Sewing is fun, but it can also be tedious and take a long time. If you’re looking for ways to making sewing faster, these 10 tips will have you completing your sewing projects in half the time.
Use a Rotary Cutter and Mat
A rotary cutter is faster and easier to use than scissors. Plus, your cut lines come out more precise and you don’t have to pin the pattern pieces to your fabric. All you do is layout your pattern pieces on your fabric, put weights on top, and then use the rotary cutter to cut them all out. It’s simple.
Of course, you’re only going to cut out pattern pieces faster if you have a large enough rotary cutting mat. The small ones that are made for quilting cause you more hassle because you have to move them as you sew. You need a cutting mat that covers your entire table. Otherwise, you’ll only be able to cut out one piece at a time.
Avoid Difficult Fabrics
There are hundreds of different fabrics to choose from, but some require more sewing skills than others. For instance, it’s a lot easier to sew on cotton and linen than silk and brocade. Additionally, heavy-weight fabrics can be a bit more challenging. You’ll save time on sewing projects if you avoid fabrics that are traditionally difficult to handle. A good rule of thumb is to see how easily it slips through your fingers. If it’s really slippery, it will take more patience to sew.
Skip the Pinning or Use Fewer Pins
If you’ve read my earlier post, “Sewing Pins: A Love Hate Relationship,” you know I think pinning is the most tedious task in sewing. With practice, you can skip out on the pinning a lot of the time, especially if you’re using cotton or flannel fabric and other fabrics that are easy to sew on.
Really, the only time you need to pin is if you are sewing curves or through multiple layers of fabric. With straight seams, you can simply line the fabric up as you move it through your sewing machine. Sewing projects do come out more precise when you use pins, but most people won’t be able to tell if you didn’t use them unless they’re looking really closely at your handiwork.
Use Quality Thread and Notions
Poor quality thread and notions require more care when sewing, which equals more time. There’s more to choosing thread than making sure it matches your fabric. You also need to make sure it is a high quality that will not break while you sew.
I once bought a container that had 30 different spools of thread in it, thinking I wouldn’t have to buy thread again for a long time. Unfortunately, every time I tried to use it, the thread would break while I sewed. Now, I always choose a good brand, like Gütermann, when choosing thread for a sewing project. You’ll save time if you always buy high quality thread and notions.
Choose an Easy Pattern
If you’ve been sewing for a while, you know that some patterns are harder to follow than others and some take you a lot more time to sew. So, if you want to save time on your sewing projects, don’t choose the most difficult pattern. Your kid will be perfectly happy with a simple collared shirt, rather than a multi-layer blouse with shirring and puffed sleeves. The less detail you have to add, the faster the project will go. I find that the sewing tutorials you find on the Internet are easier to follow than the patterns you buy at the store, mainly because of the pictures.
Keep All Your Sewing Tools in Reach
If you haven’t already created a small sewing tote with all of your tools in it, you should do so. It should have everything you use on a regular basis while working on a sewing project. The basics include scissors, pins, a measuring tape, a seam ripper, and fabric chalk. Then, place the tote near your sewing machine so you have easy access to it.
Use a Longer Stitch Length
Your sewing machine has several different stitch lengths. The longest ones are for basting and gathering and the short ones are for really tight seams. However, you can save time by choosing a longer stitch for all of your sewing projects because your machine is able to move more quickly. For instance, if you usually use a 2 or 2.5 stitch length, you can save time by increasing the stitch length to 3 or 3.5. Sergers can sew even faster.
Attach Buttons with Embroidery Floss
Sewing buttons on by hand is tedious work, especially if you use a single strand of thread and a needle. If you opt for embroidery thread, you can thread it through the buttons just two or three times. Just tie a square knot in the back and your buttons should never come off. If you’re brave, you can try sewing buttons on with your sewing machine. This can go really fast, too.
Only Sew One Line of Gathering Stitches
Most patterns recommend that you sew two or three lines of gathering stitches, but you really only need one. The only time you need more is if you’re sewing curtains or on heavy fabric. Why waste the time on two or three lines of stitches if you’re not going to use them?
Invest in a Serger
Sergers are great because they sew straight stitches and finish seams at the same time. If you can afford to buy one, it will save you tons of time on your sewing projects. You will still need a sewing machine for top stitching, zippers, and other small things, but you can do most of the main sewing with a serger. Plus, sergers can sew a lot more quickly than sewing machines. Some sewing machines also have an attachment that turns a sewing machine into a serger.
These are my favorite ways to save time while sewing. Do you have any other tips? Leave a comment below.