Pleats have been with us for centuries as a functional and/or decorative way to reduce the size of a piece of fabric. They are firmly ensconced in fashion sewing, but are also perfect in numerous home décor applications, like bed skirts, window treatments, and table linens. We’ve even incorporated them as unique embellishments on a petite purse and a decorator pillow. Their only drawback… they are rather “fussy” to create; your measuring, marking, and folding have to be very precise (read: very time consuming). But where challenges exist, the creative brains of the sewing world step in with a solution. Our friend, Claudia Buchanan of Home Sewing Depot sent us her Quick Pleater tools to test. Read on to see how we made quick work of both knife pleats and box pleats.
We are big on bags here at Sew4Home, which means we're always on the lookout for cool bag accessories; such as closures, handles, hardware, and more. One look we love is the addition of leather and faux leather handles (both pre-drilled and un-drilled), as well as medallions and patches. But, it can be a challenge to find the right tool to make securing these add-ons easy for all levels of sewers. Thanks to our friends at Dritz®, we have our go-to solution: The Speedy Stitcher® from Dritz Home, a sewing awl kit that makes attaching these kind of cool items, as well as many other tasks, fast and easy.
If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I'm guessing this three-in-one presser foot is easily worth a bird, a hand and a bush. We love a cool accessory that does several things, and the Janome Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set is one of our favorite multi-tasking tools. It comes with two guides: the Quarter Inch Guide and the Ditch Stitch Guide. The foot itself is clearly marked with red guide lines for ⅛" and ¼" seam allowances, as well as cornering marks for both ⅛" and ¼" seams in front and behind the needle drop. The foot is super easy to use and very lightweight. But be careful, the little guides are the Barbie® shoes of sewing; they could very easily get lost. Keep everything together in a little plastic bag. And don't let the name fool you; even though it says "quilting" on the package, this foot comes in handy for any project that requires precise seaming or topstitching. The foot is available in both standard width (7mm) as well as wide width (9mm).
Sergers. For some, the word alone can send them screaming into the darkest corners of their sewing rooms. “The threading… not the threading… make it stop!” Well, perhaps that’s a wee bit dramatic, but the fear of threading the loopers on a serger, “Sergiothreadaphobia” as it is known in medical circles, keeps many a sewer from adding this powerful tool to their compliment of machines. If you’re a regular Sew4Home follower, you know we are an all-Janome studio, and so we are thrilled to tell you about their newest serger: the Airthread 2000D Professional – Serging Simplified. Available now at Authorized Janome Dealers in the US and Canada.
I love those little emergency sewing kits they have at hotels. They're a life saver if you lose a button right before an important meeting or have another kind of "wardrobe malfunction." But I wouldn't dream of using them for my regular sewing – anymore than I'd open a hair salon that only carried those cute little hotel shampoos. However, for some sewers, especially beginning sewers, their set of tools is at about the same level as the free repair kit. If that's the case with your sewing basket, you have some shopping to do. Having better quality tools and notions actually helps you achieve better results on your projects. It can make the difference between a project that was fun to create and you're proud to display, and one you feel like hurling out the window. This is also a great article to share with friends who are just learning to sew. Helping them collect the right basic tools is one of the best ways to make sure they start off on the right foot.
If you’re a Sew4Home regular, you know we don’t traditionally present a lot of projects in the wearables category. Of course, there are all our super popular aprons and a few other easy items, but in terms of fitted garments, we tend to leave those to other experts. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t love to make things for ourselves in our spare time. And, yes, a) we do make things for ourselves (now and then) and b) we do have spare time (a wee bit), which is why we were excited to play with the My Double Deluxe Dressform by Dritz®. These beauties actually arrived at our studios a couple months ago, and we’ve been putting them through their paces, but saved our article until now in order to suggest that a Dritz® dress form just might be the perfect holiday gift for your favorite garment sewer – or yourself!
There are lots of embellishment ideas out there, but for our money, it just doesn’t get much more fun and versatile than pom poms and tassels. If you’re a regular Sew4Home follower, you know we’re fans of both, and have already done our own step-by-step tutorials on making each. But we’re always up for learning new ways, and so were quite captivated with this all-in-one kit from Boye that makes poms and tassels in a huge variety of sizes. Our super creative friend, Michele Muska sent us the kit to try along with a bunch of samples she’s made using the tools. It’s an embellishment explosion!
Whether you make your own binding tape or purchase packaged bias tape, a cleanly bound edge is the perfect finish for so many projects. It’s definitely one of our favorites. However, getting a smooth and even edge along a skinny binding can be challenging. And we all know, the first thing that will keep you up at night is wavy topstitching. Well, there are probably other things keeping you up at night, but we’re kind of obsessed with straight seams. Hallelujah, there’s a new specialty presser foot from Janome that is letting us get a bit more shut eye: the Taping Guide Foot!
Fluffy poms are great for any number of projects. We've used them to add extra whimsy to an already fun project, as well as to juxtapose a bit of casualness against the elegance of fine cotton or velvet - kind of like wearing Converse® high-tops with a tuxedo. A little bit of levity can add just the right touch. Whether you need one great pom or dozens, a Clover Pom Pom Maker simplifies the task, and each one will be as perfectly puffy as the next. Find some yarn and get ready to get fluffy.
Quality ribbons are little bits of beauty. In our Sew4Home studios, the go-to choice is Renaissance Ribbons. How would you like to get a package of these gorgeous ribbons every month… as well as fabulous project ideas for how to use them? Renaissance Ribbons has just launched their first ever Ribbon Lovers' Club! These are the breathtaking woven Jacquard ribbons for which Renaissance is famous. Read on to find out how you can get your own little bits of beauty each and every month!