Sewing Assembly Line
Sewing Assembly Line
Since I have started this blog I have people contacting me all the time with questions and wanting tips. I have one tip that is seriously the most important and I want to share it with you today! The sewing assembly line is an absolute must!!!!! If you aren’t using the assembly line method then you are probably working harder and not smarter.
And since the holidays are fast approaching and you are probably like me and saved all your sewing until the last minute I wanted to share this technique with you through a fun holiday zipper pouch tutorial.
I have a lot of fun care packages to give out this holiday season, sneak peek (go ahead click on the picture):
So I needed to make a large number of zipper pouches. I have been hoarding Christmas fabric and so I wanted these pouches to be a real stash buster! Here are the things that I planned to use:
The key to sewing in bulk is to do everything in an assembly line. In other words do each step once. So get everything you need together and try not to go repeat any step more than once. I have done a zipper pouch tutorial before so I am not going to go into a ton of detail, check that post out first if you don’t know how to make a zipper pouch. I based the dimensions of my pouch on the size of the zippers I had on hand. They are 9 inch zippers so I cut all my strips to be 11 inches long.
I cut all the strips in random heights as shown above. Then go ahead and cut A TON more! Like I said cut all your strips now. I do not want to come back and cut these strips again! While I am here I am also going to cut the scrap pieces that will be attached to the ends of my zippers. So this is what you should have all ready to go:
Now we are ready to sit down at the sewing machine. Here is somewhere that you can save yourself a ton of time and materials by using the assembly line method. Sew one of the scrap pieces onto one of the zippers. Do not cut the thread or mess with the zipper, grab the next zipper and scrap and feed them directly into the machine behind the first one. Continue in this way until you have done all the zippers on one side. Do not cut the zippers apart. Simply snip the thread and push the first zipper back through and add the scrap piece to the second side of the zipper. Repeat the process pushing the zipper and scrap piece one behind the next until you have done all the zippers. The zippers should all be connected on both sides like this:
Now grab the strips of fabric that you cut. My pouches are scrappy and totally random so I just grab two strips and attach them. Go to town, attach all the strips together two at a time. Use the same method and just push the next group to be sewn into the machine directly behind the last one without snipping the thread. Once you have attached all the pieces together in this manner you can go to the ironing board and press them all. I always grab my computer and put on a show that I want to catch up on because the pressing can take a while! For my pouches I repeated these two steps one more time until I had groups of 4 strips. Another trick I use to save time is to line all the strips up along one edge (as you can see below.) One edge may be a bit crooked but if you keep everything along one side lined up you will have less cutting to do later on.
Once you have all your groups pressed and ready to go you can move on to the next step. I cut a piece of batting and lining piece for each strip. My pieces came out to be 9″x11″. I had 20 groups of strips so I cut 20 pieces of batting and 20 lining pieces.
Next I sat down at the sewing machine again and quilted all the strips to the batting. Again as you finish one piece just push the next piece right onto the machine. I don’t keep them attached, once I have sewn a line or two of quilting I snip the thread connecting the two. This still saves time and materials because each time you snip the thread you waste a lot if you aren’t using this method.
Once you have quilted them all you are finally ready to square everything up. Square them all and then we are ready to attach the zippers and start making the pouches.
So this is the part where it takes some organization to continue with the assembly line. Here is the system I use. You will want to make groups of the two outside pieces and the two lining pieces for each pouch. Line them up one on top of the other offset (like you would with papers one facing up and down and one facing left and right and so on…) Then go ahead and attach the zipper to the first piece of the first pouch. As I place the piece in the sewing machine I grab the remaining three pieces and place them in my lap. Then sew the zipper on and start the next first piece and zipper, leave the first two pieces you sewed attached until the second zipper is done. Then snip the thread for the first one you sewed and place all four pieces for that pouch into a new pile. Grab the pieces for the second pouch and place them in your lap and start on the third zipper. Continue in this fashion sewing the pouch and leaving the remaining pieces for that pouch in your lap until you can snip it and place it in the last pile. Continue this moving the pieces between piles until you have attached all four pieces to the zipper and you are ready to head back to the ironing board.
Press everything so that it is nice and stiff for the last few steps. Since it will be hard to press once you have finished everything!
Finish off all the pouches and then snip all the corners and turn all the pouches out. Making sure that you do each step only once. I sit down and snip all the corners and turn all the pieces out at one time. If you take time to sew one snip it turn it out that takes way more time than doing each step en mass.
The last step should also be done assembly line style, as I have done below.
That is it! Now you have a whole group (I have 9) of zipper pouches. This little trick saves a ton of time and lots of thread!
I just love how they all turned out!
You can find these pouches over on my etsy shop!
If you are curious about what I am stuffing my stockings with this holiday season check out my Rodan + Fields page or take a quick questionnaire to get personalized recommendations from me about what skincare you should be using! And lastly send me an email at Alicia@twokidsandablog to hear all the amazing deals I am running this month for new Rodan + Fields customers just like you!! (Spoiler one of them includes earning credit for all new customers you refer to me!!)
For more sewing tutorials check out my Pinterest boards!