Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Tips: sewing in small bursts

I'm sure we've all heard this advice before: "sew a few minutes at a time and it goes a long way". But I think this advice lacks a critical component: planning! If you don't have a plan or method in place, you'll spend those few minutes trying to remember what in the world you were doing last, and what you need to do now. Just as you start, your few minutes are up, and you're frustrated until another day.

For me, it starts with my Sewist's Notebook. It keeps my queue nice and organized so I can flip to an idea and get going right away. I always make sure to write down which pattern view I intend to make, and usually the individual pattern piece numbers I need for that view. If I only have a few minutes, I can quickly see that I need pattern piece number 6, I locate it, and cut.

If you have plenty of fabric, you can use the cutting diagram with your pattern and follow it to cut as many pieces as you can in the time you have. I prefer to cut all at once so I don't make any mistakes like three waistbands or not mirroring a certain piece.

Once all my fabric is cut and marked, I read the instructions (again) all the way through, looking for shortcuts or confusing bits. Again, this is a step that can be done if you only have a few minutes.

Here's where I give you my best tip: plan even when you aren't in your sewing room. I often think about projects when I'm falling asleep at night, going over the steps and deciding what to do next. When I wake up in the morning, I set a reasonable goal for what can be done that day, given my other wife-mom-household tasks. Washing dishes, putting the baby down for a nap, driving: all these times are perfect for mentally preparing to sew. When I sit down at my machine, I've done the thinking part, and all that's left is sewing.

These are the steps that work for me! Of course, your best bet is to make sewing part of your routines and daily life, so you never feel like you have to squeeze it in somewhere. 

What tips do you have for efficient sewing?

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