Finding Time to Quilt

5 Time Saving Tips and Tricks

In my recent reader survey (which is still open for responses) many people said that time is their biggest challenge when it comes to quilting. Interestingly enough this was the biggest challenge noted in my last survey two years ago. With that in mind, and in the interest of service to you lovelies, here are my 5 tips for finding/making time to quilt.

I sew quilts to make money. This is literally how I feed and clothe my children. I currently have five quilts that have been custom ordered that I need to get sewn as quickly as possible.

Here’s how I do it:

1. Schedule it in

What does this mean? It means actually write it on a calendar, in a planner or in your phone when you are going to quilt. If you really care about it you will find the time. Now, you may work full time or have five kids or any other number of things going on so you might only have half an hour here and an hour there. Still, schedule it in and that brings me to point number two.

2. Batch your tasks

If I only have an hour I want to make the most of that hour so I will use my time efficiently. For example: two of the quilts I need to sew are of the same style so I cut all the squares for those two quilts at one time. Tomorrow I will be cutting out background squares for two other quilts that are different but have the same size background squares so I will cut those two quilts at once.

Photo of a WIP from two years ago that’s still sitting waiting. I don’t get everything done either. 🙂

Yesterday I had two quilt tops to baste and this is a bit of an ordeal because I have three kids and a dog. I have to sweep and mop my floor and keep everyone away from where I’m working while I have quilts laid out on the floor so I want to get as many done at once as I can. Two quilts basted is better than one. If you have several tops sitting around waiting for quilting take them one step further by basting several at once. And that brings me to point three.

3. Spray Basting

Basting with pins is time consuming, painful and all around annoying. If you love doing it that way than rock on with your quilty self but I find it is much faster to spray baste. I use 505 basting spray in my kitchen.

I first cut the batting to size off the roll. Then I lay it out flat on the floor. I lay the quilt top over the batting and smooth it down. Lifting one corner to the centre I spray the underside and then carefully replace that corner and smoother it out again. I continue in this way for the other three corners.

I lift the now spray basted top and batting up and lay out the freshly ironed quilt backing on the floor (face down). I lay the batting and quilt top on top and smooth it out again as before and then lift the corners to the centre as before but this time I am lifting the top and batting together (naturally because they are now stuck to each other) and spraying the underside of the batting.

One person asked me how to baste quilts in a way that prevents puckers and spray basting is how I do it. Quilting with pins I found resulted in more puckers for me plus I had to keep stopping and taking out the pins. This spray basting method is what I swear by. Truly though, you want to be in a well ventilated area and do not breathe that stuff in. Also, don’t over-do it with the spray and really get it pointed where you want it so you don’t have more clean-up afterwards.

I had those two quilts basted in an hour yesterday and was finished in time to drive my son to hockey.

4. Quilting

Actually quilting the quilts is tedious to me. I might feel quite differently if I had a long arm machine but I don’t so it’s a bit of a chore. Trying to sit and quilt a whole quilt at once is really hard on the body and not advisable so I would suggest breaking it up into hour long chunks of time with breaks in between. I can usually get a twin sized quilt quilted in four hours so an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and then it’s finished in two days.

5. Binding

I do enjoy hand binding but I really don’t have the time for it and it’s not realistic to do on quilts that I’m selling. Hand binding can easily add four hours to a project and that brings the price up. To keep the cost down and save time I machine sew the binding. I can usually get a quilt bound in under an hour by machine binding. I will do my own video tutorial on this in the future but in the meantime Cluck Cluck Sew has written about it on her blog (that’s where I learned it from) and Amanda from A Crafty Fox has done a video tutorial on it as well.

I hope this helps jump start some ideas for you on how you can save time and get more projects finished. If I think of more I’ll write another post.


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