The Witching Hour

21:00 hours. This is the time when I know I need to stop sewing. If I don’t stop now, I’ll carry on a bit more and a bit more, it will suddenly be hitting 10pm and I’ll be thinking of bed instead of the sofa. (I’m an early bird.) Which means I won’t have had any wind-down time, which means I’ll feel grumpy and resentful. Also, because I’m an early bird, my brain works best in the mornings. After 9pm, I know I can’t really think straight any more. Which means mistakes.

So this is my witching hour. What about you? Do you have a time of day or night that really doesn’t suit creativity? Or what time is best for you? (I love my early morning sewing!)

The dress I’ve been working on has an unusual construction. Or unusual to me, at least. All of the front section (bodice and skirt) is sewn together, all of the back section (back bodice and skirt) sewn together and then the two connected at the side seams. I’ve heard people rave about this method of construction before, but now I finally get it. If you need to adjust, you simply adjust at the side seams in one long line of sewing. Soooo much easier!

Which reminds me of a recent fascinating blog post from House of Pinheiro who wrote about how she fits. She has a genius method called Fitting Insurance. I’m not going to tell you what this is – go and check out her blog post!

Side seams. The Sewist’s friend.

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38 Responses to The Witching Hour

  1. Pella says:

    Witching hour, not good for me to sew past ten (which oddly enough is nine in the UK). I don’t tissue fit because by yourself its a disaster, the centre fronts and backs move around as you try to see what is happening. I do measure bought patterns carefully. Mostly though, I cut my own patterns from a block which I drafted and laboriously fitted on myself – you know, many trying on followed by tweaking the seams a bit sessions, contorting in front of a mirror to try to see all round. Anything drafted from it now needs minimal fitting, so it was worth it.

  2. Sam says:

    If I’m sewing then around 9pm is probably my cut off point too. Unless I’m almost finishing – then I’ll carry on a little longer! I might knit a little later than that, but only if it’s something simple that doesn’t take too much brain power.

    I’m about to make a dress that is constructed in the same manner, I’m quite looking forward to seeing how that works and if it is easier to fit.

  3. SuzySewing says:

    I could sew and sew till the small hours of the morning. The later it is the more productive I am. The problem is that I cannot go to bed too late I have to wake up early for work weekdays so this sort of messes my plans and my sleeping routine. I can never do much first thing in the morning.

  4. Nikki says:

    I am the opposite, if I could I would be up sewing ’til the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately I have to get up early so that’s out of the window. I am not a morning person, blog reading and coffee is as much as I can manage before my day starts! I can’t do wind down time either, if I stop doing I just fall asleep.

  5. Juliet says:

    I can’t really sew well in the evenings, and I’m slow and clumsy in the mornings – I’m a day sewist, so most of my sewing is consigned to the weekends.
    I’ve never heard of this kind of construction you’re trying, but it sounds like my kind of thing! Off to House of Pinheiro I go!

  6. sewbusylizzy says:

    I am not a morning person. At. All. Ever. I can stay awake until 1am sewing though!
    You aren’t making the legendary Simplicity 2444? It’s constructed in that manner.

  7. ideally about 10pm. i don’t normally get home til 7.30 and by the time i have wrestled the small person into bed and cooked/ eaten/ made packed lunches/ stacked the dishwasher, it is almost 9. but i am terrible about “just finishing this bit”. last night i was up til 11 sewing! sewing is my wind down tho so i don’t feel like i need some sitting on the sofa time afterwards.

  8. punkmik says:

    Oh I have the same time issue. I get nervous at 8pm and then at 9pm i start making mistakes but i think “just one more seam” and then 5 seams later i have to undo 2 of them as i sewed right to wrong side or something. lol. i should just stop. i love getting up early and sewing, but my work starts early so i only get that privilege on weekends. 😛

  9. colleen says:

    I usually stay up past midnight, which I started to do about six months ago. I feel wrecked for work the next day so I am TRYING to stop this. Last night I was in bed by 11 and felt pretty good about things. Unfortunately, I popped awake at 4 a.m. this morning.

  10. Roobeedoo says:

    I aim to sew until 9pm, and then have an hour of knitting before bed. The knitting helps me wind down towards sleep. However… this depends on me managing to get started on sewing before 8pm. It never seems worth it to haul out the sewing machine for less than an hour, and now that it gets dark earlier and earlier, I am finding it harder to motivate myself after I get home at 6, cook and eat dinner and walk the dog… not to mention hoovering up dog hair in case I drop my sewing into a pile of fluff! So last night there was no sewing at all, unless you count mending a button on my cardigan!

  11. Ginny says:

    I’m another late night sewer. Or I would be if not for the rest of the house being in bed early. Before I had my daughter I would happily sew until 2am, but the noise of the machine wakes her now (I sew right below her bedroom). Now my cutoff point is 8pm, bedtime, unless it’s something I can do on the hand-crank. Then I can go for another few hours again! I’m lucky that little one will happily sleep ’til lunchtime if I need a lie-in after a late night sewing spree :D.

  12. Amanda says:

    I am a midday/afternoon sewasaurus rex! I find lunch time brings out my best, plus I get to have afternoon tea AND a cocktail after 5pm! Win!

  13. Gabrielle says:

    During the week I don’t usually get to the sewing room till 11pm or later (and it’s 10 to 11pm now), what with making a grown up dinner after the kids have been put to bed and then having a bit of general relaxation / catching up with Mr UpSewLate. I could happily stay awake and alert till 2am sewing but for having to get up at a reasonable hour for the school / childcare dropoffs before work!

    I really like this method for adjustments – I like that it makes it easier to align the seams too. And if you find a pants pattern that fits the general shape of you, adjusting at the side seams works well for unexpected mid-project weight gain!

  14. Jenny says:

    Lately I’ve had to make myself quit at 10pm. If not, I can go till midnight but the next morning, I am too tired. So 10pm it is and off to bed. Work begins early in the morning. My sewing begins very early on weekend mornings – I can get a lot done between morning and noon hours.
    I’m curious about the method of sewing – constructing all front pieces, all back pieces, then sew seams together. Will this work for most projects? I have no sewing friends nearby or family within 5 minutes so having someone to help me fit is difficult. I’ve only been working with knits for that reason lately.

  15. LinB says:

    I usually get an hour or so of sewing tasks in before 9p, then stop to rest my tired old brain with some television and sock-knitting. Or (guilty habit) Spider Solitaire on the computer.

  16. Melizza says:

    I definitely start getting crossed-eyed around 8 or 9pm. I have made it a habit to stop seeing before dinner so I can have time to relax with the hubby. If I see way into the evening I cannot stop thinking of adjustments and measurements!

  17. I am not much of a morning person. Mid-week, I’m not so likely to spend time in my sewing room but I’ll go until close to bedtime. In part, I don’t have a clock in my sewing room so I’m not always aware of what time it is. Mr. Lina comes up to bed is my clue it’s time to turn off the sewing machine. Still, if I’m frustrated with something after 11, it’s not worth pushing on. I’ll just make mistakes.

  18. soisewedthis says:

    I can stay up til midnight sewing, but only because I don’t have to be at the office in the morning til 10am. P.S. The Pattern Pyramid made its way over to my blog, and I’m super excited to participate!

  19. gingermakes says:

    Hmm, good question! I think I’m at my most productive in the afternoon, although I do most of my sewing at night.

  20. Molly says:

    I’m a night owl, I hate mornings but would dearly love to be one of those people who can spring out of bed and hit the day running. I have found my cut-off point is about 2am, then I start making mistakes but a few times a year (deadlines looming) I will work through the night if necessary. Because of Little One, I rarely start to sew much before 9pm in the evening, and I sew during the day while she is at nursery although I tend to make sure that is also the time I cut or copy/draft patterns on the floor so I don’t have to fight off “Me Help!”. My evenings are far more productive than my days sadly. I am trying to stop sewing now by 11pm as its term time and she starts nursery at 8am, which means any later at night, I am so tired I end up going back to bed for a couple of hours after dropping her at nursery, which is kind of defeating!

    The flat/open construction method you’re using was very popular with Butterick patterns during the 1950s, more as a selling gimmick than anything else I think, but the little logos of a flat dress on the envelope do look much simpler and inviting – especially for sewing sleeves if you hate setting in! Its used for RTW manufacturing and my 1970s Reader’s Digest recommends it for shirt patterns using felled seams.

  21. Jen (NY) says:

    A.M. sewing would be a disaster–just impossible for me. I’m not only not-a-morning-person, but my brain takes awhile to de-fuzz. The ideal time is about 2 to 5pm and evenings are good for tedious tasks. I could easily sew until 12 or 1am, but I usually cut it off by 11ish for the sake of the upstairs neighbors.

  22. Jenny says:

    I love to sew in the late morning/early afternoon. I feel particularly virtuous when I get anything done before work! I like to sew in the evenings, but I try to start wrapping up around 9:00.

  23. symondezyn says:

    I know what you mean… I don’t have a definite time for my witching hour but I definitely can tell when it’s time to stop. I begin to get impatient, rush things, make stupid mistakes and generally feel frustrated with the whole shebang LOL. At that point I know I must stop or my project will turn into a horror movie ^__^

    I read House of Pinheiro’s fitting method, and thought it was cool that having just watched a Palmer/Pletsch DVD on fitting, I recognized a few similarities 🙂 She must be onto something! ^__^ I like the idea of adding additional ‘safety’ fabric at the side seams, but I’ve never been one for tissue fitting… I’m just way too klutzy and it would definitely rip and tear and be utterly destroyed LOL. I muslin bodices, because of the fitting challenges, but with bottoms I just grade the pattern and go with it. It’s worked out for me so far ^___^ *knocks on wood*

  24. says:

    I’m a early bird and I find hard to sew after 5 pm during the winter. During summer until gets a bit dark… I would fit, trace, adjust, press fabric etc just not sew on the machine. I just feel tired and other crafts look more inviting… I love to sew early as I can because I one those annoying people cannot stop talking when wake up and my other half doesn’t talk until coffee kicks in so It’s a good distraction for my energy … My worst time is 4 pm as I feel I’m so sleepy

    • says:

      Ps. Thanks for the link darling .. I hope help others but I understand we all have our preferences

  25. Meris says:

    Often at the end of a work day, after dinner, I will make a cup of coffee (or 2) to drink as I start my evening sewing. My intention is to keep me alert in the twilight hours. But it ends up giving me a caffeine buzz that allows me to enter a zone and sew (without realizing) until 1 or 2am. After midnight has always been my “second wind”, the same was true in college. I just wish I didn’t have to work the following day. 🙂

  26. janine says:

    Once the sun goes down , my tired old eyes can not take sewing ( unless it was because Santa couldn`t get his act together and I had to quickly wizz up some fairy skirts )

  27. Michelle says:

    Sewing IS my wind down time, so I don’t need anyextra time on the sofa to truly relax. I work such a stressful job that doing ANYTHING which isn’t work is going to be a break for me. So I sew until I am too tired to sew any more. Last night I quilted until about 11 pm, and that’s fairly typical for me.

  28. Liz says:

    I am most productive about the time I should be going to bed 🙂 Just as I get on a roll and really get going I find it is getting really late and I need to get to bed in order to get enough sleep to go to work the next day. So that said, my most productive time is about 10pm, however I normally start sewing about 6.30pm and go through until about 9pm (assuming other life things don’t get in the way, you know…husbands, chores, general exhaustion from work etc)

  29. Erika says:

    I used to be able to pull all-nighters, whether studying, reading or sewing it didn’t really matter: the night was my friend. Then somewhere around my 27th birthday that changed. I won’t say I jump out of bed at 5 o’clock in the morning, but I can’t stay up all night either. Like you, I like to end at around 9 pm, so I have an hour ro re-boot before sleep. Some people can apparently be active during their winding down, I really need to not do anything. Maybe reading, if it’s a fluff book (preferably one I’ve read before). Too many nights of no down-time and I get stressed, tired, and get problems to focus.
    It’s so easy though to get caught in the “just one more seam, one more piece attatched…”, forgetting that it might be better to leave it until next day. Unfortunatly my best sewing time (or just best time at all, for doing anything) is between 10 and 16, so I like to pull long sewing sessions during the weekends =)

  30. Taja says:

    Another night owl by nature, morning person by necessity.

    If I could live on my own time table, I would sew until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., then rise and shine about 9:00 a.m. However, I must adhere to acceptable business schedules five days a week, so there is little or no sewing during the week. Between commuting and work, I’m away 12 hours daily. My day begins at 5:00 a.m. (a tad earlier in the summer to beat the heat) with a light workout followed by a nice walk outside (except during that nasty six weeks or so during summer–then it’s treadmill time!), light breakfast, followed by shower and other necessities to prepare for the day, then out the door by 6:45 a.m. to try to minimize my commute. Not entirely successful, but if I leave later, it usually adds another 20 to 30 minutes to the morning commute! *eek!*

    Based on reality, my witching hour is 9:00 p.m. during the week. I usually arrive home around 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. and by the time I prep everything for morning, it’s 9:00 p.m. If I can be ready to wind down right then, I’ll be soundly asleep by 10:00 p.m. If not, I revert to night owl status and am wide awake until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. – sewing or no sewing! *rolleyes*

  31. sophie o. says:

    My witching hour is probably even earlier than that! With experience, I’m slowly learning when to stop before huge mistakes are done, even if it means I will not finished this garment within my self-imposed deadline, sigh..
    I’ve never tried early morning sewing, though beeing an early bird like you, my brain functions best in the morning, so I should try it!

  32. rehanon says:

    Ah I’m with you on this one. I thought I was odd to set my alarm to get up and sew but it’s nice to know I’m in good company. I had these really glamorous dreams that I would be up sewing through the night, listening to jazz and drinking port. The fact of the matter is though if I try and do this I sew myself to things. Now and again I’ll sew through the night if there is an impending deadline such as the bridesmaid dresses for my bestie’s wedding.

    I used to run in the morning and I’m good from the word go so it makes sense that’s when I do my best sewing. It’s funny though because I can knit and crochet to later or dance for that matter but I guess it uses a different part of my system 🙂

  33. spikeabell says:

    Another night owl here. I really can’t imagine sewing early in the morning, though I think it just means you are more organised. I have learnt though not to sew with a head cold…bad decision making!

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