In this crazy busy life, we have to learn to make the most of our time. I have several sewing friends who comment on how fast I sew, so I thought I’d share some things with you to help you make the most of your sewing time.
The very first thing to think about is your tools. My husband is a firm believer in the old ad slogan, “You need the right tools to do the right job.” He doesn’t even blink when I say that I want a new tool.
Keep your sewing machine in good repair. For the typical quilter, that means taking the machine to the shop once a year to be cleaned, lubricated and fine tuned. If you sew lots and lots, twice a year isn’t a bad idea.
A good iron set up near your sewing machine is the second most important tool.
Then, you’ll want a new needle in the sewing machine, good quality thread and a sharp blade in the rotary cutter. You’d be amazed at how much extra time just one little nick in the blade of the rotary cutter takes.
You will also want a large cutting mat. If you have a dedicated sewing space, get the largest mat that will fit. My cutting mat at home is 24” x 36”. I can cut the width of my fabric as it comes from the bolt. There are no extra folds, no sliding the ruler, and that means less chance of slipping and cutting crooked.
You’ll also need a pair of scissors and a pair of thread snips at both the sewing machine and ironing board.
Spend some time the next trip to your favorite sewing store and check out the rulers. I have a number of rulers. Beside the usual 6” or 6 ½” x 24”, I have square rulers, a 9 ½” and a 12 ½”, that I use frequently.
One last thing I think is worth its weight in gold is a specialty foot for my sewing machine – a ¼” foot with a guide. When I first got interested in quilting, Mom gave me a ¼” foot for my birthday. It was great. However, a few years ago, a new foot came out – a ¼” foot with a guide. I can stitch much faster with that guide. I absolutely love that foot. In fact I have two, one for each machine – in case my son and I are both piecing at the same time.
The next thing is good fabric. Cheap fabric looks, wears and acts like cheap fabric. It just isn’t worth the hassle and the extra time it takes.
Here is some quality fabric that we have here at the office. It’s called Serenity from E.E. Schenck’s Cara Collection. It is truly beautiful. It was featured in one of the Staff Pick blocks in the August/September issue of Quilters Newsletter and the block pattern is online.
I’ll share more of my speed sewing tips in up-coming blogs.
I have a smile that I want to share with you. I was driving a couple of weeks ago with my 31-year-old son in the car with me. It was nearing dark and I commented that I didn’t like to drive that stretch of interstate at dusk because “the deer and antelope are playing”. My son, in a heartbeat, replied, “But you never hear a discouraging word.” That has nothing to do with sewing but I’m hoping it made you smile.
I’m going back to work now, working on the December/January issue. It’s going to be a good one!