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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Handy sewing hint of the day #2

This one is for you Jodie.

Read your instructions sheet right through and apply your own logic to what you do, when.

Most instruction sheets have you work from one garment area to another.

Change this.

You will increase your efficiency and effectiveness if you do two things:

1. Do as much as you can to each flat piece before you attach it to another
2. Once you have done all you can to the flat sections, next try to make up all the units, as far you you can, and then put those units together.
3. Do as many like activities at the same time 

For example this means:

Sew all your darts anywhere in the garment, sew on all patch pockets, put in the zippers, sew all shoulder seams (garment and say facings) - you get the drift.

Only press when you have run out of anything else you can do at the machine pick up all pieces and move them over to the ironing board for one ironing session.

When I say put together the units this would mean, for example, sewing the sleeve seams when you are doing a lot of seam sewing, press them in a pressing session, and then, rather than attaching the sleeves to the garment body, put the cuffs on, or hem the sleeves, before you set them in.

Bottom line, forget the instruction pattern instructions and trust yourself. Do like things together and keep units hand-sized as long as possible before you put together a large garment.

Make sense?


Robin said...

Years ago I worked for a clothing factory and that's how it was done. It is more efficient and pushes the sewist to think outside of the box--or the instruction sheet in this case.

celkalee said...

Absolutely. I often wonder if a man or non-sewer writes the traditional instructions. I used to feel guilty for not following the 'rules!'

Anonymous said...

Your blog is one of my must-reads -- love your humor and perspective. For the daily hints, consider adding a key word or two to the post's title. When you hit 100 tips it's going to be easier for the rest of us to search backward when we're trying to recall a hint. xx

bbarna said...

I like this series of posts. I have been sewing since age 11 and have a grandmother and great grandmother who were dressmakers. I got lots of help from grandma when I started sewing seriously and I miss her greatly.
My tip: Before you start each project prepare your sewing area, clean and oil your machines, change to the proper needle, wind some bobbins, change the thread in your serger. When you sit down to start sewing, you will be ready to go.
Barb from BC

Anonymous said...

Great tips from you and your blog followers.

This isn't a construction tip but you once told us to use coffee filters as a stabilizer for button holes and other area where a stabilizer is needed. When we run out of coffee filters in the kitchen it is a sure bet one can be found in my sewing room.

Thanks Barb.

Barb said...

You are the bomb. Thanks for these practical smart tips.

Anonymous said...

Ahh. Sewing in the flat vs. sewing in the round. Sewing in the round is the commercial way and much much faster. It also makes way more sense.

velosewer said...

This all makes sense and saves heaps of time.

Helen Marshall said...

And I think it makes sense to do your buttonholes in the flat not the round, especially that fiddly one that sits right under a collar band!

LinB said...

And railroad those pieces through your machine! Don't clip them apart until you absolutely have to. You can press seams all in one long row (even when pieces are attached to one another) and keep little parts together so you don't lose them ... and if you do several projects using the same color of thread, you can railroad them all through at the same pass.