Adding to the Arsenal

Recently I picked up a couple new gadgets that are really handy for buttonholes!  First, I got a set of chisels from the hardware store to use as buttonhole cutters.  I was looking at the ones made for sewing and realized it’s just a chisel.  So for a couple bucks, I got a set of four.  I’ve found the 1/4″ and 1/2″ inch ones are the most useful.
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I also got a Simflex Gauge.  This is a cool tool.  It takes the guesswork out of button placement, and is a lifesaver if you’re math-challenged, like I am!   (I noticed these are sold out at some online retailers, but I was able to find it on Amazon.)

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It’s especially handy if you’ve made changes to a pattern, and the buttonhole markings are no longer equal.  (Which is what happened to me when I did the SBA on my Hawthorn dress.)
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It’s got markings so you can accurately measure the distance from the edge of the fabric too.
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It can also be used to measure out perfectly equal pleats, shirring/smocking, and bias strips.  And when folded down, it’s not too big, so it’s easy to store.
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Have you discovered any great sewing notions lately?

How Did I Live Without …

Ever get a new sewing notion or tool, and think “how did I ever live without this?!?”   That was exactly my thought after getting this:
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My first rotary cutter and cutting mat!
Cutting out has always been my least favorite part of sewing.  I dread it.  And it used to take me forever.  But not any more!  (Well, I still don’t like it, but I think I hate it a little less.)  I am surprised at how much faster it is to use the rotary cutter.  I was scared of it at first, and thought maybe it wouldn’t work well for garments.  But I’ve found that if I am patient and careful it works great.
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I opted to get a large mat (actually it’s three large pieces that get clipped together) and a size 45 mm cutter (I read that this was the best size for garments). I’m happy with both choices, except the mat smelled really bad when I first got it. I soaked it in the bathtub with some dish soap and then left it in the garage to air out before I could handle keeping it in my sewing room.  The other bonus, the rotary cutter is much kinder to my wrist than shears!  Yay for great sewing tools!!

As a bonus, here’s my first rotary cut project – a muslin of Gertie’s pencil skirt!  (This pattern is awesome, btw.  Finished pics hopefully soon!)
Gertie Skirt Muslin

Magnets are a Stitchers Best Friend

I love the little things that make life easier. Like magnets! They are the perfect sewing helper.

Check out this handy magnetic strip that my husband got at the hardware store. It’s meant for holding screwdrivers and such, but I think it makes the perfect scissor station. (True confession: he bought this for his workshop in the garage, but I stole repurposed it when he didn’t hang it up right away!)
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Now my scissors are always with reach, and not hiding under my fabric or patterns or whatever.

Also I Recently got a magnetic pin cushion. (Or should that be holder? There’s nothing cushion-y about it.) It was love at the first use. I think these should be renamed ‘flick-and-stick,’ or something. Seriously, I pretty much toss my pins at the direction of the holder and they stick right to it. And when I hear that dreaded ping that lets me know I’ve dropped a pin on the floor, I just wave the holder around until magnet snaps it back up. I fell in love so hard with the first one, I bought a second one to keep next to my machine at all times.
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Oh, and speaking of the hardware store, I also got this toolbox to use as my sewing box. It’s not the prettiest thing, but it was less than $5. And it’s a lot sturdier than the much pricier sewing baskets I’ve seen at craft stores. Also, my tape measurer fits perfectly in that little oval compartment on the top!
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I might have to get some stickers or something to bling it up a bit though.

What tools have you come across that make your sewing better/easier/more organized?

The Little Things

Sometimes the littlest things can make or break a project.  I’ve been deconstructing these curtains, and my seam ripper has been fighting me all the way.  Today I gave in and bought a new one.  I had a slew of Joanne’s coupons that were set to expire, so I figured it was a good excuse to get some new notions.

I picked up a Clover brand seam ripper.  It’s awesome and super sharp.   I shouldn’t be this excited over such a small tool.  But it’s making my life easier.  So happy day!
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I also picked up some glass head pins (no more melted pin heads!)
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And got some flexible stitch markers.  I’ve been eyeing these little puppies for a while.

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So what little tools make you happy?