Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sewing Tips and Tricks

Happy Valentines Day! What are you all doing on this special day? I realize I have barely posted a thing (other than this Coffee Chat) about this V-day, but I should have a project coming at you later in the week that is V-day related. Nothing like after the fact, right? I have a good reason for it, though. You’ll see in a few days. In the meantime, you can go see my project from last year (that are still in-tact for this year, ohhappyday!) and read about how much I hate February. The Monday of months. The armpit of the calendar. Anyway, more on that here.

I didn’t get on here to ramble about V-day, but I did get on here to ramble about sewing! I’ve been doing quite a bit of it lately, and I’m loving it! There is something so satisfactory in seeing a project come together. When you start out with a bunch of squares or oddly shaped fabric pieces, and end up with a beautiful item that you made entirely. Nothing like that feeling, I tell ya.

There are a few simple ways I’ve come up with to make the process go smoothly and cut a wee bit of time off (oh wait, its Valentines, not St. Patricks. My bad.) So without further ado…

My Professional Sewing Tips
(aka, Ways to Take Shortcuts While Sewing)

1. Give it some Grease. Nothing says lovin’ like oil when its runnin’ (Maaaajor tacky alert, sorry folks) Seriously, it is important to keep your machine well oiled. I notice a definite improvement in how smoothly my machine is running when it is freshly oiled. I never knew exactly how often you are supposed to oil your machine, so I Googled it and came up with a bunch of different answers: every 4-6 hours of sewing time, every 8-12 hours, when you finish a project, when you clean it, etc. So, take your pick. You can pick up sewing machine oil anywhere (Even Walmart carries it) and the tiny spout makes it easy to grease any moving parts. You can’t hurt anything with it, so just pour her on anything that moves. Just make sure your surfaces are clean so you don’t drip it on your fabric!

2. Get your Bobbin On. I like to get all my thread ready before I start. Have a nice full bobbin in all the colors you will be using for your project. Then you won’t have to stop and wind a bobbin in the middle of your project! There is nothing worse than realizing you ran out of bobbin thread - usually way after the fact! My sewing machine is nice in that is has two rods on top for thread. So if I will be using two different colors for a project, I can keep the one I’m not using handy. I also keep the alternate bobbin up there. Makes for quick, easy transitions between colors.

3. Keep ‘em at Arms Length. I recently hung my scissors, cutting mats and yardstick beside my sewing desk all handy like, and it has been the best thing evah! No more, “where are my scissors?” going on. The other, less used stuff is in drawers in the desk. The only thing that is still a pain is my pin-cushion. I use it steady while I’m sewing (it is so nice to just jab the pins in there and not have them rolling all over and onto the floor) but my sewing desk is small, which means it is constantly in the way. Maybe there is a way to affix that to the wall!! (Hmm, wheels are turning now…)

The only other things I find make sewing easier are keeping my iron hot and ready nearby, always knowing where my seam ripper is, and using one of those handy little metal rulers that is about 6 inches long. And there you have it! Nothing profound, just little things that seem (or should I say seam?) to keep things moving along quickly and smoothy.

Now I’d like to hear from you. What tricks do you like to use while sewing? If you are one of those people that has a love/hate relationship with your sewing machine, what do you do to make sewing a tolerable experience? Does anyone out there do a lot of sewing? Let's chat about it in the comments section!

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