What Sewing Really Looks Like with Four Young Children

And, if you want to know what sewing really looks like in my house:

  1. Start sewing the bag.
  2. Instantly run out of bobbin thread.
  3. Re-thread the bobbin, then put back in the machine backwards. Discover this because your threads are all tangled on one side.
  4. Fix the bobbin
  5. Re-stitch
  6. Run out of bobbin thread
  7. Repeat 3-5
  8. Children are hungry. Stop and feed them. No craft project is worth the wrath of unfed little people
  9. Discover that you sewed the shoulder strap together wrong (padding will be on the outside when turned right side out). Cut out a new strap, because it’s not worth unstitching the old one. Stitch the ends of the old one shut (so small toys cannot get lost inside) and give to children to play with.
  10. Start turning the strap right side out.
  11. Put Lego Darth Vader’s arm back on.
  12. Extract a Lego piece from the Lego boat it is stuck in.
  13. Stop to pack two boxes because you are moving VERY soon. Enjoy cardboard crafting as you make custom cases for your violin and guitar. Cushion both instruments with fabric from your stash.
  14. Feed children
  15. Pack more
  16. Make Dinner
  17. Clean up dinner
  18. Put kids to bed
  19. Pack
  20. Sleep
  21. Make breakfast
  22. Send kids off to library with dad
  23. Finish bag
  24. Pack some more boxes
  25. Kids return
  26. One-year-old steals bag for toys

What does sewing look like in your house? What would you use a bag like this for? I was planning to use it as a camera bag, but it’s been storing toys on our cross-country trip…

MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

31 thoughts on “What Sewing Really Looks Like with Four Young Children”

  1. The last step was my favorite. :-)

    I only hand sew, and mostly when the kids are asleep because they are both fascinated with the needle.

  2. kathleen babbitt

    I love sewing at your house! could I come over and play? we were only blessed with one child and now he is in college second year. when I sewed with him he would want to sit on my lap . I usually let him as he was good to keep his fingers to himself. I went to adjust the dress I was making and told him to sit still I needed both hands. well I don’t know what happened but he fell off my lap onto a carpeted concrete floor. the next day I realized he had broken his arm! he was 15 months old and it was too swollen to put a cast on. the best part we were in oklahoma and had to fly back to maryland in 2 days! I didn’t sew for 6 weeks after that because he had to be helped with his arm in a cast that went from his fingers to his shoulder! after that he would just put his hand on what I was cutting out so I could trace his hand. I miss those days. make sure you keep this story for when your little ones will be away at college! it happens so fast! thanks for bringing a smile to my face tonight!

  3. Hmmmm…… some kind of field trip bag, maybe. I don’t know. I’ve got a bag in my head I’ve been wanting to make for years, but haven’t gotten done yet.

    Sewing in my house is very similar except it also involved random “I am going to get this done sprees” of sewing obsessively.

  4. Elisa | blissfulE

    “Repeat 3-5” ouch! And it sounds like Anna has excellent taste in toy bags! :)

    Any project takes lots of perseverance through interruptions with so many small children around, and you captured that beautifully here. :)

  5. This sounds remarkably similar to my work days…my “children” are bigger, but the effect of the constant interruptions is not so different.

  6. I love this MaryAnne because this is probably what anyone trying to do anything focus-oriented with kids in tow have to put up with. I don’t sew but I can absolutely relate to having MANY interruptions when I’m trying to focus. That’s why I end up doing so much in the evenings once the kids are asleep. And I’ve been blessed with pretty chill kids, one who can focus quite well himself (he can spend up to an hour with an activity all on his own) and yet I still feel interrupted!

  7. Yep, that’s about it. My daughter takes my fabric and wraps it around her and pretends she’s a princess at a ball. I hardly ever get as far as you as my fabric is gone, or dirty with ketchup or various kinds of liquid that comes out of kids these days.

    My favorite is the orange colored vomit that covered my Merino Wool.

    Oh yes. Such sweet times.

  8. Oh ditto!! I only sew when the kids are in bed these days…. or at least hte baby and I set Miss 3 up with something else to do!! She likes to ‘help’ nowadays which can be tricky but I am loving teaching her too! :)
    Cute bag!! I’ll add it to my project list!

  9. LOL! I finished a little sewing project the other day while the kids were in school. It was nice. If they are home, a lot harder, you are right, it is always time to feed them again!

  10. Just found your blog this morning via pinterest. You are exactly right! That is just how it is to sew with littles in the house. I have three boys ages 6, 8 and 11 months. It’s not easy but I love it!

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