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Tools & Supplies

Sewing Tips from Threads Magazine Readers

Your ideas for better sewing
Threads #198, Aug./Sept. 2018
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Match bobbin to thread

I found a way to store my bobbins so that the thread does not unwind, and I always know the thread’s brand and color number for matching. I thread the end of the bobbin thread through one of the holes in the bobbin and bring it to the flat side of the bobbin. I write the first letter of the thread brand and its color code on an Avery temporary 3⁄4-inch round sticker and affix it to the bobbin over the thread tail. For example, Mettler 0261 is M0261. The sticker keeps the thread from unwinding and enables me to record the colors. I use this process to mark my embroidery threads as well, because I sometimes want the bobbin thread to be the same color as the needle thread. Additionally, I can code P for polyester, S for silk, and C for cotton below the number if I have several spools that are the same color but different types.

—Celina Hardin, Madison, Alabama


Wearable illumination

The light on my sewing machine is not bright enough for me to see the needle position. The best thing I have found to help me see while sewing is an inexpensive head lamp. The head lamp can be adjusted to shine directly on the needle while sewing. Head lamps can be found online, in most big box stores in the camping equipment section, or in your local hardware store.

—Doris Jones, Montrose, Pennsylvania


Dry-clean optional

I love to work with high-end fabrics, but I don’t want to be forever required to pay for dry cleaning or spend time handwashing. I learned years ago some dry-clean-only fabrics can survive the washing machine. Before using the fabric, cut a 4-inch-square test swatch and put it through a cycle in the washer and dryer. Compare the swatch to the original fabric. In many cases, the fabric comes out fine. Fabrics with wool content should be dry-cleaned or hand-washed, but machine-washing works well for many other fabrics. This way, you can work with high-end fabrics without a high maintenance cost.

—Lisa Johnson, Tacoma, Washington


Sweep up your studio

As someone who sews professionally, I find it a challenge to keep my sewing studio neat and tidy. Lint, loose threads, and tiny bits of fabric accumulate everywhere. I use the Pledge Pet Hair Fabric Sweeper in my home to quickly pick up pet hair from fabrics. I decided to test one in my sewing studio to see how it would work for speedy clean-ups. It worked great, and now I use it on my cutting table, ironing board, sewing machine tables, and even on my clothes. The sweepers come in disposable or reusable versions, and they are available on Amazon.com.

—Alania Sheeley, Nashville, Tennessee


Daily guidance

I made a list of my best sewing tips. Whenever I’m helping a new sewer, I e-mail them a tip a day. They are not overwhelmed with too much information at once, and they can keep all the tips in a folder to refer to. Several sewing friends also asked to be included in the mailing.

—Brenda Walker, Chesterfield, Michigan

send us your tips


We pay for every tip we publish. The best tip winner receives a gift of Taunton Press products.

Threads Tips • PO Box 5506 • Newtown, CT 06470-5506 • or via email: [email protected]

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