We aren’t patient all the time; sometimes we just want the job done so we can reap the benefits (even if we enjoy the process of sewing). If you rush your sewing project however you risk ruining it with little mistakes that could have been potentially avoided. This post will cover a few tips on how to use – or not use – sewing notions for faster work.
Tip 1: Use Pins Sparingly
Pinning takes a lot of time. Whilst some projects might only need a couple pins, others can leave you sitting there pinning – and not sewing – for hours!
Hold your fabric in your right hand with four fingers above, and thumb beneath. Simply grip the fabric between your fingers and then twist your hand so that your thumb is facing towards you. This will hold the fabric in place without the top and bottom layers of fabric from moving through the feed dogs at a different rates.
Want more information? Janet Pray teaches you how to sew without pins – and heaps of other amazing tips – in the sewing class Sew Better, Sew Faster: Garment Industry Secrets (read our review of the class).
Tip 2: Use Clips Alternatively
Sometimes you can’t avoid the need for pins, such as when sewing bindings or piping. But you don’t always need to use pins… sometimes you can simply use a clip to hold the fabric temporarily in place. You can buy specialised clips, such as the Wonder Clips, or use more home-made solutions such as (mini) clothes pins and binder clips from your local stationery store.
Tip 3: Change Your Thread As Little As Possible
Changing your thread and re-threading your machine takes time. If your project requires two or more thread colors or weights, then sew as much of possible of one thread before switching. For example, save all of your project’s top-stitching to last if possible.
This also applies to your bobbin; if you need to rewind your bobbin then fill it up completely so you aren’t pausing more than once a project.
Tip 4: Use Accessories Suited To The Task
There are reasons why accessories were designed; to make tasks easier and faster.
Using the right pressing foot can drastically speed up how fast things are sewn. For example, sewing a ruffle with your standard presser foot requires you to sew a long basting stitch and manually gather the fabric between your fingers. Alternatively a ruffler foot will stitch and gather in one simple step, no extra work or time required!
Want to learn more about the different presser feet available? We have a handy course covering information on a variety of different presser feet.
Some machines come with a knee bar accessory, or can support one. A knee bar allows you to raise and lower your presser foot without taking your fingers away from your fabric. This is particularly helpful if you are sewing without pins, as you can maintain tension and control of your fabric. Those extra seconds of raising your presser foot to pivot corners really add up!
Tip 5: Quickly Measure Your Seam Allowances
Most home-made patterns will use a 5/8″ seam allowance. Rather than awkwardly using a ruler or trying to position a tape measure to get a clear view, just use the metal tip at the bottom of your tape measure. The width of most tape measures are 5/8″!
Do you have any tips that might be helpful for other readers? Let us know in the comments!