Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

Toothbrush Rug
December 17, 2013


I think I am beginning to forget how to blog.

For the past week I have been learning how to make toothbrush rugs. The photo shows the rug I am making, the toothbrush tool I made out of a toothbrush handle, and the fabric I am using. The fabric was bought on sale a few years ago to make a top, then I thought better of it, as it is too bright. I think it is making a pretty rug.  I bought the toothbrush at the dollar store for 5  for a dollar and shaped it with a dremel tool.  I love using a dremel, but that will be another blog post.

There are so many ways to make a toothpick rug on the internet. The way I like is the one without the runner strip. I think it is referred to as a Swedish technique. It makes a really thick and durable rug because each stitch/loop of fabric is worked 3 times. It took me an hour of play before I really got the hang of it.

These are the directions I followed.

These directions say to sew the strips together, but I looped them trough a slit like most of the videos on You-tube show. There are a lot of videos, none have all the information. It is nice to have so many different ways to do something, and to pick the ones that make sense to me. The only tip I found out that I didn’t see mentioned is that you need more increases to make the rug lay flat than I would have thought coming from a crochet background. I am doing 10 increases a row, 5 on each side of the oval.

Now I don’t feel so bad about some of my sale fabric purchases. Rugs will use up a lot of that fabric.


Tracing Paper Board
January 16, 2013


I am thinking of joining our local chapter of the American Sewing Guild. This year the group is working on making a Channel jacket using couture techniques. The leader, Jeanette, had ordered sheets of 26″x39″ tracing paper to use when making the muslin. It is a carbon like paper I remember using during my days as a cutter in various costume shops. Every shop I worked in had this paper taped to boards. I bought a sheet to make it into a board. I found the board at Aaron Bros., then went next door to Osh Hardware to look for tape. Imagine my surprise when I found duct tape with a lace design on it. I love it and it made the board so pretty. Big sheets of transfer paper make it easy to copy patterns and mark long seam lines. It will be nice to have this new tool to copy patterns, especially ones from old Burda magazines.

Hardware Store Finds
October 15, 2009

Hardware stores can be great places to find sewing tools and notions. Often hardware measuring gadgets are less expensive and more precise than ones sold in fabric stores. I love the little 1/4 inch ruler at the bottom of the photo. It is steel so I can cut right next to it. It is also very precise, with each inch divided into 64ths. I love that the end is indented precisely the width of a pencil, so when I mark it is exactly at the right measurement. The little pounce wheel is so much easier to use for tight curves, and the oil pen puts a drop of sewing machine oil exactly where I want it. The ruler/protractor thing can also be used to find the center of circles. The stylus I have written about before, it is my favorite one. The pattern notcher is a real pattern notcher. I mechanic friend cut slits in it so I can notch patterns in tight corners. I love looking at all the tools in hardware stores and seeing if there is anything I can add to my growing collection of sewing notions. I have found other things, but these are the ones I use the most and keep close by.


Cutting Gauge
August 19, 2009

This cutting gauge was in with the old Kenmore sewing machine accessories. It actually works quite well for something that just slips on to the lower blade of a pair of shears. The cutting width is only 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ but it will be great to have by the sewing machine for little things. Cutting long strips is faster with a rotary cutter. I can see using it when I don’t want to make a trip to the cutting table, or need to cut off a bit from something already gathered and hard to lay flat. I wasted more than a few minutes playing around with a scrap of batik. Still I am impressed with how easy it was to get an accurate cut.



January 28, 2009

After being on the computer all day trying to learn a new mac software application, I did not know what to blog about. Much to my surprise the latest issue of “Inpirations” magazine was in the mailbox. It isn’t known as the ‘World’s most beautiful embroidery book’ without reason. There are at least 5 projects I would like to make.


One project  is the Étui. What is an étui, you may ask? It is a box that unfolds and holds sewing notions. There are straps and pockets so the contents do not rattle around inside. I think this one is so pretty. The outside is embroidered with silk ribbons, here is a photo of the inside with the cute pin cushion.


Using fimo modeling clay to make rose headed pins to match the étui is such a nice touch. Aren’t they pretty?