January 31, 2011

Belle Armoire

At a recent trip to Joann's I picked up a copy of Belle Armoire.  I don't do jewelry making so I wasn't too interested in the articles dealing with how to make the jewelry, although I loved looking at the beautiful photos.  But I loved reading the article about Alabama Chanin's amazing clothing line.  There was a wide variety of high quality work by various fiber artists.

I was bummed to see that an article discussing scarf design did not include the knitting pattern for the author's beautiful example. I had to go to her etsy shop and buy the pattern for $7. 

But I was excited to see they are always looking for submissions and host challenges all the time. The next deadline for submissions is only two weeks away. If I work frantically, can I get something in on time?

January 25, 2011

New to Me Tools

Point presser/clapper makes ironing easierNo, it's not a doorstop! Here's an invaluable piece of equipment that sells for around $20. It's a classic, hardwood pressing tool that's really two tools in one. The top, narrow-surfaced, point presser side works like a tiny ironing board for pressing hard-to-reach seams and enclosed corners, like those on collars, lapels, and cuffs.

A point presser is invaluable for pressing hard-to-reach seams. Slip the seam, wrong side up, over the point and press open.

The bottom, clapper side is used to apply pressure to set permanent creases, form crisp edges, and flatten bulky seams. To use it, first apply steam to the area with your iron, then press with the clapper, leaning on it and applying as much pressure as possible. Hold this position until both the fabric and wood (which presses the steam into the area without adding heat) have cooled.

Buttonhole gauge simplifies positioning buttonholesThis exotic device, which costs around $15, looks complex but actually simplifies positioning and measuring buttonholes, pleats, tucks, or anything else needing to be evenly spaced. It's a great time-saver, because it eliminates the need for calculating and carefully measuring intervals. It's easy to use--simply mark the position of the top buttonhole or first pleat, for example, and stretch the gauge to fit. I think I can use this tool for marking smocking lines, too. I really need this tool!

A firmly packed, "ham"-shaped cushion used to press curved seams. The contoured shape helps to mold and shape darts, collars and seams.