I recently completed a sewing project and got to looking a the tools that i use. Some of my sewing notions are not really made for sewing. I want to share with you what they are hand how I use them.
Orange manicure stick
Used as a stiletto. You can purchase an actual sewing notion stiletto but i am sure that you have one of these around the house that you are not using. I like the orange stick because it has two ends depending on what and where I am trying to direct the fabric. Being made of wood, the stick is able to grip the fabric, this is something that I am not convinced a metal stiletto can do.
Sticky notes / Painters tape
Used to mark seam allowance on bed of my sewing machine. For sticky notes I use post-it super sticky 4″X4″ as it holds up to a lot of piecing, and you can write what the seam allowance the sticky note is placed at.
Painters tape does almost the same thing as the sticky note. I will use painters tape if i am sewing long seams, as I can mark the table and sewing bed so my seams are not wavy. Why painters tape and not masking tape? Painters tape comes in bright colors (blue or purple) that stand out from the sewing machine (usually white) creating a high contrast that is easy to see. The adhesive on the painters tape is designed to cleanly be removed even after long periods of time. Masking tape sometimes does leave adhesive behind after you remove the tape.
Quarter (or a different sized coin, it depends on your machine)
Yes my sewing machine came with its own screw drivers but sometimes they just do not fit in tight spaces. I keep a quarter in my sewing machines toolbox that attaches to the front bed. There are some screws on the bed of the machine that are located where there is not a lot of room to maneuver a screw driver. The quarter easily fits and allows me to loosen and tighten the screws as needed.
This is a more common tool, but still important to mention. I keep this next to my sewing machine and serger. Make sure that you are using it with the straw that comes with it. NOTE: you can damage your machine / void your warranty. Please read your user manual that came with your machine. This service can also be done at your local sewing machine sales/repair shop. Every few projects I de-fuzz my machines. This is an intimidating task the first time you dismantle parts of your sewing machine, but with practice it does become easier. This fuzz builds up not only from the fabric that you are sewing with but also the thread. That’s right thread. Some threads are better than others. Rather than worry about the fuzzies that the thread is going the leave and not use it, practice cleaning your machine and use what ever thread you like.
Locations that I de fuzz:
1. Very top where the thread spools and bobbin winder is.
2. Inside the top of the machine where the upper thread is zig zag through.
3. This is the most intimidating one. Inside the bed of the sewing machine. There is no shame in taking pictures with every item you remove to remember how to put it back together. Some manufactures have made access to this area easy by having the strike plate snap in and out. Some machines you may have to remove some screws to remove the strike plate. I remove the plate and my drop in bobbin case. Throughly remove the fuzz i can see with a brush, then use the canned air. I also notice that i get fuzz build up in my feed dogs. this can usually be removed with and orange manicure stick or tooth pick.
4. After i have put my machine back together I wipe down the sewing table and usually vacuum. There can be some serious dust bunnies in there.
Cup (a pretty one)
I keep a cup next to my sewing machine for the little thread snips, fabric snips and used needles. Some people use a sheet from their sticky fabric lint roller for this. I do not use the lint roller sheet because sometimes my projects a bulky and I do not need to keep removing a sticky lint sheet from it while I work. Or worse, sew it to my project by mistake.
Lighter (or match and candle)
I use this to seal the ends of synthetic ribbon or cord so it does not ravel. Briefly and slowly bring the ribbon close to the flame. This will melt the ribbon and seal the ends. Practice first with a scrap piece of the same ribbon so you can get used to how fast it will melt.
Comic book boxes
I own a ton of paper patterns. I have tried several types of storage options for these patterns from baskets to binders. I still have the same problem. Patterns are often different sizes, some are more bulky (like multi sized clothing patterns after you have made a garment and shoved the tissue back into the envelope…i am guilty), and they come in different styles of packaging. I discovered that comic book boxes are the perfect size to store any type of pattern. The box is almost the size of a bankers box, but skinny. The boxes that I found at my local comic book store (happened to be in a local mall) are archival quality and are double sturdy.