Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
Eight sewing tools for the non-sewer!
Years ago, when I still lived at home with the folks, my younger brother came into the kitchen, pulled out the stapler and proceeded to use it to hem his pants. That memory is the inspiration for this post. Below are inexpensive items you can find in most housewares departments or fabric stores that are useful if you're nimble with a needle or not. I took these pictures at Burkholder Fabrics in Lancaster County Pa. https://www.burkfabric.com/store/, a great source of gadgets and fabric. That said Joanne Fabrics carries all these and you can almost always find a 50% off coupon on their site!
1. Heat-n-Bond - an alternative to staples. Simply place under the hem of a clothing item and press the fabric in place with an iron. It creates a lovely hem without the glitzy glint of the staples with no sewing at all. (This also can be purchased in a wide version from a bolt so you can make any fabric into an iron-on patch!)
2. Stitch Witchery - used the same as Heat-n-Bond without as strong a bond. This is good if you do want to sew it as well because it does not gum up you needle.
3. Beeswax - You will probably have to use a needle and thread sometime since staplers don't work on buttons. If you slide the thread through beeswax first it will be stronger and will not tangle. If you don't have beeswax, a white candle also works well!
4. Fray Check - a liquid you put on the edge of fabric to keep it from fraying. If you don't plan to wash the fabric, a thin smear of Elmers Glue works as well.
5. Bodkin - Ever have to put a drawstring back in? A safety pin does a decent job but a bodkin was built for it. One end has teeth that clasps the end and then the ring slides down to hold it tight. Then just run this sleek baby through the casing!
6. Snag Nab it - This is a barbed needle designed to address snags in clothing like sweaters. You place the needle at the base of the snag, grab the snag by wrapping or placing against the barbed end and pull the snag through to the inside of the fabric! Nifty!
7. Seam Ripper (no relation to Jack) - a pointy tool with a razor blade in the curve. It is used for picking or cutting stitches out of fabric. It is also great for a letter opener, or any time a thin pointy object is just what you need. (I just learned that when using it to tear out a seam, the red ball should be down to make it glide through the seam more easily. Who knew!)
8. Magnetic pincushion - This is one of my favorite things because I just have to get a pin near it and it hops on board! This would also work great for anyone who works with small metal parts like nuts and bolts to keep them from going astray.
Hope you now have a notion about some notions you might use! (hee, hee)
Let us sew, let us sew, let us sew!
If you can avoid ever having to go to the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute please do, but it is a wonderful place if you or a loved one needs their help. It is professional and friendly from the pleasant drivers that pick you up at your car to the desk attendants and the medial staff.
Two ways that I appreciate that they go above and beyond are:
1. Promoting Livestrong Cancer Recovery https://lancasterymca.org/livestrong-at-the-ymca/ - a national program at the YMCA which is free of charge to the participant as well as a workout buddy. The City YMCA program is great!
2. Providing handmade pillows for mastectomy patients to use after surgery. They often come with a hand written note and are valuable for physical and emotional comfort.
Two years ago I started making these pillows as a way to give back. That progressed into the Lancaster City YMCA giving our local Livestrong Group a room to sew in about once a month. We create an assembly line to produce the pillows that meant so much to so many of us, all the while catching up with past members and getting to know new ones.
My task is to create kits for the pillows so the process runs smoothly. This is where my teaching skills kick into gear. I got a bit carried away at the recent sale at Joann's Fabrics.
For two weeks my machine embroidered the blessings on the straps (our version of the the handwritten note), and the ribbon on the front panel. Now we are prepped for the year, freeing me to handle any work that comes my way knowing the pillows are good to go.
This is a great service project but it is all of our hopes that there will come a day that the pillows will not be needed.
About five years ago I was commissioned to make a Hareloom for Maddie, the granddaughter of a good friend. Made from pieces of Maddie's childhood and high school activities, this Hareloom attended all four years of college as support. Recently Maddie's Hareloom had run into a snare and was returned to me in hopes I could repair the wear of the hare! Did I dare? When I heard the hare was in need of repair I was concerned that my work was only fair and could not stand up to a college lair. Soon I saw my sewing was fine; it was the well-loved fabric in need of care, with a shoulder separation and possible total hip replacement! I sprang into action and removed all the stitching, reinforcing each piece with surgical precision. The hare fared well through it all and is now quite "hoppy" again!
This was great learning experience, teaching me to reinforce weakened fabrics before assembling an Hareloom, Bearloom or Heirloom!
Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.