Friday, January 27, 2012

Mass Producing the Handmade Way

I find the only way I can make and keep up with stocking is to sort of "mass produce" my items. Often this is done in big steps, this is about cutting. I use rotary cutters to pretty much cut everything out, scissors are used for trimming and snipping and some items that have curved edges, though I often rotary cut those as well.

I use primarily two sized rotary blades, 45mm, and 60mm and use two different sized rulers, a 6 x 12 inch and a 6.5 x 24 inch. In tandem and in use with my rotary mat I can efficiently cut all my items. The above pic shows both rulers used to cut an item that is 13 inches wide, using side by side, I can cut easily items up to 18.5, bigger then this I often use the markings on the rotary mat.

In this picture I have cut coin purse interlinings, I simply lay out interfacing to on the entire rotary mat, I cut and my needed size, and sub cut the width. Lucikly I am able to cut from three sides as needed on my table, which allows me to move around the cutting area. It takes a bit of practice to get the most you components to reduce waste.

This picture shows how little waste there is for me when cutting in bulk, this shows linings for totes, and small leftover pieces that go into wristlet handles.

Stacks and stacks of coin purses and such, stacked with their respective sized item. I cut most fabrics individually and often cut all fabric I have, so I have coordinate items ready at all times. Offline I sell items in sets so cutting it at that moment is a time saver, just stack by respective item.

I spent Thursday cutting, literally about 8-10 hours of cutting. During this stage I try to cut as much as possible to prep for ironing (which my husband does, see this post) and sewing. I plan the items to be made from each fabric and work to cut in most case all the fabric I have, if I have something 1/2 yard or less I almost is cut fully into items. Many items are fussy cut, so it needs one on one attention to make it look its best. I have several places and a pretty good system for sorting and stacking.

This is a three shelf bookshelf that I have on one end of my sewing table, I stack items here to keep somewhat organized.

This is stacks of a "new" item I am working on (post to be coming soon) on an ereader cover. This has been a bit of a challenge to get a good size, so I have actually cut a few times this item. As this is a new item and this takes 3 different sizes of interlining, I have had to label these as they are easy to confuse with other items. Cutting multiples allows me to do many at once without shifting gears, clearing space or tracking down a component during sewing.

These are tote linings that are awaiting their bags, this used to be a much more labor intensive task, thanks to my industrial sewing machine these are so much easier and kind of fun to make now. Work in like color both fabric and thread and it is easy to get a lot done in a shorter amount of time. These will be stored until bags and handles are ready. I am now confident enough in my items and all my selling outlets that for some of my totes I make 3-5 at a time. I am also trying to do more solid and more uniformed linings to help speed up production.

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