Archives

Some UnConventional Sewing Tools

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing which I do on a daily basis to keep items available for my Etsy shop – www.etsy.com/shop/ToteworthyDesigns – as well as for my personal designs and treasures!!  I “LOVE” to sew and have many unconventional type tools that I use on a day-to-day basis to help make my projects easier and look their best.

Looking at the above picture – I will give you a brief idea of what I use some of these household items for to aid me in my sewing endeavors:

  • Flour Sack T-Towels – These are probably my all time favorite item to have on hand.  Not only are they a perfect item for your kitchen or bathroom but these towels make a wonderful pressing cloth.  They are big (26″ x 26″), lint free and you can lightly see through them when you are pressing your project.  The cloth can handle a hot iron and protects your fabric too.  I get them in white so I can bleach them, if need be.
  • Soap Scraps – I collect all those small soap remnants and use them for marking registration lines, sewing lines, notches, etc.  These soap pieces don’t clearly show up on white fabric so then I pull out a quilting type pencil.  All you have to do is steam them and the lines will disappear, however, if you can still see your soap marks, give a spritz of water to the mark and iron it out.
  • Wooden Spoon – These are great to help with turning items to the right side.  The long handle works good on narrow tubes and the rounded spoon side gives good smooth edges for pressing.  Should you get a rough spot on the wooden spoon, you can always smooth it out with an emery board (nail file) or some fine sandpaper.
  • Magnifying Glass – I use this when I sometimes have to verify my sewing needle information or checking out sewing stitches especially black fabric with black thread.
  • Envelope / Letter Opener – This makes for a great stiletto substitute or creating your own bias tape and need to be pressing very close to the edges of fabric and don’t want to burn your finger tips.  Mine is a metal style letter opener  and I just have to watch that is doesn’t get too hot when using with my iron.
  • Painter’s Tape – Great tape to use if you are working with clear vinyl.  You can tape your vinyl to your cutting mat to insure getting a nice straight cut line.  I also will stack several layers together on my machine to have a good edge for my fabric to follow for a straight stitching line especially if it is a really wide seam.
  • Magnet – Need something to help out on those occasions when you drop pins or needles on the rug.  I know they make expandable magnetic pointers too for those tight or out of reach spots that a pin always lands.
  • Cotton Swabs – These little gems work great to get in those small places to remove lint and dust from your machine.  You can always drop a little sewing machine oil on the cotton tip and oil those hard to reach places on your machine.
  • Small Mallet – I use this guy when I need to insert magnetic clasps.  This saves my fingers and nails when you have to push down the tab sides of your clasp.
  • Wire Cutter – This makes fast work of removing a shank on a button.
  • Small Can – I enjoy my Republic of Tea and the tea bags come in these very nice cans, which have a wide variety of uses – pencil holders, scissor keepers, cut Velcro, cotton twill tape, elastic, etc.
  • Old Medicine Bottle – Perfect to hold all my broken needles, bent pins, pins that the heads have come off – I just have punched a hole in the child proof bottle cap and drop those discarded pins into the bottle.  Doing this also saves your fingers when you are rummaging through your sewing trash can looking for scrap fabric to test your stitching.
  • Binder Clips / Paper Clips – Alternate method to hold several fabric layers together when pinning just isn’t the answer.
  • Calculator – Measure twice or three times but cut once.  I use this to double-check my math.
  • Small Flashlight – I keep this by my iron as the cover that houses the water is difficult to see through so I just light it up with my handy-dandy flashlight to see my water level.  I also keep a lint roller on my ironing board to “lint off” those cotton threads that always seem to be on everything.

I know that there are lots of things you can recycle too for helping to stay organized and making your sewing / craft rooms more usable – canning jars for buttons, makeup holders for scissors or rotary cutters, etc.  Please share if you have an “unconventional” sewing tool or idea that is unique to keep those “creative” juices flowing.

HAPPY CREATING!!

DIY Yarn Holder

Found this idea on Pinterest and revamped it to fit my space and the yarn that I wanted it to hold.  This was a really quick project to complete and I love it.  Filled a relatively useless space to store tons of yarn and it is very easy to see the color I want at a glance.

SONY DSC

I purchased 4″ diameter PVC pipes and cut them into 11″ long tubes.  Sanded the edges smooth and glued them together using PVC contact cement/glue.  Was a little wobbly so I used a small L bracket/angle iron and attached to the inside of one tube and then attached to the wall.  Try to find a stud in the wall to make it very secure.

Then the fun began, stuffing the tubes with the acrylic yarns that I use.  This idea is very versatile and can be designed in many ways to fit your space and store your goodies 🙂

HAPPY CREATING!!

Whoooooo Goes There??

Wow, Summer is moving right along.  Actually starting to make some stocking stuffers !!!

SONY DSC

Crochet Owl Pouch

I did come across a really cute little owl pouch pattern, which I found at 1dogwoof.com.  Here’s one of mine!!  Makes up fast but best of all, I came across the best striping techniques for crochet to keep those stripes looking nice and even when you are joining.

One of my favorite websites, PlanetJune has a couple of videos  you can watch to see her striping techniques.  I really like the invisible joining method as the outcome is fantastic.  It also makes for a wonderful fastening off technique so that you have a continuous looking stitch edge.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

If you are wanting to perfect your crochet striping, take a moment and check out these websites.  I know you won’t be disappointed 🙂

HAPPY CREATING!!

                                Nancy

Baby Blanket Finished

Well I finally finished the baby blanket adding the Ultra Comfy fabric to the back.  First time that I ever “quilted” a crochet project.

I thought it came out very nice and will be perfect to use as a cover for the car carrier or a good, thick and soft blanket to lay the little guy on the floor so he can stretch or sleep to his heart’s content and when he is about 2,  I can see him running around using it as a cape 🙂

SONY DSC

Finished blanket on top of wrong side of blue backing.

This is where I folded over the edge of crochet to create binding

This is where I folded over the edge of crochet to create binding

I’ve included some pictures on how I trimmed the backing fabric in the corners and did the machine stitching.  I did use a regular sized zigzag stitch length and stitch width for the edging.

How I trimmed the edge of blue fabric and the corners.

How I trimmed the edge of blue fabric and the corners.

Stitching

Stitching

Also, something to keep in mind should you try this technique, I only pinned and sewed 2 sides at a time.  Because the backing fabric was extremely soft and somewhat stretchy, I wanted to make sure that I got it smooth and somewhat taut to fit my crocheted blanket.

More stitching

More stitching

This way I stitched 2 sides and relaid it on the floor and pinned the other 2 sides and finished my zigzag stitching.  Once all the zigzag stitching was completed, I did make two stitching lines down the center of the blanket to hold both pieces together.  I just divided my blanket into thirds and used a longer stitch length than normal but not as big as a basting stitch and sewed it all together.  Also, I did change to blue thread in the bobbin to match the comfy fabric and continued using the white thread to match the top.

Completed blanket

Completed blanket

Ready for shipping

Ready for shipping

Now it has been wrapped and shipped along with several different sized beanies and a pair of thumbless mittens!!  

HAPPY CREATING!!

Progress Pictures for Baby Blanket

Well, I did find an awesome blue Ultra Comfy fabric (similar to a Minky fabric) to use as my backing for this baby blanket. Oh it is just so soft and comfy!!  It is all machine washable and tumble dry low which is perfect for a baby because you know how messy they can be.  🙂

I have already washed and dried the blue fabric and it came out wonderful.  It is just waiting for me to finish my crocheting.

Here are some updated pictures on my crochet progress for my special baby blanket.  Currently, my blanket measures 36″ wide x 28″ long~~adding another 5″ to the length.

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

I’ve decided that the edge of the blanket needs a little something.  I am going to crochet a small border of HDC (half double crochet) stitches around the entire blanket probably stitching in the BLO (back loop only) to give a nice finished appearance.

Then I’m planning to do 1 row of SC (single crochet)  join, chain 2, 1 row of DC (double crochet) BLO (back loop only) and then fasten off.  The SC and DC rows will become my binding edge that I will fold over the raw edge of the blue fabric.

I am planning to machine stitch the blanket to the crocheting to make it really secure.  I’ve also decided to make some small white hearts trimmed out in blue to randomly place across the top of the crocheting to help hold both pieces of fabric together.

Goal is to have everything completed within the next 10 days and will try to post some more pictures of the finished blanket.  I will probably make a little white beanie too!!

“HAPPY CREATING”