Hello everyone! My name is Michele and I am honored to be one of the contributors for this year’s Chalk and Notch Blog. Find me on Instagram, where I share all my adventures in sewing, DIYs, or whatever creative fun things that pop up while having fun in the desert state of Arizona… LOL.
Let me tell you that I love Chalk and Notch patterns. It’s the quality of the patterns that make me always excited when a new pattern releases. Out of all of the patterns from Chalk and Notch, the Pony Tank is what I call a “package pattern”. A piece that you can wear for any occasion, with almost any type of knit fabric, and it comes in more than one style (tank and dress). When I have that type of “package pattern” that’s when I like to batch sew several. I want multiples of them right now!
What is batch sewing and why you should consider it
Batch sewing is when you sew multiple items of the same thing at once. This helps to be efficient with time and supplies. Since the fashion industry experts use this technique, let’s apply some of those tips to help us cut down on sewing time at home. Here is a video I found online that shows how a garment is made in the industry (not affiliated). Looking at the way a garment is manufactured I saw things like layering fabric on top of each other and cutting out all the pattern pieces at once. Sewing, pressing and applying whatever needs to be done to all the fabrics before advancing to the next step. Now I’ll show you how I applied these tips to my Pony tank batch sewing.
My tips for Pony Tank batch sewing
Select a color palette
I wanted to make several Pony tanks at once so I selected fabrics colors that were similar in color tone and/or shade. Solely for the purpose of making few thread changes in between each fabric color. My goal was to only have one color of serger thread and having as few as possible thread spools changes for the sewing machine.
Keep the fabric content the same
One of my favorite places to shop for fabric when it comes to batch sewing is at StyleMaker Fabrics. Not only do they have a wide variety of fabrics in their shop but they also provide several color selections for each fabric. A bonus feature is that you can also order matching thread for your fabric. They help select the thread that matches best. Makes shopping so easy. Based on the fabric recommendation of the pattern I went with a mid-weight cotton jersey knit for all of my colors and keeping the color palette in the blue-ish scheme.
Layer all fabrics on top of each other while cutting
This means layering all the fabrics on top of each other and using an electric rotary cutter. The best tool I found for this is the Reliable Brand at-home electric rotary cutter Here. It cuts through so many layers of fabric at once like a hot knife in butter.
Ideally, you should have each fabric layer flat and not folded. If you are wondering about the “ On Fold” edge of your pattern, you can flip your pattern pieces over to cut out a whole pattern piece. Use chalk to outline the pattern piece for accuracy.
Or, be a rebel like me and cut everything on the fold. WARNING: this is not ideal and do it at your own risk but I was able to achieve this while using a very heavy pattern weight. Use your own judgment or cut everything out individually.
Prepare everything before sewing
Have all your threads ready and bobbins spun.
Press all bindings in half and fuse the knit hem tape ahead of time before you sew.
Sew one step in each fabric before moving to the next step
Whatever step you are on, sew that step with each different fabric before going on to the next step. Since the Pony Tank can be sewn with mainly a serger you don’t have to worry about changing out the thread color. If you don’t have a serger and are using a sewing machine, you can still just use one color for the inside seams. The only time you may want to change out the thread color is for the hem and topstitching which will all be done at the end.
Sewing sequence tip (My opinion only)
Once you have sewn the shoulder seams and applied the neckband, I like to apply the armhole bands next and sew them in the flat, before sewing the side seams closed. If you are worried about the serger tails at the beginning and the time it will take to weave them back into the serged seams, don’t worry. Here is a video where I show you how to take care of the beginning and end of your serger tails with the machine itself.
All done!! I stay home with two young children so with frequent breaks and obligations to attend to it took half the day to cut and sew all four of these tanks. What are some of your tips to help with batching sewing? I would love to hear in the comments.