Organizing My Sewing Notions

Sewing

When I sew, I need to have everything around me neat, orderly, and organized.  I never was like this when I was younger, but the older I get, the more I can’t shutout a nearby mess.  Now, I have realized that neat to some is messy to others and vice versa.  Each person must recognize the state their environment must be in to create properly…and make sure it stays that way!  It all made sense to me when I read this excerpt from a 1949 Singer Sewing Machine Manual:

“Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do.  Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically.  Good results are difficult when indifference dominates.  Never start to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade.”

With each person open to their own interpretation of what “prepare yourself mentally” means in regards to sewing,  it is amazing what a freeing feeling it gives to the whole creative process.  I have observed enough of myself to have come up with three main rules I must obey before I can begin sewing:

  1. Completely put away all tools/fabric/patterns from step to step.  After I draft a pattern, everything gets put back before I begin cutting out the pattern and so on.
  2. Following the completion of each project, vacuum and dust.  This mentally frees me up to say goodbye to one project and hello to a new one.
  3. A place for everything and everything in its place.  This mostly applies to all my sewing notions, trims, buttons, threads, etc.

Number three, in particular, took me quite a while to finagle and organize into my sewing pleasure.  So I thought I would share a few pictures highlighting how and in what, I organize my notions.

A few years back, I purchase a rolling cart with many shallow drawers from Joann Fabrics.  I placed the cart right next to my sewing table so everything I need is in easy reach.  The shelves have proven to be perfect for thread, snaps, needles, zippers, etc….

I have two drawers that hold my threads which I color code. I then make sure that the bobbins stay with the thread it matches.

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I also picked up this little organizer from Michaels last November.  It is perfect for holding all my buttons which I organize by color, stapling multiples together.

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Scissors, and rulers are kept near my cutting table along with all my markers, pens, and pencils…and a lighter for my candles! 🙂

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Find the best way to organize your sewing surroundings and watch the creativity flow!

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Sewing Alternatives for Fur

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It’s cold.  

And when it is cold, one wants to wrap up in something warm, cozy, and soft.  One wants to make sure that any piece of clothing that touches one’s body is warm, cozy, and soft.  Yet, in our 21st century world, what was once our grandmothers choice of warm and cozy…isn’t such a great option today.  I’m talking about fur. Real fur.  And besides the cost, I don’t feel comfortable or right putting it on my outfits.

Still, when one sees stunning dresses such as these, it is tempting to want that textural trim everywhere!

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But never fear, I have collected several alternatives that will add dimension, depth, and character to your outfits, all while keeping the fur on the little bodies who were born with it.

Option 1

Faux Fur

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Available in bolts or as trim, faux fur is the obvious alternative to real fur.  Like many things in life, the more it costs the better the quality.  Just note that the more inexpensive varieties can shed and it, like many fabrics, does have a clear direction of fibers, so cut accordingly.

Option 2

Velvet Ribbon

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An elegant upgrade, velvet trim is available in a variety of widths and colors.  And at a reasonable price, it can be used to trim and edge many parts of a gown.

Option 3

Grosgrain Ribbon

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Silky ribbon’s coarser cousin, grosgrain ribbon adds an element of homeyness and sweetness to a dress.  Use in rows to turn a skirt into something special and unique!

Option 4

Beaded Trim

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Requiring careful application, beaded trim in multiple widths is a great option for necklines, cuffs, and under bust seams.  Options that include pearls and sequins are also wonderful decorations for any outfit!

Option 5

Feather Trim

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A recent discovery, I have not had the opportunity to sew with feather trim, but I would imagine it creates a stunning finished product!  I have never seen any in a brick and mortar store, but was able to track options down online at websites such as Lamplight Feather.

Option 6

Lace

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While lace may not add stiff and bold texture, it nonetheless is an elegant option for blouses, coats, and dresses.

So embrace the many wonderful options available for all your warm, winter sewing!

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Gift Giving Guide for Sewing Enthusiasts

Sewing gifts

It is day three in the gift giving guide and for this last day, I thought I would share some wonderful ideas for the sewing enthusiasts in your life…even if that sewing enthusiast is you! 🙂

While many of these will not directly aid in one’s sewing, they will are fun accessories and decorations that shows a passion for the craft.

Here we go!

1. This fun and bright measuring tape bangle will happily adorn any wrist on which it is placed!

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Image from Ruby Bijou

2. Quilters and seamstresses alike will adore these vintage inspired personalized sewing labels from Modern Yardage.

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Image from Modern Yardage

3. Unique, quirky,  and useful all describe this button clock from Ruby Bijou.

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Image from Ruby Bijou

4. With personalization available, this sewing themed monthly planner is perfect for planning out projects, taking note of fabric sales, and reflecting back on the year’s accomplishments.

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Image from Green Chair Press

5. I love this silvery sewing earrings from Treasures by Tree.  Very chic!

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Image from Treasures by Tree

I hope this guides have been useful and fun!

Happy Shopping!

~Aimee

Previous Gift Giving Guides

  • Vintage Beauty
  • Vintage Home and Fashion

My Top Sewing Must Haves

I thought that I would take some time to share with you my absolute, most-favorite, must-have sewing tools.  While many of these are not unique or expensive, they are nonetheless vital to successful sewing.  I linked each item below the picture in case you would like to purchase any of these items for yourself.

I hope you enjoy and are able to take advantage of some of these wonderful products!

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Craft Table

A bit of an investment, but your sewing and pattern designing will thank you for it!  I love that the size can be adjusted.  It isn’t the most sturdy table, but it has really given me the extra space I need to pin and cut.

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Pattern Weights

I found these in the clearance bin at a Joann Fabrics and have not stopped using them!  If you dislike pinning pattern pieces to fabric, these are definitely for you!

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Wristlet Pincushion

Have pins, will travel!  Again, another time saver that allows you to adjust and pin on a dress form at will.

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A Loop Turner

My secret weapon for turning ties or straps of any size!

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Thread Snips

These make cutting and trimming all those little threads very easy and allow for a close cut without the danger of snipping the actual fabric.

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Plain Craft Paper

I create all my patterns on craft paper and then save them, labeled, in a bin for future use.  You can make notes and write down measurements to your heart’s content!

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Book Holder

For those who do a lot of historical sewing, many of the patterns/ inspiration that you use are found in books or online.  I always keep a book holder on my sewing table so my reference (whether book or iPad) is never too far away.

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Hardcover Journal

This is a must if you create your own patterns.  Everything I have ever created gets logged away in a journal for future reference, inspiration, or to save a few steps in the drafting process!  And of course,  it doesn’t hurt if it has a pretty design! 🙂

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A Fun Coffee Mug

I sew better with coffee.  Period. 🙂

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Fine Tipped Markers

Very helpful when I am  pattern drafting.  I like to color code or create notes in different colors to make sure that I don’t miss any little detail.

What are your sewing must haves?  Leave a comment below…I am always eager to learn about new tools or techniques!

Happy Sewing!

~Aimee


New Takes on a Few Old Favorites….

I am all about trying new things.  And sometimes trying new things simply means taking something old and altering it into a new shape.  I particularly love doing this with my wardrobe as it not only saves money, but it is such a fun challenge to see what new outfits I can create…both through sewing as well as using already purchased pieces.

With that thought in mind, I thought I would share a few “new takes” on a variety of standards.

1. Adding layers to a simple capelet is an easy way to amp up the style and elegance to a rather easy to create accessory.  For a basic tutorial, click here.

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2. Keeping in the same theme of layers, try adding them to a skirt, such as these from the 1910’s. You can also add pleats, as seen in the right hand example.  Keep the layers in a lightweight fabric to avoid adding too much bulk.

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3.  Here is a unique take on a vanity case.  It looks like a flask, yet instead of liquor it holds all one’s makeup primping needs.

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4.  Instead of shopping with a color in mind, why not try shopping with a particular item in mind…like the color of fruit!

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5.  Why not bake dressed up?  The stars on the cooking shows do it, and their food always seems to turn out great! 🙂

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6.  When it comes to organizing your sewing room, here is a different idea for hanging and organizing fabric.

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7.  This little mug organizer is such a fun way to hold all your sewing tools.  The tutorial can be found here.

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8.  And here are a few different ways to eat the good old hotdog.  Perfect for the last BBQ’s of the summer!

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Do you have any new takes on an old favorite?  I would love to hear about them! 🙂

~Aimee

Source: Betty Crocker’s Outdoor Cookbook, 1967

            Joy’s Jots, shots, and whatnots


In the Craft Room: Wrapping Paper Covered Books

Sometimes, I love the slightly worn look of books that I have gleaned from used book or antique stores.  Gently used edges, slightly ruffled bindings, and the faded artwork on the cover, all add to the charm of each book.  Yet, there are also several books with covers that… well let’s just say, have seen better days.  While the content inside may be timeless….many of the covers are not.  For such books in my library, I prefer to cover them in the nicest, prettiest, sturdiest wrapping paper I can find.  Not only does this help protect the cover and binding of these books, it also adds to the ambiance on my bookshelf.  Here is how I do it:

Start by placing your book to be covered on top of the wrapping paper.

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Cut out a rectangle that is 3 ” longer on the top and bottom (6″ total) and 4-5″ wider on the sides with the book open (9-10″ total.)  Crease the top and bottom of the wrapping paper against the book.  Remove the book and press these creases firmly.

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Starting on one side of the book, fold over the excess paper.  Crease the fold.

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Tidying Up Your Sewing Space

I am in the last push of spring cleaning.  It hasn’t been easy but it has been quite successful. The only remaining space that I have left to tackle is my sewing studio.  I spent the weekend putting up new lights around my light box as well as some new lights above my cutting table.  While I am still in the process of putting the organized chaos back together I thought I would share several pictures that I have used as either guidelines or inspiration to further organize and personalize my creative space.

1.  Create a pegboard to hold all rulers, tools, and scissors.  I want to put one next to my cutting table .

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2. Create a caddy from tin cans to hold notions on sewing table.

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In the Craft Room: Scrapbook Notepads


I live my life by lists….and I love it!  Lists help me stay focused, reach goals and accomplishments, and help people think that I can do it all (whether that is true or not.)  What I also like are pretty things.  And pretty things that I can make lists on are the best of both worlds!

This very quick and very satisfying DIY will make your pattern planning, list making, gown designing sessions just that much more productive.

Supplies needed:

  • legal pads in any size
  • Scrapbook paper in coordinating shades
  • glue stick
  • pencil
  • scissors.

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Now draw out the shape of the legal on the back of the scrapbook paper.  The goal is to have the paper cover the top part of the pad and go down almost half way the back.

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Make as many shapes and you have notepads and cut out.

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Apply glue to the top part of the notepad on the front and stick the edge of the paper.  Press firmly then turn over and crease over the top.  Add as much glue as will cover the area in which the paper will touch the note pad.  Press firmly.

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And voila….custom made notepads!

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I also thought I would share my custom-made, drafting pattern, graph paper!  Simply print out as many copies as needed and draft away.

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Happy planning!

~Aimee