Are you an experienced sewist and wondering how you can sew faster? Below are 11 tried-and-true tips on how to speed up your sewing. Some tips may seem strange to you at first: 😉 like not to use pins or not to press seams. But these historical sewing tips really make sewing faster! 😀
1. Prepare Fabric Ahead Of Time
Prewash and iron your fabrics and notions as soon as they arrive. So they’ll be ready to cut out the pattern pieces when you have time to sew.
2. Focus On One Sewing Project
I usually have several sewing projects at a time. But I noticed that I’m faster at sewing if I focus on one sewing project at a time.
3. Group Sewing Projects By Color
If you have more than one sewing project at a time, group them together by color. This can save you valuable time because it minimizes the thread changes on your sewing machine. The time to change sewing threads can add up quickly!
4. Use A Piece Of Fabric That’s Big Enough For Your Project
Even though it’s good and eco-friendly to use as little fabric as you can for your sewing project, don’t underestimate how much time it takes to piece fabric together. So if you’re pressed for time, use a piece of fabric that’s big enough for your sewing project. And to be eco-friendly, you can still use the small scraps of fabric for other sewing projects.
5. Choose Patterns With Fewer Pieces
To speed up sewing, choose sewing patterns with few pattern pieces. For example, a sewing pattern with a front piece, a back piece and sleeves is much faster to sew than a panel garment with princess seams! The more seams you have to join, the longer it takes to sew the garment!
Related: How To Sew A Simple 1920s Slip
6. Use Tried-And-True Patterns
Use a sewing pattern that you’ve used before. Sewing mock-ups and adjusting sewing patterns always takes the longest! So whenever possible use a sewing pattern that you’ve already adapted to your measurements. I often reuse patterns, like my corset patterns, my Edwardian shirtwaist pattern and my 1950s fit-and-flare dress pattern.
7. Don’t Use Pins Or Clips
In the 1920s, home sewist were told not to pin the pattern pieces together before sewing to speed up the sewing process. I wouldn’t recommend not to pin before sewing if you’re a sewing beginner. However, if you’re an experienced sewist, you can try not to use pins or at least to use less pins. You can still use pins on tricky areas. But over time it’ll become easier and easier for you to sew clothes without first pinning the pattern pieces together.
8. Use The Right Presser Foot
Using a hemmer foot for the hem or a ruffler foot to make and attach ruffles can save you so much time!
Related: 5 Ways To Attach Ruffles
9. Don’t Press Seams
Instead of pressing seams, you can just finger-press them as you sew. This is a trick I learned from an Edwardian sewing book. You may find it difficult at first to finger-press seams, but you’ll eventually get better at it. Finger pressing seams works especially well if you sew flat fell seams on woven cotton fabric. However, there are fabric that you still need to press, e.g. seams on wool broadcloth.
Related: 34 Types of Seams
10. Omit Details That Take Too Long
Omit sewing details that take a lot of time. No matter how pretty they look, pintucks, lace inserts, long ruffles, hand sewing and hand embroidery – all these take a lot of time to make!
Related: 6 Ways How To Insert Lace
11. Don’t Try To Be Perfect
If you’re making a new type of garment for the first time, don’t overthink it and don’t try to be perfect. Because you’re only wasting valuable time. For example, if you’re sewing your first corset, chances are that it won’t be perfect – mine certainly wasn’t! 😉 But it don’t has to be! Because you’ll learn something in the process. And your next corset will turn out better than the first!
Please Pin It!