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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: PaulineG
Date: 03-20-2007, 03:57 PM (1 of 30)
Are there any notions you've ever bought that you thought would be "sort of useful" and they ended up being one of your best investments? I'm still working on the basics but every so often I'll eye off a notion and wonder if it's worthwhile or just a gimmick. So I'm still in the "expectedly useful" phase (like my quilting ruler - although I don't quilt). What should we all rush and out and buy (or aspire to buy)?
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: Magot
Date: 03-20-2007, 05:11 PM (2 of 30)
quilting rulers are really usefull for icing cakes!
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: temom
Date: 03-20-2007, 07:04 PM (3 of 30)
My small rotary cutter and large mat

Fabric weights - so I don't have to use pins to hold the pattern. It makes it easier for me to cut out patterns with the weights than with the pins, and I can move the weights as needed

air soluble pen - I can't believe I've gone through 2 of them. I use them to mark so many things when I'm sewing.
User: temom
Member since: 01-19-2007
Total posts: 410
From: HeyJudee
Date: 03-20-2007, 07:15 PM (4 of 30)
Serger tweezers are great for pulling the threads out from under the presser foot and to grab the threads when machine quilting.
TTFN from
User: HeyJudee
Member since: 01-25-2005
Total posts: 1366
From: Carol in ME
Date: 03-20-2007, 07:21 PM (5 of 30)
On the way home from work, DH had to stop at the woodworking shop to buy yet another tool. I jokingly said, "You'd better buy me something for waiting here patiently." He came out with a hemostat. I've used it to grip the ends of tubes of fabric for loops or piping. I've used to unclog the tube of the vacuum cleaner. I've turned collar points right side out. It's been used to pull needles through thick fabric. Once I used it to pull a tick off DH.
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: DorothyL
Date: 03-21-2007, 06:48 AM (6 of 30)
I'd say my cutting mat and rotary cutter.
I don't remember why I bought them. I'm not a quilter. But I tried cutting out a pattern with them and now that is all I use for cutting patterns. It has made a big difference in my sewing because now things are cut straighter and it is a lot easier on my back.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: paroper
Date: 03-21-2007, 09:00 AM (7 of 30)
The MOST useful tools I own outside of the obvious, pens, scissors, etc would have to be the T-Square and full size gridded cutting mat and 6 foot cuting table I purchased when I started my business. I use the grids for getting embroidery hoops straight, I've cut everything from drapes with no pattern using it to bias strips. It is wonderful. In addition, I have drafted patterns using the 1 inch grid, you know the ones where they give you a gridded picture in a book and tell you to copy it? That kind.

I've also used my point turners and tube turners more than I care to think (what inventions).

THe one odd thing that I use is a letter opener that I bought in the fall on 1970 when I started attending college. It is pewter so it isn't very thick, it is about 7 inches long with the college logo. I use it to define edges when I "turn things" push the seam out to proper position and I also use it to help turn corners. It is blunt on the end and doesn't poke through like scissors or something sharp.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: Bama
Date: 03-21-2007, 11:10 AM (8 of 30)
A bodkin. It's much better than the safety pins I used to use to insert elastic or cording.
Of course I think everyone who sews should have a rotary cutter and mat even if they don't make quilts. Even scrapbook makers can find a use for them.
I bought a little wooden presser for pressing quilt block seams because Hobby Lobby was a having a 50% off sale. Wasn't sure at the time if I would use it, but I use it alot now. :up: I don't have to get up and walk to the iron as often.
I also LOVE my little stork scissors. :up:
User: Bama
Member since: 03-21-2000
Total posts: 2116
From: leah777
Date: 03-21-2007, 07:51 PM (9 of 30)
Got to say the loop turner first cuz I've used it the longest, but next would be the rotary cutter and mat. Just wish I had a big enough table to use it for patterns. I did buy the large one recently, but still can't see it being worthwhile to have to move it around under an entire pattern.

I do mostly alterations/mending anymore, but I am getting into making baby quilts, so I will use the mat a lot for that.

Another tool that I use a lot is the telescoping magnet . . since I have some back problems, not to mention weak eyesight, that comes in really handy for picking up dropped pins, needles, bobbins, etc.
User: leah777
Member since: 02-20-2007
Total posts: 10
From: ChoctawCharli
Date: 03-22-2007, 03:08 PM (10 of 30)
A set of dental picks and a hemostat. They came as a set in a nice case that now holds my flat rotary cutter.

I have used them as knit pickers, thread grabbers, tangle undo-ers, necklace chain tangle fixers. They have helped me thread my serger, get fuzzes out of tight places and hook that stubbon thread that you can't get otherwise.
My DH has "borrowed" them for innumerable projects around the house. I know this because when I can't find them in my drawer, they will be in the kitchen handy chest.
User: ChoctawCharli
Member since: 03-10-2005
Total posts: 22
From: paroper
Date: 03-22-2007, 03:34 PM (11 of 30)
Charlie! We haven't heard from you in a while...nice to know that you are out there.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: Sancin
Date: 03-22-2007, 11:02 PM (12 of 30)
Hi Charlie

I laughed when I saw the dental picks as I just came home from too much shopping and did not get the dental picks which I had on my list. I was just too tired to stop at the auto motive surplus store where I saw them advertised. I will buy them, however. I use a nut pick from a nutcracker set. I use them all over the house but especially in my sewing room. I also use chop sticks. The nut picks are a little better than the chop sticks as they are metal and have sharp ends. It is amazing where you can use them in the sewing room. The obvious is in guiding fabric through the foot but I also use one for firming points.

I also use hemostats. What I really want to find, however, is a needle driver, used to suture wounds. Hemostats have parallel lines in the 'gripper' but a needle driver has criss cross lines which makes it better to hold a needle without slipping and to hold a needle when sewing difficult fabric. I use a flexible ruler that draftsmen use. I love prowling through stationary and hardware stores. I have some spring loaded clips from an hardware store that are handy. I used suture blades to cut thread long before they were sold in notions departments. I use a lot of plastic storage containers from the kitchen, the newer disposible ones are square which makes stacking easy. I use emery cloth from my paint/workshop to smooth any burrs on needles or cut narrow to smooth the throat plate on my machine when I am not careful. I use post it notes and high lighter pens by the dozen. Wax paper. What fun. :dave: I keep a small bottle of kerosene in my sewing drawers for removing stains. Any tweezers. Who can live without duct tape any where in the house!!? I use large washers for weights and even have some little bags filled with buckshot for weights.

A notion I could not live without is a humper jumper for sewing over uneven surfaces. Chacoliner (chalk container with a little wheel to spead the chalk) is the only marker I have consistently used successfully. I would hyperventilate if I misplaced my sewing room calculator (mine is a metric converter). I can't image life without a magnetic pin holder. I use a mirror to see behind my machine. I recently found the ones that are used to see infants in back seat car seats provide a good view. :wink:
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: mommgsews
Date: 03-23-2007, 04:39 PM (13 of 30)
I have a couple of unusual ones that I use on a regular basis. Binder clips from the office supply are really useful for clipping the pattern pieces together while working on a garment. The ring provides a nice place to hang them from the bulletin board. Plus they are great for holding long seams while approaching the serger - they are easier to see and keep out of the blade. When tracing off a pattern from one of the multi-sized patterns they help keep the paper from shifting.

The other thing that I use often is my grandmother's old hat pins. I use them to help ease the fabric under the presser foot or to smooth out bumps, etc.
User: mommgsews
Member since: 03-15-2004
Total posts: 73
From: Irish Rose
Date: 03-24-2007, 02:00 AM (14 of 30)
Baseball Cards,:bg: I use my son's cards as ruler to make the pleats when making drapes.Works great, all uniform.:bg:
User: Irish Rose
Member since: 02-23-2007
Total posts: 1
From: paroper
Date: 03-24-2007, 04:12 AM (15 of 30)
Wow, never thought of that. If only I still had my Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey cards!

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: MotherInLaw
Date: 03-24-2007, 11:22 PM (16 of 30)
My favorite is my chalk pen. I bought them at Hancocks thinking I would just use the for marking placements for embroidery and wind up using them for all s0rts of makings on fabric for garment sewing. Also I like my skewers for pushing fabric under the needles.
I'm regressing back into my youth, I just have to figure out how I'm going to convience my body to come along with me.
User: MotherInLaw
Member since: 06-25-2005
Total posts: 1118
From: bridesmom
Date: 04-03-2007, 01:24 AM (17 of 30)
I bought some button hole tape once, and when I finally got it out of the package to use it, I was in love with it. It has markings for buttonholes either horizontal or vertical and they are all spaced out exactly right. You peel it off, lay it on your fabric and make your buttonholes in the marked spots, then peel off the excess tape. Perfectly lined up buttonholes every time. Plus the tape that stays under the buttonhole works as a stabilizer. Now if I can just find it again somewhere. And another thing I have just discovered is buttonhole elastic, so when I make stuff for the grandkids that don't live close by, I put this elastic in and it can grow with them or be made smaller if needed.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: Brenisback
Date: 04-03-2007, 05:33 AM (18 of 30)
Soluble pen... Rotary cutter and board ...and weights. and I'm sticking to it...LOL... and I am now off to work :bolt:

People come into your life ...for a Reason a Season or a Lifetime.
User: Brenisback
Member since: 09-20-2004
Total posts: 228
From: jessie s
Date: 04-03-2007, 07:19 PM (19 of 30)
My most useful tool the rotary cutter and mat and the rulers. The most unusual useful tool is my needle point pliers. Use it to pull threads stuck in the machine, pull the sewing needle through thick material, pick up pins stuck in the rug and more uses than I can count. jessie s
User: jessie s
Member since: 02-26-2007
Total posts: 46
From: vwroby
Date: 06-16-2007, 06:32 PM (20 of 30)
Sancin, if you haven't found your needle driver yet, you can make your own, as I did. I had a pair of tweezers which had no serration on the tips. Using a small rasp, I cross filed both tips on the inside. A small
work table vise is very helpful for this.
One other suggestion, use the vise to hold a disposable chopstick , make a blunt point on it with a Dremel Tool sanding bit, to create that tool to ease fabric under the needle.
User: vwroby
Member since: 05-28-2007
Total posts: 7
From: MTjumpnJX
Date: 06-16-2007, 10:56 PM (21 of 30)
I use a couple of fishing tackle boxes to store sewing supplies in .

Recently I've been trying to repair the back of a quilt, replacing the flannel backing with new flannel strips. The strips weren't even so dh volunteered to snap a chalk line. He's a framer.
User: MTjumpnJX
Member since: 05-17-2007
Total posts: 29
From: temom
Date: 06-16-2007, 11:11 PM (22 of 30)
Snapping a chalk line - now that is an awesome idea! Did he do it? I wonder if that blue chalk would stain light fabric....hmmmmmmm.... now where does my hubby keep his?
User: temom
Member since: 01-19-2007
Total posts: 410
From: plrlegal
Date: 06-16-2007, 11:39 PM (23 of 30)
My Clover chocoliner. I use it to mark quilts, garments, drapery hems, etc. For me, it's been a great $5.50 spent.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: keljo60
Date: 06-17-2007, 09:35 AM (24 of 30)
My Gingher snips: so very handy for clipping curves & snipping marks in the seam allowance; Channel 4 on Serius Satellite (Easy Listening) on Dish Network: so calming and keeps me focused; Pants hangers with clips: I've been using Lutterloh and Patterns on CD lately and I clip the patterns together on the hanger and hang them in the closet in my sewing room; I also have a LARGE (huge?)! roll of butcher paper (4'x??) about 10" in diameter! that DH hung form the ceiling against the wall over my sewing/cutting table using a steel closet rod and chain with "s" hooks. Hanging this has made it easy to just pull off and cut how much I need. Rotary Cutter and mat for the obvious. I want to get/make some weights and thanks for mentioning the extending magnet, I've been meaning to get one of those too!

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
User: keljo60
Member since: 07-30-2006
Total posts: 154
From: MaryW
Date: 06-18-2007, 01:18 PM (25 of 30)
I love my Marvy erasable marker. It marks and as soon as you don't need the mark anymore, there is a built-in eraser that takes the mark out immediately. It's non toxic and I have the eraser tip worn down to a nub.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: MTjumpnJX
Date: 06-19-2007, 08:48 PM (26 of 30)

He hasn't done it yet, the chalkline did come home tonight. He kept leaving it up on the mountain where he is building a house. YES, it does stain. I'm just repairing an old quilt & want it to be serviceable, not worrying about the stain :wink: .

Hey, Whatever works
User: MTjumpnJX
Member since: 05-17-2007
Total posts: 29
From: bridesmom
Date: 06-20-2007, 10:24 PM (27 of 30)
Today I realized I can't live without my thin needle nosed pliers, that I got at the hardware store. I use them for so many things, including getting my points turned out nicely and for pulling out leftover threads when I have to rip something out, or for getting those serger threads pulled out.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: sable
Date: 06-22-2007, 04:18 AM (28 of 30)
Mini latch-hook made from a piece of dowel and one of those hook-latch things from a knitting machine (the finer ones). Fantastic for pulling those annoying serger ends back through!
User: sable
Member since: 01-10-2005
Total posts: 76
From: craftedbybeth
Date: 08-09-2007, 08:53 AM (29 of 30)
I use one of my little cleaning brushes that came with my machines to clean between the keys on my laptop. I enjoyed reading all of the ideas. Thanks, Beth
User: craftedbybeth
Member since: 07-22-2007
Total posts: 6
From: daff55odil
Date: 08-12-2007, 04:46 PM (30 of 30)
I find a jean-a-majig quite useful, it helps with heavy bulky hemming
User: daff55odil
Member since: 05-15-2006
Total posts: 18
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