These are little things I do in my own sewing room to make my life easier. Most of the time it doesn't even seem like a tip til someone says "hey, that's a neat short cut, I never thought of that".
1. Take the time to read your pattern completely through before starting it. Sounds so simple….but many ignore this and are caught off guard by a step.
2. I keep a pincushion beside the machine, on the end of the ironing board and one on my work table. After awhile one will get full (and thus one is empty somewhere) so then I just switch them. Sometimes the bulk of the "set-up" work is done on the work table…..all those pins end up by the machine.
3. For water in my iron, I bought one of those 2 gallon filtered water jugs for on a trip. Put it in the bookcase with a paper cup…..now I have water close by and don't have to run into the house to get refills for the iron.
4. My floor is cement by choice……easy to clean up. But it gets a little hard on the body after a couple of hours. Bought some of the foam tiles that interlock and put them in the "action" areas. Really helps.
5. My work table is quite high and I sew standing up. No, really. Besides the fact that I'm always running to do something else like answer the phone, chase a cow, get the mail……it's just easier to move to the iron, move to the work area. If I'm going to be doing a big pile of repetitive stuff, I move the machine to the desk and sit down.
*To see if you would like sewing standing up, set your machine up in your kitchen on the counter (not the table) and give it a try, you may be surprized.
6. I don't have a lot of success watching TV when I'm sewing….mostly because I only have one set of eyes. So I do Books on Tape. LOTS of them. It helps me to stay in one spot and keep working. I can't justify sitting and reading books with so much other stuff to do. But over the years I've done 100's of books. They are free at the library, cheap at second hand stores.
7. This one is amazing…….to "take in" a garment……put it on inside out. Pin it to fit……nip and tuck here and there. Now sew those adjustments in and you will be amazed at the perfect fit. I've had crying bridesmaids wailing at their dresses because of the baggy fit……just a few minutes of pinning and then resewing those seams. Perfect fit! Smiling maids.
8. This one saves me so much grief….. out shopping and you need to know how big something is…..you don't have a tape measure in your purse. What to do. Right now, while you are home, measure your hand. When I stretch out my fingers wide, it is a perfect 8" across. If I measure across outstretched fingers only, that is a perfect 6". Also from the tip of my nose to my outstretched right arm is 36". You can measure off a piece of fabric faster than any clerk…..but you have to know your own body.
9. When "junking" and you see beautiful buttons on some sad ole sweater or dress…..do the math. Carded buttons at the fabric store can break you up in business, but one ole sweater can have wonderful metal, or horn buttons that can be salvadged. Same goes for over-all hardware……
10. Now another huge money saver is Ultra-suede. The stuff is dreamy to work with and use. Feels, acts and looks like suede, but is washable/dryable. When out on the cheap at your local thrift store, look over the jackets and coats and skirts……you can find them out of Ultra-suede for not much. Ultra-suede right now runs about 125.00 a yard.
In most large stores it's kept behind the counter or under lock. One coat is worth a couple of hundred dollars. I keep a big bag of scraps…..so handy. It's also the stuff I use on the "Worker Bee" apron pattern.
11. Standing at the thread rack….not a clear choice….either too light or too dark. You should pick the lighter one. First your fabric will fade with time and second, light reflecting off your fabric always makes it show lighter.