Today I’m going to tell you how I managed to sew for two and a half hours on Mother’s Day with no complaint from 3-year-old Little Man (more than I usually allow myself)! You can find last week’s tip here. They seem common sense, but it’s taken me a while to find the balance of how to sew with LM nearby, and I wish I had seen tips like these in the beginning! 🙂 Next Monday, I’m going to share some of my “ground rules” for when I sew with LM underfoot. They really are critical, but I’m realizing they truly require their own post. (And a quick apology for darker photos on these posts so far–my sewing space is currently my dark kitchen, but I’ll hopefully be moving to a completed sewing room next week!) ((((And I use way too many parentheses in this post!))))
Aside from the scraps sharing you’ll see below, I also give him empty spools from thread, the card that bias binding is wrapped around, and any other little leftovers that would be destined for the crafting or recycling bins. I also allow him to push the foot pedal to wind the bobbin. These make him a part of what I’m doing and helps him be more patient with me while I’m at the machine.
Yesterday, it was scraps, scraps, scraps! They’re one of LM’s favorite parts of when I sew. I make sure to remind him every time I’m cutting to not touch any of my supplies or fabric unless I hand it to him–with a stare-him-in-the-eye reminder of why not to touch the scissors or rotary cutter! Don’t take those tools out of your sight for a moment! He then sits patiently next to my cutting mat on the floor waiting for hand-outs. He pretends to cut them, and yesterday was wadding up the larger ones as small as he could saying, “I cut them, so now they are small enough!” That’s them below with his firefighter jacket:
I let him have anything that is not usable as a large cut of fabric, because I go and collect all those scraps after I’m done sewing (including many that I will still save–I can iron out the mess). He does all kinds of things with these scraps. One week, we got stuck behind a trash truck earlier in the day. He pretended the scraps were trash and took them to his play area and put them all in his wooden castle one-by-one as I dished them out, saying he had to take them to the dump (i.e. the castle). I’ve taught him to pull the long ones behind him for the cats to chase around. He’s wrapped his toys in them as clothes. Yesterday’s gem: they were worms!
I’m not sure why they needed to be on pillows, but he pulled those from the play area. I let him do anything acceptable while I sew, and that often means toys and books strewn throughout my sewing space, and a HUGE mess to clean up afterward, but I’m able to sew, so I’ll take it! Note the borrowed Backyardigans he brought in next to my cut pieces… But I love having him near and seeing how he chooses to entertain himself–it’s a great laugh to hear some of the things he comes up with!
Don’t ignore them while you’re in your own little world. If they pretend you’re Baby Bear, be Baby Bear! If they offer you weird trinkets and oddball items, receive them graciously, and set them near the machine out of your way but still nearby (perhaps a small dish or bowl to contain any rolling bits)! LM is infinitely more patient with me during this time if he knows I’m still available to interact with him.
I really hope this is a useful tip for you! How do you entertain you little ones while you sew or do your own thing? Do you offer scraps or bits from your projects or do you find the distraction too much to handle? I would also LOVE to know how it works out if you utilize these tips!
Thanks for looking! 🙂