Here Are My Top 8 Tips for Sewing Faster

Tips for Sewing Faster

People sew for all kinds of reasons. Some, like me, consider sewing as a passionate hobby –which I practice as often as I can. Whereas for others, it can be a means of livelihood or sewing to sell. Whatever the reason you pursue this wonderful hobby, there is nothing wrong in being well organised and getting as much done as possible.  After many years of sewing, I've developed some tips for sewing faster.  I'm sure many of you have your own which I hope you will share but first let me share mine with you.

gest organized for sewingGet organised:

This might sound silly, but I have figured out that this can create magic. Less the clutter, the faster I am able to finish the work. I make sure that all the essentials like thread, needle and buttons are neatly arranged in small pouches. This way I need not have to spend time searching for them. Also, I make sure that I am free from all distractions and have enough time to finish the project in hand.  Here are some sewing storage ideas that might help you get organized.

cut fabric onceCut once:

I do all the cutting work at the same time. If the stitching requires 2-3 pieces of the same size, then I make sure that it is cut and stored at the same time. This way I need not have to waste time measuring the pieces again and again. Also, I have noticed that using a rotary cutter makes the task easier. I place the pattern on top of the fabric, keep some weight so that the pattern remains intact and then start the work.  It also really helps to avoid mistakes.  Here are some mistakes to avoid when cutting fabric.

fabric choiceFabric choice:

Unless it is a custom made design, the fabrics I use are the ones that are easy to handle like cotton and linen. Fabrics like brocade or light sheer fabrics can be quite difficult to handle and hence the entire task might take some time.  Here are some more tips about how to choose fabric.

use quality productsUse quality products:

I never compromise on the quality of products. All accessories that I use like thread, pin and buttons are of good quality so that it does not break or get worn out while sewing.  For more guidance on essential sewing tools, please read here.  We've also written before about the significant merits of investing in a high quality brass seam ripper and even using quality sewing pins.

skip pinningSkip pinning:

Beginners are advised to pin their clothes so that measurements can be accurate. But as I gained experience, I slowly started skipping the pinning part from time to time. Instead, I use my hand to hold the cloth firmly on to the bed of the machine.  Another alternative that is sort of half way is using Wonder Clips which are much faster but still really hold things together.

stitch lengthStitch length:

Adjusting the stitch length in the machine helps in finishing the sewing faster. If the normal stitch length is 2 or 2.5, I might increase it to 3 or 3.5 so that the sewing finishes faster.  When you lengthen the stitch length you're basically increasing the amount of fabric that is fed under the presser foot each time the needle cycles.  However, keep in mind that the length of a stitch determines its durability.  If you really need a seam to be strong, keep the stitch length short.  For more about adjusting stitch length have a look at this article.

sewing buttonsSewing buttons:

I use 2-3 strands of embroidery thread for sewing buttons instead of a single strand of thread. This way I can finish the work faster and make sure that the button stays intact.  If you didn't know, you can also sew buttons with a sewing machine which can be quite fast when you get the hang of it.

swivel chairGet a swivel chair:

My first major investment apart from the sewing machine was a good swivel chair. This makes it easier to adjust my position as and when I require thereby enabling me to finish the work faster.  I picked a reasonable quality office chair with good back support, adjustable height and roller wheels and I've never regretted it.  Don't skimp on this and your back will thank you!  (You can get a good office chair delivered to your home from Amazon for very little money.  See HERE.)

All these are simple tips that make my sewing task easier and faster. But I have observed that the more the number of projects I do, the faster the work becomes.  We'd love to add to this list.  If you have any special tips to help other members sew faster, please share them in the comments below.  We'd love to get to 20 top tips!

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24 Responses to Here Are My Top 8 Tips for Sewing Faster

  1. CBS says:

    I guess it depends on whether you want speed or quality. I would never alter stitch length to save a couple of minutes. Nor skip pinning on curves, etc.

  2. Sarah says:

    I sew as many seams as possible before clipping threads and pressing. So for a jacket I sew the sleeve seams, side front seams, side seams, side back seams, pocket seams and collar pieces all in one sitting in one big seam (with back stitching at the start and finish of each piece). This not only saves time but also saves thread as you only get long tails on the first piece. Then I trim / clip as needed and press all pieces and go again. I call this batch sewing.

  3. Tanya says:

    Great tips. One thing that helps me sew large projects faster is filling 2 or 3 bobbins with the bottom thread. Then I don’t have to re-thread my sewing machine and check the tension every time my bobbin becomes empty.

  4. Mary Jerde says:

    Practical and new ideas!

  5. Christine Smears says:

    When a project involves several layers & multiple pieces use large plastic covered paper clips to keep all the pieces together, with the pattern piece on the top, it saves time searching & trying to identify them later.

  6. Paula Probasco says:

    Use dental floss to sew buttons on

  7. Jan Collins says:

    Thank you for the great tips. Mine is: If you prewash and press fabric when you first get it, new sewing projects can start immediately.

  8. Gloria Burgess says:

    Make it a cutting day! Cut out more then 1 project at a time, 4 or 5 is what I usually do. Store each project with all it’s parts and pieces in a plastic zip bag. This way when I can sit at the machine I can just sew.

  9. Robin says:

    One more, invest in good lighting. I use an adjustable clamp light, there are several brands to choose from. The light integrated into the sewing machine is simply insufficient!

  10. M-E Jinno says:

    I love the mini clips better than pins. I used to just hold the fabric.
    I also organize the sewing by color so that I don’t have to keep changing thread and can chain piece with neutral thread. Also prepare several bobbins so that I don’t need to stop and rewind.

  11. Valerie Zinger says:

    The pressure feet on my machines slide across the floor during use. My craft room has a linoleum floor so that I can find dropped pins and clean up the threads and cuttings faster). I now put a silicone baking sheet (from the dollar store baking section – think it is a Betty Crocker red mat) on the floor and the foot on top of it. Voila. Problem solved.

  12. Gloria Morales says:

    I don’t have an organizing tip, but I have one for how to use some some your cute buttons. I buy patterns for making skirts and some have side or back openings that are too high up my leg. So, I use 3-4 decorative buttons to close some of the openings. They really dress up the skirt. I always get compliments about how pretty the skirts are with the buttons.

  13. kim3942 says:

    Super tips! I am now working on organizing my stuff. It’ll take some time, but in the end it’ll be worth it!
    Thank you for sharing!

  14. Lolita Cox says:

    Thanks, I pinned some of the tips under organization. It’s a start.

  15. Gina Richards says:

    These are great tips. Thanks so much. Definitely going to start with getting organized.

  16. marysews says:

    I think that cutting out my projects with a rotary cutter is much faster than cutting with scissors. When cutting this way, I use pattern weights instead of pins to hold the pattern in place on the fabric. By pattern weights, I mean anything small and heavy that’s around the house; in my case, it’s casted sand coasters.

  17. Pat Grappolini says:

    Chain stitching also saves time. Quilters will recognize this at once! Stitch across both shoulder seams one after the other, feeding fabric through without cutting thread between each seam, for example. When sewing a bodice, especially on a child’s dress or shirt, I frequently sew side seam, shoulder seam, shoulder seam, side seam without cutting thread between. For a skirt, sewing all darts in sequence is another pattern of sewing that also saves time – and thread!

    Keeping your iron nearby is another time-saving tip, but I usually use my trips to the ironing board as a stretching break … and that saves pain from sitting too long. 🙂

  18. Maureen T says:

    If you want to sew uninterrupted, earlier in the day or even on the previous day have everything ready for a meal that just needs reheating. hat way you can sew right up until the mealtime. You might want to also turn off your phone or anything else that might interrupt your progress.

  19. Darlene Shelton says:

    When working on large project, pre-wind several bobbins before starting. Always have extras of basic colors.

    Purchase and master the use of special pressure feet for your machine. Especially the narrow hem foot and the ruffler foot. Really saves time and gives professional looking finishes.

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