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September 11, 2017 8 min read

Even if you love sewing, you don’t always have the necessary time for it. Everyone who loves sewing would like to sew all day long, every day or at least every other day. But everyone has a life, a family, and daily responsibilities that require time and attention. So when you finally get the time to sew, it is important to learn how to make the best use of your sewing time. Of course, it is impossible to tell someone how to get more time for this activity, as every individual has a specific lifestyle and certain responsibilities. However, we are here to show you two ways that help you make the best use of your sewing time and allow you to get the most done in the time you have.

  1. Make a plan

You can’t be successful without a plan. You are recommended to plan your shopping list, your shopping trip and your sewing time, so you will remember all the items you need for your sewing and you prevent wasting your time going back to the store for the items you forgot to buy.

  1. Make a shopping list

The shopping list is essential, but you can only make it if you know a few things about your sewing:

  • What you want to sew
  • What sewing patterns you need
  • The type of fabric you need – and whether you already have it or you need to buy it
  • The notions you need to get
  • Whether you’ll buy online or at the fabric store

A good advice is not to work on too many projects at one time, as unfinished projects will quickly pile up. However, if you make an outfit with more than one piece, you should definitely plan your work for both/all the pieces. The same thing is available if you want to create more than a single garment from the same pattern. There are two reasons why you should plan and work on an entire outfit or at least two sewing projects at a time:

  • You can get everything you need in a single shopping trip, so you save time
  • In case you want to get a break from a sewing project, you can get it and go to your second sewing project.

Now that you decided regarding the above-mentioned things, it is time for you to start making your shopping list. Write down all the items you need, and the amount that you need. Also, note what store you want to get them from.

If you have any coupons, take them into consideration, whether you want to do your shopping online or at a fabric store.

When you make your list, try to keep items of the same type together, so you can easily find everything when you’re in the appropriate area of the store. This way, you won’t forget to buy anything from your list.

  1. Plan your shopping trip

You can easily save a lot of time if you get everything on your list in a single shopping trip. You can also catch a good sale, so this way you will not only save time but also money. You are recommended to shop for at least two projects at a time, and don’t start any other project before you finish the started ones.

When you have a shopping list, you avoid having to go back to the store to get an item you forgot to buy. A shopping plan is also meant to help you avoid buying from an impulse.

  1. Plan Your Sewing Time

Now that you’ve bought all your fabric, patterns, and tools, it is time to go on and make a plan of action to finish your sewing projects.

It is helpful to write down everything you need or want to get done in each sewing session. This way, you will stay focused on what you have to do. You are recommended to put everything on paper, as it gives you a visual roadmap that you will use every time you sew. It also prevents you from spending a lot of time trying to remember where you left off and deciding where to start, as you’ll know exactly what you need to do.

Check or cross everything you finish on your to-do-list. This will help you know exactly where you are with your sewing process, and it will also motivate you.

  1. Group Like-Sewing Tasks Together

You can save time if you group tasks that are alike or related. If you remember what you did in the first section, you’ll see that this is also one of the things that you did with your shopping list and shopping trip. Now we’ll see how to group similar tasks together for your two projects that we talked about in the previous section.

According to researchers, the human brain prefers doing repetitive activities, rather than multitasking. So you can get more done if your brain has to spend less time readjusting to a different task. Now let’s see some sewing tasks that you can group together, so you don’t need to go back and forth between tasks.

  • Pattern tracing

No matter what type of pattern you use, whether it is a commercial one or one you’ve downloaded from the internet, tracing the pattern is a tedious task. If you need to trace patterns, then you are recommended to do all of them in your first or first few sewing sessions. This way, you’ll be able to go from a sewing project to another without having to stop for tracing patterns every time.

Sometimes, you may postpone starting working on a project because you don’t feel like tracing the pattern. So if you start with tracing patterns for all the projects on your to-do-list, you’ll be more motivated when you want to start working on a project, as you’ll already have the pattern.

  • Pattern alterations

Unfortunately, pattern alterations are necessary. In case you choose the same pattern for at least two projects, you’ll only be required to do the pattern alterations once. Even if you’re using a different pattern for each of your projects, you are recommended to do all the pattern alterations at once. As you probably know, the hardest part of everything is getting started. As far as the time allows you to, try to alter pattern pieces one after another, until you finish all of them.

  • Fabric preparation

Before you start cutting your fabric, you need to read the fabric care instructions. To make sure you have them, you can take a photo with your phone to the fabric care instructions when you buy your fabric at the store.

Some fabrics may shrink after washing. For this fabrics, you should wash and press them before you cut them. The same thing applies to dry clean only fabrics. Depending on the amount of fabric you have, you can group like colors together for washing them at once. However, if you have a lot of yardage, you probably should only wash one fabric at a time. To make this more efficiently, you can choose a fabric laundry day, so you can get it all done. This way, you will have your fabric ready for the next time you need it.

  • Cutting

Before you start sewing anything, you should do the cutting of all your projects. This applies if you work on at least two projects at a time. Doing this allows you to have all the pieces cut and ready to sew.

In case you’re making the same garment in two different colors, you can use the same pattern layout and the fabric, so you cut them both at the same time. Just remember to use a good pair of sewing scissors.

  • Pattern marking

Supposing you are cutting out two or more of your sewing projects at the same time, you should also do all your pattern marking as a group task.

  • Sewing and pressing

Are you worried about having to continuously change your thread color? Sew as much as you can on a project at a time, before you need to press your seams. Change your thread for the next project, and repeat the process. If you want to make this simpler, you can use a neutral colored thread for both of your projects.

As you probably know, it is essential to press as you sew. However, you don’t need to sew one seam and then immediately press it, but it means that you should never join one seam to another without pressing them first. In other words, you are recommended to sew all the individual seams and then take them all to the ironing board for pressing. To help you better understand how this works, we’ll give you an example. Let’s imagine you make a basic tunic that has bust darts. In this case, here is what you would do:

  1. Sew all the darts
  2. Sew the tunic shoulder seams
  3. Sew the neck facing shoulder seams
  4. Sew the sleeve seams
  5. Press all the darts and seams that you’ve just sewn
  6. Sew the neck facing to the neckline
  7. Understitch the neckline
  8. Sew the side seams together
  9. Press the neckline and side seams
  10. Press in the tunic hem and the sleeve hem
  11. Sew the sleeves to the armholes

As you can see, it is not only sew and press, sew and press, and so on. On the contrary, it’s more like sew, sew, sew, sew, press, sew, understitch, sew, press. Once you finish doing this for your first project, you can go on to the next one. If you consider it is easier for you, you can also do the first set of sewing for both projects and then press everything at once. It only depends on you to find the method that works best for you.

You can group sewing tasks together on sewing test muslins and sew the final project. For the muslin, sewing is even faster, as you don’t need the waistband or doing any hemming.

However, you should keep in mind that there is not a race to the finish, but it is about using your sewing time wisely and efficiently finish your projects. However, you’ll see that you will do a lot of progress at the end of a few sewing sessions.

Another thing that you can do to increase your efficiency is not to cut the thread ends after you sew each piece, but make a chain of pieces before you cut the thread ends. You can then cut them apart before or after you take the pieces to the ironing board.

  • Fittings

You are recommended to sew both projects to the point where you can try them out. This means that you can also group your fittings together, and you’ll save some time with this, too. You will also save time if you make the necessary changes and re-fitting to both projects at the same time.

Things to do at the end of your sewing time

At the end of your sewing time, make sure you allow 15 minutes to do the following things:

  • Plan your next sewing session

You need to write down the sewing tasks that you plan to accomplish in your next sewing session. To make sure everything goes fine, you should make a list of everything you need to do to accomplish the desired tasks. Schedule your next sewing session by noting it on your calendar. You should do this, even if it is possible that you need to change the scheduled date later. However, try to make sure that you avoid scheduling anything else at the same time.

  • Clean up

Cleaning up is important, as it helps you save time during your next sewing session. You should always put your sewing tools back in their place, so you don’t need to look for them when you need them.

If there is any additional fabric, fold it and store it. Also, store fabric scraps that you want to keep.

Clean your sewing station, cutting table, and ironing board, and then sweep or vacuum the floor.

  • Sewing tool maintenance

To make sure your tools are ready for the next sewing session, you should get your sewing scissors sharpened and your sewing machine serviced between your sewing sessions. You should keep a record of these things, as it helps you scheduling your sewing time.

Final note

If you plan everything carefully, you will get more time to sew. This way, you will be able to fully enjoy your sewing and finish your projects faster.