Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Results from the sewing productivity project

So because the disaster of my laptop breaking, I cannot do fancy charts showing how I spend my free time as part of Tilly’s sewing productivity project.  However I did make notes over the past two weeks and discovered a few things which I will now share:

I don’t use my evening free-time wisely.
I spend a lot of time cooking / washing up in the evenings, at least a hour on the days when I cook.  I think I need to cut down on the fancy meals during the week, because this is cutting in on my evening free time.  I also need to organise my evenings better as I do not utilise this time well.  I often sit on the sofa and put my feet up when I get in (just in time for neighbours or home and away) and then don’t get up till after 7-7.30.  Bad me!!

I don’t manage well with big overwhelming projects. 
My grey skirt has remained untouched basically because I need a good chunk of time (say 3-4 hours) to sit down an figure out where I got, what I need to do next and also how to attach the lining to the skirt at the zipper (see this post of details).  In the evening I am usually tired and need something I can pick up and put down quite easily.  Or at least I need to have a notebook where I write these things down and have everything ready to go when I next want to work on a bigger project.  [By the way a skirt may be a quickie project normally for most people but for me at the moment it’s a biggie!]

This leads onto the next point:

I need a dedicated sewing space! 
Currently everything is stashed behind our sofa and I use the dining table to sew on.  Having to faff around unpacking everything and set up my machine, re-pressing everything that has been sat stacked up behind the sofa, and rummaging around trying to find certain bits of equipment is a real pain in the posterior.  Likewise having to clear it all up afterwards, it just takes up too much time.  I need to be able to leave things mid-progress, and I need to be able to create a mess and leave it there.  It’s just how I roll. This is the space I plan to utilise, it’s part of a spare room we have in our flat.  Well it’s actually separate to our flat on the communal hallway but half of it is mine to use, lucky me.

As you can see the other half is used by my lovely man for man-things.  Any advice on how to create a cheap partition would be fab!

Anyway those were my major obstructers of productivity.  However there were some interesting positives I gleaned from this project.  They were the following:

I work a lot better with small manageable goals. 
I made the purses over a few evenings and gave myself a clear goal each time.  In this case they were, cut out all the pieces and iron on the interfacing in evening one, sew them up in evening two and lastly glue the frames on in evening three.  This was great as each task took 30 minutes to an hour to complete and it was easily manageable.  Breaking down projects into smaller chunks really works for me.

Deadlines / timetables are great (if you make them realistic).
I gave myself too many things to do by Easter and had to drop a couple just because I ran out of time.  However having a schedule to stick to gives me something to follow and keeps me focused, as I am [very] easily distracted.

Something else I really need to face up to is that I just don’t have as much free time as I’d like at the moment.  At least till the end of June after my accountancy course is over I just can’t churn out projects on a weekly basis like many of the other bloggers out there.  That’s not great news for my blog as I won’t have much to show over the next few months, but I will give myself a few smaller easier projects to keep things ticking over.  Plus I plan to do a little makeover series of posts on my sewing space, as I make it workable and pretty, so that’ll be nice.

So overall my plan for improved productivity is as follows:
Sort out my sewing space!!

Don’t try and do more than I can manage right now

Give myself a "realistic" schedule for the projects I choose to start

Break down all my projects into little chunks, and a have a list on which I can tick off each one when complete

Thanks to Tilly for this great idea.  I am enjoying reading everyone else’s findings and tips


  1. How about curtain wire (cheap and can easily be removed as its attached to an eyelet screwed into the wall either side) with ikea curtain panels (you can get really cheap ones that would do the job)?

  2. Sounds like a great plan! I recently bought a little set of drawers, a drawer for each project. Everything from thread to the pattern goes in the draw. I find this helps as I don't have to spend time looking for things :)
    Ashley x

  3. Your goals for improved productivity are excellent - I think sometimes we have to accept that we can't do it all! Sounds like once your accountancy course is over, you'll have heaps more time and energy ;o)

  4. Love the cheery sunny yellow walls. What is that color called? It looks like you have some space to add a bookcase which would be able to store sewing books, patterns and fabric.

  5. Sarah - thanks for the tips will have a think about what's viable (we rent so drilling holes into walls isn't my top choice)

    Ashley - Thats a fab idea!! I might have to pinch it :o)

    Marie - Thanks for the encouragement. I can't wait till July though.

    Marla - Not sure what the colour's called as we rent and the walls came that way. It is happy and sunny though isn't it. Good call on the bookcase, it's in my master plan....

  6. Absolutely agree on the simple mid-week meals! Calling a halt to recipes involving hours at the chopping board has freed up an hour a day to weed the garden, which in turn gives me more free time to sew at the weekend - bargain!

  7. I find that if i come in from work and put the TV on straight away, i'm pretty much stuck there all evening. I am so much more productive if i start doing things straight away when i get in! Your sewing space looks like it has the potential to be awesome - plenty of room for a bookcase and/or drawers...good luck with getting it sorted!


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