Finding Your Sewing Flow

A walk through of Day 7 of the 28 Day Challenge to find your sewing flow

Day 7 of the 28 day challenge asks you to work on finding your sewing flow. This can sound a bit vague, so I wanted to walk you through my own recent flow test of my sewing room. 

Hi Challengers! Or soon to be challengers… 😉 What are you waiting for? Jump in and join us now! 

I already know how to sew in my room. Why should I “test my flow”? 

Well, you might think you have your sewing room perfectly set up. Finally!

But if it feels “clunky” to work in, you may still feel unwilling to sew, without knowing exactly why.

Doing a proper sewing flow test and paying attention to how you move within the area will help you figure out what you can improve next. This is your time to work on a typical sewing project and deliberately test out your own sew flow.

It’s bit like the “pressure test” they do in Bar Rescue, just softer and more considerate of the workers. ie YOU! 

Let’s dive inside my flow test and see what happened. Just an FYI – right now I’m sewing out of a closet in my daughter’s room. I’m “between sewing rooms”. Ironic because I love organizing them! 

My project: sandwich, quilt and bind a small table runner. An old UFO from a few years back. 

My time frame: small bits of space while parenting. 

The notes I took: 

My written notes from Flow Test # 1 on June 24 2020 

Starting out with my flow

“This UFO looks easy to finish. I could give it to my mother in law. This needs ironing. Where’s my iron? Ughh, I have to find a clean towel to set up my ironing station again. Right, the iron is heating up now. It’s on top of the chest freezer. I hope no one wants ice cream. 

I need to choose batting. That was easy, my batting is all sized and organized in my ziplocks. Thank you Day 6. 

Backing fabric. Hmm, it would be so much easier if my fabric was organized by color. This red looks good. I’ll need to piece it.

Making mistakes…

Arrgh, what’s happening? I broke a needle. How do I get the needle tip out of the machine? It must have fallen in. Find cue tips, this machine needs cleaning. I’ll store all this on my pegboard for machine maintenance.

Where’s a magnet? The kitchen fridge. Picked up the needle off floor. I can use this tiny plastic tub to dispose of the needle tip. Keep it safe. 

It’s okay. If I had more light I wouldn’t have put the presser foot in backwards. Tested on a scrap piece. What’s wrong with the tension? Oh I threaded it wrong. Easy fix. Okay, keeping going, I’m definitely finding my sewing flow. At least, finding what it’s not! 

Mmm, ice cream now? Nope, no M&M’s in my machine drawer, but maybe there could be? 

Oh, the pin cushion tucked into my peg board is really convenient. Small sharp scissors to cut threads would be really helpful. 

Where’s my cutting board? Oh yeah, everything is tucked neatly into my ruler bag I made. I’ll just carry it to the dining table. 

Squaring the pieced top. Still looks wonky. Should have started from one side. Try again. Right, looks good. Where are my basting pins? I don’t want to pin this. 

Basting together

Didn’t I have spray basting spray somewhere? Get stool, pull down highest storage cube with the wool. I have no idea what it’s doing there. Found it! Right. “Shake well and use on protected surface.” I can use those old Pique’s to spread out on the table. (our newspaper).

That basting spray works great! Oops, definitely should have covered the whole table. This glue is sticky. 

How am I going to quilt it? Stipple or straight? Straight. Okay, my quilting foot was easy to find. This is fun. Now I want to test it. Where’s a sample quilt sandwich to practise on? Right, in my UFO bags. Yep, put the quilting foot on wrong the first time too. Fixed it. That’s 3 votes for more light now. 

Ready to quilt, hanging up on my peg board. Wow, that feels so good. Now I can come in and do something straight away. Even if I have just a few minutes.”

And that’s where I left off. While I was during this, I was also setting up my peg board for the first time. I really was having fun doing this. 

What I learned:

As you can see from my notes, I learned so many things about how to improve my flow. Here’s my final list: 

  • Improve my ironing station 
  • Better sorting of fabrics by color
  • Get a lamp to install in cupboard
  • Buy more standard quilting needles
  • Clean out my plastic tub for machine parts
  • Learn how to square pieced tops up properly. 

Doing a flow test while quilting created more than just a list of improvements to make. It reminded me to enjoy sewing more, while keeping me focused on improving my area to improve my quilting experience. I wasn’t stuck on a pity train thinking “I only have a cupboard, I guess I just don’t sew right now”. No, I love sewing and it’s important to find more time to sew for myself. 

More than just a flow test!

This started out as a mini project to show you how I worked on finding my sewing flow in Day 7 of the 28 Day Challenge. It turned into a promise to myself to keep sewing, to stay committed to sewing, because I felt so freakin’ good about it. (see side note below) 

Side note: 1 in 5  people will experience a mental health problem or illness. By talking about it we can make it easier to share and connect through mental challenges. Over the years I’ve checked off depression and postpartum anxiety. I vividly recall the blankness of  <insert feeling here>. I’m always on the lookout for activities that I just love doing. I guess breaking needles and joining fabric is my thing! 

Keep sewing everyone!