Tag Archives: tools

the humble glue stick

[Comments come and go without my changing a thing. Have clicked on the option that asks for your email, which isn’t published. Let’s see if it works. I sincerely apologise for this dratted inconvenience.]

How have I missed knowing how handy this little gal can be in the sewing room???

I’m not sure if every glue stick has the same properties, because whoever writes the labels doesn’t say what it bonds to what.

I used it to bond fabric to paper, but since then I’ve read it will bond fabric to fabric and it washes out. Works great for placing zips and pockets and scads of other things.

Who’da thought? Do you use one, Dear Readers? Do tell ❣️

🍂 it’s friday ❣️ 🍂

Lots of reading/listening and a bit of sewing going on here at Chez CnS, with colder weather (YEAH!!!) ushering in last weekend’s time change, and again this weekend.

Results of my thimble experiments are in and not good. The Medium is too big for my finger. Whaaaaaaaa! 😣 However, I’m hoping they will not be unused for long. . . .

FYI: A Size Medium thimble may fly off your finger if a tape measure wrapped snuggly around your thimble finger’s digit is smaller than my 1-7/8″ digit. Not written in stone, because fingers are different with different amounts of taper, and differing styles in hand sewing. Just saying Mediums flew off my finger. 😉

The new “ergonomic” seam ripper is fine, but I’ll probably wrap something around its’ too-slippery handle as my hand slides down it towards the metal. I keep having to move it back up into my hand. The handle is longer and thicker than others, but other than that, ergonomic it ain’t.

An updating project to change the pockets on my only denim skirt was completed. The skirt got lots of winter wear when I lived farther north. (Be aware that if you’re out and about in snow in a skirt this long, the bottom of your skirt may get wet.)

Snow isn’t a problem down here so I left the length for now, but those pockets bothered me. I took them off, adjusted the linings so the white didn’t outline them, removed the cute buttons, and discovered my phone fits with room to spare. Unfortunately, boots won’t get worn with this skirt in this climate. Not cold enough. 😪

A huge Thank You to whomever recommended the Louise Penny books, and my apologies for not remembering who it was. I’ve listened to the first, Still Life, and the 13th, Glass Houses. I listened to the third, The Cruelest Month, the week of Hallowe’en. Perfect timing. 👻 🙀

It is wise to start with the first book, as a Lovely Reader suggested—whose name I also don’t recall so please forgive me. Although I was fascinated and horrified by the subject of the more recent Glass Houses, there were a few things I didn’t understand because I didn’t know past history; however, that did not detract as far as I could tell.

The 13th, Glass Houses, includes an interview with Ms. Penny and the voice and stage actor Robert Bathurst, who took over reading after voice and stage actor Ralph Cosham’s death. More on their creative approaches to writing and acting in another post.

Any Elizabeth Peters fans amongst you, Lovely Readers? Does famed Egyptologist Amelia Peabody Emerson ring any bells? The last of that series, The Painted Queen, read by the incomparable Barbara Rosenblat, also came home for a rollicking listen. (click the pic to link to site)

Author Barbara Mertz has herself gone to that Great Pyramid in the Sky, so this story was completed by Joan Hess, as mentioned at the start of the audio book. As Ms. Rosenblat came to the end, I must admit regretting there will be no more.

The first recorded book I ever listened to was read by Ms. Rosenblatt, and she’s thoroughly spoilt me for anyone not up to her standards. If you like to listen whilst you sew/crochet/whatever, you can’t go wrong with something she’s done.

Today’s Friday and I hope everyone has great things planned for their weekend. I know I do… fingers crossed… 🍂 🤣 😂 🤣 🍂

unpicking pockets (aka, refashioning)

This has become a somewhat muddled accumulation of maybe too many things, and if I ever get all the old links linked properly it will be a minor miracle, which is why I’ve been putting off writing, but here goes . . .

Sewing terminology:
  • Refashion – To make changes to an existing garment, such as cutting a dress to make a skirt, or blouse; or combining pieces of fabric from several different garments to make a new garment.
  • Seam ripper – A small tool used to remove stitches.
  • Unpick – To unpick is to carefully remove stitching, frequently, a seam or seams.

This summer—still considering it’s summer as we’re still having some 80 degree days— I’ve been doing more refashioning than new fashion.

Must say its felt like an obstacle, like an unending pile of repairs to be completed before going on to the fun of sewing something new.

Thus, it’s been surprising to read online that refashioning is so current. What? I’m on-trend?! 😳

What’s being/been chopped up? Basically, dresses made roughly five years ago. I hadn’t been inclined to wear them at all this summer, and needed more tops, so . . .

Also several hems were raised from the waist instead of re-hemming as there were hem features I didn’t want to disturb. Oh, and several pockets got added to existing items. Plus two pockets removed from a dress-that’s-now-a-blouse.

Then along came Love to Sew’s Refashioning podcast, including great suggestions I can use for a certain very holey linen knit. (Intentionally misspelt because it’s faaar from “holy.” 🥴)

Do popover and at least scroll through all the wonderful examples listed. Just looking at them should give you ideas. It did for me.

Then The Fold Line included a very intriguing BBC programme about forecasting trends…

“When the distinguished trends forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort provides her vision of the future in her General Trends Books, her pronouncements are eagerly awaited by those working in the worlds of fashion and design. She talks to Mary about the reasons behind the one forecast she’s made that the fashion world hasn’t wanted to hear – Fashion is dead. However it’s not all bad news as she shares her thoughts about the trends she thinks will be influencing what we’ll be wearing in the very near future…”

Her web site mentions concepts of forgiveness, understanding, comprehension, and compassion.

Li Edelkoort: “We need to trust our instincts to build a better future, full with genuine love towards ourselves and others, even those at fault. . . Desire needs to be embedded in empathy.”

In keeping with her thoughts, I do feel good about my summer’s very different kind of sewing, partly because some old favourites are “new” again, and combine with other pieces for more use.

Now for the refashioning thus far . . .

The rayon top (used to be a dress) works well with the cut offs made several summers ago. I’d like to make another set or two like these, as they are in constant rotation. (Click pic to go to 2013 dress.)

This green cotton print was originally made in 2013 and got a lot of wear. When I decided to cut it off I cut it a bit longer, because of the neckline gathers. They make the waist wider.

That meant I needed to cut into the two side seam pockets. That meant I needed to unpick those pockets. (Now the title makes sense. 😉) However, that wider waist is making me a tad nervous because it can get windy here… we shall see how it works.

The black linen skirt I’ve paired with this is one of the skirts shortened from the waist to save the skirt vent. It was originally a full length RTW dress I cut into a skirt and blouse. (Click pic to see original green dress; no photo of original RTW dress.)

Phew. If you’ve made it all the way you deserve a treat. Your choice! I’m opting for dark chocolate… 🍫

improvements & a useful tool

Have been washing and filing fabrics again this weekend, as well as digging out more of that chaotic pile and putting it in order.

As part of straightening out I’ve finally gotten a little mirror hung in my closet, to check how jewellery looks with my outfit without having to walk across the room to the door, (and away from the jewellery). No, I’m not being (too) lazy!

Sometimes that distance makes for a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, when a combination just won’t come right. I’m grateful to have it resolved.

Continue reading improvements & a useful tool

one can never have too many pin cushions

When I saw the 2 pieces of this bright fabric, along with matching trim, I knew that’s what this had to be.  Thank you, Sewin Love for such a great gift!  Must have meant to be, as I even had perfect thread-to-match!

Kind of made this up as I went along, sewing the trim onto half a strip of black rayon seam binding and then inserting that between the 2 fabrics before stitching around, taking care not to point the corners too much, nor catch the binding itself in the seam.  In other words, treated the trim as if it were piping.

Stuffing it was good fun.  Deciding how to handle the bulges of trim at the corners was a design challenge.  😉

Whilst hand sewing after stuffing I noticed the binding was sticking up and the corners didn’t exactly look… finished.  So I hand-tacked the trim edge to the fabric all the way round, sewing the trim together at the 3 corners.  Much better!  Am thinking about adding a loop of the binding, so it can hang… what do you think?

an awl is your friend

I got mine out yesterday to do a little job on a shoe… but it’s also good for lots of sewing-type things, like belt holes and anything else that needs a quick little hole made.

Handy gadget to have, but keep it safe!  I’d have mine, above, in a cork, but then it wouldn’t have stood up nice & straight.

😉

serger tail gizmo

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Ruminating about massive amounts of green fabric and staring at the blouse patterns I hope to work on, I suddenly remembered a small needle-like gizmo, with a large eye on each end, that’s perfect for working serger ends into seams. With all the cutting & serging I did, the inside of the green striped cotton knit looked like a spider’s web of tails, and that would neh-vah do!  That little process is what’s illustrated above.

Being fair, one can also use fabric glue on the ends of each seam, but that takes time to dry, and the brand I used to use dried stiff. This soft cotton knit shouldn’t be handled that way, so this little gizmo came in quite handy!

Note: My ancient serger is a 3-thread serger (or interlock machine). The 5-thread ones don’t need such attention; don’t know about the 4-thread ones. Serger and interlock are interchangeable names for the same thing!

PD/ Forgot to include a view of the stretch stitching I did around arm, neck, & hem. Used regular machine, as I am not up to switching everything around for a rolled hem edge on serger.

stitch used for arm, neck & hem
stitch used for arm, neck & hem

green buttons… what green buttons??

actually, this is the remnant of the remnant, which i'm keeping, just in case...
actually, this is the remnant of the remnant, which i’m keeping, just in case…

It all started with this wonderful remnant of greens from some time last year. I couldn’t resist it, and decided it needed to become a simple sleeveless tee-smock-dress-whatever would fit.  Then suddenly the weather turned cold, and sleeveless was the last thing on the To-Do list.

Enter current hot, humid summer. And this pattern, picked up on sale somewhere… a great simple design (as in won’t-need-much-fabric).

Last Saturday I got everything out and stood on my head trying to lay out the fabric evenly. Guess what? Those stripes come and go, and they are NOT a straight line.  I needed 2 folds, so the fabric had to be folded evenly on both sides, toward the middle, so they met in the center. Think about how a staple looks from the side – each end folded over toward the center. That’s what I needed to do.

Normally I’d just start flipping each side of the fabric toward the center and slide it around until I got the proportions and grain right.  Nice idea, but cotton knit is slightly fuzzy and likes to stick to itself.  grrrrrrrrr.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t measure twice and cut once, as the DIY shows say… there’s a reason why there’s “lovely detail”  at the bottom of this.

On the plus side was getting the serger switched from black to white thread, adjusting the loopers so they were more or less correct, and generally becoming intimately re-acquainted with my ancient machine.  Another reason for a slight lapse?  Maybe, but I’m sticking with “creative detail.”   🙂

is this alllllll???????
is this alllllll???????

Yesterday afternoon, tired of sewing more layers onto the bottom, I thought about adding a just-decorative button or two at the neck.  Then I poured over my button stash and came up with… only 4 mismatched green buttons?!  How could I have allowed that to happen? And I’ve got all this green fabric??

Ruminating about that and staring at the blouse patterns I hope to work on, I suddenly remembered a small needle-like gizmo that’s perfect for working serger ends into seams. With all the cutting & serging I’d done, the inside of this thing had a spider’s web of tails and that would neh-vah do!  That little process I’m sticking into a post all it’s own.

Laura's green buttons flying cross country to moi!
Laura’s green buttons flying cross country to moi! (photo from her etsy store – thank you!)

While engaged in that project I went back to thinking about how to get some good green buttons… quickly.  Obviously the shops hadn’t had much, or I’d already have them.  Enter etsy… and the wonderful world of online search machines & photos.

On the first page I found my green button stash… er, it’s beginning.  WitNWhimsy, owned by Laura Pytlik, had this great group of green buttons and I had to have them.  Great price – great location – great selection, and they’re in the mail as I type!

I also ordered a wonderful Anne Adams pattern, but more about that another day.  Remind me tomorrow to tell you about the other Saturday fiasco project…

complete except for button trim!
complete except for button trim!

florian pinker

Absolutely fell in love with this device Karen had me try out when trimming my summer dress fabric. Going back to ‘regular’ pinking scissors later this week for the rest of my fabric (cottons & rayons) is gonna be a trial. So…

I looked up Florian pinkers online and found the manufacturer here, and YouTube video (below).  There were also various examples for sale on etsy & ebay.

Not endorsing this, just saying I loved working with it because it not only holds & draws the fabric into the little cutting gizmos, but you also don’t get an uneven line because you never have to reposition the cutters. Video says they’re good for all weights of fabric, leather, and heavy crafting papers, too.

Not ready to purchase a new one, tho’.  Will wait until I spy a real 1930s version, as that’s my fav era. The company says they’ll refurbish a pair if they’re not working properly, or dulled. So if the price tag is right, I’ve got dibs!

Manufacturer does ship internationally, or lists dealers that will.