. But, with it daylight much later I am more apt to spend an hour or so a couple nights a week sewing or getting ready to sew than I am during the winter. It also helps that I don’t work on Fridays during the summer. Once mowing is completed, it is fair game for me to sew the rest of the day.


I actually get more time to sew in the summer. I work full time and am raising two kids alone so the school year is crazy with after school activities and homework. Summer is the time when we all get to relax a bit and I can spend an evening sewing.


I also tend to sew more in the summer – it’s those long summer evenings! After the kid goes to bed I often get in an hour or two of sewing, whereas in the winter I just want to go to bed:) it doesn’t hurt that lots of summer clothing is easier/quicker than winter stuff. For a while I was planning out several months of sewing projects, but then it started to feel too much like work, so lately I just make whatever I feel like making and that helps keep me excited and motivated!


It’s true, the evenings are longer. Maybe I just need to push my sewing time to later at night!

Show and Tell Meg

I’m from Florida, and I definitely don’t have this problem, lol. It’s hot enough to be out doing things all year round, and summer has the opposite effect – it’s so hot that you hide indoors. In that way, summer is great for my productivity :) Give me air conditioning any day!

Regan Louise

I also don’t really have this problem as a student with a part time job. But when I do need motivation, I set a time limit (ok, I’ll laze until 8) then I make myself do whatever needs done. This is a pretty effective method at least in my book. Also, I hate getting sunburnt and I hate sunscreen so most of my outdoors stuff happens in the morning or evening, leaving the afternoon for sewing. Also I get bored which leads to hey what’s in the stash, can I use it to make something. But yeah, I set time limits.


Time limits are a great idea. Thanks for sharing!


London is pretty short on summers so – not having a garden – I must admit that I get the parklife calls if the sun has it’s hat on! But I love that summer commands quick, small, light, unlined projects and those can be run up in an evening when it’s cooler. Or sometimes if I’m tired, I’ll go to bed really early so I can at least get an hour or so’s sewing done before work.

Teresa C Huie

I am in a very unique situation – for the first time in my life I am home for the summer. I had to retire from my job due to health condition. I have an elementary age child at home but he is busy playing with his friends or going to camps, etc. – so I am finding myself with more free time than ever to sew. Since I don”t need work clothes anymore, I am hoping to venture out of my comfort zone and try some projects I’ve always wanted to make -like a jumpsuit, or maybe even a swimsuit.


Ha! Like others have said, I am experiencing hotter summers – in the Meditteranean – and I easily get heat stroke and burnt so I prefer to swim etc early morning or after 6.00. Give me home with a fan or the ac if needs be…. I sew much more in summer because we work half days for three months:) Don’t be jealous, we make up the time in winter….. I just wish I could bear to touch and try on woolly stuff because now is the time I could tackle long term things like a tailored jacket, but I cannot bear to touch anything but linen and cotton. Same with knitting, in summer it’s cotton, linen or bamboo. And I embroider in summer – never in winter.


Being a student, I actually sew most during summer (and during my exams, for some reason) as I have lots of free time then. But sometimes plans do get in the way, so maybe you could try setting 15mins or so aside every day for sewing? When I go on vacation, I obviously can’t take my sewing machine with me, so I usually take one or more small projects that I can handsew with me.


I see quite a few of us have the same plan- sewing can wait for cooler evenings or early mornings. That’s what I do, too! For the days when it’s incredibly hot I turn on the AC and work in my studio because I don’t tolerate the heat very well. I do find it tough to find time to sew most years, with other things competing, including the urge to set up a canvas outside and paint. I just try to balance it and not make my sewing list too long! There’s plenty of time to sew when it gets cold again, but summer is only for a little while!


I sew a little more during the summer. It’s way too hot to be outside during the month dale of the day! Also, I agree with Mags, lightweight sheer but long sleeve is a wonderful sunscreen and so much cooler than just sleeveless. I pack all my wool projects away since it’s just too hot – I wish I could do tailoring now. All about light loose clothes now. Bring on the white linen!


I am definitely outdoors more in the summer — I always think, yeah, I’ll have more time, and then 3 hours later and I’m still in the beer garden at the pub or whatever. I think for me, there’s also a certain amount of guilt for being inside on a nice day, which can cut into sewing time. I’m trying to overcome it (my husband loves to watch football, so we have an indoor hobby each!) but some days are harder than others.


Spring and summer are my most productive sewing times. I think it’s because I love summer clothes and fabrics so I’m more motivated. Linen, gauze, chiffon and cotton? Yes! Wool is luxurious but rarely do you see it in vibrant colors or prints. So in summer I sew things I really want to wear!


I have been so overworked and tired I haven’t even wanted to sew all winter, until now! I spent all winter huddled on the sofa with knitting and just the though ofnopening the sewing machine made me irritated. My job gets easier in good weather and I’m finally finding the energy and want to go back to the sewing machine. It feels grrrreat. What actually got me going though, is that I am moving in a month and thought I wouldn’t have a dedicated sewing space – so I thought “better sew while I can”. As it turns out I will :D but now that I’m at it I don’t want to stop!

I don’t have any advice though. Just roll with the seasons and do what feels right. I was full of self imposed guilt all winter and that’s just unnecessary.


You and I are in the same place, sewing wise. Lawn care alone steals much of my sewing time in the summer. It’s been at least a month since I sewed anything. I’m missing it.


Birdsong and sunshine have meant that I haven’t woken up with the alarm in weeks. Instead of trying to get back to sleep (impossible) I’ve had a go at early morning sewing until it’s “time to get up”.
It took a little getting used to. My first bash saw me taking 20 mins to fill a bobbin, cursing that the machine had broken, mentally writing a letter to Janome, until I realised that I had threaded it up wrong. FAIL. But since then, all good and I’m finding little and often is getting me though my pile of unfinished garments.


Haha, I totally get sick of seeing summer outfits all over the blogosphere..!
Thanks for asking.
Much love from cold unusual brazilian weather


I’m a slow sewer to begin with, so I’m usually making something as needed to supplement my wardrobe. Since I work full time, my main sewing time is on the weekends, if I can squeeze it in around errands. And I’ll admit the heat has been sapping my energy; not having central AC in the hot and humid weather has been draining, particularly when I am unable to get a decent night’s rest for several days in a row. We’re also prepping to move house in a few weeks’ time, so a lot of time and space has become dedicated to packing and boxes. My brain wants to sew more, but the rest of me is tired!

Shannon Applegate

I agree with most people here, and sew more in the summer. I’m a teacher though, and so summers are when I have the time. Maybe it’s because you live in Portland where Summer is a big change? Maybe let yourself enjoy the weather while you have it? :)


I sew a lot more during the summer than during any other season – I go to college, so autumn, winter and spring are always very busy – I spend my summer holidays sewing to make up for that!

Chris Waechter

I have a portable sewing machine that travels with me to our cabin. I always have a project that I can work on but also can be stored away with out taking up too much place. The projects are usually are easy to start and stop. Right now it a piece of crazy quilt fabric that will turn into a tote.I try to leave an hour open for sewing. Rainy days go fast when you have your machine with you.


I get distracted from sewing over the summer but for different reasons. I live in the tropics so it’s hot all year round here. Sewing in the heat is not a problem. However, over the summer the children are off school and we travel more from home so it’s harder to make time and have space (or the tools) for sewing. This year I am planning to sew with my children when at home and pack some crafting I can do on the move with the children, some hand sewing or something different like sketching. The summer is when I focus on shopping for fabric abroad, for making sewing plans, gathering ideas from shops and other inspiration abroad. Then in September armed with my new fabrics, new notions and new ideas I get back to my sewing.


I live in the swampy state of Florida, so all my sewing tends to be warm-weather appropriate. What makes me anxious is not having cold weather makes for when I travel.
When the heat and humidity is at its worst I actually treat it just like northerners behave in the depths of winter: I stay inside near the A/C vent (my version of a cozy fireplace) and sew to my heart’s content.


I absolutely love to sew; however, summer is the time for family, friends, traveling, relaxing, gardening, etc. Sewing extremely is important to me, but in the end, family and friends come first. What good is having a knock-out wardrobe and no one to share it with?


Like some other commenters, I live in the South and have to get really creative with avoiding outdoor time in the heat of the day. I am also in the unique situation of being full time caregiver to my husband. Due to the limitations of his illness, we don’t have many fun summer activities on the schedule, so I am able to sew most every day when he is resting. I am a fan of keeping my sewing machine in a dedicated area so that I can sit down and sew at any time, even if it is for a few minutes a day. I would suggest finding ways to squeeze even 15-20 minutes a day in and count it as progress. Good luck!


I, too, have more time to sew during the summer. It’s finally warm and often too hot to be outside during the afternoon. I enjoy it more and squeeze in time for “sew” many more garments.

Gretchen Potts

Hmm, my experience is that summer is the time for being outdoors and enjoying it while it lasts. My first intuition would be to plan on sewing less in the summer. I grew up in the Northwest and can understand what a precious commodity sunshine can be up there. Give yourself a break and sew less, wear your limited summer clothing a little more often than you think is normal for the rest of the year. It doesn’t last very long…..enjoy it!

Jaclyn Terland

Well, I’m a teacher, so summer is my golden opportunity to spend more time doing “me” things…and that always includes sewing! Honestly, since having a baby a year and a half ago, sewing time has been really hard to find, so I am eager to work on at least a couple of new projects this summer.


When on a good day, it’s only 105 or when it’s 120 during a heat advisory, all you do is stay in doors. This is the time of year I sew the most. Could also be because I’m a teacher!


We must live in the same area, where the saguaros grow. I try to sew in the summer, and stay out of the sun as much as possible.


I sew more in spring and summer because I need sun when I sew! I like to go sew outside on my balcony.
I’m a weekend seewist because I’m working full time.
During winther with short crapy cold days, I’m doing just the emergency repparation.


I also get more sewing done in summer – Yay for long evenings (at the moment daylight until after 10) and more motivation from all that sunshine! I also love that I can easily try my sewings on as I don’t wear so many layers of clothes… And without any kids there is no mid summer vacation to distract me. ;)


Once or twice a week I like to “Binge” sew. At night after I put my son to bed and my husband is doing his own thing, I will sew until the wee hours of morning. I love the quiet time with myself. Even though I’m putting myself through minor sleep deprivation, my quiet sewing time recharges me spiritually and makes me a happier more grounded human being.


At the moment I’m unable to sew having just moved. But when I’m set up I sew intermittently, unless there’s a big project on
like a deb dress etc. I’m more motivated to sew for others I’m afraid. But summer is the big sew time for me. Here in Melbourne we have very short spring days and then summer hits. The last few years it’s been too hot to venture far outdoors so ac and machine look good. Being opposite seasons can be inspiring. You can start your summer clothes early. Sewing winters clothes under the air con is fine. I like the idea of sewing outside – my new sew space will be the garage! Not really looking forward to that!


I haven’t had that problem this year, as the weather has been absolutely awful in Belgium. We get one or two good days per week, but by the time I get home from work it’s usually raining again.
Changing jobs from a stressful environment with terrible co-workers to a calm and supportive place with amazing colleagues really helped my motivation as well. I have much more energy when I get home as it doesn’t get drained by the anxiety I experienced at my previous job.

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