Monday, March 10, 2014

New to me Notions

Over the last few months, I've acquired some new-to-me notions that have greatly helped my sewing. It's funny how one little thing can make you so much more efficient!

Note: I was not paid or perked by any of these companies to review their products, I just love them! There are a handful of Amazon affilliate links in here.

Jems Tailors' Chalk

I've gone on at length about all the tools I use for marking fabric. I primarily sew knits, which can be shifty and difficult. I also seem to gravitate towards patterned/striped fabrics that are also hard to mark. While watching Angela Wolf on It's Sew Easy and her Craftsy class on alterations, I noticed she was always using clay chalk. I looked at my Jo-Ann's and couldn't find any (they only had wax), but I finally sourced it through Wawak.

Why does it come with a rubber band, you ask?

This stuff is awesome! Since receiving it back in November, I don't think I've used anything else for marking. It's clay, so it marks easily without putting a lot of pressure on it (in other words, on stretchy fabric it doesn't pull too much). There are enough colors that something always shows up.

To keep all the sawdust inside.

If I had to give you a negative, it's that it doesn't always brush off easily. However, I almost always sew washable fabric, so the marks come out in the laundry.

Fabric Clips

My parents bought these for my birthday a few weeks ago. These clips are to take the place of pins, especially on things like leather that don't deal well with extra holes.

I didn't realize until I got them, but they have marks on the bottom to indicate exact seam allowances. Very cool!

As a mom with a toddler running around, I have to be extra vigilant about where my pins are at all times. It's nice to have an option that isn't dangerous!

Knit interfacing

I admit, I had some of this in my stash for probably a year before I ever tried it. And now I'm kicking myself! Remember my terrible failed ponte blazer? It required interfacing, so even though I never finished it, I did do some test runs with the interfacing. This kind is from Pellon, is fusible, and I bought it at Jo-Ann's

I wish I could send you the test swatch through the screen. It gave this ponte the perfect dose of stability, but remained stretchy and pliable. 

Love love love. I could even see it being used in a hem for a nice crisp edge.

Cutting Mat

I saved the best for last! Every year, my husband and I compete against each other in our own version of Fantasy Football (and March Madness). We pick the games each week, and at the end of the season whoever gets the most right wins a prize. This year I was playing for a large cutting mat. The season ended in February, but by Christmas I had a good lead. My husband very nicely bought me the cutting mat early (where he hid it in the house before Christmas I have no idea!) and said it was mine to keep whether I won or not (which I did, hehe). 

I already had a rotary cutter (don't ask me why I had one without a cutting mat) although the blade was dull. I picked up a fresh blade and forced myself to start using it. Yes, I was terrible at first, but I've quickly gotten the hang of it. It's SO much faster to cut fabric now. I also think that I'm more accurate than with scissors. 

The mat is double-sided, gridded, and even has angle markings in case you need to cut on the bias. It fits perfectly on the desk portion of my Ikea Expedit. I've used it as much as a background for blog photos as I have for a cutting mat, not to mention how often I use it for measuring. An unexpected bonus is that the light-colored side makes seeing my work a lot easier than on the dark desk. My sewing room is poorly lit so I need all the help I can get!

So those are all the notions I've been loving lately! Any others I need to try? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I think I may have to give that tailor's chalk a try. I'm always looking for the next best marking tool. Not had much luck with disappearing ink or regular chalk.

    1. It's not too expensive and you get a lot for the price. I bought that box in November and I'm still on my first pieces of each color. I feel like I've tried every marking tool in the book and finally found something I like!

  2. I have got to get that clay chalk! I bought some chalk from Jo-Ann and all it did was my fabric all over the place and stretch it out.


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