Tips & Tutorials
Gadgets and Tools
Do you buy more than one glue stick at a time?
Keep the extras in your freezer and it will be as fresh as the day you bought it.
Rubberized shelf protectors are wonderful to prevent your sewing machine foot pedal from slipping all over the place.
Just cut a piece larger than your foot pedal and place it underneath the foot pedal. Also, if you have trouble with your sewing machine 'walking' across your table, this same product will help.
Use an old vinyl place mat for templates.
Keep a roll of duct tape handy. Just roll a piece sticky side up around 4 fingers. Great to get all threads when you have to tear out stitches or remove pet hair.
Keep an old prescription bottle near your sewing machine.
When you break a needle or sew over a straight pin and bend it, throw it in the container and keep the cap on. When it's time to throw it out in the garbage, you won't stick yourself with a broken needle/pin. And the garbage collector will thank you too.
Keep close to your cutting board two things – a nylon "scrubbie" and an old toothbrush.
Use the "scrubbie" on the cutting mat to get it clean -- especially after cutting batting -- and the toothbrush to clean your rotary cutter free of lint. Clean your rotary cutter every time you change the blade.
Keep a few empty bolt boards in your sewing room closet. When you need to take a project out to a sewing day, wrap it around the board and that way it won't have fold marks in it.
Get those nylon scrubbies out of the kitchen and into the sewing room. Your appliqué pressing sheet will often get fusible web adhered to it. When the web cools, take your scrubby and brush it off. No more picking it off with your fingernail. AND no more ironing it to another piece of fabric or your iron.
Don't want to spend the money for binding clips? Try using hair clips.
They do the same job for less money.
For quick piecing: Keep an iron and small tabletop ironing board next to your sewing machine.
A convenient way to press each seam and move on to stitching the next piece of fabric. A good time saver.
Parchment paper can be used outside the kitchen too.
It is great for paper piecing and when you are ironing fusible web, lay it on top of your fabric to avoid getting the fusible on your iron. Remember to always cover your ironing board with a cloth when using fusible web.
Need a large, strong bag to carry around the queen size quilt that you are working on?
All the plastic bags tear. At the checkout at IKEA they sell, a blue plasticized canvas bag with both short and long handles. There is plenty of room for the quilt, frame and sewing supplies and quite strong.
Save the zippered bags that sheet sets come in.
They are good for storing your quilting projects. Your pattern/book, fabric and notions can be kept together until you are ready to begin. They can also be used to transport the project if sewing away from home.
When you have finished your quilt top, cut your binding and keep in a zip sandwich bag.
Sew your backing together and keep the whole project together in a bag along with either a photo of the original pattern OR the pattern. Now when you're ready everything is together in one place.
For paper piecing: try using tracing paper.
Can be bought at stationery stores, and most dollar stores have it.
Quilter's Tool Time
Use to flatten out batting before sandwiching your quilt – set on medium heat.
For turning points and stuffing. Japanese chopsticks have rounded points.
Use as a pressing bar. One pin gives two pressing bars, share with a friend!