Power of Habit in Sewing

If you know me IRL, you know that I love structure and routine. I love reading about productivity and am a very firm believer in habit as the path to success. Today, I’m sharing sewing habits I’ve developed that help me sew more, better and faster.

1. I sew every day. When I was first on maternity leave with my daughter, I set a goal to sew every day. Almost three years later, that habit stuck. When I want to spend my evening doing something else, I have to actively chose not to sew right after dinner or I find my self setting up my ironing board without even thinking about it.

2. I sew during Hockey Night in Canada. This one goes way back to before my husband and I were even married. Since we’ve lived together, I’ve always sewn while he watches the Saturday night hockey game. I love it because I get a guaranteed two to three hours of sewing in and manage to listen enough to follow the game and chat with him about it.

3. I have a standard order of operations. Regardless of what I’m making, I always start in the same order: cut, read instructions, fuse interfacing, serge. I used to serge around ever edge before sewing, but now, I only serge edges that I know will not be enclosed or finished in some other way. I do this for two reasons: 1. It forces me to read and understand the directions (especially finishing techniques) and 2. Side seams are always available to adjust the fit, even after the garment is completed. I almost never serge my seam allowances together on wovens.

4. I always pin and sew in the same direction. I make it a rule to sew from the top down so that any difference in length will come out in the hem, where it doesn’t matter as much. I also always pin so that I can pull my pins out easily with my right hand.

5. I always trim my threads immediately and as close to the fabric as possible. This is a recent habit as I used to feel like trimming my threads slowed me down, but I realized I hate missing thread ends and finding them sticking out of my finished garment. I can’t remember the last time I used the thread cutter on my machine.

6. I tuck my serger tails immediately. This is probably my most recent habit. I used to basically never tuck my serger tails in because I figured they would just get caught in a cross seam and wouldn’t unravel. I’ve had this backfire on me too many times recently, so I now force myself to tuck them in immediately.

7. I clean as I go. I sew in our living room and typically during nap time, so I don’t have a ton of time to clean up my sewing. The only things that stay out while I’m sewing are my scissors, my pins and possibly some pressing tools. Anything else gets out back away immediately.

8. I blog and work on Instagram posts at the same time every day. My husband and I do yoga every night after dishes and the kids are in (I’m telling you, we love routine) but we give ourselves ten minutes of “phone time” to just sit quietly and transition into our evening free time. I use this time to blog or write drafts of Instagram posts. I seriously wouldn’t get to it otherwise!

If you’re interested in reading more about productivity, here are a few of my favourite books:

  1. The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg
  2. Smarter, Better, Faster, Charles Duhigg
  3. The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey
  4. Atomic Habits, James Clear
  5. Pick Three, Randi Zuckerberg

2 thoughts on “Power of Habit in Sewing

  1. Ahhh … this is timely. I’m reading “Eat that Frog” right now and am trying to get back into good habits. And like you, I love a good routine!

    One thing we share is sewing while watching sports. If there’s a Flames game on TV I will watch it from the sewing room but here in the south, it’s all football – College on Saturdays, NFL on Sundays. The main benefit I see is having something to distract me when my team is losing!

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