Since I've been sewing, I've learned a lot about myself...
- I'm messy.
- And I'm cheap.
I'm not THAT messy... but I spread out a lot when I work. And the more space I have, the more I take. So, I need techniques to put everything back together easily.
And, it's not that I'm cheap either, but I don't like to spend for nothing. And when I need something, it's now. No time to go shopping for a cool gadget to help me with the current project. I need something right now. That's normally how I get to tinker handmade tools with the means at hand. Here are some of my DIY techniques and gadgets
So… here are some of my DIY techniques and gadgets I like to use in my workshop.
A spot for your pins
If you pin your pieces to sew them, you should know that you have to remove the pins as you sew (to make sure your machine needle doesn't get damaged on it).
You probably have a little bucket to put your pins in it. But if you're like me, your bowl doesn't necessarily follow you everywhere in your workshop. I cut my pieces. I pin my stuff. Then, I move to my sewing machine to assemble my things. Except my bucket of pins stays on my cutting table. So… when I take my pins off as I sew, I have nothing to put them on and they end up lying around my machine, rolling on the floor, and making a little mess.
My solution: a magnet on my machine
You can simply stick a magnet (or 2 or 3, depending on the size of the magnets) in the bottom of your machine, with a tape hockey. You can use whatever tape you want, but hockey tape stretches pretty well around the magnets and sticks nicely too.
It's very simple, but it really does the job.
The only thing you need to be careful of is not to put your magnets too close to the electronic section of your machine (to avoid affecting the circuits).
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Masking tape on hand
Your machine probably has some guides near the foot, to help you sew your seam allowances straight. But sometimes, you may need to sew further from the edge (like, to make a hem). In this case, you don't have guides anymore.
There are a few gadgets to help you, depending on the brand of your sewing machine… I've seen small magnetic blocks (which work well especially on industrial machines) or rod-type guides that attach on the foot.
But I don't have any of that, and I'm doing just fine.
Because I have an easy solution: the masking tape.
Ideally, you want some colored masking tape colored (like green or blue), so to see your guide properly. It's the ideal tape because it sticks and peels off super easily. So it's great for making a temporary guide.
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A cardboard guide
Similar to the tape guide, you can make yourself a cardboard guide.
Have you noticed, when you sew several layers (or fluffy fabrics), sometimes you lose the guide lines near your foot (often because the fabric layers don't align perfectly).
Recently, I had the idea of making myself a little guide out of cardboard to ease my guidance. And here is my technique (so simple!)
You need a piece of cardboard (stiff enough to hold on to, but thin enough to easily fold it)
- Make yourself a small square with a side of 5cm
- Fold your piece in half
- Then, fold 1cm from each edge of the center crease
- You can glue the center section to solidify it
A little trick to make your folding easier: score the fold line (with the back of an x-acto)
You can now stick your guide on your machine with masking tape. It will hold your fabric layers and will be clearly visible even if you work with a number of layers.
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Scissors that can't escape
I have too many scissors. And despite everything, I loose them all the time...
Tell me if this means anything to you:
You cut your pieces. Sit down in front of your machine. Start sewing. Then, you need to cut a little thing... and no scissors. No matter how much you tell yourself that it's okay to get up to go get them on your cutting table (they're not that far - come on!), it's still a bit tiring to always be looking for them, right? Because we know that once you're back in front of your cutting table, you'll still be looking for them (how that happened?).
Personnally, I have little scissors that I dedicated to my machine. A small pair that I just use to cut my threads, notch my fabric, that sort of thing. These scissors are supposed to stay in front of my machine… Well you know what? I still look for them all the time though.
So, I used drastic measures. My scissors dedicated to my sewing machine are now on a leash.
Yup! They can't escape. I tied them with an elastic. So that they don't feel too restricted in their scissors freedom. But now I don't look for them anymore.
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The magic tape is magic for real
This is important. We're talking about scotch tape magic. The one with the green wrapper. It's the soft texture of that scotch tape you want.
You need this if you sew fake leather or anything very plastic like. Because the texture of these fabrics is not always super compatible with your sewing machine foot. In fact, normally, it takes a teflon foot. But, maybe you don't have one...
And that's where that soft scoth tape becomes your friend.
Put some under your sewing machine foot. Make a hole where your needle goes. And there you go. Your foot will slide better on your fake leather now.
Works well with leather, fake leather, super shiny vinyl and stuff with latex.
What's cool is that if your fabric grips on the machine too, you can put some on it as well (yayy!).
And of course, it works on most feet. Because, even if you already have a Teflon foot (or want one even if you know my great trick – I'm not judging you), there are limits to re-equipping yourself with specialized Teflon feet.
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I hope these tips will help you and save you some time.
in the meantime... Keep on crafting!