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Tips for saving time when sewing for business

So you’ve decided to turn your hobby/passion into a business.  Congratulations!!! It’s a big step and I’m sure you’re buzzing with excitement and dreams! Maybe you’re even busy imagining how life will be, when your business is the roaring success your friends are predicting.  I get it! Before my first market I’d already started planning what I was going to spend the money on when I sold out!  

At this point I’m going to give you an option.  If you want sunshine and rainbows and to keep dreaming about what you’ll spend your profits on, I suggest you go find another blog to read.  But if you’re up for a little dash of reality mixed with some practical tips read on!  

How to save time when sewing for your handmade business

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, you’ll soon learn there’s lots of challenges you might not have considered before starting your business.  One of the big ones, is learning to put a dollar value on your time!  When you first sit down and look at how long it takes you to make an item and how much you can (or have) been selling that item for, it can get a little depressing.

One of the ways you can make the numbers look nicer, is by starting to play with Batch Production. Batch production can cut the time taken to make several of the same item, but it takes a different mind set if you’ve been used to hobby sewing. Batch production is about recognising which tasks can be done at the same time to save you time in the long run.

If you’ve been sewing for a while you’ve probably already started incorporating some batch sewing techniques into your sewing. For example you might re-arrange the pattern steps so you can visit the iron fewer times or so you can change your sewing machine feet fewer times while sewing something.

Here are some tips to save time when sewing for your handmade business:

  • LOOK at the layout of your working space … Could you rearrange your furniture & supplies so you need to walk across the room fewer times?
  • PLAN … Spend time at the start of each day or week, working out what you’re going to be sewing.  This makes it easier to figure out what tasks can be done following each other to save time.
  • RE-ORDER … Go back through the pattern steps of the patterns you commonly make and re-order the steps to make batch sewing easier. Often patterns are written for people who’re sewing one of an item at a time and in the easiest order to explain. This is not always the fastest way!  It might help to make yourself a little cheat sheet with your new construction order until it becomes second nature!
  • CUTTING TOOLS … Use a rotary cutter rather than scissors to cut out your fabric.
  • USE LESS PINS … Use paper weights rather than pins to hold your fabric when cutting.  Where possible use less (or no) pins to hold your fabric together for sewing.
  • CHANGE THREAD LESS OFTEN … Try to batch your sewing so that you sew all the pieces that require the same colour thread at the same time.
  • EXTRA BOBBINS … Have extra bobbins and fill several with the same colour thread that way you won’t need to stop and refill bobbins mid project.
  • CUTTING OUT DAY … Have a dedicated cutting out day.  I hate cutting out, but I have a friend who visits and we have a “working get together”- get our cutting out done and reward ourselves with cake!
  • HANG PATTERN PIECES … Hang your pattern pieces on skirt coathangers rather than folding them then they’ll be easier to find and you won’t need to waste time straightening them before cutting.
  • Prerolled hem your frills/sashes.
  • If you use the same lengths of elastic/bias binding all the time why not pre-cut and put in separate jars.

Do you have any other tips to share?  Comment below and I can add them to this list!


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Pattern Directory One Thimble Issue 1-13

Do you need to click through a zillion folders to remember where you saved the PDF you *need* for this Christmas custom order?  Does the idea of neatly organised PDF’s make you smile? Do you love OT but struggle to remember which issue had which pattern?  If you’ve answered YES to these questions then you’re going to love this reminder of one of our most popular blog posts … updated!


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Backdrops & Backgrounds for handmade photography

I’ve been wondering where to start this series … Then I realised it has to start with backdrops and backgrounds.

Now if you’re a little further along in your handmade photography journey, you might be thinking, oh I know this already, but stay with me … or skip to the end for some tips on backdrops.

Picking the perfect background for your handmade photos

When I first started photographing my handmade items I didn’t really give much thought to backgrounds.

I’m embarrassed to say that some of these photos below (…shame … the one in front of the washing machine) were photos I actually used, in my listings on made it and etsy, when I first started sewing to sell.

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Photo Fortnight

You know that feeling when you’ve sewn something AMAZING, but when you share a photo of it with your bestie, or in a group or use it for your handmade business’s social media, nobody is as smitten as you are.  The frustrating thing is you KNOW that if they could see it in real life, they’d be excited too.

Over the next fortnight I’m going to be sharing tips, tricks, blog posts and links to help your photos live up to your sewing!!!!

Photo Fortnight - let's start at the beginning


Here’s a run down on what we’ll be covering.  I’ll update with links as the posts go live!


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Finding new markets for your handmade products

Finding new markets for your handmade products

You started your handmade business with the encouragement of your friends and family.  You paid for a pretty logo, planned your range, agonised over pricing and spent longer than you care to admit daydreaming about how “doing what you love” was going to be the key to financial security.  The only problem is, most weeks you’re not hearing the merry ring of sales notifications on your mobile, you’re hearing crickets.  

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