Light and lenses
Providing light and magnification, the Taylor Seville CloseLook Lighted Magnifier (seen above) is ideal for sewers working with intricate details. It comes with lenses for 1.6x, 2.0x, and 2.25x magnification levels. The lenses are labeled with their strength and click firmly into the frame. The headband has padding at the temples and above the ears for comfort and to help it stay in place. Turn the wheels on the sides to adjust the viewing frame angle. The battery-powered LED light can be tilted to shine where you need it. The magnifier fits comfortably over glasses.
Design tool for a cause
The FashionEmpowerment Notebook by the Fashion Empowerment Project (FEP) is designed to promote creativity and organization. Peppered with inspirational quotations, it includes 234 croquis and three sections: mood boards, initial sketches, and final designs. The FEP teaches women and girls worldwide how to use design skills to promote ethical fashion. A portion of the proceeds goes to three charities: Malaika, which focuses on the education and welfare of Congolese girls; Beauty for Freedom, which works to give agency to victims of human trafficking; and UN (United Nations) Women, which supports gender equality. The spiral-bound, hardcover notebook measures 6 inches by 9 inches. It currently ships only within the United States but may be available internationally through Amazon.com this fall.
Hold fabric with magnets
Pins are not the best choice for holding some materials together. Real and faux leather, for example, are permanently marked by pinholes. SewTites are an alternative to pins. These clips feature a plastic bar with three inset magnets and a separate flat metal back. Sandwich the material between these layers and snap the metal back into place. Each clip is 1-3/4 inches by 1/2 inch. They are designed to hold thick materials firmly and be easy to remove. They are safe to use around computers, but the manufacturer recommends storing them away from the machines. SewTites come in packs of three.
Fabric Magic from Pellon adds texture to fabrics of many types and weights. This sew-in interfacing shrinks up to 30 percent when exposed to steam, drawing in the fabric and creating a crinkled surface. It must be sewn to the fabric in relatively close-set lines of stitching. A steam iron or garment steamer works to shrink it, but it may take several passes to shrink fully. Once the interfacing has shrunk, the results are permanent and can be machine-laundered. Decorative stitching adds additional flair. Fabric Magic is white and comes in a 30-inch by 1-yard package.
Keep pins in line
With the Zirkel Magnetic Pin Holder, you don’t have to worry about jabbing yourself when you reach for pins on your magnetic pincushion. It contains a powerful magnet that holds and aligns pins, automatically arranging them with the points at the center and the heads fanned out at the outside edge. Simply place the pins point down in the holder’s center and watch them arrange themselves. The magnet is strong enough to hold pins securely, but it is easy to remove the pins by the heads. The holder can organize any metal items containing iron, including paper clips or fabric clips. It weighs 12 ounces, so it can also function as a fabric weight or paperweight. It comes in six colors.
Designer-led pattern hacking
Laura and Saara Huhta, the designers behind garment pattern label Named, bring the cleans lines and interesting designs from their patterns to life in Breaking the Pattern (Quadrille, 2018). Their book offers in-depth instructions and advice for “breaking” or hacking their patterns. The softcover guide contains 10 garment projects with variations and tips that make it possible to create 50 garments. With further changes, you can make more. Paper patterns for each project are in an envelope at the back of the book. The garments include a knit dress with a front knot detail, color-blocked jeans, and a collared, trench-style coat. The patterns come in U.S. sizes 2 through 18, for bust measurements 31-1⁄2 inches to 45-3⁄4 inches, waist measurements 25-1⁄4 inches to 39-3⁄8 inches, and hip measurements 34-1⁄2 inches to 48-3⁄4 inches. Each set of pattern instructions is illustrated and includes pattern diagrams and photographs of the finished garment. The book informs readers of the possibilities available when they gain the confidence to make changes and add personal touches to patterns. After each section of pattern instructions is a detailed description of several ways the authors recommend ways to break that pattern, such as adding pockets, changing the shape of a collar, and swapping elements between patterns. With the information and patterns it contains, this book is a useful addition to an adventurous sewer’s collection.