Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Piecing tips for short sewing sessions

 I often get comments about how much I get done in a small amount of time. I thought I would share some tips that help me keep my work flow. . . well. . . flowing.

Featuring English Autumn fabrics from Benartex.

These tips are piecing related, if you are looking for tips to keep your life organized, I am not that person. 🙃

I find the best way to get as much done in one short sitting is to keep the motion as repetitive as possible. While this may sound boring, by keeping to the same task I am getting rid of unnecessary movements and steps. This allows me to "get in the groove" of that task and just keep going.


This may not seem like part of the piecing process, but before you cut you must press. If I'm pressing anything less than 2 yards I will starch and press the whole piece in one sitting.

If, however, I'm cutting yards and yards of background fabric I don't do it all at once. I will press a yard or so at a time, using something like a chair to keep the fabric from pulling or laying on the ground. If I need something like sixteen 2 1/2" strips I would press a yard and a half. This isn't set in stone, do what works for you.

Once it's pressed I bring that yardage over to the cutting table and do the same thing. Place it on a chair or lay the excess off to the side to cut the strips I need from the prepared yardage. I will sub-cut those strips as directed, then head back to the ironing board to starch and press some more.


Cutting fabric, you either love it or hate it. I love it. I also like to get it all done at once. This may not sound great, but again, it keeps my work flow moving forward, without a lot of stopping and starting. If you are a quilter that likes to make one block first, this doesn't stop you from doing that. Cut out what you need for one block, put it together to make sure it works like you want, and then come back and start cutting.

I like to cut multiple strips at one time. Then I take those strips and line them up.

From there I sub-cut the sizes needed. Not only does this save time, it makes counting the units easier as well.

If there is any marking that needs to be done I do it right away. I hate having to come back and mark when I'm ready to just start sewing. By having them marked I can sit and sew when I have a free moment.


Chain piecing is your friend. Do it as often and for as long as you can. I chain piece everything; units, blocks, rows. If I can sit and sew it over and over, that's what I do.

I also like to "chain pin" when needed. I am a pinner, if you aren't you can skip this tip! 😄 When I'm working on the same block I do the same process over and over, and if that means I have to pin 50 blocks, that's what I do. Once they are all pinned I can just start sewing, I will often pin before I quit for the night so I *can* just start sewing. I don't have to stop and start to pin the next one and it's already to go when I have a moment.

If I don't need to pin the units I will gather what can be sewn all at once. In this instance I'm sewing a background rectangle to the pieced unit. I have all of my rectangles (because I cut everything beforehand) and all of the pieced units layed out and read to go. I just pick one pieced unit, one rectangle unit, sew and repeat.

Pressing. . . Again

Not only do I chain piece and pin, I chain press, too!

You will often hear me say in my 2022 Monthly Color Challenge How To Videos to leave the chain pieced units sewn together until you press.

This is because it is so much faster to "chain press" than to cut them each apart and then press individually.

For HST units I press one after another, even though you can't leave these sewn together for pressing, but layering them like this I can press over and over and over again.

The less steps I have to take to piece a quilt, the faster and easier it is to get it done and the more I can accomplish in a short amount of free time.

I hope those tips helped give you new ideas on how to set yourself up for more progress in smaller bits of time. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Make something Extraordinary!


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1 comment:

  1. I love walking into my sewing room and having my next step prepped so all I have to do is sit down and start sewing. I find it motivates me to get down there too if I'm feeling lazy (sewing is my favorite part, but once I get going I don't mind the prep).


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