Fabric has been flying this past week and I have been doing a bunch of sewing. Anything to make the workspace flow easier and more efficient is always welcome. There are a ton of sewing notions on the market that help make the sewing and quilting more organized and labor-saving. Did you know you may have some common household items laying around that will work just as well and save you some bucks!?!
Here are 7 of my favorite Sewing Hacks I use constantly when sewing.
1. Design Wall
A design wall is great for auditioning patchwork pieces and blocks before assembly. You get to see your work straight on and can stand back to get the big picture. Without pinning you can easily move pieces around quickly before committing to sewing things together. I use the flannel back side of an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth as my design wall. Rather than mounting it to the wall which to be honest, I don't have an empty wall space large enough to hang it anyway, I pin the T-cloth to the top of the wood frame on a double door closet. Yes, the knobs project out, but it works for what I need and can be taken down when I am not using it.
I use heavy-duty push pins and push them into the top of the door frame by hand. That way the holes created will never be seen and I don't damage anything.
2. Forget the Steam
Sometimes creases in fabrics are hard to press out. I have totally abandoned using steam in my iron for many reasons--mostly because it messes up the iron after awhile. Instead I have a little spray bottle handy and mist the cotton fabric with plain water before ironing it. Note: I only do this with cottons--please test any other materials in an inconspicuous spot before proceeding. It is wonderful and revives any manufacturing starches already in the fabrics to make them crisp. I also use this same misting on finished quilts to get out folding creases. I spread the quilt out flat on a bed and mist it lightly. Hand smooth and let it sit, you'd be surprised how much of the wrinkles come out. If I need to press it at all, I do so while it is still on the bed so I don't have to wrestle with it on an ironing board.
3. Needle Keeper
Sewing needles break or need replacing, pins get rough or come apart. Instead of throwing them into a garbage can and risk them falling out or hurting someone, keep them in a handy needle keeper. An empty spice jar with shake holes in an excellent way to store damaged needles and pins. Just pop the top and drop it in!
4. Freezer Paper Patterns
Okay, as sewists, you may have already discovered how nice freezer paper is for making applique shapes and how the shiny side can be press to fabric and reused. I also use freezer paper in pattern making. The large size and durability of the material makes it perfect for pattern drafting. I write notes and instructions on the dull side of the paper so everything is always together.
5. Mistakes Happen
Need to rip out a long seam allowance? Use a small battery operated personal grooming clipper to make quick work of tearing out the seam. Just pull the seam to expose the threads and nick the stitches with the blades-it is amazingly fast!
6. Pick It Up
Anytime you rip out seams there are short threads everywhere. I use a lint roller to collect the loose strings. Because I have a pet, we have the heavy-duty kind and that works best for threads as well as the dog hair!
7. On the Edge
When I bind the edge of my quilts I use small office supply binder clips to hold down the edges. This is so much nicer than pins.