Tuesday, September 27th, 2016
Pins are generally the most common way to attach paper patterns and templates to fabric while cutting out or tracing. But just recently there’s been a growing number of folk using weights instead, so I decided to give some a whirl.
I chose a set of weights by Sew Easy and my first impression was how sturdy they were. Really well made and heavy. These weights have a unique design – there are pins on the underside, one at each corner and these serve to hold the patterns in place really securely while cutting – this would be particularly good if using a cutting mat as the pins would hold the fabric to the mat too meaning it would be very unlikely to move. They are also stackable so you can put extra weight in one area if needed.
So I used mine for the first time when I had ten scatter cushion covers to make. There were three pieces to each cover meaning I had 30 pieces to cut out. Seemed like a lot of work so to save time I reached for the weights. They certainly worked! I got through the cutting out in record time as I didn’t need to keep pinning and unpinning the pattern pieces to the fabric. I also found they held the pattern well with no movement at all – I used scissors and no cutting mat and they worked a treat. They would work just as well with a rotary cutter and mat.
I only had one pack of weights – there are two in each pack. This is fine for smaller projects but you’d need more for anything bigger than my cushion covers to make sure everything was held still while you worked. I liked the fact that I could move the weights around during cutting which meant it was easy to keep them out of the way.
My verdict is that weights are definitely an asset and it’s worth having a set or two in the sewing room. I can’t say they will replace pins for everything, but I’ll certainly use them when I’m in a bit of a hurry or not cutting out anything too big or complicated.
The Sew Easy magnets are £6.55 per pack. Lots of other makes are available.
Sunday, August 17th, 2014
Today I took delivery of a Brother 1034D overlocker. I’ve never used an overlocker before but felt it was time to get to grips with this often confusing aspect of sewing. We have an industrial one at the sewing class I attend but attendees are not allowed to use it – I’ve had a good look though and boy does it look complicated! But I’m not going to be put off – I love a challenge.
This is the Brother straight out of the box:
And this is what it came with:
Overlockers have got many uses, the most common being to finish edges of your garments in a professional manner and for sewing with knits (you don’t need an overlocker to have success with knits, it just makes it easier). It was while making a dress with a knit fabric called Ponte Roma that I began to wonder about using an overlocker. About a week later an episode of The Sewing Bee had the contestants using one and at that point I started to plan my purchase.
Choosing new kit can sometimes seem a bit daunting but there’s no reason to panic anymore – there is so much information on the Internet these days that it’s easier than ever to make the right choice. Some of my favourite bloggers use this machine and a quick read of the reviews on Amazon convinced me to give it a go. Most said it was easy to thread and use and very few had anything bad to say about it.
Mine cost £189 from Amazon. Normally, I’d always try to support my local sewing shop but when you live out in the sticky bits of the sticks like we do, there are some things you can’t just go and see in action first, so I took a chance online. But if you can get to a shop for a bit of a test ride, I would highly recommend it as you never really know if you’re going to gel with something until you’ve used it.
As I am a overlocker virgin I’ve enrolled on an online video course called ‘Beginner Serging- machine basics and techniques’ (serger being the American name for an overlocker). The course, run by craftsy.com and costing £22 starts right at the beginning with what the machine is about and which bit is what, right through to helping you make three items – a zipper bag, an apron and a knit scarf.The machine itself comes with full instructions and a DVD to watch, so hopefully it won’t take too long to get to grips with it.
Tomorrow I’m going to get started – check back later for my first thoughts on this machine. I can’t tell you excited I am.