“A Half Hour or Sew”: Productivity for the Busy Seamstress

Anybody out there REALLY busy? Do you work long hours, have multiple responsibilities, and run like a madwoman to get things done? (Ever felt like Ophelia losing her grip, escaping into nature, singing nonsense songs, and laughing mindlessly at the chaos of everything around you?)

Ophelia, oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in

Image via Wikipedia

Okay. I’m not quite that far gone, but one of my biggest regrets is that I don’t have as much time to sew as I would like, and I run around working all the time. It’s hard to relax and create. But this project I’m working on is an experiment in the “Half Hour or Sew” philosophy….

Since I don’t have much spare time, I’m sewing in tiny stints of 30 minutes or less. This approach certainly doesn’t make for fast projects, but since I’m a slow sewist anyway (see the post entitled “The Joys of Slow Sewing,”) it doesn’t matter that I don’t get my visions created quickly.

The old brown shirt of Bill’s that I’m re-styling into a cuter garment – (See “What Can You Do With an Old Shirt?”) –  has so far been done in 30-minute-or-less stages:

1) Stage 1:  Read Pattern.  Take off buttons, cut off cuffs, shorten length of shirt. Cut pieces. (20 minutes.)

2) Stage 2:  Prepare placket covers and stitch on both sides of shirt. (25 minutes.)

3) Stage 3:  Add outside collar fabric. I also added an inside neck band  in the same fabric as the placket. (30 minutes)

Next sitting, I’ll add the bottom ruffle and prepare the sleeve ruffles.

I’m hoping to wear this “old-brown-shirt-transformed-into-funky-cute-shirt” in a few days! Results to follow.



  1. Great idea! I am going to do this. I postpone quilting for a block of time. Consequently nothing gets sewn.

    • I have great intentions, but I still get sidetracked a lot of days. I’m not giving up though, and am hoping to get some kind of sewing done a lot more often. I know I’ll never get a big hunk of time all at once!

  2. I know what you mean, I try to get “at least” 15 minutes in a day!

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