Old things made new. That's a broad category for any topic, especially in sewing. It could mean upcycling fabric or clothing; refurbishing furniture, or overhauling a sewing machine. Sometimes making something new is as simple as a few small additions to your sewing notions or equipment.
My PFAFF 1212, made in the early '70's. It's quite the work horse, and though it has a few features such as an automatic stitch cam, it lacked in original presser feet until I found adaptors.
A shank adaptor and the extra presser feet (snap on) open your sewing machine up to a wide variety of stitching capabilities: overlock stitch, embroidery, smocking, ruffling, etc. If you know your machine well, most likely you can perform these stitches without the new presser feet; however, why make it harder than necessary? The new presser feet available make sewing a breeze without laying out hundreds of dollars for a new machine.
There are two adaptors: long and short. Examine the pictures and notice the difference between the long and short adaptors. Each is designed to fit to the shank on your machine - long shank for short shank machines and short for long shank.
Thread is an important part of giving your sewing some pep. Paying careful attention to the type of thread, matched with the right needle and fabric, sewing just took a turn from drudge to fun!
Of course, selecting the thread that's right for your machine and project can be a little overhwheming with different weights, sizes, uses and preference of brand. Sort through the confusion quickly by using thread guides and charts, available for free on most online notions stores.
Jokingly I said to my husband that I would write this post as a guide map for some of the notions I have on hand - in case the kids ever need to clean out what I leave behind one day. After taking just a few shots (grouped) of some of what's on hand, I realized I may not be joking after all! I know I love notions, some believe I'm nuts for notions!
Why am I so fascinated by all the notions available to those who sew, crochet, knit, etc.? If I knew the answer to that, I would know the answer to why men collect tools with the same fervor.
There are standard everyday notions that I can sew with and get by just fine: thread, needles (machine and hand), seam ripper or razor, seam gauge, measuring tape, pins and scissors.
Then, there are the notions that are the next step up and a different type of notion. The type that make the job a bit faster, easier, less tedious; they make sewing a joy, not a task. These are the notions that I search for in my favorite online stores. There are people who shop for tools, women shop for hours for shoes and dresses. I can spend an evening browsing online and in the sales flyers filled with notions. There are the notions I order multiples of, in case one breaks, or I give one away, or (shudder) lose one.
A perfect example of a notion that has made sewing on a daily basis a snap is a little tool called, "That Purple Thang". Honestly, I have used several items before I placed this in my must have collection - knitting needles for pushing corners out, safety pins for running elastic, chop sticks, crochet hooks and more. This small unassuming notion has elevated my enjoyment of running basic hems in formals and is now in my "willl not do without" basic notions.
Notions are more than hand tools; there are snaps, tapes, elastics, cords, loops and more. Each one of the shelves and drawers shown hold multiples of the types of notions called for in patterns or that you would need to replace when performing alterations or tailoring. Here is where I confess the desire to own each color and/or size available so they are on hand when a customer requires it. There's nothing worse than having to make a customer wait for an order of notions to arrive before their order can be serviced.
There are others I keep close at hand for frequent use each day; others that are in various places in my workshop that are used ofen, but not so much I need them close by. Some of the items I enjoy using are antique, such as the pinking machine (shown). You can run long lengths of fabric through it and pink the edge instead of using hand cramping pinking shears for cutting yards at a time.
To make this a full confession, there are two more rooms in the house and two closets in other rooms that house notions and fabrics used often but I have no space for in the workshop. Tulle, specialty fabrics, fiberfill, batting, chiffon, satin, laces, body forms for fitting, work tables, ironing equipment, packing and more all are neatly housed in spare closets and rooms.
It's a good feeling to know specific, frequently needed notions are on hand, in the right color and size when it's needed for an order. It's always satisfying as well to know it's not a collection that will not be put to use, it's all useful inventory, gathered with guilt free pleasure.
What are your favorite notions? Are there specific catagories you search for most? Whatever your favorites are and whatever their purpose, I wish you success and inspiration with your work or hobbies, today and always.
I have a top (3,4,5, etc) list of the most embarrassing moments or situations. Of course, I won't post them here, but there is #3 - the split, torn or open seam. It becomes worse when you are not aware of it and someone else is. Hopefully the viewer will be kind enough to tell you discretely you have a split seam.
Hand Sewing is foreign to many people these days. It's not difficult to learn; I believe it's easier for busy people to have their clothing sent out for repair, so it's not a commonly thought of skill.
Practice makes perfect, so I'm sharing with you two solid techniques in sewing that are easy to learn and will prevent Embarrassing Moment #3 (most times!). If you want to practice the techniques while you are viewing, gather:
The Ladder Stitch is excellent for pulling seams together or large angled tears. To begin, cut about 10" of thread. Push thread through the needle eye and tie a knot in a single strand at the end. Fold the scrap fabric in half to make a mock seam (you will sew the edges, not the fold). If this is a bit confusing, take your time. Try and picture you are making a ladder (hence the name).
1. Begin with right sides out and the seam you are sewing folded in about 1/8” to 1/4”. Insert the needle and thread so the knot will be on the inside of your starting point.
2. Re-insert your needle at A, close to the fold of the seam. Push through to B, keeping the thread below the folds.
3. Guide the needle in the fold a short distance (as above) and push through at C.
4. Repeat this method until the seam is closed.
5. Run thread through fabric away from the seam, pull up remainder and cut excess. This prevents a knot from showing at the end of the sewing.
The Running Stitch is another excellent stitch to practice and use in fashion emergencies. If you learn no other stitch, learn this one. It is the easiest and will also be good practice for sewing on a button. It's simply a motion of inserting the needle at one point - call this A - and push up through the fabric. Next push the needle down at point B, just about 1/8th" from point A. Continue this until the stitches pull the tear together. It should look like a dashed line.
Now that you are armed with the skill to prevent embarrassing life moment #3, hopefully you will be able to avoid the dreaded split seam or help someone else.
Wishing you success and inspiration in all you do, today and always!
A few months back I pulled the blog posts that took me hours of work to write and post. There were several reasons I pulled it: the topics were off target and it was taking more time to write each post than what I could provide.
It's my hope this time around the topics remain on target in the arena of helpful life hacks, tips in sewing and, on occasion, I hope to offer historical references to tools and notions in the sewing world (I'm passionate about history).
What's ahead for Day Dreamers? I'm working on bringing you tips and how-to's in the following:
Are there topics you would like to see a post on? Perhaps a sewing or crochet technique? Leave me your idea or topic below and I'll add it to the list of Day Dreams :)
Wishing you success and inspiration, today and always,