Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whatchyou Want...

...Baby I got it!  Or if I don't, I sure as heck know where to get it!  Ok, on to cool tools and other drools!

But before that...if there are tools, tips and what not's that YOU use and love -Pretty Please- share them with us!  We would love to hear more!

I suppose in some ways the tools you want/need depends on what type of things you want to sew!  Here are some great little gadgets that I have found very helpful.
From the top left to the right:

-Quilters Gloves are great for 'gripping' and maneuvering your fabric for free motion quilting or applique.  Garden Gloves will do the same thing...bet you have some of those, huh?
-A bobbin holder
-Painters Tape is great for cross-hatch quilting.  What?  Huh?  Don't worry, it will come.
-A JeanAMaJig is that little orange dude.  If you ever intend to hem Jeans, you'll want one of these to place under the back side of your foot for the added lift.  No...not in your shoe!
-A Peep Hole.  I just picked up this tip at our Sewing Retreat and made Pig Pen get me one immediately!  It's just a cheap door peep hole!  When you are laying out your quilts and you want to set darks and lights apart, it enhances the design and pops things right out at you!  Trust me...it really works!  Your mistakes will scream at you!
-A seam ripper...need I say more???
-A little slide rule.  You'll want this for hems.
-Now this next one is a personal favorite.  I think it is actually called a Bodkin.  Here is a close up:

I do not use it for what it is actually intended for (?), nor do I call it that.  To me it is a pokey-stick affectionately called "My Germ Stick".  I love My Germ Stick!  I use if for guiding bulky seams up under and close to my foot as I go along and it's great for poking out corners of fabric after it's turned.  Why do I call it a Germ Stick???  Because it can usually be found in my mouth!  You might find a Stiletto works well in place of a Germ Stick!
-Tweezers are great for pulling out stubborn little threads from just about anywhere.
-Extra machine needles size 10 to 12 generally.

On to the next:

Pin Cushions and Pins!  As you can see, I have a few  :)  Now the round hot pink one in the center is magnetic and I keep it next to my machine.  That way, as I am throwing pins, the magnet catches them.  All the other pin cushions are strewn here and there and always close at hand.

On pins, there are all sorts for all different jobs.  Glass Head pins are a must because they won't melt when you iron over them!  Flat head pins are awesome for working them under the machine.  This is where the extra needles mentioned above will come in handy should you hit a pin too :)  It happens!!!

Isn't that cute?  How fitting that it is made from an old canning lid?

Marking Sticks

I like the Sewline Pencils and have them in your basic lead for lighter fabrics and a white lead for darker fabrics.  I also have the marker with disappearing ink.

Next up:

-Of course you'll want your glasses handy. 
-And then shall we open a can of worms and talk thread???  So much to choose from!  I order alot of the sets from Connecting Threads when they go on sale!  You could just start off with your basic colors and eventually have every color under the sun to match your projects!  Every sewer has their own preference on brand, me...not so much yet.  I have Gutterman, Mettler, Coats and Clark, but mostly Connecting Threads.
-Clear thread looks like "fishing line".  It is awesome when you don't want to 'see' your stitches.  I use it all the time for sewing on Velcro, down the seams of a bag or when I have to Stitch in the Ditch (because I suck at it!!)
-Yet another tape measure!  The rolly-polly kind.  These are great for really large measurements.
-A notebook...take notes because you will never remember anything once it is out of sight and out of mind!  This helps when you decide a few months down the road that you are ready to use the same technique, stitch pattern or machine settings...and it plum left your head!

A spool rack is great for obvious reasons.  I will also put the matching bobbins under the spools to keep them together.

I keep my Connecting Threads in a drawer with their own bobbin holder.  Who knows why!

If you become serious about sewing, you will quickly get tired of lugging all your crap in and out of storage. 

I confiscated a perfectly useless area in the house and made it work.  It's not a big area, but I sort of like it that way!  If I had more room I would set it all up differently.  Since "I Don't Do Cute"...it'd probably still only be functional at best.  You should check out my MILs Quilt...Knit...Sew...Repeat blog post on her area set up.  It's pretty awesome!

At some point, it becomes an issue of cramming as much of your stuff in a workable area.  Storage bins come in handy and one of mine just happens to fit under my work table. 

I have all sorts of tins and storage containers.  I never throw a tin away, it can always store some do-dads like Velcro, elastic, etc.

This one is my "Finishing Tin".  Leather Thimbles are the BOMB!  Then we also have hair barrettes.  These work great when you don't want to pin a binding in place, just clamp the barrette over it!  And of course a few needles.  That little cream colored round thing...no clue what it is called, but it basically helps grip your needle and pull it thru the tough spots.  It's way cool!

Above my work table, I have a few shelves and then a piece of Muslin covered foam insulation.  I use this as a design board if needed.  It comes in handy just for keeping stuff in reach too.

You probably can't see my Pedal Mat in any photos.  This keeps you from chasing the damn thing around all the time!  Shelf grip paper would do the same.  (You'll see!!)
Above my ironing board, I have a slim shelf for holding my Ironing tools. 

Best Press....I looove it!  I'm cheap and dilute it :) 

You can make your own with Vodka and Water, then hit the bottle when you want to scream!  Also we have our chunk of Oak for setting nice crisply ironed lines and seams.  This is also good when you have a bulky seam sewn where quilt pieces meet up...you can literally "Smack It!" into submission and flat!

Jane you asked about the Turtle/Hare thing.  Well my Kenmore has that pictured, my Janome does not but it is the same feature:

See my arrow pointing to the slider?  That is the control that will internally adjust to your setting as to how the gas pedal responds.  So you could floor your pedal, yet still sew slowly.  It really comes in handy for tedious work or if you are over caffeinated!

Now some things that I am still drooling over:

A mini-seam iron:  I think it would be a nice little thing to have right next to your machine for a quick seam press.  Not that I have to walk far to my big iron...but still! 

Whoever said sewing is easy work is out of their minds!  It's alot of up and down, here and there!  You will get a different sort of work out!

Then there is this bad boy:

Sorta goes along with using the mini-iron...a surface to use it on!  This would be great for traveling too!  No lugging the big one!  It just attaches to your work area!

Remember I said I love good lighting? 

A Bendable Bright Light!  It attaches to your machine and it snakes where you want it!

I wonder if I could stand Pig Pen on the corner for this stuff???

Hmm..Pig Pen is pretty cute...Male Gigolo???


  1. Oh, you lost me on this one, I am a pathetic MESS! I am going to go ahead and put it out there, a confession.... my scissors can often be found in the kids art drawer, hubby cutting food products, AND IN THE GARDEN! So maybe this is why it doesn't cut fabric well? LOL.... Okay I'm convinced that it will be my first purchase and I WILL keep them away from the "others". As for the rest, I'm bookmarking this! I feel like I'm in Home Ec 7th grade studying for a test all over again! But you have got me motivated! You are right about the storage, I always kept my machine in the closet and now I repurposed a kids rolling desk and gave it a permanent place in my bedroom/office and it's staring at me right now and I no longer am putting things off until next month to learn, I bought fabric yesterday!

  2. When do you have time to use all this!!! You are stocked. What all do you make? You Really need to open an etsy, so what if YOU don't think its perfect, thats what makes it unique.Plus you could get more toys with the proceeds. Thanks for the list. I am going to have to print this out with pictures to make sure Santa gets the right stuff. Rotary cutter would be a pizza cutter in a man mind.

  3. You certainly nailed the gadget list!!! I couldn't sew without any of them. However, I prefer the Rowenta Travel Iron (the one we used on retreat) as my mini-iron. I have the one you show above but it just doesn't get hot enough. Oh, and I think I could talk Pops into making us the ironing board do-dad to hook to our table!!!! Ya think???

  4. Erin -I am so stoked that you gave your machine a home and bought fabric!!! What are you going to play with first??? Keep it simple so you don't get discouraged! I will have to find a picture of what prompted me into wanting to sew and show you guys. I will do that asap and then you can get a good laugh! Scissors are sacred. My grama used to tie a piece of yarn around the thumb hole of her good pair. Those were off limits. I know you have yarn!!

    Jane, sleep is over-rated once I get going on something. But I get distracted pretty easily and...my machine sat dormant for months over the summer and it was very lonely during the height of canning season. Now that has slowed some, I can happily make a few things here and there. And omg I laughed so hard at the pizza cutter! I never thought of that but you are SO right!!

    Jan, thanks for the tip on the mini iron! See...this is why I wanted feed back! Sometimes you 'think' something would be cool until some one you trust chimes in and says not so much. I might have to tell Meg to scrap that idea for bday! And don't you be worrying about that ironing board. Clear?

    I am waiting for Mama Pea to chime in also. I know she is a passionate quilter and probably has a zillion tricks up her sleave! I finally found her quilt blog, but it's so lonely there... :) so I can at least tell you guys, it's alot to OOOH and AAAHH over! Very beautiful work she does!

    And I don't know if you guys checked out Jan's room or not, now there...that's a set up. And she didn't even show her long arm machine "ROOM". Yeah...room.

  5. Hahaha! You could have been taking pictures in my quilt room, right down to the Connecting Threads thread!

    I've never gotten a germ stick (why not?) and I agree with Jan in that I don't like the mini iron. (Although that's probably because of my clutziness . . . I kept grabbing it down near the flat iron 'cause I wanted to press harder. Can you say aloe vera quick, please?)

    I also have a Big Board which is invaluable if you do a lot of big quilts. Soooo much easier for final pressing than a normal sized ironing board.

    I think your post did a great job of reminding just how much "stuff" we really need (not all acquired at once, of course!) if we do a lot of sewing and/or quilting.

    Once again, GREAT post.

    P.S. Go ahead. Pile on the guilt about the loneliness of my quilting blog. I have wide shoulders. I can take it. SOB!

  6. Ok, Mini Iron is officially struck from the list!

    MamaPea, thanks for weighing in! I don't want to burden you with guilt, wide shoulders or not! But I am really looking forward to your mode switching from the garden to your crafty space! :) Not that I am pushing, more like a hefty shove...did you feel it? xoxo

  7. Ooof! I'm picking myself up off the floor from your encouraging shove. ;o) But it probably did some good. (Gosh, you mean there are people out there who think they would actually like to read my quilting blo again?) Where's that outside clean-up/get ready for winter when you need them!?

  8. MamaPea, that's probably where I lack discipline...your garden from start to finish looks so picture perfect and mine...wellll not so much. It's never overtaken with weeds, but never as pretty as yours. So you just keep doing what you do and we will wait till the cows come home for you! I promise!

  9. I think you guys have more tools than Adam and I have!

  10. Pops, I think you are out of your gourd! I know you don't smoke crack, so it can't be that!