|Here's a sneak peek!|
One of my takeaways from my week of sewing (besides the fact that sewcations are awesome for introverts like me) was that it is totally worth it to spend money on quality items. A danger of my Very Thrifty Asian Upbringing is that I tend to think I can get away with the cheapest tools and materials; my sewing machine is the lowest-of-the-line model I could find on Amazon and for the longest time I just used regular office scissors for cutting fabric (but I only used them for fabric, never for paper!). My threads were all the $0.25/spool ones from SAS, and come on, I sew with old sheets most of the time! Fabric that costs more than $8/yd is usually ruled out as too pricey. But I knew that good tools could revolutionalize my sewing (my rotary cutter and self-healing mat and magnetic pincushion are my favorite examples). So when Jo-ann's had its Firefly Frenzy sale, I took advantage of the deep discounts and flurry of coupons to treat myself to some better stuff:
1) Gingher dressmaking shears: Sewing bloggers I respect are always talking about how awesome these are, and I have to admit -- I scoffed. How awesome could a pair of scissors really be? FRIENDS, I WAS SO WRONG. I cannot get over how much I love these shears! They really do handle multiple layers of fabric beautifully, they cut all the way to the tippy tip, and it is like cutting through hot butter, it's so easy. I can't say it enough -- good tools can make an onerous task (does anyone actually enjoy cutting?) so much more tolerable. Between my rotary cutter and these shears, cutting out pattern pieces is almost borderline enjoyable. Between the coupons and teacher discounts, I got mine for $8, a price even I can stomach!
2) Silk thread and beeswax for hand-sewing: I've always just used cheap polyester all-purpose thread for all my hand-sewing (and machine sewing, for that matter), whether for blind-stitching hems, attaching trim and buttons, or basting (for the rare times I actually take the time to baste). And when it tangled up horribly or snapped, I always assumed that
that's what people do!! errr, that's what thread just does. But the historical sewing bloggers I follow all talk about its superiority for hand-sewing, so I gave it a try. It wasn't quite the epiphany that the Gingher shears were, but it was still pretty impressive. I haven't hated hand-sewing for a while, but now I even find it relaxing and fun. Which is good, because there was a ton of hand-sewing involved in my week-long project.
|I love this tumblr and am so sad it's no longer updated. |
But hey, I gave sewing with a thimble a try after a particularly painful needle jab!
3) Quality interfacing: I didn't get this at Jo-ann's, but from Fashion Sewing Supply. I've always used the cheap Pellon non-woven interfacing for my projects and would always get frustrated when it bubbled or peeled off or totally changed the hand and drape of my fabric. Honestly, when people talked about how interfacing was necessary for making coats, I just didn't get it. I didn't scoff, like I did with the shears, but I was just confused. How could it really make such a big difference? I finally sucked it up and got myself a couple of yards of Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-Weight Interfacing last year, but hadn't had a reason to use it until now. I was quickly blown away by how beautifully it stabilized my fabric without making it stiff, how much better it fused, and how freaking good it smelled while fusing. Okay, I know that last bit of praise probably concerns some people (I promise I'm not huffing interfacing fumes on purpose!), but seriously, this stuff smelled like an excellent mushroom puff pastry. Yes, I could really smell the umami and buttery flakiness.
|I had to fight the urge to make these instead of finishing my project.|
After I tried out the interfacing, I wrote a thank you note to FSS, because I was that taken with their product. To my surprise, Pam, the owner, personally wrote me back to say how glad she was that I enjoyed the interfacing and even offered to send me a swatch set so that I would have a better idea of the
endless horizons of mushroom puff pastry before me types of interfacing they offered for various needs. Readers, in this day and age of anonymous online commerce, it was such a pleasant surprise to hear from Pam and be offered this kind of customer service. Even better, she's offered a swatch set for one of you lucky ducks to try! Seriously, if you've ever wondered what the big deal with interfacing is, or if you're just not sure what feels like what and need to figure out what works for your particular project, here's your chance! Leave a comment below telling me what sewing tool, notion, or material revolutionalized your sewing process, and I'll choose a winner on June 28, Friday night, at 11:59 pm PST.
|For a list of the swatches included, take a look over here. I'll be honest, I petted mine for quite a bit and then spent a good amount of time researching what kinds of projects each would be suited for.|
And if interfacing isn't your thing, stay tuned...I've got another giveaway coming! Gosh, this is the most giveaways I've ever done in a month, but then again, this month marks my second blogiversary and I didn't have my act together enough to make another pattern, so here, have a bunch of lotteries instead. Only it's not the kind where you draw a black spot and get stoned to death. Oops, should I have put a spoiler alert on that?