When a really useful tool comes into our lives, we adopt it as a new convenience, then usually find it hard to envision more than just small improvements to its basic design. This is the case for most us when it comes to our trusty irons. Today's irons are the same basic shape and size they have been for decades. We accept them, use them and are pretty happy with how they perform. So, when we decided to review the Clover Mini Iron II as part of our latest Fabric.com series, we were, at first, stumped as to exactly how we might use this tiny little iron. Our current steam irons were doing a good job handling the pressing tasks we needed, and this product looked more like a cross between my brother's wood burning tool set (which I was not allowed to touch), and my own curling iron. However, once we played with the little devil, we came up with all kinds of ideas. As we often say, using the right, specialized tools makes things go more quickly, more easily and often... makes the task more fun!
One of the most important parts of sewing has nothing to do with your sewing machine at all. It's the pressing process. The better job you do pressing your project, the more professional the result. We recently discovered a specialty pressing tool that has become a new favorite: the Steady Betty pressing surfaces. Originally designed for quilters, these boards are great for all kinds of pressing tasks. Their special surface gently holds your fabric in place, which means less stretching and distortion. And, they stay cooler than a traditional ironing board surface, but still allow enough heat to be delivered to the fabric. No more "ouchie" fingers when working with tiny binding folds or opening ¼" seams. Steady Betty has a wide variety of products. We took a look at their Original pressing board, the new Press & Pin board and a Pedal Betty, which keeps your machine's foot controller from creeping away from you.
Crazy Love by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit Fabrics just came out the end of February and it has been flying off fabric shop shelves. The jewel tone colors and almost psychedelic mix of reds with hot pinks, orange with lavender and rich chocolaty browns sing in intricate patterns. It's an interesting design blend of classic, free-flowing bohemian shapes plus a hint of the linear symmetry of 1920's art deco. Sounds almost crazy, but it's love at first sight.
I've long been attracted to the fabric collections from Japanese manufacturer Kokka, and have learned not to wait when I see a Kokka print I love. Several times I've had my eye on something, come back the next day to buy, only to learn it had sold out while I was thinking about it.The other day, while exploring Fabric.com for linen to whip up few holiday gifts, I came across some of the very prints I had missed out on from Kokka and knew I had to stash it. This fabric is what I'd describe as retro hip. With large prints and repeats, many of which are cotton-linen and cotton canvas, they are ideal for simple pillow covers, aprons, totes, bags and more. The prints themselves are so unique and eye-catching, they quickly become conversation starters. Take a look at some of the cool prints I found.
This terrific tool qualifies as the perfect stocking stuffer for the sewing enthusiast on your list: a seam ripper with a built-in magnifier and light. The Mighty Bright Lighted Seam Ripper comes from the same clever folks who bring us those cool little book lights and wallet magnifier lights. Even if you aren't yet in the, "where the heck are my reading glasses?!" category, ripping out tiny seams or tone-on-tone topstitching is a strain on anyone's eyes and patience. This cool tool is a lifesaver.
This holiday season we are concentrating on bringing you fast and easy gift ideas. You may have already noticed our green "Holiday Gift Idea" button on recent tutorials. In addition, we've found a number of inexpensive notions, which we think would be perfect for the sewing and crafting folks on your list. Today's example is this dandy fingertip rotary cutter from Fiskars®. If you can point, you can use this little devil.
One of the more tedious sewing tasks is winding bobbins. I'll be the first to admit it is my least favorite part of preparing to start a new project. I think my dislike dates back to an old sewing machine that had the worst bobbin winder ever; four times out of five my bobbins looked like big globs of thread. Today, most sewing machines have great built-in bobbin winders. Some higher-end models even have separate bobbin winding motors, allowing you to wind a bobbin while sewing. And there are pre-wound bobbins you can buy, but usually only in black and white. As part of our Lush & Plush Series, Fabric.com asked us to test and write about the two bobbin winders they carry. Both are from Simplicity: the SideWinder Portable Bobbin Winder and the SideWinder Deluxe. I took them both for a spin and recorded my results.