Have Sewing Space, Will Sew!

sewing space

If you’re just starting to discover sewing as a creative expression, you’re probably still using your dining table as your sewing board and dreaming about having your own work space.  There’s nothing wrong with converting your dining room into your sewing space, but believe me, having an organized sewing room will inspire you and your creative juices to keep right on flowing. So if your dining room table contains fabric and sewing notions more regularly than plates, food and wine glasses, it is high time to think about having your own dedicated space for sewing. Find a space in your home and convert it into one and it doesn’t really matter how big it is. What matters most is how you organize your space to get the most out of it. Let’s say you’ve chosen your sewing space in your … Continue reading

The Art of Thrifty Sewing: How to Save Money When You Sew

thrifty sewing

It’s hard to consider sewing to be a money-saving activity when you add up your costs. After you buy a pattern, full-price fabric, and any accessories, you can easily spend twice as much as you would on the same item – already made – at a discount department store. Occasionally, buying everything new will be the only way to create what you truly want. But most of the time, if you can be flexible and a little patient, there are some excellent sources out there for sewing supplies at next-to-nothing prices. Buy Vintage Thrift stores and yard sales can be a great source of fabric, patterns, notions, and tools. The best yard sales for these items are typically in older, well-established neighborhoods of mixed age demographics. Finding the perfect yard sale for sewing materials can be rewarding for the buyer … Continue reading

Getting to Know Your Bodkin: Hamlet to Today

know your bodkin

Introduction Have you ever come across a name of a sewing tool and had absolutely no idea what it is?  Well, for me, when I was learning how to sew, it was the word “bodkin”.  What a strange word I thought back then and I imagine many new sewists today think the same thing.  So here’s a little background about the wonderful history of the word and the sewing tool known as the bodkin. The term bodkin is really quite old and it became very popular in the late 1500 and early 1600’s when William Shakespeare used it in his famous play Hamlet (Act 3, Scene 1, Page 3) to refer to a dagger or knife: That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and … Continue reading

Prepare for Winter with a Warm, Snuggly Jaipuri Razai 

Jaipuri Razai

My husband came in the house a few weeks ago and declared rather matter-of-factly that we were going to India at the end a January.  The daughter of a long-time business associate of his was getting married and we had been invited to the wedding.  I know the family too and they are wonderful people, so I was delighted to attend. If you’ve never been to an Indian wedding and have the chance to do so, you should definitely go.  The Indians take weddings pretty seriously and they are usually three-day (or longer) affairs that involve hundreds, sometimes thousands, of guests from the extended family and friends as well as marching bands, grooms riding live elephants, henna “tattoos” for the ladies and many other customs and rituals that are hard to describe. Knowing that we were going to be in northern India … Continue reading

Body Shape: Tips to Make Your Style Match Your Figure

Body Shape

Do you find fashion unforgiving? Perhaps clothes look great on hangers but don’t suit your figure. The trick to always looking fabulous is to make your style match your physique rather than the other way around. You can’t make clothes look flattering if it’s designed with a different body shape in mind, no matter how hard you try. Select garments that complement your proportions, and you can’t go wrong. Hourglass body shape (triangles contrasting) — Hourglass-shaped figures have a narrow waist, and the bust and hips are a similar size. Classic hourglass figures look amazing in ’50s-style dresses with nipped-in waists. Wide belts emphasize curves, and pencil skirts draw attention to shapely hips. Fitted clothes that glide over the body are flattering, and skinny jeans can look great with a loose top. However, avoid teaming baggy bottoms with a tunic … Continue reading

A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money

clothing care tips

We all spend a lot of time spend a lot of time and money on our clothes and this is particularly true if you’ve learned to sew your own garments.  I was thinking the other day that we sewists may not pay as much attention to how we care for our clothes after we’ve made them as we do when we’re making them.  I know I’m certainly guilting of this, so I thought we’d share some clothing care tips from a new contributor to the blog. A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money Clothing, especially your career wardrobe, is an expensive investment, and taking proper care of your clothing can save you considerable money over time, not to mention the time and frustration of having to repair or replace garments unnecessarily. Excessive cleaning of clothing wears it … Continue reading

Home-Made Buttons: Three Easy Techniques

home-made buttons

When you’re looking for just the right buttons for your latest clothing project, as jewelry components or as trimmings for your scrapbooks, there’s nothing like the DIY approach for that perfect finishing touch. Homemade buttons are easy and fun. Once you’ve made your first batch, you’ll never want to use store-bought buttons again! Home-Made Buttons from Rustic Wood You can make wooden buttons very simply, either from a length of dowel or from a natural tree-branch. Using a branch will give you lots of interesting natural variation in the shape and color of your buttons, but you need to be quite choosy in selecting your material. Choose a hardwood such as oak; softwoods are too fragile. Use the straightest branch you can find — this will give you the most even buttons. Only use seasoned wood that’s had time to … Continue reading

A New Workout Wardrobe: My New Year Resolution

workout wardrobe

Hang on….before you roll your eyes and pass the page, hear me out. Every year, I mark in my agenda a list of things I would like to do and sadly, at the end of every year, I usually see that more than half are not accomplished.  At the top of my list of things that never seems to get accomplished is “Exercise more, lose weight and get rid of the clothes you do not wear”.  Why is that, I wonder? If someone phoned me right now and said let’s go to the gym, I would find that I HATE MY CURRENT WORKOUT CLOTHES.  This is not because they are ugly clothes, but because they are all the wrong size.  I’m ashamed to admit that I purchased the wrong size on purpose — in a smaller size, of course– because I … Continue reading

How to Make Old Clothes Look New and Stylish

Make Old Clothes Look New

When you open your closet and stare at your clothes, does boredom sweep over you? Are you tired of looking at the same old pants, skirts, and tops? Before you go out and blow a paycheck on a new wardrobe, why not consider recycling what you already have? With a few clever changes you can give your old tired clothes a new life. Here are some ideas: Make old clothes look new: Put new buttons on old blouses There’s no quicker way to revamp the look of a blouse than to change its buttons. Pick a blouse from your closet and take it with you to your local fabric store. Go to the button section, and hold different buttons over the current ones. See what a difference a button can make? Pick out some interesting ones and have your tailor … Continue reading

Explaining Useful Notions to a Teenager

useful notions

My daughter asked me a funny question the other day.  “Mother, you keep using that word ‘notions’, so what is a notion anyway??”  Unfortunately, I can’t quite replicate the teenage tone that blends mild sarcasm with a whiff of indifference.  I think there was a little sideways shake of the head too, but I usually try to ignore that..  I’m sure those with teenage daughters will know what I mean.  I thought, well, this might be a good topic for a quick article. When I began to do some research, I started to understand why my daughter might not instantly understand the term.  After all, when I checked the definition of the word in Dictionary.com, the meaning I was referring to was way down at the bottom and number six on the list of potential meanings of the word: notions, … Continue reading

Inexpensive Sewing Projects to Practice Your Skills

inexpensive sewing projects

Sewing is one of the most immediately useful crafts to learn. It can save the crafter money in household expenses and provide extra income from the production of marketable goods that can be manufactured and sold from home. It’s also a very versatile skill that can meet a variety of needs to adapt to changes in circumstances and market opportunities. However, as with most skills, it takes practice to gain competency and comfort with the endeavor. New sewers can become frustrated if they expect too much from themselves too soon instead of enjoying a more relaxed, natural progression rate. One potential hindrance to this practice phase can be cost of materials. While a sewing machine and other tools used are a one-time expense for the beginner to accommodate, materials are consumed with each use and cannot be easily restored or … Continue reading