Sewing For Selling: Small Batch Production for Home-based Business | Melanie Smith | Skillshare

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Sewing For Selling: Small Batch Production for Home-based Business

teacher avatar Melanie Smith, Sewing Pattern & Surface pattern designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Sewing For Selling Intro


    • 2.

      About the Class


    • 3.

      Tools and Materials


    • 4.

      Make Your Cutting Templates


    • 5.

      Optimize Your Layout


    • 6.

      Cut Your Fabric


    • 7.

      Streamline Your Process


    • 8.

      Sewing Tips


    • 9.

      Pressing Tips


    • 10.

      Closing Remarks


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About This Class

Have you always wanted to sell your sewn items in an Etsy shop or at craft fairs? Maybe you already do but you're sales are limited by how quickly you can make your items. In this class you will learn how to optimize your pattern layout and streamline your sewing process so you can sew in small batches of up to 15 items at once. This will save you time, fabric, and ultimately money!

P.S. If you like these concepts and are ready to delve into the world of industrial sewing, I highly recommend you read this blog:  It's VERY technical, basically the engineering of apparel manufacturing, but it's fascinating!

Meet Your Teacher

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Melanie Smith

Sewing Pattern & Surface pattern designer


I am a sewing pattern and surface pattern designer. I've had four sewing patterns published in two issues of Stitch Magazine (Summer 2014 and the Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews Edition). Though my degrees are in Engineering, I've been sewing since I was 8 and knitting since I was 24. I regularly teach private sewing classes and summer sewing camps in the Austin, TX area, where I reside with my husband and 2 kids.

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1. Sewing For Selling Intro: 2. About the Class: welcome to sewing for selling, where you'll learn the principles of batch sewing Before we begin. Let's talk a little bit about this class. First of all, I assume you are already comfortable sewing and have a working knowledge of how patterns are put together. We will learn how to make up to about 15 items at a time. More than that, maybe a bit difficult to manage in a home environment. We will go over the materials you'll need, how to make cutting templates, how to calculate your fabric needs, how to cut multiple layers, how to make your process more efficient. And we'll go over some tips for sowing in batches. Keep in mind this is not the only way to so in batches. This is just the way that has worked for me for several years. This class is also intended for home sores that have or want an online shop. The examples I use are for apparel, and in this class I'll be creating a small batch of four Raglan sleeve pull over shirts in two different sizes with two different fabrics, just so you can get an idea of how the process works. But these concepts can be applied to any product for the class project. I'd like you to take a pattern you are already familiar with. You can use the techniques we talk about in the class to modify the layout and use the spa Richie to calculate your fabric needs. Or, if you prefer, you can use the techniques we talk about to modify the current instructions and make them more batch sewing. Friendly as always, don't forget to post your results in the class. You could do this when you first start the project. You don't even have to be done to post. And if you enjoyed the class, please don't forget to leave a review. This helps the class get in front of more people who may want to learn this technique to If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please post them in the class discussions and I will respond. So let's get started 3. Tools and Materials: So let's talk about some of the tools and materials that will be using when we're sowing in batches. Let's start with the tools. First, you'll need a spoke to tracing wheel, and I prefer this kind to the smooth kind because they make a much better mark. That's easier to see. You'll be using this to trace off your pattern onto poster board. And sometimes the smooth tracing wheels don't make a deep enough line, and it's really hard to see where you've traced. You'll need some sewing rulers both the straight kind and the curved kind, like a French curb or hip curve, and you'll be using this to trace and pencil over the marks that you made with the spoke tracing wheel. You'll need a pencil in a marker, and you'll use Thies to mark up your templates. Small binder clips these air great for keeping all the pieces together for each size of each item that you'll be making paper scissors to help you cut out your templates. Once you've traced um, a rotary cutter for cutting your fabric, Taylor's chart chock or any other marking device that you prefer to use when marking fabric and pattern weights. The materials you'll need are a pattern, obviously, and I recommend that you check the license on this pattern. Some designers prefer that you only use their pattern for sewing at home and not for sale. So if you do plan on making these items for sale, you need to check with the designer to make sure that that's OK. And of course, if this is your pattern that you've created, you can do whatever you want. Thick posterboard or oak tag Oak tag is kind of like a poster board, usually a manila color to used a lot and fashion schools when there tracing off their pattern to make their samples. But I prefer this pack on heavy posterboard. It's thicker than oak tag. It's really pretty thick, and the nice thing about it is it's thick enough where your rotary cutter, the blade, can rest against the edge, and then you don't accidentally cut into it. If you're careful, the other nice thing about it is that it comes in a variety of colors. So what I like to do is I use a different color for each size, in whatever pattern that I'm making and that just helps me keep track of the sizes and the pieces. So when I have multiple sizes laid out on my fabric, I don't forget which sizes which and get confused and accidentally cut too many pieces of a size eight when I really needed to cut a four and a six and an eight. And of course you'll need your fabric thread and any notions that are noted in your pattern . 4. Make Your Cutting Templates: So let's talk a little bit about cutting templates. What are cutting templates? Well, essentially, a cutting template is a copy of each pattern piece that you'll use repeatedly to cut your fabric. If you plan on making more than one sides of your pattern, you probably already know that cutting one size will ruin your ability to cut other sizes. By using a template, you can preserve your original pattern and duly, a template should be sturdy enough to use multiple times. Paper will eventually tear or wrinkle. In theory, if you're using a pdf pattern, you could continue to print it and then cut out each size individually. But this paper isn't gonna last you very long. Book tag is good, and it is used in the industry, but I prefer posterboard, the thickest posterboard you confined and preferably in a multitude of colors. Use the biggest poster board you can comfortably cut into, and as I mentioned in the previous lesson, using a separate color for each size helps you keep track of the sizes as you're laying them out on your fabric. So let's take a look at a couple examples of a cutting template now As you can see, I have two different colors here. Each color response corresponds to a different size. The grazes size for the pink is a size two and you can see I have them neatly clipped together. This makes it really handy. I can just grab the whole stack when I'm ready to cut it, keeps everything together and nicely organized by unclip it. I could just show you that all the pieces air here on what you're going to do is you're gonna mark each piece with the name of the pattern, the name of the peace and the size of the piece. We'll also be transferring any other markings such as grain lines, full lines, notches, circles, squares, anything that you have on your paper pattern. You're going to transfer onto your template before you begin making the template what you're going to do. You're going to take your pattern and you're going to cut around each piece. You're gonna cut all sizes together. So as you can see here, I have several sizes of these ah, little bottoms and I've just generally cut around. So if you're using a PDF temp pdf pattern, go ahead and tape all the pieces of paper together, then cut each piece out all sizes. If you're using a tissue paper, you can just unfold it and cut each size for each piece out. That just makes it a lot easier than having to manage a big, giant piece as you're tracing off each size. So to get started you'll take a piece of posterboard and you'll take your largest pattern. Peace in Ni case. In this pattern, it's thes shorts and let's say, for example, I want to trace off the size to now. If you have a nice corner like I have here, go ahead and take advantage of that. Put the corner up against the corner of your poster board. If you don't necessarily have a nice 90 degree corner per se but an edge, you can go ahead and do the same with the edge. Just put the edge up against the poster board, and if you're using tissue, you'll be able to see through it to know if you're lined up for using paper. However, it might be a little tough, but you can just run your finger along like this and like this to check to see if you're lined up. Now, once you're lined up, you're gonna take a couple pattern weights, put them down, grab your tracing wheel. You're going to go ahead and trace off Now. Obviously, you don't need to trace these edges here cause they're along the corner. But you're gonna push really hard and you're gonna trace all the way around. Now, I'm not really pushing hard right now, but just to demonstrate, you go around this curve and then once you hit a spot like this where it's just directly straight up, I can stop right about here. Once I feel that the Linus Street I'm gonna go here and mark the corner off all mark this corner, too. I don't even have to bother going all the way across because we're going to go ahead and connect those corners with our pencil and a ruler anyway. And it's gonna be much straighter than if we tried to trace it with her hand. And then here it's pretty straight, so I won't bother tracing that part. But once I feel it starts to get Kermie again, I'll go ahead and trace that part too, and then I'll trace it down here now you're also going to want to trace your grain line. You're gonna want to trace any notches any circles, and he squares any of the marks that you have on your pattern. Go ahead and make those marks with your tracing wheel. Once that's done, you'll remove the paper pattern and then you'll take your pencil and your ruler in your You'll go ahead and you'll trace over those marks that you made. You'll see a series of tiny little dots. Sometimes they can be a little hard to see. If you kind of angle the paper and catch the light in the right way, you'll see it better. But you go ahead and connect the dots. Trace off all those lines with your ruler and pencil. Trace your marks, and then you'll write the name of the pattern, the name of the peace and the size. Once you've done that, you move onto your next largest piece or the next piece that makes sense. For example, in this case, I would then dio the bodice of this little romper because I have a nice square here and then this kind of has a nice square a swell. So in that case, what I would do is I would line this square edge here up with this straight line that I made the top of the top of the shorts. Just line that up there, line it up to the edge of line it up to the edge of the poster board here, and then put my pattern weights down and go ahead and trace that office. Well, so you can see by lining up the bottom edge of this piece with the top edge of the other piece. Now, I only have to cut this line one time, and in fact I don't even probably have to trace it. Maybe I would just come over here and trace that corner off so I know where to begin. I could trace this corner off once I've done all of my pieces. Then you're gonna take a pair of paper scissors, Not your nice fabric scissors, and you're going to cut out each piece. Now I will say setting this up, it is a little labor intensive. And if you have arthritic hands or just have trouble cutting the thicker posterboard may give you a little bit of trouble. So in that case, then I would recommend using a slightly thinner poster board. But if you don't have any issues with cutting, go ahead and use the biggest posterboard or you can handle and cut everything out by hand. It's a time investment now, but having these templates is going to save you a lot of time in the future because they'll be really sturdy and they're gonna last you for a long time. 5. Optimize Your Layout: Now it's time to determine the best way to lay out your pattern pieces and how much fabric you will need for your batch. This pattern layout is called marker in the industry. Keep in mind if you purchased a pattern. The layout provided in the instructions may not be the most efficient way to lay the pieces out. If you are working with a narrow size range, say size two through six, select the average size and play around with that layout. If you were working with a wider size range, say size two through 20. Select one size near each end of the spectrum, for example of four and in 18 you'll probably find the way you ladies sizes out will be very different from each other. You can use your templates to do this directly onto your folded fabric. Or, if you are working with your own designs and created the pattern in a camp program, you can manipulate the pieces directly on the computer. You can experiment with placing some pieces on the cross grain if you have a non directional woven fabric. But don't do this with your main pieces. This is a better technique for smaller pieces like facings and waistbands, as long as they don't have to be placed on the fold. Also, be careful. If you are working with nets as many only stretch in one direction. This will limit your marker options. You can also try mirroring pieces that are cut on the fold, especially pieces that are cut twice like collars. So let's look at an example. Here's a pattern I designed for a boys pull over Raglan sleeved top. It comes in a size two through eight, so I chose a size five to play with. This is how the marker would probably look if I purchased this pattern. In a store you can see there are several pieces cut on the fold, and the collar is cut twice to make the upper and lower collar. This marker takes a full yard of fabric, but I think I can improve on this. Let's assume I'm using a woven fabric that looks good in any direction, so let's try this. We're going to mirror the collar, rotated 90 degrees and put it in between the front and the back and see if that saves us any space. Well, it looks like now we're down to 28 inches from 36. That's a pretty big savings in fabric, but let's keep playing with it. Maybe we can try flipping the sleeve 180 degrees and wedge it into a tighter spot. It looks like the curves for the arm. Holes on the front and back fit nicely with the sleeve, so maybe we can wedge it in there. Well, that last step only saved us an inch. But if you're making 10 shirts, that's a fabric savings of 10 more inches. Let's put some numbers to this. We saved a total of nine inches from the original layout and assuming or fabric cost $10 per yard. That's a fabric savings of $2.50 per sure. That can be pretty significant and out of quickly now that you've optimized your layout, repeat the layout for a few more sizes, and you could make an educated guess for the length of fabric required for each size. Here's an example of the same shirt laid out in a size 25 and eight. You'll notice I did a little more playing around with the size to to make the best use of my fabric. Also, for the size eight, the collar didn't quite fit between the front and back pieces, so that had to go underneath them to calculate the amount of fabric needed for the sizes in between. I just split the difference among each size. Now that we know how much fabric we need for each size, we can determine what we can make with the fabric we have, or we can determine how much fabric we need based on what we want to make. I've included a handy spreadsheet in the class Project section to help you make these calculations quick and easy. Let's take a look at that spreadsheet. So here's the spreadsheet, and you can see down in the bottom left. There's a little box where you would put in all your pattern information. So under pattern and size, you're just gonna name each pattern in each size individually, and if you want, you can always add more rows to the patterns and sizes. Then you'll put in those numbers that we calculated in the previous slide right here, where it says main amount of fabric needed. Any unit is fine as long as you're consistent. And then I also included another column here where you can throw in any contrast fabric if your pattern uses two different kinds of fabric, or if you want to change that description, Teoh any sort of notion, like last dig or I don't know, zipper length. Um, that's kind of a flexible spot for you to work with. So now, up here, just go ahead and give each of your fabrics some sort of description that you'll remember. So you know what fabric you're talking about in this spreadsheet, and in here you'll input how much fabric you have in terms of total length. If you don't have fabric yet, if you're using the spreadsheet more to calculate how much fabric you need to buy, you can just go ahead and leave this blank. And then again, you can repeat this process for the contrast fabric or if you're using elastic or, you know interfacing zipper length, whatever that additional column is if you decided to use it. So these next six cells are limited to a drop down menu, and the options are taken from the pattern info chart. That first section that we filled in. So what you'll do is you'll just select the pattern and the size that you're going to make . And, of course, if six items are not enough, if you want to make 10 you can just add more columns so you can modify where this list is taken from. For example, if you decided to add more rows to your pattern info chart, then you would have to go back and modify where that data is taken from. Conceive added rose to it. So you'll go appear to the data tab and you'll click over on words Is data validation. You'll make sure that this source box down here is selected, and then you'll select the entire column of cells. Now in the next section works is main fabric. The fabric amounts are automatically filled in using the V look up function in Excel. So it's taking a look over at the first item that you made, but that you select it and it's putting in how much fabric is needed for that pattern in that size. Now, keep in mind if you are adding columns towards as patterns and sizes chosen, you'll also need to add the same number of columns toe where it says main fabric. Now these fabrics are totaled and their subtracted from the amount of fabric that you have on hand. So if you didn't have any fabric on hand, if you're using this to calculate how much you need to buy, then you're just gonna end up with a total negative number here, and that will be how much fabric you need for all your pieces. And, of course, the whole thing is repeated over in the last section, where it says contrasts fabric. So this spreadsheet will tell you if you have any fabric left over so you can see for our blue floral fabric. We had, ah, 108 inches, and we're gonna have eight inches left over. Once we're done cutting those pieces we selected, it'll tell you it'll give you a zero if you have exactly what you need, as in the case of the red floral fabric, or if you're short fabric, it'll give you a negative number or, in this case and excel, it shows that as a red number with parentheses around it, so then you'll know how much fabric you need to get and of course, feel perfectly free to manipulate the spreadsheet however you want. The one I've included in this class is totally blank, so you would just fill it in as you need it. The only thing that's not blank, of course, is where does all the calculations for you, but it's going to show all of those values and zero. 6. Cut Your Fabric: Now that you've made your templates and determine what you are making and how much fabric you'll need, let's perfect our layout and cut our fabric. You can cut up to six layers at a time with a sharp blade. This means if you are cutting on the fold, you can use three different fabrics. If you are cutting flat, then you can use up to six, regardless of how maney you use. Be sure they can all be sown with the same color thread because we don't want to bother for switching threads during this process. If you are holding your fabric, full them individually, as I have done here, safe over the airplane fabric first. And then I folded the whales and then put the folds together like that. Don't be tempted toe. Lay them flat and then fold them all at once. As your fabrics are more likely to shift and not be lined up at the fold, you can play around with your pattern pieces. If you follow my steps. You've already done a layout, but there's no reason why you can't play around with a little more once you've got your template cut out in your fabric in front of you. So, for example, if I relying this out and if this were a non directional fabric, I could do something like this could put these pieces together here, my friend, my back and I could line them up so that I only have to make this cut once. Then I could put my sleep here like this. And while technically, that's upside down. If this were a non directional fabric, it really wouldn't matter. And then I only have to cut that once. And then I could take my next size. So let's say my next size. It was right here. I could put that as close to the sleeves. I could get on the other side there and see how have nested these together, even though they're two different sizes. I saved myself a little bit of space by doing that, and then I could just put my next week up against the bottoms of the front and back on the size seven. So that's one option now, unfortunately, thistles a directional fabric. So I do have to keep my sleep this way because it would look a little funny that we're going the other way, but there's no reason why I can't try to play around with some of these different sizes. I could try alternatives rather than putting up with five together and then all the sense together. I could do all the fronts and backs together, and then I could do the sleeves together. And maybe that might buy me a few extra inches. You never know until you lay it out and really try with pieces that you have right in front of you. But the key take away here is to try to use a non directional fabric whenever possible. So solids toss prints. Stripes are good because a strike would look fine. Either this way or this way, you're really not gonna be able to tell the difference. Same with a plaid. Things like polka dots. If it looks good upside down and right side up, it's a better one to use because you have a lot more flexibility in your layout. Another thing to consider. If, say, I do this, for example, does not have this nice long strip of fabric here that I could maybe used for another project. So maybe this is a better option. It's totally up to you. The idea here is to sort of play around with it. Don't be stuff with just one idea, and you had about how things should be laid out if you were making straps, bands, binding piping, anything of that sort. That's a long tube. It may be better to cut one very long tube, so the scene, and then cut each drop out from there so you can try and laying out your pieces side by side and see how many you can fit. Or if you consider this option when you're working out your pattern layout, you can plan for it at that point in the process. But let's say, for example, that you didn't plan for it. And so you cut each strapped. These here are the straps for a little proper that I have designed. This is a size two size for in a size six, and I'm supposed to cut two of each. But what if I did this? What if I just cut one long stroke? So here I have two of this here. I have two of that, and so I can just cut this trip and I know that that's going to get me straps for both the size for and the size two. Or ultimately, I could try with the six seat, but it's a little too long with the six. The six. And the two would work together, though. But you can play around with that and see, based on the size of the things that you want to make, you can just go ahead and cut long strips and then cut the strips after the fact. So once you laid everything out, you wanna wait? Now listen. Pattern weights. We've got a straighter just side by side. So we only have to cut once you've got a pattern. We told ing everything down, and now you're very carefully going to run your blade along the edge of the template as you cut. Now, this is why we wanted to use a nice steak posterboard because it will give us a good, solid edge that we can lean or blade up against like this. So I'm gonna go ahead and cut these up so I'm gonna set my bath aside. I'm gonna put my front in a different pile. And then when I cut out my seven front and back. I'm gonna put my seven front on top of my five front and my seven back on top of my five back. So I'm gonna have each piece stacked according to size. And so here we have our piles. I've done all my backs together. My fives are together and my sevens air together seem with the fronts, sleeves, the facing and the collar. And I'm gonna try to keep everything in these piles the way they are as much as I possibly can. This is how I'm going to keep myself organized. This is how I'm going to so two different sizes with two different power fabrics and not get things mixed up and end up putting the airplane sleeve in a size five and trying to fit it on the whale shirt of a size seven. So this right here is the key. Keep your stuff organized in piles. So in summary, you can cut up to about six layers at a time. With a rotary cutter, you can fold three different fabrics in half and cut them that way. Or you can use six different fabrics and lay them flat. If you do decide to fold your fabrics, make sure you fold each fabric individually and then put all of the folds together. Don't lay them flat on top of each other and then fooled them all at once. This will shift the inside most fabric, and your pieces will not end up the same size. Don't forget to play around with your lay out a little bit, even if you've done this on the computer, trying nesting pieces together and just play around. Once it's all in front of you with your templates, you may find an even better way to do it that you didn't come up with before. If you're making any sort of straps, bands, binding piping anything that makes a long tube, you can try cutting one long piece and making like one long piece of piping or one really long piece of binding and then cutting off what you need. If you're interfacing your pieces, iron your interfacing onto a large piece of fabric first, and then cut your interface pieces out of that. Now this will mean that you'll have interfacing in your seam allowances, and if you feel that this is going to be a problem with bulk, then I would recommend not doing it this way. But if you're using a really thin interfacing, it's probably not going to make much of a difference. And it will be a lot easier than cutting out your interfacing separately and then trimming off the seam allowances. Place your straight edges side by side when you're laying out your template onto your fabric. That way, you only have to cut across. Once you'll be cut into pieces out with one slice. And don't forget, you can use your template as a way to stabilize your rotary cutter and keep you going in a straight line. Keep that rotary blade edge up against the template and go nice and slow. And, of course, we're movie species after you've been cutting it and placed these pieces in piles according to the powder piece and then size. So again, for example, once you have your front cut out, put it down the next time you cut out of front, put that on top of the first front that you put down 7. Streamline Your Process: Now you've got all your pieces cut organized into piles, and it's time to sell them together. Keep in mind the instructions included in your pattern may not be the most efficient way to so your pieces together. So let's see how we can order construction steps to so things up as efficiently as possible . I'm going to go through the methods first. Then we will look at a couple examples to begin with. Group your steps together by machine or appliance. You want to try to minimize switching from surgery toe iron, two straight stitch, etcetera. So we will try to accomplish as much as we can at each machine before moving on to the next set of tasks. Some patterns call for you, too, so a straight scene and then finish the raw edge. But it's much more efficient to not get out in one step. If you have a surge, er, use the wide needle position and semen finish in one step. Use the knives to remove any extra seam allowance above the width of your needle. If you don't have a surgery, that's okay. You probably have a mock over lock stage or another stitch that SOS over the edge of the fabric. Good options will look something like this. This or this. If this is the method you are using, you must remove extra seam allowance above 1/4 of an inch wide. I suggest removing this from your templates so you cut your pieces correctly the first time . And, of course, using smaller seam allowances, especially around curves, will make putting the garment together much easier. Start by preparing your small pieces. First, interface your pieces finish edges that are not part of a seem, such as facing edges. Prepare your pockets and any other applicator items. Make all of your tubes, bindings, bands, etcetera and work flat as long as possible. This usually means waiting as long as possible to do side. Seems definitely don't try putting a sleeve into the arms. I after you've sown the side seam and under arm scene. So the shoulder seam first, then sew the sleeve to the arms. I then so the side and underarm seam in one pass. This is faster and easier than trying to sow a tube into a hole. Here we have an example of a set of instructions for a basic button up kids pajama. Sure, this is an actual pattern that I own. Written by a well known pattern company. I simplified the details for the sake of brevity, but each step is there in the order listed on the pattern, you'll notice the steps are grouped by garment part, so there is a little prep work done first. Then we do all the collar steps. Then we put the shirts together. Then we work on the pocket and lastly, add buttons. I went ahead and color coded steps by the appliance or machine you would use to complete the task. So purple is for pressing blues for surging green for a lock lock stitch, which is what a standard home machine is called and the orange yellow for hand stitching. If you just look at the frequency of color changes, you'll see we bounced back and forth quite a bit between each machine. So we visit her iron seven separate times or surgery. Five separate times are lock stitch six separate times, and we stopped to hand so twice. Also note in the sleeve and shirt section. Step three. You are told to surge the sleeves edges after you made the sea sleeve seem so you were trying to surge the end of a little tube here I did a bit of rearranging and tried to group steps together by appliance or machine rather than by garment part. The goal is to do as much as you can with one appliance or machine before you are forced to move to a different one. In this version, we visit the iron three times the surgery two times the lock stitch three times, and we save our hand sewing for the end. The nice thing about hand sewing at the end is we can do this while sitting on the couch watching your favorite shows. We also want to work flat as much as possible. We searched the sleeve and shirt edges at the beginning before they are sewn to any other pieces. We add the pocket to the front before we attach the collar because the collar will make the shirt not want to lay completely flat. And we saw the arm and side seems almost at the very end. I also added a step in red, where we pressed the whole shirt one last time before sowing down the facings, hems and making the buttonholes. This is just a personal preference of mine. I feel these last steps come together more neatly when everything else is nicely pressed. So as you can imagine, we've saved ourselves quite a bit of time by reducing the number of times. So we have to bounce back and forth from one appliance or machine to the other. Keep in mind there are a few other ways we could have rearranged the steps. For example, we could have pressed our sleeve and shirt hems the first time we were at the iron. However, then we would have been standing at the iron for five steps which could take a while. Since the color must be pressed after it s so we would have to be at that iron for a second time anyway. So it may be better for our back and knees to break the ironing up a bit and save the hems for the second time. We're at the iron, but you get the general idea by going through the instructions on the pattern that you have and highlighting the different machines or appliances that each step uses in a different color. You can use that technique to rearrange your steps and try to group things together as efficiently as possible. 8. Sewing Tips: Now that we've learned how to optimize our process, let's go over a few general sewing tips. When sewing smaller pieces, it's easier to change your pieces together. Don't cut in between. Once you're done with all of them, you can cut in between to separate them. Here I'm surging along the outer edge of my facing. I started my pile with my size fives on top and sevens below notice. When I feed them in, I am not forcing them into a straight line, but rather laying them in their natural shape and then turning them as they're pulled into the machine. This way, I am not stretching or warping the curved edge as a so it when I feed them into the surge. Er, I saw the five's first, then the Sevens, but when I cut to separate them, I cut the sevens first, and then they end up back at the bottom of the pile. So when I'm done, I can set that pile aside, and I still have the fives on top and the sevens on the bottom. This is how you can so multiple sizes and still stay organized here. I'm sewing the under collar and the upper collar together. I've already placed the pieces right sides together so I can grab a unit and start sewing just like the facings. I start with the fives on top and the sevens on the bottom. I saw all three sides of the collar before I grab the next unit, and I don't cut in between. When I'm done, I pull them back in reverse order and place them in a pile with the sevens on the bottom and the fives on top. In this video, I'm attaching the Raglan sleeves to the front and back and sewing up the vaccine of the shirt. It's hard to see, but to my left I have three piles, my friends, sleeves and backs. I start by grabbing a back piece and a sleeve piece from the top of each pile. I make sure my notches match when I line up my scenes. Then I so that scene. Then I grabbed the front piece on top of that pile, and I added to the sleeves, I just sowed. I'll continue around the shirt until all four scenes are done. Then I'll close up the vaccine. You'll notice I do cut in between seems this time because I'm putting together a whole shirt before I move on to the next. If you're making several of the same kind of seem, and in this case, each shirt has four sleeves, seems it's easier to finish all the seams on one item before moving on to the next item. When I set my finished shirt aside, I will end up with the size fives on the bottom and the sevens on top, so I'll need to flip the pile before I move on to the next step here. I'm sewing up the sign and sleeve. Seems you can see it already attached the collar because it's easiest to do that. When the garment is flat and open, you'll notice I'm not using any pins. Instead, I stopped to adjust and align my pieces. As I go, I matched the sleeve edges and go about an inch. Then I matched the underarm seams, and so to there. Then I matched the side seam about halfway down the shirt, and so to there. Then I matched the bottom of the shirt, and so to the end, if you're really brave, you can try holding the bottom piece in your right hand and the top piece in your left hand and align them as they feed into the machine without stopping. To be perfectly honest, I am not there yet, but it would certainly make sewing even faster. In this last video, I'm finishing all my hems. That's each sleeve and the bottom of the shirt. This is the very last step of my process. It's a bit hard to see, but the shirt is inside out, the hems air folded up toward the wrong side, and I'm actually sewing with the right side of the fabric on top. So in a sense, I'm sewing on the inside of a tube all the way around until I end up where I started. It's easier to see when I saw the bottom hand, but this is a great way to have small tubes like sleeves and pants. Again. I'm not using pins, but I stopped every once in a while to adjust the fabric so that it feeds smoothly. If I've pressed my fabric well, the hems should stay up nicely, and I shouldn't need pins anyway. If I wanted, I could have sold the hems before I sold the sleeve and side seems while this is easier because you would eliminate the need to so in a tube, I think it looks messy because you can often see the end of the same when you were looking at the shirt. So to summarize, when sewing and preparing small pieces, chain them together. Don't cut them in between until you were done with the pile. If your item has more than one of the same kind of seem, for example, sleeves pockets, side seems, do all of those seems on one item before you move onto the next? Keep your pieces and piles according to size and give yourself lots of room to lay your piles out. You can use a large table or even the floor if it's clean. I try really hard not to use pins. Save them for the really hard stuff now. This was not demonstrated in the videos, but if you find you have to ease one piece into another place, the piece that needs easing toward the feed dogs easing a set and sleeve into the arms. I is a good example of this process 9. Pressing Tips: Let's talk a bit about pressing. The first thing to remember is to keep your garments in their piles in the proper order as you press so you don't accidentally. So the wrong pieces together now in home sewing, good pressing can make a huge difference in how well a garment turns out. Pressing helps everything lay where it should, which makes sewing that much easier and faster. You should love your iron almost as much as you love your sewing machine and expect to spend some quality time with it. In this video, I'm pressing the facings after I've surged the edges, which will keep it laying nice and flat. When I attach it to the shirt and collar, you'll notice I'm laying each facing in its natural curve shape and then pressing very carefully so as not to stretch the fabric here. Impressing my collars. I start by clipping the corners, then turn the collar right side out and then push the corners out further. I want you to notice how I roll the same with my left fingers as I pressed with my right hand. Now I'm left handed, so you may find it more comfortable to do this the other way around. As I roll on making sure the same is pushed out as far as it will go and that the seam ends up at the very edge of the collar or even a little toward the underside. You don't want to end up with the same visible from the top of the collar, so roll and pressed to get a nice, crisp edge here. Impressing my sleeve seems toward the body. To accommodate the curve under the arm, I press from the sleeve side and on Lee press the seam allowance. I try not to press the front or the back pieces. I very gently pull the body away from the sleeves as it curves so I can accommodate the curve without stretching the scene. I could also do this over a tailor's ham, but I have found it takes quite a bit of time to do it that way. This method still yields me decent results without stretching anything out, and it saves me time. Now it's time to press the sleeve and body hems notice I haven't sown the side and sleeve seems yet, because it's easier to press when I can lay the peace flat. Now I'm totally eyeballing the hem, but feel free to use a scene gauge when you do this. Now, when I so the side and sleeves, I will unfold what I'm pressing here. But when it comes time to sew the hems in place, it will be easier to turn them up because I've already pressed in the fold. And as I mentioned in the sewing video, I won't need to use pins to keep the heaven place. Also notice. I'm pressing all the hems on a shirt before I move on to the next one, and you can't see it on the screen. But I'm still keeping everything in my piles in the correct order. So to summarize, you want to keep your pieces in order in their piles. If you have collars, cuffs or anything with a similar seem, you want to rule your seem as you press. You want to try to perform the same actions together, so press all of your hands at the same time, press all of the same kind of seem at the same time, etcetera. You also want to press as much as you can on one piece before you move on to the next piece . And, of course, don't stretch your fabric and Suso 10. Closing Remarks: so there you have it. Thanks for joining me for a small batch production. So I hope you learn something new. I hope you got a lot of really good takeaways from these two classes. And I really look forward to seeing your projects in the class project section. Don't forget if you have any questions. If you need any help with any of the class projects, feel free to let me know. Write a note in the class discussion section and I will answer any questions or comments such I really enjoy teaching this class. I hope to do more in the future if you enjoyed it too. Don't forget to leave a review so that this class could be seen in front of more people who are looking to learn the same things that you are. We'll see you next time