So far in my Holiday gift sewing series, I’ve talked about sewing for others without going crazy. I also shared some great pajama patterns for everyone on your sewing list. Today, I’m talking about why you should batch cut your gift sewing.
Why you should batch cut your gift sewing
Q: What is batch cutting, and why do I want to do it in the first place?
Batch cutting is cutting out literally a batch of the same project. I suppose you could cut out several different projects. Anytime you can cut out several projects at once, you stand to save yourself time later, so it’s all good!
For my purposes, in making pajamas as my gift sewing project for my family this Christmas, I cut out all the different sizes that I needed. The best batch cutting happens when you can cut the same pattern out in multiples.
Whatever your project, cut it out as many times as needed for all the people on your list.
Is there anything I need to remember when I batch cut?
There’s two things you might want to consider before you batch cut your gift sewing:
- Commit to sewing up your batch before you do other projects: this requires some discipline! When you have stacks of cut projects, they can weight you down mentally. And if you bag them up in any way for another day, you might forget about them entirely. This can lead to the dreaded U.F.O. pile. Unfinished objects are no fun to sew. So that stack gets done A.S.A.P.!
- Make sure you’re organized: Have all your pattern pieces ready to go, all your notions in one place, and enough space to contain all your batch cut efforts.
Easy steps to batch cut success
While it’s true that it takes a certain amount of time to cut 1 project, it often doesn’t take twice as long to cut a second version of the same thing. Weird, I know! Let’s break down how to batch your projects!
- Have all your pattern pieces ready to go. Set interfacing on your ironing board.
- Set out your fabric on your table. Lay out your pattern pieces, pin or weigh down pieces with weights.
- Cut all your pieces. Mark any pieces that need marks.
- Set any pieces that need interfacing on the ironing board in a pile.
- Repeat cutting with the next fabric. Add more to the interfacing pile.
- Fuse all your pieces with interfacing at one time on the interfacing. This will save you time of cutting out interfacing again, fusing it, then trimming it, and it doesn’t waste as much interfacing as you think.
- Trim away the extra interfacing around the pieces.
- Set each project in one pile. If it works for you, you can put them in a basket or a plastic bag, just make sure you’re not going to let that bag go into the black hole of forgetfulness!
Bonus tips to make you a batch cutting wizard!
Stack your pattern pieces the way you will sew them. Put a pin in to remind yourself which seam you’re sewing first. You can see here the fronts and backs are stacked right sides together at the shoulder. Repeat for as many pieces as possible!
Okay this is super bonus advanced: Consider cutting all your fabric out at the same time. This will work best if you cut your pieces in one layer rather than on the fold. Home sewing patterns are set up for us to cut on the fold, but flat cutting will be more accurate. And you can only do this if you’re cutting 1 project that’s the same size.
- Stack all the fabrics you need to cut.
- Take the time to line them up carefully. Use your best judgment on how many thicknesses of fabric you can accurately cut through. In industrial settings, they use giant saws, but at home, it’s just you and your trusty scissors/rotary blade.
- Make sure you have enough room to flip over pieces when you’re flat cutting.
- Weigh down your pieces with pattern weights/canned goods/rocks/anything heavy!
- Use a rotary cutter if you can for the best accuracy and speed!
Kiss your brain! You just saved yourself a bucket of time!
By now, you should have some good ideas on how the batch cutting process can save you some time. We’ve talked about what batch cutting is, things you need to remember when you batch cut, easy steps to batch cutting success plus some more advanced batch cutting tips.
Do you batch cut your projects? I’d love to know how batch cutting saves you time!
And don’t forget to pick up your free Holiday Sewing Project Planner. These little worksheets will have you all planned up in short order for a relaxing batch of sewing for others! Just fill in the form below to sign up for my newsletter and the planner will zoom its way to you!
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.