Full throttle

17Oct10

I have finally finished the Simplicity 9369 jumpsuit. Unfortunately there are no pictures yet because it’s too dark. Hopefully I’ll have some for next time, if hopefully is the right word to use about images of me completely failing to look like a Charlie’s Angel.

I was really surprised to get it finished this weekend. Sometimes a project seem to drag on forever (hello, Vogue 8667) and others just fly by. I think the fact that this one was clearly never going to be perfect caused me to throw caution to the winds and jam the sewing machine pedal firmly to the floor. Normally when I do this disaster strikes, but apart from sewing the centre back to the zip at one point I got away with it. This started me thinking about ways to go even faster.

My machine is no slouch but I am starting to wonder if the time has come to buy an overlocker (serger for non-Brits) for knits. The jumpsuit fabric is a fairly heavy cotton jersey. My machine has got a ‘super-stretch’ stitch which gives a sort of overlocked finish. It is great for knits, but you have to go round afterwards with scissors and trim the seam allowances up to the outside of the stitch. That’s slow and often leads to accidentally cutting things I don’t mean to. But then I’d have to thread the overlocker and find somewhere to keep it so it would have to be a big improvement to be worth it.

I often sew things slightly out of order, or don’t press every seam immediately after I sew it, in order to reduce trips to the ironing board. I figure that as long as I can reach the seam when I do press it, and I haven’t crossed it with another seam in the meantime, it doesn’t matter how soon I press it.

I also often don’t finish seam allowances on lined garments. If they’re going to be enclosed why bother? It does depend on the fabric. If it looks like it’s going to fray I will at least pink it.

I read somewhere (probably Kathleen Fasanella’s blog) that in industry they don’t sew facings or linings on with a 1.5cm seam allowance and then trim, they just cut the pieces with a smaller seam allowance in the first place so no trimming is required. That sounds like a great optimisation to me, but I suspect I’d forget I’d changed the seam allowance when I actually came to sew the seam.

Finally I suppose the key is to practice. I’ve certainly got a lot faster since I started sewing.

Anyone got any other ideas for speeding things up?



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