Tools of the Trade

This category contains 6 posts

Tip of the day/Ironing board caddy

Hello, been awhile, been off for nearly a year due to (chronic) illness. Slowly coming back and getting back into the Stitch of things. Here’s a wee post…

Been flummoxed today by health stuff, which counter-intuitively means I need to keep *gently* moving, if not enough focus to work. Decided ideal thing is to tidy work room after last 2 weeks sewing/crafty binge. Now every time I do this, I get frustrated by how much stuff ends up on ironing board. Tonight I had Blinding Flash of the Obvious; it’s all there because I use things all the time. So a few scraps of fabric later, and behold, the “Insta Ironing table Stuff I Need pouch”! Simply safety pinned to end of board so can take off if need to fold it up. (Also made me feel like I did something useful with my day :-)

DSC00003_ds DSC09999_dsPin cushion made by cutting a foam hair roller in half. Giant paint brush I use for turning point in delicates, and brushing velvet/fluffy naps when ironing. Think I may add a wee flap of fabric to go over pins, so no risk of catching fabric when swooshing it onto board.

Cheap, cheerful, easily removable, and not sure why I haven’t done this by now!


Trick of the Day- pressing sticky stuff (fusible)

Today is just a mini-tip, as juggling patterning & holiday gift making and paperwork.

I’ve a love/hate relationship with fusible. Love how it makes life easier, tames the tricksey fabrics, but hate what it does to irons/ironing board. Most of the time, I really can’t be bothered with cutting it exactly to match pieces as it wiggles out of shape. If you don’t though, then there’s risk of junking up ironing board/cover. Now in the shop we used nice bits of left over cotton, but I find that kind of wasteful, and if the fabric scrap is creased, that gets transferred to what I’m fusing.

So here’s a cheap & incredibly simple solution: greaseproof/parchment paper. Put underneath fabric and fusible, it’s flat, doesn’t burn, doesn’t stick like normal paper and re-useable.  Fusible glued piece just peels off easy peasy, so you can just lay a big hank of fusible on top of the small fabric piece without having to have cut it exactly beforehand. So simple, so, why haven’t I done this before ;-)

pressing paper


Tip’o’the day- Embroidery thread storage

It’s been a month of big projects & I’ve been trying to turn back to old uncompleted small projects to wind down my brain/distract when too tired to work well. Which means all those unfinished embroidery/knitting bits. Either I have an invisible cat who has been frolicking in my thread bags, or I’ve been really cavalier about tossing threads back into it.lalalala.  So instead of actually embroidering, I spent a few *hours* untangling floss.*sigh*. I Don’t like those plastic thread caddy/winders much as not really portable, plus don’t have the money really buy one.

So instead I thought, hmmm, binders full of women, uhm, I mean threads. Wandered to local stationary store, bought a binder and instead of regular clear plastic sleeves, got the photo sleeves which have 4 pockets per page.


Cheap& Cheerful way to store Embroidery Threads

Et voilá, a compact way to store embroidery floss which also lets you clearly see the colours/organise by colour or project and easy to transport (just grab a blank set of pockets,put in only the threads you need,roll and rock!). Plus you can add regular sleeves to put in transfers/patterns into same book. That’s my cheap and cheerful storage solution for the day :)

…and put away on the shelf for easy storage, just be sure to put open end of pockets up!

Silly make-up product review- Fake nails

This is a completely silly post, but hey, it’s my blog. Sometimes I want to actually kind of ,oh , look nice for a party/event. However wardrobe/stitcher hands (at least mine) are constantly ravaged by materials tearing off nails, hands dipped in chemicals, cleaning agents, etc. I never get to have nice nails. The other day I tore one down to painfully beyond the quick when tearing silk, more proof of the strength of silk ;) So I picked up some fake nails from SuperDrug both to protect nail and for party. Now usually it’s a bit of a faff, I have tiny hands, so have to cut even short nails down to practical for working, then the finding a good hours time to paint/let dry. I’ll wear them a day, then inevitably needle or pin nick them, or be washing fabric and the varnish is ruined.

I saw these new nails from Cosmopolitan which are solid colour. Usually solid colour ones look tacky/boring colours, but these caught my eye as they have gradiated tint, so looks like actual painted nails.

hard wearing no varnishing fake nails for crafty chicks/make-up artists.

In applying I found it a bit tricky to tell the nail bed end from tip, till I felt how the nail bed end are wonderfully thin and soft ( a day later & no irritation on curticle area as so thin there). Cutting them down also revealed the colour goes all the way through the acrylic which led to the happy discovery after a full day in the workshop. After sewing, washing fabric in bleach and general dinging, hardly any marks on nails! The shine wore off a bit, but these babies will be able to stay on quite awhile with out having to worry about retouching paint! Win!

So this is my first silly endorsement of a beauty product; recommend it to any crafty/rough ladies or men who occasionally want femme hands ;-) Would also just generally recommend them to make-up artists, as the not needing to varnish would speed up fashion/film/stage shoots. Not a huge range of colours but nice ones.

The only caveat is to NOT use the pink gel glue included, pink gel takes a long time to dry & is also harder to take off. Get some regular or express nail glue instead.

Tip of the Day-Cheap thread storage solution

My home work room is *very* small, and I was getting tired of the overlock & back up threads piled up in boxes or taking up table space. I looked at “proper” storage/sorters but found they were all a bit expensive and would take up too much space. Then I had an idea… I bought an overdoor shoe sorter! It works wonderfully, one large overlock spool per section and a bunch of regular spools fit each shoe cubbie. Best of all, if you have lots, you can stitch them to a clothes hanger and hang in cupboard/wardrobe in a nice, easy to see way, plus there is no thread tangle-dangle from mixing them up!

So that’s my simple storage tip for the day.

P.S.- This months UK Burda Style (04/12)magazine is probably the best this year for free patterns; lovely bias dress, blouses, pencil skirt and bolero/wrap tops. Was a good splurge!

Ironing out my bad back…

Perhaps not an official tip, but still helped me. Been having a bad back week, but w/3 projects on the burners couldn’t really stop. None of my work tables is at a great height, being standard Ikea type desks. Especially with the huge amount of hand sewing I did last week (160 metres pick hem) I needed a work surface I could sit or stand with depending upon back. Not having the money for a fabulous hydraulic table (ah the table at Ballet, I miss you so) I fell upon my ironing board. SO simple, so obvious but such a back saver as can adjust to height and move easily about from room to room, plus I can pin into it, extra Useful points there. I love adapting things I have for more use ;)

So another free/no cost solution to a simple problem. Beyond partners slightly put upon expression at having sitting room invaded by an iron board. If I could somehow disguise it as a Mac computer, I’m sure he’d love it then…

Miss Miko

July 2018
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