Category Archives: tools

5 Uses for Painter’s Tape in the Sewing Room

Today’s sewing room tool came from the garage. Actually, it came from my junk drawer. Wherever you find  it, that blue tape used to keep paint off  woodwork when painting walls is useful in the sewing room. Five ways I’ve found to use it are:

1. To keep templates from slipping when cutting fabric. A couple of pieces of tape on the back of the template will help keep it place with less shifting. Leaving no sticky residue when it’s removed.

2. Marking the sewing line on the machine. If no 1/4″ foot is available, placing the tape on the machine 1/4″ inch from the needle will help keep all seams uniform. This works well when sewing something with a larger, or smaller, seam allowance. There aren’t special foots for every seam size.

3. Remove loose threads. Once the quilt is finished, or even as we’re sewing, threads find their way to the top of the project. If a lint roller isn’t available, balled up tape will easily remove those threads. Works on our clothes before going out too. Because while no outfit is complete without a few threads, we don’t want to look as though we rolled on the thread-covered floor.

4. Marking the measuring line on the template. Most template have several measurements on them, it makes them more useful and we can make items in various sizes. Sometimes, if I’m not careful, I cut my fabric too big or too small because I followed the wrong line. The blue tape used to keep the template from shifting, will also work to help me keep all my cuts uniform. Simply place the straight edge of tape along the appropriate line. No more miss cuts.

5. As a quick thimble. Many quilters have a collection of thimbles. Not me. I don’t like them, and haven’t learned to use them. Still, there are times when hand sewing that a thimble will be helpful. On those days, wrapping my finger with tape will work.

Masking tape can also be used in place of painters tape. However if using the tapes on the templates or sewing machine, remove them after completing a project to ensure no sticky residue remains.

Have you ever used masking, or painting tape in your sewing/crafting projects?

Do you have another use for the tape?

Do you have another quick fix thimble?

This post is part of the 31days of Shopping The House for Sewing Supplies.

Skirt Hangers aren’t just for Skirts


Do you keep those plastic skirt hangers when you buy a skirt at the store? Of course you do. Even if you have nice hangers at home, you need these for your sewing room. And really, what will the store do with them? Throw them away? Recycle them? You can recycle them just as easy, maybe easier than the store, and no other outside costly energy is expended in the process.

How can you use a skirt hanger:

1. Hang your cutting mat on it when not in use. If you only have a small area for your sewing and quilting your mat needs to be stored in a flat area so it doesn’t warp or get all wonky. Hanging it up with a skirt hanger is the perfect solution.

2. Store blocks in progress.  Hanging your blocks on a hanger allows you to have them in view (if you want) yet out of danger of being covered up with other fabric. It also keeps them free of wrinkles. You can add each block as it’s finished which also lets you see at a glance how many are completed. These hangers often will slide, so it doesn’t matter what size blocks you’re making.

3. Hanging a quilt for photos. We want pictures of our quilts, but taking them is often  challenge. Experts suggest taking the photo straight on, that is having the camera and the quilt at the same height and angle. If you don’t have someone to hold the quilt, or a sleeve on your quilt for hanging this can be difficult. Skirt hangers to the rescue. Once you take a “straight on” photo then you can take more artistic ones. Pictures of the quilt covering a loved one, on a bed, draped over a chair or fence. All quilt pictures are worth taking and viewing.

4. Store your fabric.If storage is at a premium add a lower rod to your closet and hang your hangers of fabrics. They will be out of the sun, out of plastic tubs, and easily viewed. Of course this will only work for a few of your fabrics, so you’ll have to make some choice. After all, few people have that many closets.

5. Holding fabric for a project. When you buy fabrics for a specific quilt you can clip all of them to one, or two, skirt hangers to keep everything together as you work on the quilt. You’ll know where the backing and binding fabrics are because they will be on the hangers.

Do you use skirt hangers in your quilt room?

Do you have other uses for skirt hangers?

What non-sewing items do you use in your sewing room?

This post is part of the 31 day challenge. Check out some of the other blogs posting there.

Wax Paper in the Sewing Room


Save time and money. Shop at home.

The time you save can be used working on a project. The money will go towards your next fabric purchase.

Shopping at home allows us to finish our projects without making a trip to the store. Today we’re shopping in the kitchen for emergency sewing supplies.

There it is. In your cabinets with other kitchen papers.

The roll of wax paper.

What can you do with wax paper.

Allow me to wax on about the benefits of wax paper in the sewing room.

1. The paper can be used for quilting over tee-shirt quilts. Often the presser foot will stick to the design of the shirt, making quilting difficult. Placing the wax paper over the design allows the presser foot to glide.

2. Draw the quilting design on the wax paper and place the paper over the quilt. Since you can see the quilt pattern through the paper, you will be able to tell if this pattern works for this quilt.

3. If you don’t have fusible handy when making a tee-shirt quilt, wax paper will help stabilize the stretching tee-shirt fabric for sewing.

4. Use the paper as a quilting template. Draw your quilting design on the paper then pin it to your quilt top. Stitch through the wax paper following your design. The wax paper will tear away when you’re finished, tweezers will help get the tiny pieces.

5. In a pinch wax paper can be used in place of a silicone sheet when pressing fusibles. The sandwich your fabrics between two pieces of wax paper. The paper will protect both your ironing board and your iron.

Spoons in the Sewing Room

Spoons are for more than stirring.

Spoons are for more than stirring.

I love my wooden spoons. They serve several purposes. On the rare occasions that I cook, they are great for stirring mixes together, stirring food in the skillet or saucepan. I’ve even used it to move the ingredients in the blender.

However, my favorite use for the spoons is in the sewing room. To be more correct, with my sewing since I sew in the dining room, cut and iron on my kitchen bar. Maybe I should have started with the bar as a sewing tool.

I digress. I love the wooden spoons for sewing.

First, they are great cold irons. They can “iron” the seam to one side, or open if need be. If you don’t have a cold iron, try using your wood spoon.

The handle end works for helping to push stuffing into a narrow tube. The handle can also be used to help turn a tube right-side out.

Linking up with The Nester in the Too Awesome to Categorize category. There are almost 200 bloggers in that category alone. There are eight other categories, each just as full.  Enjoy the awesome blogs.

31 Days of Sewing Tools From Around The House

Quilters,and sewists,  love gadgets. Even if we missed the shoe buying gene, the shopping gene, and the “must have chocolate” gene, we seemed to have managed to acquire the, “anything for the sewing room” gene.

We have multiple sewing machines, templates, scissors, and untold number of items designed to make our sewing life easier, or just because we like them.

Sometimes all of those nifty gadgets and tools cost money the electric company insists on having. If not, they will make sure our sewing machines and lights don’t work. Bother!

Other times, it’s not money that stops us from adding to our ever-growing collection of helpful items, it’s time. We are working on a project and need something RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, or next week, not even in an hour. We want/need it NOW. We don’t have time, or want to take the time, to run to the store and purchase the item.

We begin to scour our house, we look in the kitchen, the office, even the garage, for something that will suffice. So, for the next time you’re in dire need of a tool you don’t have, look around your house.

To help you locate these multi-use items, for the next 31 days, I’ll be highlighting one for you. I’ll also be linking up with The Nester, where over 1000 others bloggers are gathering and sharing their 31 day blogs. The blogs cover a variety of subjects divided up into specific categories. You’re sure to find something you enjoy.

I’ll be posting a list here of the items I cover, so you can find them easier.

Do you have any sewing room tools you enjoy using that were designed for another purpose? Share them in the contacts.

Blogging for Success

Monday Marketing: Blogging for Success

Blogs. Everyone seems to have one. Most authors for sure do, their editors, friends, even family insist we need a blog to help sell our books. We agree, we can see the benefits of having a blog, but then we flounder. What do we post? When do we post? How do we get readers?

I have no idea, I’m stumbling along just like everyone else. To find the answers, or some of them, I read (don’t all writers read?), I read blogs, books, magazines, hoping for some kernel that will if not propel me to the top, will at least make the climb a little easier.

I’d planned to list several blogs here I’d found that might be helpful. However, I once again found Kristin Nador’s blog, Kristin Nador Writes Anywhere, I really need to pay more attention to the blogs I’ve bookmarked.:-)

Last month Kristin ran a series of post aimed directly at helping us make better use of our blogs. So, here are all (I think) of her “blog improvement” posts.

Here are links to her posts:

Part 1 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 4 Ways To Define Your Audience .

Part 2 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 7 Keys to Blogging on a Consistent Basis

Part 3 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: 14 Actions to Take to Amplify Your Blog’s Voice.

Part 4 – Sharpen Your Blogging Habits: The Golden Rule For Bloggers

Part 5 – Sharpen Your Blogging habits: Get Serious by Relaxing.

I  hope you enjoy Kristin’s posts and they give you some new ideas to try or at least consider. Sorry for my recent Marketing absence, was busy working on entries for the OWFI contest. Deadline has passed, hopefully I won’t become obsessed with another project, but there’s no guarantees :), and will be here regularly on Mondays with my little take on marketing our books.

How have you used your blog to increase your book’s audience? What other methods have you used to sell your product, whether it’s a book, a quilt, or other item? Feel free to share your ideas with us.

Next Monday will be about Twitter since I’m focusing on improving my Twitter usage this month. 🙂



At the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI) conference, earlier this month, my friend, and fellow writer Amy Shojai, helped me come up with a semi-schedule, and new name, for this blog. While the name hasn’t happened yet, I am trying out her suggestion for daily (or in my case, semi-daily) themes.

Monday is Meandering Monday, there is no telling what patch of life will be discussed on Mondays. Today, it’s Toastmasters.

It’s Toastmaster Monday, the day I attend one of my favorite meetings, Toastmasters.  Although, it’s anybody’s guess how much longer I’ll be able to make the meetings.  Someone pointed out the other day that I spend almost as much money on gas, each week, to attend the meetings as the dues are for six months. Hmmm.

Since I live in a rural area, gas cost is just a fact of life. However, I can probably reduce what is spent on gas by limiting some driving. The problem with Toastmasters is, there isn’t another club any closer to me. No matter where I go I’m going to be spending $$$ on gas.

Still looking at options. Stopping Toastmasters entirely doesn’t feel like a good option.

For those of you who don’t know, Toastmasters is an organization that helps improve speaking, organizational skills, and leadership.  Folks may join for help in one area, not realizing how much Toastmasters will help in other areas.

No, I’m still not organized, probably won’t ever be, but with the help of Toastmasters I’ve come closer. Toastmasters has made me more confident and the ability to appear outgoing. 

Make no mistake, I’d still rather sit quietly in a corner and observes others.  Except more meaningful relationships are formed when there is a give and take. Thanks to Toastmasters, I can now give.

Another, albeit selfish reason, to continue with Toastmasters is the part it plays in  both my writing and quilting.

No, attending Toastmasters meetings doesn’t make  quilts. In fact, time spent at those meetings means time not sewing. However, since beginning Toastmasters I’ve been brave enough to attend other quilt groups and I always learn from those. Also, other toastmasters will often share stories about family quilts, or ideas they’ve seen about quilts. It all helps.

While Toastmasters may not seem to fit in a Devoted to Quilting blog, as I mentioned in a previous post, the name of this blog is changing to Patchwork Life, and Toastmasters is absolutely a patch in my patchwork life.  Hopefully, the name will actually be changed soon.

What about you? Is there something in your life that may appear to be excessive to others, something that can be eliminated, but something that adds to your life? Is there something that helps you be better at whatever you do, something completely unrelated to your daily life?