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General rambles, Sewing Tip/Trick of the Day, Workshop

Working from home/own studio-Traps & timekeeping help

Like many, I work from home when I don’t have access to a studio. Generally, I love working from home, the lack of commute, being able to wear Hello Kitty sweats w/out public embarassment (well, I am older than she is ;) playing my own music. There are the downsides; mainly lack of social contact, not having someone else to keep me on track/on time, too easy to be distracted by home life or use doing the laundry as a way to avoid my less preferred sewing tasks.

There are some tasks which I find myself preferring to do in front of the telly. A Dangerous trap indeed. When doing boring/repetitive things like large amount of handsewing/basting, or sorting beads, it’s lovely to have the noise and some stimulation in the background. A particularily engrossing programme though slows me down. So to keep from too much distraction, I like to watch films/tv series which I have watched before, enough to entertain, but not something I feel I have to actively watch. Also when doing so I actually subtract 20% off my time log to account for slowness.

Which leads to my next new big helper; time keeping. Up until recently I have been *horrid* about time keeping, but a recent commission has made me seriously face up to it. I have a project which, as I go along, I am finding I seriously misjudged how long it would take to complete. Oh, I was fine as far as basic timeframes for the quote; fittings, shopping time for materials, pattern draughting etc. but then some of the custom details on the dress suddenly skewed it enourmously. Enough so that I essentially am no longer “paid” from my original commission quote. (in this case it’s for a friend, it was my error/oversight, so happy to swallow the “cost”, plus she’s taken me to so many theatre shows I’ve been more than compensated in kind ;) The old quote about 90% of the job takes 10% of the time and 10% of the job takes 90% of the time is definatly true with craft/sewing projects ;)

So I needed to find a way to track SPECIFIC tasks. This is important for the future to be able to better give quotes and NOT undersell oneself! I thought to myself it would be lovely if I had a list of just how long it takes to do any given task.

I had been using a timesheet, and that’s good, especially if you have one nearby in all the places in the house you tend to do work. But  I need to use studio, sitting room, dining room ( for cutting big fabrics) and laundry. That’s a silly number of timesheets to try to collate, or drag a clipboard along w all the other things.

Time to turn to technology, I have an Android phone, and I have found a good application which lets me log in & out quickly, calculate cost of time, and label each login/out so I can see exactly how much time I spent sewing X’s pleats, or drawing a pattern. This info you can also email to yourself, or make into a CVS file to send to your computer, making it so much easier to create a final timeshet for a project and in my case, a database on how long it *REALLY* takes to do any aspect.

you can find it on Android Market here (it’s called Chronos timekeeper) : https://market.android.com/details?id=com.kopysoft.chronos&feature=search_result

iPhone seems to have a similar app named simply iTimesheet. I can’t rate it being an Android gal ;)

So if you have a smartphone, and hate filling in timesheets, I highly recommend using this, it’s a real help.

It may seem a silly thing to make a post about, but I know myself, and my colleagues all have a very bad habit of under quoting ourselves. I think it’s important to do this though, and it also makes it easier to show the client exactly what they are paying for and have them really cognizant of how much work truly goes into the beautiful project you are doing for them.


About dreamsewing

From Victorian/ Steampunk clothing, Asian inspired hair ornaments to simple alterations, I am an addict to learning new crafts. I've spent now 20 years traveling over the world and touring with various theatre companies, from Shakespearian, to ballet, to Cirque du Soleil. This blog is mainly for talking about current projects & sharing tips & tricks of the trade. Hoping to learn new things from from others and also sharing resource lists. If you have any sewing questions/quandaries, please do ask me, I may have an answer or a new way to fix. I love exchanging ideas on new ways/tricks of stitching! (Small self-plug: If you'd like to discuss a commission, need to hire a professional seamstress or wardrobe person, please feel free to contact me via email: dreamsewing@gmail.com )


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Miss Miko

September 2011
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