Sunday, July 01, 2018

A few of my favorite things...

I've been spending loads of quality time in the Sewing Cave. And as I was working on my last couple of garments, I was thinking of how much I love using my favorite tools...so of course I thought I would share them here with you.

1. My Kai Scissors


I bought these from Wawak when they were on sale and love, love, love them! They are sharp enough and cut neatly through anything. They are lightweight in my hand and don't hurt to use. I presently own one pair but when they go on sale again, I'm buying another pair! Because while I know many of you are fans of rotary cutters, I'm a scissors girl through and through.

2. My Dritz Pins and Magnetic Pincushions


I bought these pins after using them at Gaylen's four years ago. I love how they glide through most fabrics, are lightweight and pressable. Also since they have colored heads, I can find them when they fall on the floor. The Dritz pins are in the first magnetic pincushion.

My magnetic pincushion also comes from sewing in Gaylen's sewing room.  She bought her's from a hardware store but I bought mine online from Amazon. Again multiple sources both online and locally to purchase both the pins and the magnetic pincushions. As you can see from the picture above, I store two different types of pins for different fabrics. 

Right now I'm using two magnetic pincushions but I'm thinking about adding a third smaller version to the ironing board...we'll see!

3. My Pressing Shoulder


I bought this years ago off of Etsy when Ann from Gorgeous Things shared it on her blog. I love this pressing tool and use it for ANY curvy seam now. Initially when I bought it, I used it for shoulder seams of sleeves but over time I've incorporated it into all of my pressing needs.

Of course my source doesn't make these any more.  If you want to add one to your pressing tool collection, Gaylen sells them on her blog, here.  Reach out to Gaylen, if you have any questions about them.

4. The Make-up Brushes I use to clean my sewing machine


I own canned air and use it in various places in my sewing cave. But when I upgraded my sewing machine and serger, I stopped using it in my machines. Instead I bought some cheaper make up brushes to clean my machine. After a few years they went kaput so earlier this year I invested in a better set of make up brushes to clean my machines. 

Honestly got these really cheap because they were on sale and my local Walgreens offers points, so I used the points to pay for these. They have bristles that don't shed and softly clean the insides of my machines. Since I sew a lot, there is a lot of fuzz collecting in my machines and I try to keep them clean between sewing marathons.

5. Shout Color Catchers


I buy these in bulk from Amazon because I put them in EVERY dark colored and some print fabric pre-washes. Since developing this policy, I haven't ruined a piece of fabric which occurred from time to time prior to this. I bought them in a large (56 count) box last year and am still working my way through the box. I love having them on-hand whenever I need to set up the washer with some fabric!

6.  My button collection



Now that I'm making more shirts, I'm loving my button collection more and more!  I've collected enough different types of buttons that I can usually find something that matches or coordinates with my fabric. Also since I use to work for a button company, I usually have at least 2 dozen of each button. I've stored my buttons in embroidery thread boxes. This allowed me to store them by color because there were plenty of sections to store different size buttons.  They are stocked on two shelves on my computer table and are easily accessible when I need to rumble through them.

7. My Duckbill Scissors


I have several types of scissors, my Kai ones were mentioned above. These Duckbill/Applique scissors make the list because they are perfect for grading seams, notching seams and getting close to tightly sewn areas to cut things/seams for any reason. There are presently three pair in the sewing cave. One in my scissor block between my sewing machines, one in the drawer under my cutting table (where my other scissors and rotary cutter is stored) and one on the ironing board. I hate looking for things that's why they are kept at all of these places.

8. The Hump Jumper


This tool has been a godsend while making shirts. I've used it ALOT! It's also great for starting bulky seams in jeans, jean jackets or anywhere the fabric is thick. If you don't own one you should be able to purchase it anywhere notions are sold both locally and online.

9. Janome Noise Reducing Anti-Slip Sewing Machine Mat


I put this under my serger because it tended to travel all over my sewing table when it was in use. Since I've bought it, my serger is glued to the table top.  One of my best buys EVAH! It was purchased from Amazon but if you Google it there are other options if you don't like the Big A.

10.  Schmetz Needles in the 100 packages


About three years ago I started buying packages of Schmetz Universal Needles in 100 needle packages from Amazon. I have them in all sizes from 60 to 110. I'm just sad that I can't purchase the stretch or denim needles in these size packs! As I said I purchased these three years ago, right before I started this job and I haven't bought a needle since then!  Seriously the best investment, because I never worry about having a sewing machine needle when I need one.

So this is my Top Ten Favorite Things. Do you use any of these items in your sewing space?  Or do you have other faves?  If you want, share what you like below! Also, how do you store your tools? I would be interested in hearing about that too!

Finally, I was never contacted by the winner of Barbara's book so I've pulled another name - Marlene Golden - please contact me with your email address! Thanks!


...as always more later!



27 comments:

  1. As soon as I read it, the ear worm started: hello, my name is Joe! And I work in a button factory! If you don’t know it, it’s a pretty cute kid song. The item I’m most envious of is the duckbill scissor, I’ve been wanting one for about 25 or 30 years but that splurge hasn’t happened yet. I blame the death of brick and mortar local fabric stores, I’m in a fabric dessert. The one that tempts me least is the hump jumper, I’ve used folded cardboard for years. I had the same piece parked under my free arm and frequently used for about five years once. My favorite is my ham, because it seems like something I would NOT have bought so early in my sewing but for some odd reason I did. It has made me happy for a long time now.

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  2. Amen to the big packs of needles. Very cost effective. It never occurred to me you could get mats to go under the machines. I’ll have to try that out for my overlocker, thanks for the tip!

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  3. I'm so with you on the buttons storage. Having everything together in glass jars looks all nice and colourful especially in pics but wait till you actually need a couple, the nightmare begins lol

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    1. Chioma - I know what you mean cause I have a "leftovers" button jar and it's always an adventure when I pour it out on the table to find a single or a couple of buttons for a project! Plus I swear those picture perfect sewing rooms can't be sewn in becasue where is the mess?! *LOL*

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  4. Some great favourite things there and some are so simple but make sewing life so much better. I love my Kai scissors that I splurged on 30 years ago, even thought they were sharpened last year, the tip is slipping when they cut :( I also have some magnetic pin cushions and love them but really want some great pins. I'd love some duckbill scissors too.

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  5. You can buy denim and stretch needles in bulk from the Schmetz website.

    https://www.schmetzneedles.com/category/SCHMETZ-Needles-Household-Bulk-19

    Not affiliated, but I bought some for my mom.

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    1. Deb - Thanks for the link! OMG - I'm use to paying the $30 for the package of needles so hello sticker shock at the prices for the specialized needles. I will keep the link though because I'd love to have the denim and knit needles when my present stock gets low.

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  6. I was a solid Gingher girl until I bought a pair of Kai scissors. They are the best! I'm gonna buy a pair of duckbill and a pressing shoulder because of your recommendations. Shout color catchers are a must for every sewist!!! Karen

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    1. Karen - I understand. I was a Gingher girl to the max and then I bought a pair of Kai's and it changed my life. I'm not giving my Ginghers away but they won't be replaced.

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  7. I wasn't feeling too much envy until I scrolled down on the button collection. New life goal--emulate Carolyn's button stash!

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  8. I'm gonna be putting some stuff on my Amazon wish list for Christmas!!! LOL! The color catcher is one I would never have thought of, and I'm astonished I didn't because it happens, every time I think it won't happen.

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  9. I have everything on your list - except the noise reducing mat - which I might need to get. Sounds exactly like what I need. I use the color catchers when I wash all my quilts too. g

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  10. I have been using the magnetic pin holder for years. I got the idea from a blogger that I no longer see anything about her and think her name was Wilamet or something similar. She purchased this in the auto section of Walmart where I found mine. I like how you segregate the pins and may have to copy that idea. Thanks for link to Dritz pins. I also use the color catcher sheets, fabric and clothing saver for sure. I have not tried Kai scissors have always been a Gingher girl and love my duckbill scissors also.

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  11. I got mine on ebay a LONG time ago. Here's a link: https://www.ebay.com/i/282807626100?chn=ps

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    1. Lynda - thanks for the link but those are more expensive than Amazon and I've bought the stretch ones in packs of 25 for a little less on Amazon too. Then again if you've had yours for a long time, the prices may have been cheaper when you bought them!

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  12. I have a huge button stash as well, but far from organized like yours. Must get on that! The hump jumper....like someone else I use cardboard or I use the other end of the seam, which is the same thickness of course, and put it under the backside of the foot. So handy. And the anti slip mat...I had purchased the anti slip cabinet liner on the roll for another purpose, but it sure works great in the sewing room under the machines and foot pedals on wood floor.

    And I very much so agree with needles in bulk.

    One of my favorite things is not an actual sewing tool, but I use it as one. An Elmers glue stick. I use the heck out of those things. I baste slippery fabrics or anything I need to match with a glue stick (in the seam allowance), touch it with the iron to dry it quickly and sometimes add a couple of pins on a long seam then sew. NO MOVEMENT or shifting and have never had a problem with it NOT washing out. Always has. No more cursing when a stripe or plaid doesn't match because of fabric shifting.

    And something I use to store a lot of my tools is those over the door shoe holders, the ones with clear vinyl pockets. I have metal shelving like yours for my fabrics and use the shoe holders in the front of my shelves. I took some wood cut to fit the top hem for support and attached hooks and hung from the top of my shelves. If I need to access the fabric behind, I easy lift it up by the wood support and move to another section of shelving.

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  13. Recently, there have been comments on the net about magnetic pin cushions. One teacher will not let you come to her class without one. I've been sewing much longer than most of your readers are old, so I've tried a LOT of methods to keep pins from scattering at an inopportune moment. I caved and bought a magnetic pin dish. Perhaps you or one of your readers has a solution for the downside, as there is a downside. When reaching for a pin from the dish, I invariably get more than one stuck to another. When I pick up my scissors, if the scissors have been near one of these pins, there is at least one pin stuck to the blade of the scissors. If there is a solution for this, I'd love to know it, Maybe you and/or your readers have figured this out. Thanks.

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    1. I have experienced what you said so my solution to the pin bowl is that I don't overfill the bowl AND I make sure the pins are laying flat. Otherwise it's just remembering to keep the scissors away from the bowl to stop the magnetic affects.

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  14. Great tools! I second the Color Catcher, and have even torn it in half for smaller cuts of fabric (it still worked fine). I learned the hard way to use this when I ruined a border print!

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  15. I too use makeup brushes to clean my machine - they work great. I've added a wrist pin cushion to my top ten, it works great when I'm moving from my machine to my ironing board and back again or to my serger back to my machine.

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  16. What an amazing button collection! And that's on top of your great fabric collection. I love the way you've organized everything.

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  17. I just bought a 100 pack of stretch needles last week from amazon! https://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00A814HPK?psc=1&ref=yo_pop_mb_pd_title

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  18. I read this post 2 days ago and it started me to thinking and thinking......One of my mostest favoritest of all sewing notions are my silk organza press cloths. I've been sewing for decades but I only got my organza presscloths about 6 years ago- they are fabulous! Almost transparent and firm but lightweight; I had no idea they would make such a difference in my ability to press well. Another of my favorite notions is my tailor's clapper substitute. I have 2 smaller blocks of wood and 2 antique children's shoe lasts - 1 wooden, 1 Bakelite and I use them to help press so many things. I also love my little plastic width gauges- they are both blue plastic and they are like squares with different size arms. They measure about 2.5 inches across and they have lots of little measurements in inches and fractions of inches; so easy to stick in a pocket and whip out for every little measurement from 1/8 in to 2.5 ins. Another fave is my 120" long measuring tape. And I too have a pair of much adored Kai scissors - this pair goes back maybe 25 years? They were sold under the Dritz name at that time and they have turned out to be a wonderful bargain. The Walking foot for my regular sewing machine is a complete must have - it's made a huge difference in my sewing over the last 2 decades; I won't be without one. Lastly, I'm very fond of Sewer's Aid - it's a little bottle of liquid silicone that I mostly use on my thread, especially when I'm winding bobbins. You don't need much - a drop or two is plenty, but it seems to really help keep bobbin threads from tangling like, EVER. Thanks for sharing yours - may have to get the ones I don't have!

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    1. Thanks helenko for adding your faves here. I use quite a few of these too and couldn’t complete a sewing project without them!

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  19. I ordered the Janome serger mat from Amazon. The big change I noticed was how much quieter the serger is on the mat. Thanks for the suggestion.

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    1. Mazzano Blue - no problem and I'm glad it worked for you!

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