Sewing Workflow: Process & Organizing Tips for making the most of your sewing time

Hi, there!  Kim, again!  I’m so excited to be guest blogging here at Ellie and Mac again!  We’ve had a few changes this year in our household routine with one of the biggest things being me going back to work full time.  Exciting? Yes!  Scary?  Yes!  Totally cutting into my sewing time?  Absolutely completely yes!  So, now that I get a grand total of maaaayyyybee one or two good sewing days a month, I realized that I really need to get my act together and get organized.  Now, I realize that there are a bajillion ways to organize projects, and I know that everyone has a way that works for them.  BUT, I found that this is what works best for me so I figured I’d share what I do to put my sewing projects together into mini-kits so that I can grab and go when I get a moment here or there to sew. My very own sewing kits.

The first thing I do is figure out what I need to get done in the next month or so.  For this month, it turned into a whole mess of projects so I narrowed it down to 6 projects that I would focus on.  I ended up with a Zip It Hoodie for my groom, a pair of pants for my son, a pair of pants for my daughter, a Lucky Girl top for me, a Be Amazing for my daughter, and a Pocket Henley for my son.   I took a look at the fabric requirements for each of these to make sure that I had the fabric on hand for each of these.  I, of course, did not so a trip to JoAnn’s was a mandatory part of my day…darn the luck, right?  That was probably the hardest part of the trip because my family couldn’t figure out what they wanted.  Most of these pieces are going to end up as part of our family’s Glow Party outfits for an event we’re attending in March so we ended up with a whole lot of white that they are going to decorate with different colors. 

Once we got home, I printed all of the patterns out which made my cat happy as a clam.  She loves to watch the papers come out so she sat at the printer the entire time as sheet after sheet of paper fed through the printer.  HA!!  I also threw my fabric in the wash so that I could get that done while I put pattern pieces together.

I then sat down in front of the TV with my glue stick and just assembled/cut out all of the patterns.  I set each one in its own pile so that I would know what each pattern piece belonged to.  Once I was done, I had 6 neat piles of all the pattern pieces that I would need for every clothing item I was planning to make.

At this point, I was ready for the fabric so while that finished drying, I cut the elastic pieces and any interfacing pieces I would need.  Some of my sewing friends like to label these with a pin and piece of paper, but I just stacked the pattern piece with whatever it was that I had just cut.  I did label the elastic pieces if I had more than one, as is the case of the Moto Pants.  I also took a look at buttons, horsehair braid, and zippers to pull those together for my Be Amazing and Zip It. 

Alright, so once the fabric was done drying, I matched them up to the patterns and cut the pieces out.  Like I said before, I didn’t pin any of the pattern pieces to the fabric.  I just stacked them together so that I knew what piece was what.  For the pants, I did put a pin in the back pieces so that I would be able to tell the difference once I started sewing.  That has nothing to do with the planning process.  It’s just a trick that I use when sewing the garment so that I don’t get lost on what side is front and back.  For my daughter’s Be Amazing, I did not actually cut the fabric because she mentioned maybe wanting to use some neon colors for her dress.  I didn’t want to waste the fabric if she changed her mind so I just put the entire cut of fabric in the bag until she makes her final decision. We also didn’t end up picking out buttons for the Be Amazing so I put a note on the bag that I still need buttons.

The next step was to bag the pieces and label each bag with what the pattern is, the size, and the date that I need the item by.  I folded the fabric and all of the additional notions into the bag and stacked them up by due date with the most “urgent” projects in front.  I didn’t opt to put thread in the bags because I keep two cases of Gutterman threads in the drawer with the kits.  This way, I can pick the threads I need when I get ready to sew, and I’m not worried that I might find a stray spool of thread floating around somewhere.

I have a drawer in my sewing table that I call the dugout.  It’s where I keep the most up and coming projects that I need to get done and I just grab the pattern that’s on deck when I sit down to sew.  Like I said, it sits right next to my threads so I just grab the thread color I need if it isn’t already on the machine and swap them out.  I also have a carousel that sits right on my table above all of the drawers that has all of my scissors, seam rippers, and other notions handy so I don’t have to go looking for them.  It’s just a kitchen utensil carousel that I re-purposed but it sure does make my life super convenient in the sewing room. 

As I said in the beginning, I know there are a lot of ways that people organize their projects, and I know that what works for me might not be what works for everyone else.  However, when it comes to organization, I will take all the help I can get, and when I find something that works for me, I’m happy to share away just in case it inspires someone else to get motivated to get their kit together!  Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Blessings and Happy Sewing! 

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