Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Super Sneaky Sewing Tips

As many of you know, I have been doing some super sneaky sewing to prepare for Christmas.  I thought it might be fun to share with you some tips or things I have learned through this experience.  ;)

If you are doing some super sneaky sewing then...
  • Start early.  You never know how much time you will be able to find when they are otherwise occupied.  (I purchased the fabric at the end of August and finished the first week in November.)
  • Have more than one memory card for your digital camera. My boys like to look at all the pictures in the memory and do so any time they see the camera lying around. I had to keep putting in the "family" card every time I took pictures of "sneaky projects."
  • You need to design the quilts after all the boys are asleep in bed.  They always want to see what you are drawing. 
  • You need a babysitter when you purchase the fabric.  Then you must hide it under a blanket in the back of the car when you pick them up.  Carry it into the house after they are all asleep. 
  • A room with a locking door is extremely helpful.  But you still need to find out of the way places to keep the special fabric.  (bottom of cutting table covered by a bolt of white fabric or under batting in the closet)
  • Cut out the fabric when they leave the house with daddy.  (Father/son bike rides are awesome.)
  • Be careful where you put the garbage.  (My boys have been known to look at fabric trimmings in there--especially minky.)
  • Be careful where you store the scraps.  I wrapped a plain fabric around all of the animal prints before putting them with the rest of my scraps. (It's that big tan section in the container on the bottom right.)
  • If you are cutting minky, have a lint roller handy.  It is needed for both the fabric and you.  (And remember to be careful with the garbage).  My boys can tell when I have been cutting minky. 
  • Work on projects as often as you can when they are all out of the house.  (Pillows were sewn when they went to Cabellas with daddy.)
  • Be prepared to put things up and quickly take them down from the design wall.  Labeled columns and chain sewing are your friend and extremely helpful. 
  • Work on other projects at the same time, even if you only like doing one WIP at a time.  It keeps them from wondering too much what is going on.  Choose small projects like bags and mini quilts. 
  • Baste quilts late at night when you are sure they are all in bed.  (Cheetah, at 12 years, is the worst at coming out for one more thing.) You may need to do this in your locked craft room, even if it is tight. 
  • It is okay to hide a project under another quilt.  (Especially if the child is home sick and watching a movie when you planned on quilting.)
  • Take advantage of times you can work on the projects away from home.  (I went to my first Free Sew at my LQS.)
  • If you decide to blog about projects along the way: ban your family from your blog, blog late at night, and be careful when they need to use the Internet on your ipad for homework. Because they might see a picture like this (which is why all the posts start with a picture of the backing):
  • Be prepared to make sacrifices.  My cutting table broke when I was lowering one of the side flaps after moving it.  At least it still fits my 24 x 36 inch mat.  (I have had the table for more than 12 years and it had already been put through a lot.  It was just the straw that broke the camel's back.)
  • Have a special place to store the finished quilts where they won't look (in a trunk I normally store scrapbook supplies). 
  • Find different ways to wrap them so it isn't obvious they are all the same type of gift.  (I'm still figuring out how to do this... any suggestions?)

All in all this has been quite the experience for me.  I loved every minute of it, but probably won't do so many large sneaky projects all before Christmas again.  I hope you also learned something from my experiences if you ever have to do some sneaky sewing (or at least had a laugh). 


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social hosted by the amazing Lorna. 


  1. Great tips. With all that to think about, I'm glad I am not faced with any sneaky sewing!

    Roll a quilt on a stiff cardboard tube to wrap. Usually the batting roll tubes work great if you have any.

  2. I laughed at this since I have one son who I could sew it in front of him and he never took a second look. However son # 2 - yes hide it all busy Mr. Nosy/Curious son is out in full force. The time goes so quick and hearing about your boys is just too much fun! One of the boxes you could add something very heavy or have a treasure hunt to find the quilt. Such fun gifts!

  3. Love your tips :) As far as sneaky wrapping, a couple of times when we had awkward things to wrap, or when it was something that could be guesses too easily and ruin a surprise, we put a wrapped box under the tree. The box contained a note that sent the recipient on a scavenger hunt (not too challenging though!) to the hiding place of the unwrapped gift with a bow on it. Sometimes there's a little something else in the note box. One year my dad guessed there were marbles in the box with his name on it, but spent a week shaking it ahead of Christmas because surely no one would be giving him marbles???!!! He never guessed there was a note too.

  4. Thanks for the chuckles!! Get one of those long triangular mailing boxes-that should throw one of them off your track!
    I like Canuckquilters suggestion of the scavenger hunt. I did that once for my DH when it was a big tool box for his truck-it was fun!!

  5. Oh, scavenger hunts are so much fun - that is how we always found our Easter baskets when I was a kid. I am also a fan of an oversized box with a bowling ball / rock inside and a smaller package with the real gift to throw off people. I has to be done a bit cleverly due to the heavy weight item possibly cracking open the packaging and the marble situation described above. :)

  6. I wondered how you young moms get al this sewing done! Good for you!! We did the scavenger hunt idea when our girls were your boys ages and they loved it!!!

  7. It is always fun to read about what you have learned through your experiences, Jasmine. This was a fun post! I love the scavenger hunt idea that others have come up with for suggestions. Your boys will all be so happy this Christmas to have their special gifts made by mom!

  8. What fun to read as my days of having to hide things are long over. Lots of lovely quilty stuff going on at your house!

  9. ha! Those sneaky boys learned from mama!
    I love the square in a square as border!! Always a pleasure Jasmine
    Leeanna at not afraid of color

  10. Two things are evident from this post. One, you are a loving and generous mom. Two, your boys really LOVE their quilts and the entire process that goes into creating them. Not all families appreciate the love and effort that go into making a quilt. You have made your quilting a family affair. What a blessing.

    1. Thank you, Tricia. It is so nice that they love and appreciate what I do. My middle child was just telling me that he needs another new quilt. I had to throw him off track.

  11. Hilarious! Who'd have thought you were such a sneaky monkey? I have a whole extra pile of respect for you, my friend! Good on you :)

  12. Great sneaky strategies, Jasmine! With three inquisitive boys in the house, you had to work super hard to keep your Christmas secrets! Well done. :-) I hope you go for the scavenger hunt idea. It sounds like a lot of fun!

  13. LOVE this post! You make me laugh. All my sneaky sewing is small stuff this year.

    Okay, one suggestion on the wrapping part (tough!). You could fold one in a triangle, like a flag. Another square. Another in a huge tube you get a the post office or something.

  14. oh boy that was a lot of work to keep that under wraps. I giggled just a little when you said the boys will peak at the scraps in the garbage, I thought I was the only one that did that!!


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