Sewing Notions: Subscribe to a Box of Sewing SurprisesSubscription to sewing surprises, task lighting, steel hand-sewing needles, needle-changing helper, book on sewing ergonomics
Monthly sewing notion surprises
Subscription boxes are a wonderful way to discover and enjoy new sewing notions and products. The ThreadCrate subscription boxes for garment sewers include a pattern, fabric, thread, and notions to complete a garment, plus additional sewing items to inspire your creativity. The boxes are planned for beginner to intermediate sewers, and they require only a sewing machine and basic skills. Complete instructions are included, and an exclusive Facebook group offers sew-alongs, too. Each box includes 3 yards of fabric, enough to finish the garment in a size-inclusive range. ThreadCrate offers boxes to sew for women, children, or men in one-, three-, and six-month subscriptions. Visit the website to see past crates and to sign up for or give a subscription.
(ThreadCrate.com; prices vary)
Lighting your way
A lack of good lighting can make even simple sewing tasks tiresome or impossible to complete well. Reliable’s versatile new UberLight Flex LED task lighting is designed to be positionable, lightweight, and easy to set to a range of intensities and color temperatures. The lamps have a contemporary design in white, and are available with a table mount, clamp, or base. They feature a 270-degree rotational head set on a flexible, 26-1/2-inch silicone gooseneck, so you can direct light where you need it. Use the nine settings to adjust the lighting to your environment, preference, and task. Lighting, like clothing, is not one size fits all, and the UberLight Flex range is designed to be adaptable. Complete electrical and lumen specifications, plus accessory details, are available on the Reliable website.
(ReliableCorporation.com; $49 table mount or clamp, $79 with base)
Needles to know
Hand-sewing is smoother and faster with a well-crafted needle. Made in England, the John James Signature Collection hand-sewing needles are premium steel with a proprietary finish. The needles come 25 in a single size per package, and the collection offers common styles and sizes: betweens, a shorter needle for quilting; sharps for general sewing; embroidery needles with longer eyes; and milliners, a longer needle for pleating and fancy stitches. Invest in quality needles and have the ideal choices at hand for years to come.
(ColonialNeedle.com; $14.95 per package of 25 needles)
Easier needle changing
It can be difficult to see exactly where to place a new sewing machine needle in the small area between the throat plate and the needle clamp. Extend your reach and simplify the process with the Needle Holder by OB Enterprise Manufacturing. A plastic rod, 4 inches long and just under 1/2 inch in diameter, the holder has a narrow slot opening at one end with soft foam inside. To use the tool, push the slotted end on and around the needle installed in your sewing machine. The foam inside the rod grips the needle, and once you loosen the needle clamp screw, you can use the holder to remove the needle. Slide the old needle out of the holder to discard or save it. To install a new needle, place it in the holder, then guide the needle into position. You’ll find it easier to insert the needle and see what you are doing without your hand blocking your view of the needle clamp. Tighten the clamp to secure the needle, then slide the holder off the needle. The other end of the holder bears a metal split ring, so you can keep the tool handy on a lanyard or magnet.
As enjoyable as it is, sewing and quilting can leave you stiff and sore at times. There are many solutions to prevent or alleviate strain from sewing, from specific furniture and lighting to stretching and exercises. Learn how to complete sewing tasks more comfortably from Sew Healthy & Happy: Smart Ergonomics, Stretches & More for Makers by Rose Parr (C&T Publishing, 2021). Available as an 80-page, spiral-bound book or an ebook, this colorfully illustrated reference shares expert advice about improving your equipment and habits for healthy sewing. The author, a personal trainer and nutritionist, writes the blog HealthyQuilting.com. Chapter titles include Ergonomics, Cutting, Pressing, Sewing, and Healthy Quilting: Stretching and Healthy Habits. Concise explanations make it clear why and how to adapt your sewing conditions. Plus, quotations throughout the book offer advice and encouragement from a group of sewing and health experts. A section on stretches includes invigorating exercises for the body from neck to toes, all done in regular clothing while seated or standing. The information in this cheerful reference could make your sewing experience more relaxing on a daily basis as well as in the long run.