Sunday, 14 August 2011

My new sewing things

I have recently added a few things to my sewing kit, two of which should probably have been there for a long time. Another was in my tool kit but as it turns out, is a very handy thing to have in my sewing kit. The other thing I got in a children's art kit years ago.

Mini Metal Tape Measure
This is the thing that was in my tool kit, which everyone ought to have, if for nothing more than putting together flat-pack furniture. (Just thinking of that reminds me of Victor Mildrew in One Foot in the Grave when he said there were three words that strike fear into any man - Some Assembly Required. : ) He then continued with his rant.)

Anyway, it's much better for carrying about than my fibre glass tape measure because it is retractable so I don't have to wind it up myself every time I use it.

It's not only good for quickly finding metric-imperial equivalents, but it also makes measuring curves like armscyes easier when I'm pattern-making.

The maximum length on mine is 1m which is quite enough for me, but they do come in longer lengths. Mine came as part of a pink tool kit I got for my 17th birthday (my choice, I wasn't being conscripted into putting up our television unit). My Mum and Dad got it from Argos. I don't know if Argos still sell them.

Tailors' Chalk
I got this because I was trying to draft a good sleeve pattern and rather than alter my sleeve, cut it out along the new stitching line, trace it and add seam allowances, I thought it would be easier to use the cut sleeve, place it on the fabric, chalk around it, and add seam allowances. I got the triangular stuff that comes in a little plastic box. Mine is part of the Hemline brand that we sell in our shop.

Tracing Wheel
I know I didn't think this was essential, and you can get by without it, but my! It does make things easier and save time! I got it so that I could make a sewing pattern by tracing my Mum's favourite skirt, but I have found other uses for it (not invented by me). It makes it a lot quicker to trace patterns I make, and going around curves is a lot easier when you use a tracing wheel than it is when you try to do it with a pencil or a tracing pen. My tracing wheel is a pointy one but the packet said serrated, so I'm not sure whether it's the needle point type. It has a wooden handle which was worth the extra 40p because it looks so much better than plastic! I would also like to get the Clover Double Tracing Wheel for adding seam allowances more quickly. Wouldn't it be great if they made an adjustable double chaco-pen? That would make things easier. : )

6 inch/15cm Plastic Ruler This is from a children's Art Attack set I got years ago. I was one for having the longer rulers so that you could draw longer lines. But now I like to have a smaller ruler as well for adding seam allowances, and drawing smaller lines which are so frequent on children's patterns. Using the 6 inch ruler saves having my Shoben Fashion Curve continually bump into me and it allows me to sit down sometimes while I draft. : ) As a bonus, it's 1 and a quarter inches (3cm) wide - the standard hem allowance! That makes it really easy to add straight hems to things, especially smaller things like sleeves.

Something I would like to get is a small French Curve Ruler, preferably the Fairgate one or whatever is most like it and available in the UK. Although my Shoben Fashion Curve has a French Curve on it, my sewing room is not very big and the rest of the ruler keeps getting stopped in its tracks by the bookcase or the wall when I turn it around. I wonder if a small set of French Curves (such as they use in art) would do? If a sleigh curve is in it, it might do. (A sleigh curve is called a sleigh curve because it looks like Santa's sleigh; you see, it's the one on the top right in the picture.)

For now, I have traced the French Curve part of my Shoben Fashion Curve onto a peice of old tissue box and cut around it. I have also traced the French Curve actual-size picture that is in the back of Pattern-Making For Fashion Design, copied it onto some card (from the back of a spiral-bound notebook) and cut it out. The inner part of the curve can also be used for smaller curves like on children's wear.

So, they are some of my "new" sewing things. Do you have any favourite or unusual things in your sewing kit? What do you do with them? Please share with us below. : )

Until next time, happy sewing!
Sabrina Wharton-Brown
The Sewing Corner, Hornsea