Eleventh Hour Sewing

Eleventh Hour Sewing
The angst that comes from being aware that multiples of something to sew right now is necessary, and in a short time, equates to the kid cry for help on their science project unbeknownst to all due tomorrow, or the work report that is critically necessary to present in hours just announced by the boss, or high school/college student due-tomorrow-project not yet started. Yes, The Sewing Eleventh Hour is upon us.

It is that time when many holiday sewing projects have been breathlessly completed and mailed off to their final destination, or safely wrapped and under the decorated tree awaiting soon to be delighted visiting family and guests or yet, still in the (now in chaos) sewing area awaiting just final touches can bring a sigh of relief. However, a nagging feeling arises...

Suddenly, it would seem, comes the realization that a number of work colleagues or neighbors or reciprocating obligations comes to a sewer’s mind – how to sew, and fairly quickly, multiple sincere gifts for that holiday office party, neighborhood annual holiday get-together or for those who have been especially kind and helpful during the year? A sewing assembly line is surely needed!

After the anxiety has settled and the recognition that in order to sew many gifts that are quick and simple to make yet will show thoughtfulness and caring it is time to put into action an efficient sewing assembly line. Thank you, Henry Ford, for improving upon the assembly line concept. Think as Ford did - subdivided labor and fluid movement of materials, and how they can be applied to last minute sewing projects.

Although it is widely known that Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or even the assembly line (he improved it greatly though) today’s home sewer can borrow from his insight. It does not matter that the home sewer did not invent the sewing machine or the step by step process of assembling for example a garment from a paper pattern, the process of mass production (well maybe multiples of production as discussed here) can be applied.

While family members or weekly coffee klatch gatherers, volunteer connections or book club circle of friends may not be agreeable (lack of time or appropriate skills) to participate in an exercise of subdivided group sewing labor (even as a fun holiday endeavor, but then again those aligned in an informal group may be the intended recipients!) the sewing work needed to produce multiples of an identical item can be subdivided into grouped tasks (labor).

Consider the component parts (tasks) of a simple enough item to produce in multiples. For example, sew a lavender sachet.

Labor (in this case tasks) would be grouped as - first assess the fabric stash – and yes there will be a fabric stash available as every sewer will attest to. You know who you are! Most likely there are large enough, about one-yard or so, of fabric yardages available that would be useable to cut and sew into multiples of the same item. Launder all fabric (if new) then press smooth and fold.

Second, cut into multiples of 10-inches by 4 1/2 inches wide with short end placed on the fold (one less seam to sew).

Third, with right-sides together, stitch long sides using a 1/4-inch seam. Pink raw edges (not the fold!) if necessary, to prevent raveling. Stitch all before moving onto the next task.

Fourth, Fold down the top over itself about 4-inches. Turn right-sides out. Do this to each item. Press all.

Fifth, fill the open sacks using about 1/4-cup of uncooked rice and 1 teaspoon of lavender buds.

Lastly, secure a ponytail elastic or rubber band tightly around the top to gather, and encircle with a ribbon tied in a bow. Insert an artificial floral pick under the ribbon if desired. A lavender floral pick would give a hint as to the fragrant contents.

Fluid movement is essentially a nod to smooth work flow. By completing one task for all component sections before moving onto the next, an efficient work flow is produced that improves time to completion on a standardize product, in this case the lavender sachet.

Note: If a lavender sachet is not really a consideration when gift giving intended recipients, consider filling the fabric sack with hot chocolate or spiced apple packets and slide a small wooden spoon under the ribbon tie instead of a floral pick.

By emulating the subdivision of labor and fluid work flow movement of Henry Ford’s moving assembly line, how to sew multiples of the same item when approaching the Sewing Eleventh Hour may not seem so daunting.

Quote attributed to Henry Ford, “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.”

Sew happy, sew inspired.

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This content was written by Cheryl Ellex. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Cheryl Ellex for details.