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Weekend: What’s Your Routine?


In her book, The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp talks a lot about routines and its effect on creativity. I start my day with the same ritual, which I don’t share often because of its eccentricity. I wake up at 4:00 AM, sometimes earlier, and after quickly checking emails, I put on my workout clothes. Sports bra, leggings and t-shirt on, I tie the laces on my sneakers and walk to the gym. For the next hour and a half, I stretch, lift weights and run. It’s a no-brainer act, but doing it the same way every morning impels me to not only live a creative day, but a creative life.

Whether conscious of it or not, everyone has their own unique routine
. While the composer Igor Stravinsky played a Bach fugue in his studio before moving onto his own work, Beethoven doodled in his notebook each morning musical ruminations he had in his head that day. There are many days I wake up and think to myself why the hell I do this? But the power I attach to my routine keeps me from going back to sleep and it induces some sort of on switch that gets me started, motivated and excited to lead a creative life, sewing included in that formula. In my feature for Coca Cola in which I documented a day in my life, it was only after I ran that I could then sew. As I wrote, “Post 10 mile run, I shower and eat a carb and protein loaded breakfast – homemade granola with bananas, dates, chai seeds and almond milk. I am now in the right headspace to sew.”

Whether it’s putting creamer into your coffee every morning or playing a certain song while getting ready, routines make us do something. At the same time, routines replace doubt and fear with comfort and stability because you know you are doing the right thing (if you’ve done it before with success, you do it again).

Do you have a routine for the day? What about a routine for sewing? Must you position your ironing board a certain way, or lay out your tools in a certain order before beginning a project?


  1. Reply


    You’re just lifting entire sections from Twyla Tharp now?

  2. Reply


    I have a cup of coffee and read sewing blogs! I enjoy reading your blog, thanks.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      So, when can I come over to enjoy this ritual with you? 🙂

  3. Reply


    For sewing- I cut the tissue pattern pieces out one day, cut fabric another day and sew on a different day. I can’t do all three in one day.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Unless I’m under a serious time crunch, I can’t cut and sew in the same day either.

  4. Reply


    I’ve been trying to add more routines to my life lately (mostly my morning getting ready routine) – I always find them very helpful, but I’m not good at sticking to them. I’ve never thought about having a sewing routine though, and I’m going to have to come up with one!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You and I both! I have a daily routine, but not one specific to sewing.

  5. Reply

    Kaoru Marie

    Thanks to my cat, who has recently decided to stop sleeping through the night and instead wakes me up, I have recently been waking up around 5am. I decided to use the extra time in the morning to sew. I’m amazed at how much progress I can make by doing a little bit of sewing every morning.

  6. Reply

    Stina Pettersson

    ¨Wow! I thought I was an early riser waking up at 6.30 on a Saturday. And then spending 1,5 hours at the gym! I am so impressed . and that a gym even is open at that time. (I have a long breakfast, read all sorts of good stuff on the Internet and have lots of coffee… ) Thanks för sharing!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Your routine sounds just as amazing at mine!

  7. Reply


    These days, I’m on a local project, which means no travel! Once I’m home, have dinner and then I do little bits of sewing at night. The major sewing tasks are left on the weekend.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      With a full time job, I can relate to this schedule. I do a lot of my bulk/major work on the weekends.

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