Nice to Meet You: Six Favorite Crafting Tools

It’s another installments of the Nice to Meet You series! The question for this one is: what are your six favorite tools?

As a seamstress and crocheter, I use several different tools. Here are six of my favorites – that I could not live without!

1. Sewing Machine

I <3 sewing machines. If it weren’t for them, I probably would have stopped sewing long ago. Hand-sewing can be such a time-consuming pain!

My awesome husband got me a Husqvarna Viking Topaz 20 sewing/embroidery machine for my birthday this year. I call it my “everything machine” because it can, in a nutshell, do just about anything! I just tell it what fabric I’m sewing and what type of stitch, and it adjusts everything itself and tells me what foot and needle to use. And it fills a bobbin from the needle – no un-threading required. How awesome is that?

I also have a Singer Confidence 7467 we got at Joann’s a few years ago when it first came out. It’s a good machine, has a drop-in bobbin, and several fun stitches. The needle always stops in the “up” position, which can be really useful for some sewists, though it drives me nuts!

2. Crochet Hook

I can’t knit for the life of me, but I crochet with a passion! All you need in order to crochet is a hook – that’s all. And I have several, of course. =0) I tend to crochet with worsted weight yarns, so my favorite hooks are sizes H/5.00 mm and G/4.25 mm. I’ve got teeny, tiny crochet hooks for thread to very large hooks for chunky yarns or crocheting with several strands at a time. I just got a size Q/16mm the other day, and I still want to go bigger! But it’s the Gs and Hs that get used the most – and thus purchased the most, as they end up lost in the car, in the couch cushions, in the middle of a skein of yarn…

3. Scissors

You can’t do much in sewing, or crocheting either, without a way to cut fabric/yarn/thread. Enter scissors. An awesome invention, you’ll probably want a couple pairs. Or three. Or four. Or 10.

Besides trying to keep pairs of scissors (or “skizzors,” as they are often called in our house) in common areas where I might want them, I have several in my sewing room. And several different types. Sharp, pointed scissors are great for cutting threads and seam allowances on tiny hems. But for cutting material I prefer spring-loaded scissors. Much easier on the hands!

4. Iron and Ironing Board

I work a lot at my ironing board, so I have it permanently set up. I often pin and iron at the same time, so the ironing board sometimes gets used as a table. It’s also higher than a table, so it’s easier to work at while standing. I’m terrible about actually sitting down to work unless I’m at a sewing machine/serger! We’ve got a Shark Lightweight Professional that works really well and can also steam while upright. My husband loves it for his work uniforms, and I love that he irons his own uniforms. =0)

5. Disappearing Ink Pen

My mom originally taught me to use chalk to mark fabric. Chalk can work quite well on dark materials, but I tend to work with white satins and sheers and chalk just doesn’t cut it. (Not actually “cut it” of course. That was scissors back at number 3.)

I love my purple Pictogram Pen that came with my Viking embroidery machine. It makes my life so much easier! It shows up on just about any color, and it usually disappears within 24 hours without having to use any water. It’s the best I’ve ever used, and I’ve tried several. I’m not sure where to get another like it, however, so I am in great fear of its (inevitable) drying up!

6. Measuring Tape

I use flexible measuring tapes like crazy. I use them to measure pattern pieces, crochet squares, material, clothing. I use them to measure things while shopping to make sure they will fit where I would like. I use them to measure things around the house since I never know where my husband’s measuring tapes are. Yeah, I use them a lot. My favorite ones are retractable, and I even have a cute strawberry plush one. I love sewing gauges as well, but they tend to actually stay in the sewing room.

Flashback Friday – Hubby’s Cape

As I mentioned in Six Favorite Things I’ve Made, my husband is incredibly tall. Six feet, seven inches to be exact. Clothes and shoes his size can be hard to find. And costumes? Forget about it!

Hubby wanted a nice cape, and I was happy to oblige. Not only did I sew him a cape that actually fits (it reaches to the floor), but homemade costumes tend to be a lot better than store-bought. I used good material and fully lined it, so this cape looks great and will last. In fact, he’s worn it for a few Halloweens already. He loves it. Usually he dresses as a vampire, but he’s gotten creative with it, as well. You can do a lot with an awesome cape!

Tutorial – Giant Pop-tart

I made this giant felt Pop-tart the other night. Can you guess what it’s for? Hint: Halloween is coming up, and I have a gray cat…

EDIT: Nyan Cat costume tutorial here.

I didn’t take many pictures as I made it, but maybe I can explain and make this a bit of a tutorial (if for any reason you would want to make a large fabric pop-tart in the future!).

Giant Felt Pop-tart

Supplies:

  • 2 pieces pastry/peach-colored felt (11.5″ x 8.5″)
  • 1 piece light pink felt
  • darker pink/fuchsia acrylic or fabric paint
  • 10.5″ x 7.5″ piece of cardboard (I cut mine from a box.)
  • matching thread
  • fiber-fill or batting
  • white acrylic or fabric paint (optional)
  • white sparkles/glue with sparkles (optional)

1. Cut the light pink felt piece down about a three-fourths of an inch all the way around UNEVENLY. You want it to be slightly scalloped to give it more of an icing-on-pastry look. It will be about 10″ x 7″.

2. Cut around a pastry-colored piece of felt slightly, just to make the edges uneven like the pink piece.

3. Spread out some fiber-fill or cut down a piece of batting to slightly smaller than the pink felt piece. Place the batting/fiber-fill on the cut pastry piece and place the pink icing piece on top. Pin in place.

Flashback Friday – Candy Corn Witch

I made this candy corn vest (complete with candy corn buttons!) for my sister last Halloween and told her how to make the skirt. She wore it with black boots and a cute candy corn-painted witch hat. Sadly I can’t seem to find the pictures we took of our costumes last year, so I set this up on my dress form to get one.

 

Swap-Bot – Fall Bookmarks and Coaster

It had been a while since I’d swapped anything through Swap-Bot, and I missed it. I just had to sign up for some Halloween and fall swaps. Halloween being my favorite holiday (tied with Christmas) and fall being my favorite season.

I signed up for a fall crafts swap, and got a partner who likes bookmarks. I decided to make her a fabric one with some fall-colored leaves I had. I ended up adding some sparkly gold thread for embellishment, and loved it so much I made a second one for another partner I had for a different swap.

I needed to include two items for the fall crafts swap, and I wanted the second one to be something crocheted. My partner’s favorite color was orange, so I made her a pumpkin. I used this free pattern with a few changes, and then added a stem, leaf, and curly vine. For fun I hot glued on a jack-o-lantern face cut out of felt.

Flashback Friday – Medieval Peasant Costume

I actually didn’t remember which costume I made first – this medieval peasant outfit or my Strawberry Shortcake ensemble. I sewed both during high school (back when I had more time to do such things!). However, being that I’m wearing glasses in this picture it must have been when I was a sophomore. I, happily, got contacts my junior year.

I was excited to use grommets on the corset/vest, but they were such a pain! Luckily I now have several tools for inserting the obnoxious things. It’s a fun costume and I’ve worn it many times. I think my mom even borrowed it once. A peasant costume comes in handy!

Current Project – Embroidered Wedding Gown

I am working on this gorgeous wedding gown – adding sleeves and a higher neckline – for an adorable bride. I hope she’s also pretty strong, because this is one heavy dress!

It’s not possible to match the embroidery on the bodice perfectly, so the best plan is to match the skirt. The bride chose tulip sleeves, which go really well with the overall look of the dress. She decided that adding embellishments around the front of the sleeves would be perfect, but it proved to be a problem! I could not find any pieces at the craft stores around town – they just don’t carry them any more.

So I decided to make some myself using my new embroidery machine. I found some similar patterns and embroidered them onto sheer material.

Now comes the hard part! I am (slowly) sewing them all on and adding silver thread around each one. And after that I’ll still have all the beading to do. Very time-consuming, but very pretty!

Flashback Friday – Renaissance Costume

I love sewing. I also love theatre (my minor) and Halloween. So it’s only natural that I love making Halloween costumes, right?

I sewed this Renaissance dress for my sister a few years ago. I think I may wear it myself this year. I used McCall’s pattern 4997 if you’re interested. However, it calls for quite a bit of material, which can get really expensive. I used some fabric I already had on hand, and took out some of the fullness in the skirt and sleeves to make it fit. I added an extra layer of trim and lots of silver to make it flashy and fun for my sister to wear on Halloween. I’d love to make another dress out of this pattern, without any changes, but I’m not sure which colors to go with. I’ve seen it in blue and white, which was really pretty.

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