production cutting

Tips for Production Line Cutting

When you’re set to do a load of cutting, you’ll work more efficiently if you have a system in place. There are a few techniques for this and the aim is to find the best solution for you. Now I say this because not everyone is going to have the same steps or work flow. Factors such as work space, the type of items you’re cutting and the materials you use all contribute to how your system is going to pan out.

For example, someone cutting a bulk lot of kids shorts is going to need space to stack the shorts in bundles as they are cut. Their workflow flow for cutting may look something like this –

  1. unroll and check meterage. Check for flaws in the fabric and mark them with a safety pin at the selvedge
  2. place pattern pieces in the most economical way taking care to follow grain lines, pattern matching and avoiding any flaws
  3. mark shapes, sizes and notches onto fabric. I generally trace pattern pieces onto the fabric with a soft pencil or biro and mark sizes within a seam or hem
  4. cut shorts and stack each garment as a complete bundle (ie the front pair and back pairs stacked together)
  5. discard scraps as you go (a tall laundry hamper or plastic bin is good for this)
  6. keep a tally of what sizes and how many of each you’ve cut as you go
  7. slide the fabric up the table and arrange ready to trace and cut the next lot.

I use a table like the one pictured below where it has a space for you to add fabric swatches, the sizes you’re cutting, the number you need and a spot to keep a tally of what you’ve cut as you go. If you keep one of these sheets for each garment you cut, you’ll have a way to go back and check any discrepancies at a later date.

You can download the Exel file here.  Cutting Sheet example

production cutting materials

This process can be repeated till you’ve cut as many as you need. Once you’ve done with the fabric, move onto any other fabrics needed for the item. If any pieces require interfacing, keep these separate and cut all together.

Cut elastics all in one go. Make a mark on your cutting table or ruler to save yourself measuring every single piece.

Once all your pieces and trims are cut you may need to fuse interfacing. Always use a pressing cloth to save your iron or steam press from any excess glue. Remember this is the iron you’re going to be using to press the finished garments.

Count out your labels and keep them in a little shallow container to sit beside your sewing machine. This is a way to double check you’ve cut and sewn the correct number and sizes. If you get to the end of your sewing pile and have a set of labels left over then something’s gone wrong!

Now you’re ready to prepare the sewing machines which I’ll be covering in a future post. To be sure not to miss out why not subscribe and have it sent your inbox. Just enter your preferred email address in the subscribe box on the right and it will come automatically.

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4 thoughts on “Tips for Production Line Cutting

  1. 2crochethooks

    Great ideas and tips! I would hate to cut 50 of something but this would be handy even if you were just doing two. Not that I messed up just cutting two or something……but if I had….it would be very handy to have read this first!

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