Crafty sew and sew in Dorset

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My Top 10 Sewing Tools

I had a bit of a tidy up in my sewing corner today and started to think about the amount of sewing paraphernalia I own and what items I use almost every time I sew something.

I have shown my sewing space before here, it’s not huge but I’ve packed it with all the necessary sewing gadgets and some other bits that are just helpful occasionally.

I use a plastic tool box for my daily tools, mainly because I needed to be able to take them with me when I attended sewing lessons with Sarah and just kept it.

I have an Ikea desk with two drawers. The large drawer holds craft kits, sewing threads that don’t fit on the wall and haberdashery such as elastic and my bias binding makers.

Clearly my two machines are my best sewing tools but I thought I would run through my top 10 used items.

1.

My walking foot

I was fortunate enough to be given a walking foot with both of my machines. I ignored it for years on my husqvarna Viking machine until I made my Grainline studio Cascade duffle coat at my sewing lessons. Sarah showed me how to fit this scary looking machine foot and it transformed my ability to pattern match all those plaids!!

Now it almost lives on my machine as it makes all pattern matching so easy. I only switch foot if I need to add a zip etc.

2.

Long tweezers and washi tape

These tweezers came from my dad’s engineering workshop!! I was pulling my hair out trying to thread my old overlocker as he offered them to see if it would help. My new janome overlocker actually came with a pair of tweezers and it makes such a difference if you need to rethread (ie when you try to knot the new thread to the old but it gets jammed somewhere!).

The washi tape is really helpful to mark seam allowance on the machine or to tape slippery fabric to pattern pieces when cutting out.

3.

Seam ripper

Need I say more!! I have several cheap and cheerful ones so I have one close by at all times!!

I have seen a few people with larger clover ones and tempted to upgrade but unclear how they keep them sharp. I find these ones are great for a few months then get blunt but at £1 each I just replace them.

4. -7.

Magnetic pin holder

I tried so many different pin cushions over the years and this is definitely the best design.

The ones on my wrist irritate me and i always leave pin cushions in the wrong place (my sewing desk and cutting table are in different rooms). I also like the fact that i can throw pins at this one while sewing and it sort of catches them.

Tape measure

My aunt bought me this sheep tapemeasurebut have another Cath Kidston one and several basic tape ones.

Seam allowance gauge

I can’t remember where I bought this but I use it all the time. I’m pretty good at estimating 1.5cm seam allowance but always good to do a quick check. I also use this when extending pattern length to do a quick check or spacing buttonholes.

Point turner

This has made life so much easier where I need to turn a corner out either on a collar or mitred sweater corner. I tend to use a pin to get a sharp finish but this helps on the way.

8.

Tailors Ham and sleeve press

One of the basics of sewing is pressing seams and is something I always make time to do. I keep meaning to get a sleeve press like my fabric tailors ham but my mini ironing board does the job most times.

The tailors ham is great for armhole seams and darts etc.

9.

Rotary cutters and pattern weights

I always use my rotary cutters to cut out patterns. I find with scissors the pattern pieces move so I have to pin it down (or tape it- see washi tape above!).

I have two sizes inmy drawer, mainly due to availability of blades, this way I can buy whatever is in the sale. It’s worth changing the blade fairly regularly to avoid little inconsistencies when cutting and having odd sections that didn’t actually cut.

I made my pattern weightswith air dry clay and some acrylic paints. I need to varnish them really but think I’m lusting after the macaroon ones I’ve seen online and therefore procrastinating about it!

10.

Fiskars scissors

Invest in your scissors and then guard them with your life!! Mine live in my desk drawers and even my kids know they are only allowed to use the paper ones (with permission!!).

I was given my large pair with my first ever sewing machine 10 years ago ( a second hand singer bought to make curtains for our camper van).

I use the paper ones all the time to cut out my pdf patterns and the sharp ones to transfer pattern marking (I tend to cut little nicks in the seam allowance).

I bought the snips recently and I am a little disappointed for fiskars. They only work if at a certain angle or else nothing happens!

The little sharpening device is really effective and has kept these scissors like new.

What are your top sewing gadgets?

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The Great British Sewing Bee Live 2017

I was lucky enough to win tickets for me and a friend to go to the sewing bee live from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics last week.

This is the first sewing show I have been to so difficult to make any comparison but I absolutely loved it.

This is the first version of this show and was held in one of the units at Excel London. We had a very long day leaving Bournemouth at 6.30am and then risking an Uber taxi across London (which took an hour to go 8 miles at 9.30 in the morning).

We grabbed a coffee as soon as we arrived and sat down to watch one of the catwalk shows.

It was great to see lots of other bloggers and Instagram people walking around. It was a little surreal waving at people like we knew each other although we had never met in real life!!

I was rubbish at taking photos and only have a few to share I’m afraid! There were loads of fabric shop stalls all aimed at dressmaking or quilting with so many beautiful fabrics.

We were very reserved and I only bought a couple of fabrics and patterns.

I bought some French terry jersey from girl charlee uk and have already made a Papercut bowline sweatshirt with it.

I bought a Rosa shirt dress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and some cotton fabric from Fabrics Galore.

It was so great to be able to sample the quality of the fabric from stores I can normally only access online such as Higgs and Higgs and Guthrie and Ghani. Lauren had some beautiful kits put together for linden sweaters and ginger jeans.

Apart from the fabric stores there were displays of clothing from Liberty and also from the contestants on the tv show. It was amazing to see the quality of the finish garments the contestants had made under such pressure. I have to admit I had assumed that they probably weren’t finished well but the ones on display certainly were. Especially Jade’s beaded finale dress.

We also watched a few of the contestants at the mini theatre demonstrating how to insert zips or Sew with jersey.

We sadly didn’t get tickets for the super theatre so didn’t get chance to see Esme and Patrick.

So who’s up for going next year??! Anyone interested in Dorset look up @dorset_meet_up on instagram as it looks like there might be a few of us!!

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