There always seems to be some unique tool at the quilt shop that you “just can’t live without”. I know I’ve been there. Then I open a draw a few years later and see that tool with dust collected on it. Now, I try to find sewing room uses for items I already have in the house. Especially if I see something and think that I can make something like it at home. I call these “unusual items in your sewing room” because they’re not something you usually find in your sewing room.
So, over the next two posts, since it’s holiday vacation time, I will cover some of these fun things and the tips on using them. Let’s go!
But first… here’s my quilt room Christmas decor.
I couldn’t find something to do with the old spools of thread so they became Christmas ornaments! Then for added fun, a tape measure as garland.
Unusual Items and Tip #1
There are all kinds of items out there for ruler storage. However, I bet you have some of these items in your home like I did.
Yes, you can corral rulers with those two items above. The hanger on the left is one you can find in your closet that was made for belts and the binder ring is an easy find at the office supply store. Here’s how you use these… thread the large binder ring through the hole on the ruler, then hang the ruler from the ring on the hanger. That simple!
Unusual Item and Tip #2
Always losing those scissors while you’re stitching? Look around your craft supplies and I bet you’ll find a chain like this:
These common ball chain necklaces are everywhere and you can find them in abundance at the craft store if you don’t have any at home. Now take your favorite scissors you use while at the machine or hand stitching and do this:
Now, you won’t be searching everywhere for your scissors!
Unusual Item and Tip #3
Recognize this item?
It’s a cuticle stick! If you have small seams to press in between joining seams, this tool works great and saves you steps to the iron after every small seam stitched.
This presses the seam just enough to allow you to continue piecing this unit with another.
Unusual Item and Tip #4
Keep this in your sewing room. You’ll be happy you did!
A roll of painter’s tape can come in very handy. If you have a lot of strips the same width to cut, use the tape to mark the measurement on your ruler.
This type of tape does not leave any residue on your ruler. Just peel it off when you are done and move it to the next measurement. You can re-use the tape several times before it loses its stickiness.
You can also use painter’s tape to mark the 1/4″ line on your sewing machine. Even if you have a 1/4″ quilting foot, the tape line gives you additional guidance for your 1/4″ seam. Here’s how I mark my 1/4″seam line on my machine:
I lower the needle into the “0” mark on the tape measure. That’s where I line up the left edge of the tape (you’ll see why later). Then I shift the tape measure around so the right edge is lined up with the right edge of my 1/4″ foot and any markings on the machine. Then I use a pen to trace along that edge on the painter’s tape.
That drawn line gives me extra guidance along with my 1/4″ foot to assure that I am achieving an accurate seam. After doing this, test your seams by sewing pieces of scrap fabric together and then measuring the seam to make sure it’s 1/4″.
Here’s the bonus with this tape: you can use it to guide your diagonal seams when you need to sew point to point on a square, like you do with flying geese units! No line drawing needed.
If you line up the point of the square with the left edge of the tape, you will go directly down the middle with a diagonal seam because the tape edge is lined up with the needle.
Finally, Extend the line you drew above down the length of the piece of painter’s tape you placed on the machine. Then, line up the point of your square with the line you drew when you are joining two squares for making half-square triangles. You won’t have to draw lines down the center of all those squares anymore! Simply sew your seam on the one side (which will be 1/4″ from the center), then flip the piece, line the point up again with the line on the tape and sew the other seam.
The last photo above shows the unit ready to be cut in half between the seams for 2 half-square triangles. If you want a scant 1/4″ just shift the point of the unit you are stitching slightly to the left of the line. Your seam lines will be closer together. Then you can trim your half-square triangle squares down to size after you press them.
Well, that’s it for this week. Join me next week for another stroll through the sewing room and using unusual items there. Share some of your common items that you found a new use for in the sewing room. We all might learn something new!