Finishing Needles

Finishing needles are something I saw in a Facebook crochet or knitting group earlier this year and I am so glad that I found these little gems.

They are a set of plastic needles that come in various sizes for use on different weight yarns. Instead of having a little eye like regular needles  they have a large eye or gap that extends down the length of the needle that you separate slightly to place your yarn though. I can easily place my thumb into the gap so you can see how easy they would be to thread your yarn into. No more yarn splitting as you try to feed it through the tiny needle eye.

They have double pointed ends allowing you to use them in any direction to weave in your end tails to finish your work. When I first saw these I thought they would be useful to join the squares of my sunny log cabin blanket together because you would use a needle to do the whip stitch with.  These were brilliant and I think one of the reasons why the blanket came together so fast including weaving all the end tails in. They work just like a regular sewing needle except easier to thread. I have used these on range of different yarns and they are great. I got mine from Crochet Australia but you can get them from various places online. I can highly recommend these. Some gadgets you won’t use a lot but these you will.

Cassiy 

 

That Purple Thang

That purple thang is essentially a 6″ long piece of fabric with one slightly curved tapered end and ¼” marking guide on the other end. There is a slot you can place elastic through so you can thread elastic casings. The tapered end you can use to poke out corners, steady fabric near the needle of your sewing machine, hook or move threads on your sewing machine. A quick YouTube search will show you the different ways to use it.

I purchased mine at the Stitch craft show earlier this year after seeing it previously online. This morning was the first time I have tried it out. I am in the process of making a toy with small legs and tiny toes. This can be a difficult job. Once I turned out my legs I used the purple thang to get into the tiny points of the toes. It worked great. The tip is blunt which means your less likely to push it straight through the fabric which sometimes happens using other methods to push out the points. It really got into the small areas. The curve on it came in handy pushing out the light curve on the back of the leg, again sometimes it is hard to turn curves nicely. I used it as a stuff tool too to get the stuffing into the small areas. I discovered the ¼” tab was also good for pushing larger pieces. Without doubt I will be using this little tool again when pushing out points and stuff items, these are my best toes ever. It really made the job much easier. This isn’t an essential item to have in your sewing kit but if you are able to get hold of one I’m sure you will use it.

Cassiy

Press Perfect aka Hot Hemmer

I do love a tool or gadget and I seem to collect a lot of them.

The Press Perfect aka Hot Hemmer is a tool I ordered online a few months ago and tried out earlier this week whilst working on a top. So what is it? Basically it is a thin rigid card that has seam allowances marked on it which you place on your fabric at the hemline and you iron your hem directly over it. On the packaging are instructions for ironing curves and mitred corners too. The Clover website has a great clip also demonstrating how to use the tool too. It is made out of nylon and feels like stiff felt, it doesn’t get any hotter than your fabric so you don’t burn yourself when you move it along the hemline each time.

I am usually the laziest hemmer, I don’t mark out seam allowances exactly I tend to just eyeball them. I tried it out on some knit fabric and it was brilliant. For my shorter seams such as this one I didn’t need to pin it once I had ironed it, the ironing was enough to hold it in place. To hem the bottom of the completed top once I had used this tool to iron the hem I hand tacked the hem using really long stitches, you didn’t need much to hold it as the ironing really kept it in place but the tacking was just extra security without using pins.

This is a tool I’m glad I brought and now that I have tried it out I will be using it on all my hems now. If you do have the opportunity to get your hands on one I can recommend that you do. I just Googled quickly and it was for sale on lots of sites, I got mine from Zebra Fabrics but they are out of stock at the moment.

Cassiy

Mini Pinking Shears

I didn’t know you could get pinking shears in a smaller size until I asked at my local quilt shop a few months ago and they just happened to have some come in.

The pair I got measure a total length of 7″ which is 2″ smaller than my original pair which measure at 9″ The cutting blade is smaller on these with a 3″ blade before the pivot, my older ones blade is closer to 4″ I haven’t weighed the two pairs but I can tell by just holding them these are also lighter. I got them a few months ago but this morning was the first time I tried them out.

I’m in the process of making a toy which has a lot of curves in it. On some the pieces I would have traditionally had to snip the curved seams with a small pair of scissors so that the pieces would sit nicely when turned right side out. Using these pinking shears I was about to cut away some of the seam allowance and create notches around the curve so when turned out it sat nicely. It was wonderful to get such even notches around the seam and there was less mess, in the past I have been known to be covered in tiny threads when snipping curves.

I’m calling these mini shears even though the difference is only 2″ to my regular ones. They feel more compact than my regular ones. In the past I have never cut around toy pieces with my larger sheers in case I cut too far and snipped the seam but with these smaller ones I can. If you come across different size pinking shears I think they would be a good investment for your sewing stash. Now that I know how well these work I will be using them again on toys and other curvy seams.

Cassiy

Seam Allowance Guide

seam-allowance-guide

I discovered the Seam Allowance Guide via the Australian Sewing Guild, it is a little tool that contains a magnet that you attach to the sides of your scissors to help you cut accurate seam allowances. It is particularly good if you need to add seam allowance to a pre-purchased pattern or when you are making up your own pattern and want to add seam allowance. In your order you get 2 of the tools so that you can use it both on scissors with a flat side blade and also on scissors that have a slope or an angle on the side of the blade and they can be used on both left handed and right handed scissors. I decided to order the tools and try them out.

seam-allowance-guide-right-hand

I was making up my own softie pattern so decided I wanted a 1/2″ seam allowance. I set up the tool on my scissors (they have a slope) and then realised something… The way they instructions tell you to cut if you are right handed isn’t the way I cut even though I am right handed. This is the confusing part, using my right hand I cut as if I was left handed. I hold the scissors in my right hand but normally I have them so the pattern piece is on my left hand side and cut in an anticlockwise direction. The instructions in this tell you that if you are right handed your should be cutting in a clockwise motion with the pattern piece on your right. I did try it but it felt really foreign and it wasn’t comfortable. Using right handed scissors I couldn’t adjust the tool to cut like I normally would as you need to place this it on the top blade.

seam-allowance-guide-right-hand-cut-piece

I persisted and cut out the entire piece and it didn’t turn out too bad but it isn’t the best cutting I have ever done. I must stress this had nothing to do with the tool it was the fact I felt like I was cutting backwards. Had I had the tool on the other side of the scissors and cut in the direction I normally would I know I would’ve been more accurate. Trying the tool out was an interesting exercise as I had no clue about my cutting style I just cut like I always did. I am now going to try and get hold of a pair of left handed scissors and try using them in my right hand to see how they feel cutting out the way I do. I think the tool would be a fantastic little tool once I get a pair of scissors that I can attach them too.

Cassiy

Hanging Tool Holster

Holster 1

I was wanting something to hang off my sewing table to put my snippers and tweezers in. I tend to loose them under my project when sewing. I didn’t want something permanent and I didn’t want something I would knock with my knee or get caught up in. I thought about making a little under machine mat or some sort of hanging bag. When I was at the Rosehill Craft show I came across a little stand that had these craft caddy called Holsters. They are made of out silicone and stick to any smooth flat surface. You don’t glue them down or anything, when your finished you just peel them off and no residue is left behind. I’m guessing they statically stick to the smooth surface (I don’t know much about science) You can use them around the home or craft room. They are heat proof so you can put hot things in them like hair straighteners or hot glue guns. The glue doesn’t stick to the silicone.

Holster 2

After uming and arghing, walking away and having a think I decided to purchase one. It is perfect. It is nice and narrow. I can put it near the edge of my sewing table. It is the perfect depth for my tweezers and snips (I just have to remember to put them in there now and not leave them about as I sew) It doesn’t hang low so it doesn’t get in the way of my knee. When I finish sewing I can remove it and pack it away. It doesn’t take up space on the table, I can place my pin cushion over the area it sticks to the table. I’m so glad I got this now. It solves my problem of where to put my craft notions perfectly

Cassiy

 

 

 

Clip It

Clip It

I’ve got a fair collection of Wonder Clips or craft clips (Wonder Clips are the Clover brand) I use them to hold binding into place when I’m doing mini quilts, fold back areas of fabric when doing hand embroidery and to hold the fabric to papers when doing hexies but it wasn’t until I heard someone in a Facebook forum say she uses regularly instead of pins in her sewing that I thought that sounds like a great idea and I should try it too. Over the weekend I was making a softie that was very bulky. I used clips on the inside of him to hold his limbs out of the seam lines. Instead of pinning around the edge I decided to try clips instead. Oh what a difference it made. I didn’t have the worry about which direction I placed the pins so I could remove them easily, I could concentrate on my sewing and not worry about hidden pins that may go under the needle as I could see the clips. After I had stitched around the outside I removed the clips that were securing the limbs via the turning gap then turned out the toy, this was so much easier than having to poke around trying to remove a pin from the inside or trying to turn out the toy with the pin still in place. Another good thing was no bent pins. I have many a banana shaped pin that has protested about being put through so many layers of a softie or bag. Now in future I will clip first pin second.

You can find Wonder Clips or the generic version of them in the quilting notions section in most sewing shops. There are a heap of online places and ebay that sells them too. There are even some for knitting (which I have a set of) They are a longer clip. In the above picture the purple ones are the knitting ones.

Cassiy