We are always looking for ways to save time when we are working on our projects, right? More time to enjoy the art of quilting or stitchery is always nice! I have some time saving tips that I employ that makes my sewing time efficient and fun that I want to share with you in this week’s post. I bet you have some too. So, share those tips in the comments and we will all probably learn something new. Let’s get started!
Stitchery Time Saving Tips
Tip #1 – Appliqué Short-cut
I like to save time when appliquéing a project by having all my tools close by in a container. I have a magnet affixed to the inside cover and keep a stash of needles threaded with the colors I am using in the project. Once I pick up a needle with a particular color, I will re-thread another with that color so it’s ready to go when I need it.
Having this little tin to keep my appliqué supplies also makes it easy to take my stitching on the road!
Tip #2 – Wool Appliqué Short-cut
Something you can do with wool appliqué that you can’t do normally with fabric appliqué is to layout the entire design and fuse or glue it into place before stitching. By doing this, you can insure that your design is laid out within the seam allowances. You can also make sure you have all the pieces in the correct place.
Above is an example. I can make sure I like how all the pieces look on the background and even shift things around to get the block to look exactly the way I want. I keep a small fabric glue available in case something comes loose while I stitch.
Tip # 3 – Templates
Whether you are working on a fabric or wool appliqué project, a good time saver is to prepare templates by copying the pattern pages that have the templates onto heavy cardstock. This reinforces them for multiple uses and then you can store them in the bag with the pattern for when you want to make the project again.
Quilting Time Saving Tips
Tip #1 – Use Scrap Fabric for a Leader and Ender
This is a time saver and a thread saver! Start your stitching with a scrap piece of fabric before you feed through the pieces you are stitching together and when you finish.
This saves thread because you are not pulling the piece away from your machine to snip the threads. Also, when you start with this piece, you insure that the stitching is even on your piece. Any jumbles or seam allowance “snafus” end up on the leader.
Tip #2 – Chain Piecing
I think everyone probably knows about this time saver. If you have to piece together a lot of the same units for blocks you are making, chain piecing is the way to go… as long as you don’t run out of bobbin thread in the middle of it!
You can do this with units and with blocks, if you have a lot of the same block to piece together. Below is a photo of a bunch of pieces stacked and ready to go for chain piecing and also units of several blocks stacked and ready.
As I shared last week… since you know you’ll probably run out of bobbin thread while chain piecing, be sure to have several bobbins pre-wound with the thread you are using. That way you can pop in a new one quickly and keep sewing!
Tip #3 – Ripping Out Stitches
We don’t like it, but we all have to do it. Here’s a way to make it go faster. At least it makes it go faster for me. I carefully cut a stitch every 4 or 5 stitches in the middle of the seam and then gently pull apart the pieces.
Be extra careful when pulling them apart so you do not stretch the pieces out of shape, especially those with bias seams. The seam comes apart fairly easy and then all you have to do is finish cutting the threads on each end of the unit.
Tip #4 – Easier HSTs
Finally, here’s a time saving tip when you are making HSTs using the method where you get two at a time. Instead of having to draw lines on the back of all your top squares, try the “crease” method. This keeps you at your machine and you can use the pressing stick to make crisp creases so you don’t have to use your iron.
Use the crease at the guide and sew a scant 1/4″ on each side. Then cut them apart and press open for two HSTs!
That’s all for this week. I’ll keep thinking up so more time saving things I do while quilting and hand stitching. In the mean time, share some of your tips with me in the comments below a free pattern for Village Square.
This pattern has a lot of HSTs in it so you can use the time saver technique above. The drawing will be on Monday, October 25th.
Happy Quilting & Stitching!