Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Amazing Zipper Pouch

I recently saw this cool bag that a friend had.  It was made all in black zipper and, well, you have to see it to appreciate it.  I had to make one.  Here is the finished bag:
Why is it amazing?  Simply begin to unzip...
Oh, you can unzip more than that!

C'mon, all the way!!!

Isn't that cool?  Well, my thoughts of making and selling these cuties or creating a tutorial have gone by the wayside as I discovered the market is covered in ready made product called Zipit (surely a legally protected design), but how fun to make yourself!  I followed a free tutorial found here :
My pouch finished at 6" wide by 4.5" tall.  I used 2 colors of zipper by the yard and used 2 yards of each color (#5 nylon coil) to make this size.  I separated the pink and the purple and zipped them back together to form the stripe effect.  With 2 colors and 2 yards each, you would get 2 pouches of course.  If you use a single color, 2 yards will make one pouch.

So where do you find zipper by the yard?  There are probably a lot of online sources, but I use for my zippers.  She sells retail and wholesale.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tie the perfect bow

When you tie a bow, does it turn sideways and look like this?  Yuck!
The trick to tying a bow that is horizontal is simple and the secret is in the knot before the bow.  Tie your single knot and identify the tail that is on top, in this next picture, it is the tail to the left.

The left tail is the one you must use to make the center knot of the bow.  In doing so, your bow will always sit horizontally.
I have taken the right tail to form the first loop of the bow and the left (top of the knot) tail to form the center of the bow.  Finish the bow and...
...your bow will sit nicely in the horizontal position you desired!

I have found that the 'natural' way I tie a knot and then a bow will always set the bow sideways.  I have to look at my knot and make sure the top tail is in the right place so my bow sits straight!  So simple, so effective.

Tip:  If you are making a bow without a knot - like sewing ribbon onto an item for a stationary bow - sew the ribbon on vertically so you have a top and bottom tail, then tie the bow (no knot) as directed above and your decorative bow will also be horizontal.

Happy stitching!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sewing room must have - Tag Gun!

Most clothing you buy from the store has a price tag attached with a plastic "t" shaped tag.  These tags are attached with a tag gun.  Now I'm not suggesting you put price tags on all your sewing projects, but you will be amazed at how many creative ways you can use these tags in the sewing room.  The plastic tags are suprisingly strong and durable.  Anywhere you need to attach something the tag gun might save you some stitches.  Lining hanging down in a garment?  Tag it up.  Baste in a hem, attach a flower or other embellishment, got a collar or sleeve that won't stay put...tag it.  Drapery not hanging the way you like, tag it in place.  Once you own a tag gun, you will wonder how you lived without one!  Also makes a great gift for a college student or new bride, anyone setting up a new household, a crafter or seamstress.

Happy stitching (or tagging!).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tool Belt for Sewing

A great tool belt is a must to make your sewing efficient!  I will admit, I have made several toolbelts from cute fabrics with nice trims but a tool belt from the hardware store is still my favorite.  They come with many pocket, clip and loop configurations so you can choose the one you like best.  The one I love was under $20, all the pockets are heavy duty so sharp points won't poke through or tear the fabric.  It has outer metal 'racks' that are great for scissors and is small enough to slip off to the side when seated to keep all your tools handy when standing or sitting.  In looking for images on line, I discovered you can get great tool belts in pink now too!  Don't waste time searching for your scissors, tapemeasure or seamripper again ~ get a tool belt.

Happy stitiching!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Supplies you must have for your sewing cabinet

As I am working on a new pattern for a Volleyball Pillow, I am reminded of another 'must have' item if you work with fabrics ~ Wrinkle Releaser.  If you have discovered this wonderful product already, you have probably used it to get wrinkles out of t-shirts and other clothing so you can 'spray and go' without the time and hassle of ironing. 

What you may not have discovered is that if you spray a badly creased fabric, then press, it will get that crease out.  Because the volleyball requires piecing of a few small strips of fabrics, I purchased fat quarters from the quilting area (on sale when I was at the fabric store).  If you are not a quilt person (like me) fat quarters are rectangles of cotton prints and come folded a bunch of times and nicely packaged for quick selection and sale.  The ones I selected were folded and (I think) pressed, so the grid of creases was not coming out.  No problem, I reached for my trusty Wrinkle Releaser and voila, no more creases!

Gotta have a Wrinkle Releaser in your sewing kit!

Happy Stitching.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sewing gadgets you gotta have!

Today I attended a meeting of workroom professionals from central and northern California.  Among other subject matter for the meeting, each attendee was challenged to bring a 'must have' for the sewing workroom that did not come from a sewing supplier, fabric or craft store.  So many fun ideas were presented!  I will be posting them to share with you over the coming days.

Today's must have is Dental Floss.  Yes, basic waxed dental floss is a great thing to have in your sewing box.  I use it for attaching buttons where they will need to survive some stress.  Some examples would be on tufted pillows (a button on each side of a pillow to create an indentation), upholstered items such as headboards, valances, cushions with button tufting and I have also used them on quilts where the quilting was achieved with buttons on each side of the comforter.  Floss is very strong and the waxy texture allows you to adjust the dimple in a pillow or quilt without the thread 'slipping' before you can tie the final knot.  It threads easily through a large eye needle and is inexpensive.  There is no need to glue the final knot tie as the wax prevents the thread from untieing itself.

Another good use for Dental Floss is when gathering a long run of fabric or heavy fabric.  Zig-zag stitch over the dental floss and pull to adjust the gathers.  Not only is the floss unlikely to break when drawing up the gathers, as you adjust the gathering, the waxy texture will help the gathers to stay where you want them.

Don't you want to run to the store now and buy some?

Do you have a favorite 'must have' item in your sewing kit?  Please share!!!

Happy stitching.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Geometry Pillow Pattern on Etsy

This pillow inspiration was first spotted in a client's home.  The unique shape caught my eye and captured my imagination!  After looking it over and taking some measurements, I discovered the simple geometry that gives this pillow its unique shape.  I decided to put the instructions in a PDF pattern instruction set and offer it in my Etsy shop.  If you would like to make this very clever design, visit my Etsy shop for more information.