When trying to match prints or plaids, I commonly mark rough outlines or key lines on the pattern pieces to be able to find and cut a mirror image or matching pattern. A regular pen or pencil leaves markings on the pattern piece that can make it difficult to reuse with a new print or plaid. Instead, I use FriXion heat-erasable marking pens to draw the fabric’s design on the pattern pieces. I can erase the marks with a warm iron when I complete the project with that fabric.
—Pamela Weill, Springfield, Oregon
Inserting doll weights
I have been trying to figure out how to make some small, soft dolls stand up. BB pellets work well as weights because of their size and weight. I put them at the bottom of the doll. Getting the pellets into the small opening is challenging, as they roll around and fall off scoops and spoons. Straws are the answer. I place the pellets in a plastic bag and then load the straw. I use flexible straws so I can bend the short end to close it. Then I hold the straw by the closed end and guide the pellets into the opening. This method also works with polyester pellet stuffing. On wide straws I use a binder clip to keep the end closed. Now my dolls stand up and can be seen on all sides.
—Rina Hovden, Santa Rosa, California
Painless machine maintenance
I have arthritis in my hands, and I find the typical screwdrivers that come as machine accessories difficult to use when loosening the screws to remove the throat plates from my machines. My solution is an inexpensive offset screwdriver. It is easy to grip, and it makes the task simple and more comfortable.
—Darlene C. Shelton, Clifton Forge, Virginia