Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sewing notions from the hardware store

There is something about a good hardware store. Beyond being the only place one can still buy Chuckles, the hardware seems to have something for everyone, and in my case that everyone is the avid seamstress.
Take my favorite sewing notion: the magnetic dish. Time to toss the old plastic pin holder with the scratches and the crack and the falls-apart-every-time-it-falls feature. It's time to upgrade to this grease-monkey standby. Here's the standard metal version for the purist among us:

And a more exciting version in hot yellow so you can't miss it!
Look how strong these suckers are! I can even think of a few horizontal surfaces that could benefit from a magnetic holder this strong, like my ironing board.   

My next favorite hardware store sewing notion are the heavy duty spring clamps. I use these to hold down material on the cutting board. Really helpful for straightening the grain. If I have a particularly bad piece of off-grain fabric (like a cheap muslin) I'll use several of them to clamp down each side and stretch the grain into submission. For well-behaved fabric, I use them to hold the salvage end while folding over the length for layout and cutting.

I made good use of these handy small-hand sized wire cutters and pliers when taking Gertie's Bombshell dress class from craftsy.com:

They are small enough to easily snap each side of spiral steel boning (yup, they really do "spring" apart!). If you get big honking wire cutters you just don't have the dexterity to cut a single rung on the spiral steal. These do the trick.

And last but not least, a small box cutter is THE BOMB for ripping out stitches and cutting button holes. If it dulls just snap off a segment and you have a new sharp tool that works much better than a standard seam ripper.  I even it to nip threads.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

And away I sew!

One of the reasons I've been ambivalent about starting my own sewing blog is that I couldn't think of a catchy name. Then, just a few minutes ago, while updating my profile on patternreview.com, I used the phrase 'and away I sew!' when describing my fitting eureka moment. Here's the full profile post on Pattern Review:

"I started sewing in High school, desperate to make something that would fit my lanky 5'11" frame. My first project was a teal skirt (this was '84). It was bad, but that's when bad was good.  Since then I have sewn for companionship (I used to travel for a living and so did my sewing machine), for family (my niece and nephews have some cool costumes), and for love (men's button downs, and I finally found a keeper). For a while I stopped sewing out of fit frustration, my greatest barrier: shirts that ride-up the front of my neck. This was a constant consternation for me. I had a fitted sloper, so it wasn't a bust issue (I'm a D so have done plenty of FBAs), so I shied away from most patterns and resigned myself to wearing camis and turtle necks. But then I bought Kathleen Fasanella's book and her section on improving product rocked my fitting world. In just one sentence I understood my fit issue. Since then I simply make a small adjustment to the CB neck height of any pattern and away I sew!

So hello fellow sewing enthusiasts! My intention for this blog is probably similar to the rest of the sewing community's: to document specific techniques I like so I can easily refer to them for future projects. I hope my contributions are helpful to others as well.

Happy Sewing!