Every Time I Sit Down to Piece

Do you know the phrase “mise en place“? I have a little ritual every time I sit down to piece at my sewing machine.

IMG_1891 (1)

Sometimes I go many many years months between sittings, so instead of beating myself up or feeling intimidated each time, I start with my little index card reminder. It takes about 30 minutes to complete, and looks like this:

Preparing Machine for Piecing 1/4″ Seams

  • clean machine (pipe cleaner)
  • oil machine (see manual) & run without needle
  • #13 foot with seam guide
  • tape guide & graph paper
  • feed dogs up
  • check 1/4″seam without thread first
  • Neutral prescentia 60wt thread
  • New 75/11 of 70/10 needle (use screwdriver to change)
  • Check chair height
  • stitch width: 0 Stitch length: 2
  • Tension:
  • needle down
  • sew sample and check tension


I keep everything I need for setup in a little box in my closet. I bring it out and take a deep breath as I uncover my sewing machine. Once my list is completed, I find I’m centered and ready to start on my actual project.

What about you? Do you have a ritual every time you sit down to sew? What would be on your list? Am I leaving anything out?




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