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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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2 Comments to “Tips for saving time when sewing for business”

  1. Jody Stack Carrodus April 7, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I do batch sewing for my business and my one little handy tip is to use a glue stick instead of pins to keep in place when top stitching the bodice and bodice lining to
    the skirt…..quick and a lot easier when you’ve got 30 to do

    Reply

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