Today I am sewing a sample for the shop!
here . It is called Renew Me.
This post is pretty detailed, because I wanted to give an example of how I try to stay organized when sewing a project. It has organizational tips as well as how to add in speedy techniques when a pattern doesn't specify them.
(So, if this seems overly detailed, or confusing, I won't mind if you just skim over it)
My first step when sewing from a kit is to familiarize myself with the fabrics.
Kits can be put together in different ways. Sometimes, we start with a pattern from another designer. It can be a purchased pattern or a free pattern that often accompanies a fabric line to specifically showcase those fabrics. We hope that the yardages given are right on. Usually we go through and try to suss out whether the requirements are overly generous, or too scant. Sometimes we even cut and sew one kit to see what's left over afterward. That way we can tell whether we should change a recommended amount. Other times, we cut a bunch of kits when the fabric has just arrived to make sure that we don't run out of a crucial fabric before we get the sample sewn.
So, for this kit, we cut all the kits using the recommended yardage on the pattern.
There are 18 fabrics in this quilt! Thaat's quite a few to keep straight, so I decided to make a reference chart!
The fabrics are all tagged with a reference letter, so I cut a little swatch from each and stuck them onto a piece of paper to keep close at hand!
Often when you download a free pattern, the writers have tried to squeeze all the info into a small space so that the pattern is short and fits into one or two pages. Because of this, they often use bare bones instructions, and rarely utilize strip-piecing or other time-efficient techniques.
So, I usually read over the pattern before I start cutting the fabrics to see if there are some ways that might make the sewing faster.
The instructions often have you cut individual pieces and sew them together one by one. Often-times you can sew strip sets and sub-cut units to make the sewing process go much faster.
In this pattern, I noticed that most of the blocks were composed of strips:
You can see the block outlines in grey. The finished size of the block is 8", and in the cutting instructions there seem to be a lot of 8-1/2" rectangles called for. This is a big clue that it will be easy to strip piece the units rather than sewing them separately!!
It is also helpful to see that the little grey block diagrams tell you how many of that block you need to sew in all. If I strip piece the sections, and then sub-cut 8-1/2" blocks, I can tell that I could get 5 blocks from each strip set (5 sections x 8-1/2"= 42-1/2")
So I decided to start sewing blocks one type at a time. I could see that Block 2 is the easiest. I will need 9 blocks total, so if I sew 2 strip sets, that will give me 10 blocks, so that is perfect-- I'll have one extra.
As I cut the strips, I check off on the pattern what I've cut. (above)
I also keep track of what i've cut from each fabric, but this isn't neccessary. I just like the illusion of control.
Now I have most of the easy ones done, and it is time for me to go sew Block 5!!! (only 2 strip sets-- i'll get 10 blocks instead of the called-for 12)
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