Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bifocal reading glasses, my most recent favorite sewing accessory!

So if you have youthful vision, you can skip this post!  However, if you find that reading glasses have become a necessity in your sewing or crafting room, read on!

If you are like me, you keep reading glasses posted all over the house in strategic places.  Of course, my workroom is one of those locations.  Seems that when I needed the glasses, they were always on the other side of the room, so I got a chain so they could hang around my neck.  I would put them on, take them off, put them on...etc.  Tiring of looking up to see everything blurry, or peeking over the top of them, or worse yet, being seen with glasses hanging around my neck (do I look like an old lady already?), nothing was working.

Then I remembered hearing of sunglasses that had a bifocal magnifier.  In other words, the main lens area is clear (no correction) and the bottom section is for reading.  Surely there must be a clear version so...  I looked at all the local reading glass suppliers, but none carried clear bifocals so I went online.  Found a great selection at reasonable prices at Boomers in the Know (under $20 with online coupon).  I selected the blue frame pictured above and now have a cute pair of glasses that I don't have to take on and off while working.  They were great for my latest Bunco game too, I could see the die and my friends!

Maybe clear bifocal readers can help you see better for your next sewing or crafting project.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Winner of the Give Away Day Drawing Announced!

Congratulations to Jen the Crafting Fiend, you are the winner of a PDF Pattern from Gaila Designs! 

Many thanks to all the new followers and commenters on this blog.  As a thanks for entering the drawing, I have sent a private message to most of you offering a 1/2 price coupon on any pattern offered in my Etsy shop!  I will say, there were a few who have their contact information blocked and did not leave an email address, so I was not able to send you the coupon code.  If you would like the code, you can email me (address at the right) and I will happily forward it to you!  The discount offer is good through May 31st.

Again, a big thank you to all who became followers, commented, reposted on Facebook, and in any way supported this contest.

Happy Stitching!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Give Away Day! Entries accepted until May 25th. Enter to win a FREE pattern from Gaila Designs

Special give away day is here! 
If you would like to win your choice of  one PDF sewing pattern from Gaila Designs simply sign up as a follower or leave a comment and we will draw a random entry from all new followers and comments.

For more information and description of the patterns, visit my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/gailadesigns or click on the Etsy shop link on the right side bar.

****please note, this is a give away for the PDF Pattern, not the finished item****
eReader and iPad covers (finished) are available for purchase in my Etsy shop

 Currently there are patterns for:
Sweetheart Pillow

iPad or Kindle DX cover with zipper, fully padded and lined

Volleyball pillow

Geometry Pillow

eReader cover for Kindle 2,3, Nook, Nook Color, Sony, Kobo

Enter your email address to become a follower at right


Leave a comment with your email address, sharing your favorite sewing or crafting tool and why you love it!
Winner will be selected and announced on May 26th
PDF will be emailed to the winner upon confirmation of your choice of pattern.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pulp Fashion at the SF Legion of Honor Museum, How do I get this job?

A detail from "Maria de' Medici," a 2006 work inspired by a portrait by Alessandro Allori. (Andreas von Einsiedel)

Yesterday I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco to see "Pulp Fashion" at the Legion of Honor Museum.  If you have the opportunity, it is an amazing exhibition and seeing it in person is breathtaking.  Made entirely from paper, historic fashions are replicated in incredible detail.  A range of time and style is offered, but the Renaissance era fashions are the most intricate.  For the designer, seamstress or crafter, this is an exhibit you must not miss.

"Elizabeth I Court Dress," 2001, inspired by a portrait by the studio of Nicholas Hilliard. (Andreas von Einsiedel)
One of the first thoughts I had was how do you get this job!  For over 10 years, the artist/historian worked on creating these paper confections for museum presentation, what a great way to make a living.  I'm available!

For more details on the exhibition (showing now through June 12):

Happy Stitching!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Stapler for the sewing room

Add a nice plier stapler to your sewing equipment!  Staples are great for basting and unlike pins will not distort your fabric.  You can use any stapler for this purpose, but the one pictured has a couple of features that make it most useful.  Having plier handles allows you to secure the staple without 'pounding' on the head of a traditional stapler.  Look for a small head.  The thicker the top part of the stapler, the more it will limit your ability to get into tight spaces.  The very small bottom of this style stapler allows you to get into or in between small areas.

Staple basting is great for pleats.  If you have ever tried to pin in pleats, especially if the fabric is thick or multiple pleats are on top of each other, I'm sure you've found that the pins cause the pleats to shift and change.  If you staple the pleats, they will stay secure and flat!

If you are sewing a trim or welt into a seam and find the fabric is drawing or gathering up under the trim, staple baste the trim in the seam allowance.  The fabric and trim will move at the same pace and you will no longer get the gathering effect!

Once you have a stapler in your sewing box, you will find many uses.

Depending on where you are basting, you might not even need to remove the staples after your project is complete (only you can decide whether to leave or remove).

I use two styles of removers, depending on the fabric.  The one I use most often is a simple, straight style remover:
The second style is a claw style remover and is sometimes easier to use but if the staple 'sinks' into the fabric it may be harder to grab the staple with this type:

Have you used a stapler in your projects?  I would love to hear your story.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clothepins in the sewing room, extra hands!

When you need an extra pair of hands (or fingers), clothespins can do the trick!  Glueing trim?  Use clothespins to hold the item in place while the glue sets up.  Making pleats?  Hold them temporarily with a clothespin.
I keep two styles of clothespins in my sewing drawer, the traditional wooden style and a plastic set like the one pictured here that curves around bulky sections and has a small contact area, I find times when I need both types of contact.

Clothespins are the 'vise' of your toolkit for sewing!

Have you used clothespins for a creative use in sewing?  Would love to hear from you!

Happy Stitching.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Magnetic Bobbin Holder...do we see a trend in posts?

Since I seem to have magnets on my mind these days, now everything with a magnet in my workroom is jumping out at me!  This is a picture of a magnetic bobbin holder.  Now if your machine uses plastic bobbins, this item will have no appeal to you whatsoever!  For those with magnetic bobbins, this ingenious design is great.  The trough of the tray has a magnet ...

which prevents your bobbins from rolling out of the tray whithout a pretty big bump.  It certainly prevents the entire collection from flying out of the tray at the pull of a thread!  Maybe you already have one of these little gems, but I just discovered it in a friend's workspace a couple of years ago and I've been sewing for eons.  Hope this tip will be helpful to you!

Do you have a favorite magnetic device in your sewing space?  If so, I would love to hear from you!

Happy stitching!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Magnets in the Sewing Room (part 2)? Oh yes!

So I recently heard of another fabulous magnetic item I had to have.  It is available at the auto parts supply stores and is called a pickup tool ~ mine cost only $2.  It looks like a pen, but telescopes to allow you to pick up any metal item without bending over (or crawling under your sewing table).  How many bobbins have I dropped on the floor, causing me to stop, get out of my chair and duck under the table to fish it out.  How about dropped needles, pins, presser feet...you get the picture!  Keep this cool tool in your pocket, tool belt, or at least next to your sewing machine to save time and your back.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Magnets in the Sewing Room? Another must-have item!

For many years I had one of those magnetic pinholders you get at the fabric store with a hole at the top, a clear plastic container and a magnet around the hole to keep the pins in (sort of).  Mine was old enough it was lime green plastic, though I remember a lot of gold ones around that time!  It worked okay, but seemed like it never held enough pins and if it hit the floor, the pins spilled out and had to be picked up by hand and stuffed back in the hole.

Then I was introduced to the magnetic tool bowl!
It makes a wonderful pin holder.  The magnet on the base of the bowl is very strong and holds your pins (and other magnetic items securely).  The wide area of the bowl allows you to see the contents easily and makes it simple to grab the pins.  The base also sticks to your machine (if you are lucky enough to have one that is actually made out of metal) to help keep the bowl from getting knocked off the table.  If it does fall, it holds the pins pretty tightly, but if you have a spill, you can just waive the bowl over the floor and it will attract the pins effectively making clean-up a snap!

Check your local hardware store or automotive part supplier for a magnetic tool holder or magnetic parts holder.  Costs less than $10 and is a wonderful addition to your sewing kit.

What is your favorite sewing gadget...please share!

Happy Stitching!