4 May 2022

Tilly's Number One Tip for Speedy Sewing (with Video!)

Tilly's Number One Tip for Speedy Sewing (with Video!)

Sewing to a deadline? Practising for the Sewing Bee?! Or maybe you just don't have much free time to sew and want to see quick progress with your projects...

I know the feeling for all of the above! So I'm a fan of time-saving techniques when it comes to sewing.

Want to know my NUMBER ONE tip for speedy sewing? Find out in the video...

In the video, I'm wearing my needlecord Erin dungarees, AKA our unofficial TATB uniform - at least half the team have an almost identical pair now!

Pinning the waist band to the bodice of a Tabitha t shirt dress

So what's my secret to speedy sewing? 

Task batching.

You may be familiar with this productivity strategy from your day job - or even your personal admin. The idea is that, if you do tasks of the same type at the same time,  you save a lot of time and energy transitioning between them.

With sewing, this means that, rather than following pattern instructions word-for-word - pinning a seam, stitching it, trimming the seam allowances, finishing them and pressing, before moving on to the next seam - you pin as many seams as you can, before they need attaching to something else or crossing with another seam, and only then do you move onto sewing them. You then sew as many as you can, then trim as many as you can, and so on.

This can save a surprising amount of time to cut out all the moving between sewing machine, overlocker, ironing board... pulling out and putting away different tools... and even just the mental energy needed to switch gears between tasks.

Make It Simple book coverSewing shortcut steps in Make It Simple book

I love task batching so much that, in my book Make It Simple: Easy, Speedy Sewing Projects To Stitch Up In An Afternoon, along with the usual in-depth photo instructions you'll find 'Shortcut Steps' sections included for each main sewing project, which reorders the instructions for a task batching approach. This even includes handy little tick boxes so you can enjoy the satisfaction of checking off your progress - woo!

If you haven't tried task batching before and want to give it a go, start with a pattern where the construction is relatively straightforward, like our Indigo smock top and dress or the Billie sweatshirt, or try it on one of the patterns in Make It Simple where I've reordered the shortcut steps for you!

A Tabitha t shirt under the foot of a sewing machine with a hand holding the project in place

Of course, this is NOT to say that you have to sew fast if you don't need to, nor is it to negate the enjoyment of the process. If you have the time, by all means, take it slow!

But if you are busy, tired, sewing to a deadline or simply want to make progress with what you're making in a short space of time, then give task batching a try. It really does save a lot of time and energy.

P.S. If you liked this, you may also like Five Tips for Speedy Sewing and Five Shortcut Features on Your Sewing Machine.


Make It Simple is published by Quadrille (Hardie Grant)
Photography: Ellie Smith & Jane Looker
Stylist: Clare Nicholson