It’s early December, right? Can we call it that still? Okay, we’re saying that. Maybe just so we feel like we’re ahead of the game;). We have more ideas and tutorials to show you for holiday gift ideas, but today we wanted to check in with a little strategy. Here are a few of our favorite ways to approach sewing projects so that one, they’re manageable and two, feel more gratifying and less stressful.
While they may not work for everyone, we’ve found these often work well when you have more than one project going at a time and also, projects with a deadline.
- Cut one day, sew another.
- Many times people feel like they’re going to pull that sewing machine out for what feels like a project that shouldn’t take more than the two hours they have to work on it. It’s rare things work out as we feel they should. So knowing that cutting and prepping your fabric is often the most time-consuming, we like to cut out several projects with that two hours we set aside and set it up so we can get right to sewing the next day.
- Batch it out
- Yes, there are studies that say batch process doesn’t save time and maybe it’s true but what it does do, is allow you to focus your time and your mind. If you’re making everyone tea towels or napkins, break up the work flow to hem all at once, sew all at once and topstitch/trim threads all at once. You’re less likely to make mistakes or skip a step if you’re doing the same step on all the pieces. It also is fantastic in helping you build your muscle memory and accuracy.
- Scale your projects
- We who make are typically pretty thoughtful. Meaning, that the reason we’re often making something for someone is that we want it to be individually suited for the recipient. However, making seven different gifts for seven different people can be overwhelming and make it hard to map out how to make the items, especially with the deadline pressure of the holidays. If we scale our projects, meaning we decide on napkins, bags or what not as a gift, the individualization gets to come from our choice of fabric and complimenting gift. That’s why we love tea towels for our friends and family because who doesn’t need one of those in the kitchen? As for kids, book bags, pencil rolls or a cozy whole cloth blanket can come together pretty quickly and can be individual too.
- Entertainment in the background
- Whether it’s a podcast, music or a show, having some entertainment on in the background can often help you look forward to your sewing time since it is not only about getting to work on a craft you hopefully enjoy but also time where you get to also check out and relax. We love a good podcast, do you? And as long as a show doesn’t have subtitles and isn’t too intense, it’s easy to stay with it while sewing. Cutting and pressing seams are a whole different game since something that might seem laborious and boring otherwise, can be sped up and enjoyed with some entertainment on in the background.
- Make a plan and prioritize
- When sewing gifts, we often have a deadline (except for weddings, we get a year, right;)?) and since many times we are either shipping them or spreading out family and friend holiday visits, look at your intended schedule and see who you’ll want to be done with first. Once you know that you’ll want to have family gifts before friends or vice versa, write out which projects to do first. I often like to write out the steps involved in my intended projects to see what I should batch out and get a real sense of how long it’s going to take me. Also make sure you have all of the supplies you need outside of fabric and thread. Is there hardware? Will you be able to find it?
- Most important – have fun!
- You may feel stress in trying to get things done but hopefully it feels fun and rewarding most of all. And if it just doesn’t make sense to make a bunch of gifts, then don’t. I find that about every other year is my motivation cycle. So if this year doesn’t make sense, write down what you’d like to try for next year and make that your goal.
More gift ideas and tips are headed to the blog this week too!