A few essentials for the newly sewing inclined

Earlier this year I made my first quilt, it was for a friend who was expecting a baby. Since precision is critical in sewing projects, there were a few new tools I needed to make the quilt. Before I actually bought the rotary cutter that was needed I was having this inner struggle. I’ve fallen down the crafty slippery slope more than once, and I did not want to buy something that would rarely be used.

I am happy to report that the rotary cutter, mat, and ruler I purchased for that particular project are used several times a week these days. At the time, I would have appreciated a list of the top items regularly used for sewing so I could figure out exactly what I would need without going overboard and buying every accessory and gadget in sight.

To help the newbie seamstress wondering what tools you will need to get by, I’ve compiled a list of my sewing essentials.

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Sewing Machine

First, and most obviously. If you aren’t ready to make the investment in a new sewing machine try out a project or two using a friend’s to see if it’s something you’d like to continue with. I’ve even heard that people have snagged a good machine at thrift stores.

 

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Scissors

Get a small and large pair. Make sure you specifically get fabric scissors, and never use them on paper (it will dull the blade). The large scissors will cut fabric and the small ones are good for cutting those tiny threads. Cute scissor case made my your mother: optional.

 

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Bobbins

You will be surprised how quickly these fill up with different colored thread once you have made a few projects, so go ahead and get a big set of empty ones. My tip: For a color you will use a lot, fill up 3-4 bobbins of that color at a time, this will make things go faster when you are at the machine.

 

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Bonus Essential: Rotary cutter with mat and ruler

I’m listing this one as essential because I use the rotary cutter almost as often as the sewing machine itself. You can tell I’m in full working mode when the sewing machine, ironing board, and cutting mat are all sitting out.

The rotary cutter and mat are essential if you want to quilt, need perfectly measured pieces, or need a clean cut. BUT there are still plenty of projects like curtains, aprons, and some bags that will be fine with just cuts from scissors. Try a few simple projects before you buy the rotary cutter, but if it’s a hobby you would like to further pursue, these tools are definitely worth it.

 

Whether sewing, knitting, or anything else crafty, what is the one tool you can’t do without?

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Keeping all the stuff in check: Organization

Often we (I) get in this trap of thinking, if only I had one more room in my home, one more day to a weekend, one more hour in day, then all my problems would be solved. The unfortunate reality is that once we have that one more thing, we’re left wanting something else.

Would it be great if I had a whole room where I could keep my sewing machine up and  have a Pinterest worthy organizational display? Yeah, sure I would love that, but the fact is that isn’t my current reality, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t need all that space.

Want to see a picture of my Etsy shop?

 

Here it is:

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No, not every single thing I need fits in here, but most of the day to day tools and materials I use are easily stowed here, right in this chest in the living room.

Insiders view:

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Nope, the sewing machine is not out all the time, but all I have to do is walk it about 7 steps over to my desk to get to work.

My secret weapon for some of this organization is the dollar store. Selections often vary, but usually I can find storage containers for exactly what I need.

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When I get new fabrics I like to first wash them, and then press and cut them to size. My cut fabrics then hang out in these containers so when I’m ready to sew, I can get started quickly.

My favorite organizational feat so far has been this basket:

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I keep whatever current project I’m working on in here. As you can see, I’m making more of the cute bike wristlets, so I’ve got all the pins, scissors, and cut materials in there. When I’m ready to get to work I only need to pull out the sewing machine, this basket and I’m all set.

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There are a few other spots in the apartment where I keep items that are not used on a daily basis. See that green bin towards the left on the shelf? That’s where all the scrap fabric goes. I’ve also got a bolt of interfacing and a bit left of a bolt of tan fabric, those are tall and thin to store on a closet shelf, and I don’t buy too much fabric ahead of time, so that’s not a big concern for storage.

Bonus feature:

I’m guessing that most Etsy shop owners have more than one DIY interest, so aside from the shop there a few other things to keep track of.

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I have a few paper crafting/stamping supplies, and they easily fit on the bottom of my book shelf. It’s starting to get a little crowded, but for now it works.

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And finally, one of my first handmade fascinations was knitting. As any knitter who has made more than two projects knows, it’s pretty easy to accumulate excess yarn. The solution here was to buy a basket. Initially, I had lots of yarn tucked away in plastic bags and I hardly touched it. New rule: I was allowed to get a basket and whatever could fit in the basket could stay. Obviously not everyone has to follow my plan, but this helped keep potential excess in check. Extra yarn was donated.

My favorite way to limit excess is to have a set amount of space for stuff and then decide whatever doesn’t fit in that specific box or on a certain shelf is something I don’t need.

How do you stay organized? Any good tips on deciding what to keep or purge when all the stuff starts getting out of hand?

Three Questions, and my first Giveaway

Note: This giveaway has now passed.

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1. What is tan, orange, and rectangular?

2. What has the perfect style for casual use, but is classy enough for a fun night out?

3. What will hold all of your essentials like phone, cards, and cash?

If you answered, the Bobbin & Co. Orange Damask Wristlet to any of these questions, you are correct!

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I absolutely love the bright, beautiful design of this wristlet, it adds a fun pop to any outfit and slips easily into a work bag or large purse. Don’t forget- the inside has pockets for your cash and cards and it’s in a cute, contrasting fabric.

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I’m very excited to give away one of my handmade Bobbin and Co. wristlets to one person who leaves a comment on this post.

To enter: Answer one (or all 3!) of the following questions in the comments:

a. What is your favorite meal to cook at home?

b. Where did you travel this summer?

c. What is your favorite color?

You have until midnight on Thursday August 14th to comment. I’ll notify the winner by email on Friday. Giveaway is limited to US residents only. Good luck!

Giveaway has now past, see you next time!

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Want to experience the whole realm of human emotion? Make a quilt.

Excitement: The time where you decide you want to make a quilt and you go to the fabric store with the measurements you need for all the fabric.

Elation: You pick out all the absolutely perfect, most beautiful fabrics and head home with your bag of loot.

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Still excited but slightly less so: When you have to iron and cut all the fabrics.

Accomplished: When you sew all the pretty squares together, this thing actually worked!

Nervous: Will all these pieces actually match up when you start to assemble the quilt top?

Angry: You were right to be nervous, these pieces don’t mach up like they are supposed to.

Strong: But…you can stretch that fabric further to make it work!

Proud: You finished assembling that quilt top and except for those two squares at the bottom everything matched up.

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Exhausted: After assembling the top you still have to put all the layers together and actually do the quilting. This part is challenging and takes FOREVER.

In awe: Whoa, you have actually finished this thing. You sit and stare at it for a time ranging from 5 min-2 hours.

All the feelings at once: You give the quilt to good friends as a gift, but it’s akin to sending a child away for college. You know you’ll see it again and it’s off to do bigger and better things, but you can’t help put be concerned whether you prepared the quilt adequately for life away from you. And, you’ll just plain miss hanging out. Still, you are quite proud and happy of all that you and the quilt have accomplished together.

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Handmade gifts can be quite the emotional investment. What projects have you taken on that have made you either gleeful with pride OR caused you to swear off DIY for life?

The Sewing Related Happenings of a Wedding Weekend

This past weekend one of my very best friends ever got married. Allie and I met on the first day of kindergarten and have remained close ever since that fateful “Do you want to be friends?” conversation. We’ve been together through most major life/growing-up events so it was very special that in the past year we have been in each others weddings.

Confession time: I hardly have any pictures from the weekend. My plan was to take pictures with my phone, but I had to trade phones with my husband so he could navigate the Pennsylvania back roads while I was off doing bridesmaidy things. (David is still the proud owner of a flip phone.)

Here is one picture I grabbed from Facebook:

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This was part of the getting ready phase of the day. As we were prepping, the thin strap on her wedding dress popped off. Eeek! Lucky for all present Allie was laid back about it. I know I wouldn’t have been so calm if that happened to me, but Allie was so relaxed all day. Since I’ve been honing my sewing skills with my little Etsy shop I was ready to go and threw a few stitches on to hold the strap in for the day. Am I allowed to say that I can sew wedding dresses now? The rest of the day was flawless and beautiful. I absolutely loved my trip up to Pennsylvania, and it was an honor to be a part of the wedding for such an important friend.

Congrats Allie and Ian!

Here we go!

New blog + New Etsy shop coming= Exciting Times

A while ago on my last blog I mentioned that I would be working to start an Etsy shop. The process of designing items, ordering supplies, and getting all the social media sites together is lots of fun and makes a great creative outlet. All of these little aspects (plus more!) are very time consuming, so the shop isn’t opening quite as quickly as I originally hoped. Fingers crossed I’ll be selling items before July.

In the mean time, I wanted to start blogging again and get a feel for some of the new social media platforms I will be using. Before the shop opens I won’t necessarily be doing a lot of promoting. Having no Etsy shop for all these sites to direct people to would be pretty annoying! You have to start somewhere. So this blog is me. Starting somewhere.

At Bobbin and Company I will create hand sewn accessories to make your every day life a little brighter and more simple. Originally, my plan was to start off with 3 different items, but in the interest of getting this thing off the ground I’m starting with 1 item type, a wristlet. I’ll make this in a few fabric patterns, and once I get my feet wet I’ll expand to new designs and items.

This blog will be a place to get an idea of some of the behind the scenes happenings of Bobbin and Company, hear a little more about what I am up to, and maybe there will even be a tutorial now and then. And of course if I couldn’t share favorite book or recipe recommendations, what fun would that be?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy! Happy reading!