Five Efficient Tips for More Creative Quilting Time

Cute as a button pillows in front of Capsule Quilt by Jen Carlton Baily

Few quilting artists have all the time they want for creating fiber art & quilts. But accomplishing more–while still enjoying it and doing a good job–is often a matter of efficiency rather than speed.

Here are some ways to work smarter and more efficiently without rushing or taking shortcuts that could compromise your quilt art.

1. Get set. Chefs have what they call their mise en place, French for “putting in place” or set-up. Instead of traipsing all around the kitchen as they work, they gather all their ingredients for a dish together so that they can just measure, chop, and add without leaving the spot. You can do the same with your quilting supplies, iron and pressing board, etc., so you’ve got everything handy when you begin.

2. Pre-prep. Wind a dozen bobbins and cut all your pieces before you begin. That way, you can stay in the flow without stopping to wind or cut.

3. Stick to glue for basting (most of the time). Instead of pinning or hand stitching, use spray adhesive to baste your quilt sandwich–or use fusible fleece as your batting. A fabric-friendly glue stick used lightly will also help keep binding in place as you stitch.

Cute as a Button Pillow by Ebony Love

Cute as a Button Pillow by Ebony Love

4. Batch your sewing and pressing steps. Example: chain-piece all of the half-square triangles together without cutting them apart. Move the entire string to the ironing board and press assembly-line style.

5. Embrace precuts and die-cuts. Precuts like jelly rolls and charm packs give you more time for designing, stitching, and quilting. And die-cuts not only help you design but make applique and custom piecing a breeze.

If you’ve never used a die-cutting machine or want to learn how to get the most out of the one you have, Ebony Love is the go-to expert. Check out her Quilting Arts Workshop, Die-Cutting for Beginners, to learn how to creatively and efficiently use die-cuts. Then put your skills to use with our curated collection of projects in the Fabric Cutting Machine-Friendly Quilt Patterns eBook.

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