Monday, May 19, 2014
My Favorite Sewing Supplies, With Name Dropping!
You might remember a recent article I wrote, Sher's Sewing Essentials, where I showed you the items I'd be lost without in my studio. This article is a little different because these are supplies that you can run out of if you don't watch your stock. They are also the supplies that are needed for creating your small quilting projects and items where you'll use appliques. I'm going to show you the must have items that I like to keep on hand. It's kind of like having things in the kitchen that you don't want to run out of such as salt, catchup, tea bags, etc. If you like to make small quilting projects, or machine or hand applique, you'll find this article helpful. And I'm even dropping names here!
If you have brands that work well for you, and you are happy with them, I say to stick with what you know works well! This article might be more helpful for beginners or people who are not sure which will give their project the best possible result without having to try several brands before finding one that works.
With the exception of the spray, all the other items can be purchased by the yard so you can really stock up like I do, or you can just get a yard or less if that's all you need.
Totally Stable Stablizer by Sulky: In my opinion, this is the best of the best! This is perfect for doing machine applique on tote bags, aprons, children's clothing, curtains, everything! You iron it on for a temporary hold, then you tear it away after stitching. I don't use this when using machine applique on my mug rugs because I use a different technique, which I'll share at the end of this article.
Basting Spray: The two brands I like best are the June Taylor and Spray N Bond. Both brands work very well and I've never once had a gummed up needle. I've made over 200 mini quilts, table runners, and mug rugs in the past couple of years with excellent results. You would not believe how using a spray instead of stitching or pinning will cut your basting time down when making small quilting projects. Unbelievable! My advice, give it a try, but use your JoAnn Fabrics coupons to get it at half price because it ranges from $10 to $15 a can. But even at full price, it's so worth it!
Heat N Bond Lite Paper Backed Fusible Webbing: This is what I use for all my appliques, and only this! It goes on evenly, and the backing peels away so easily. My local stores quit carrying it about a year ago so I bought another brand (who shall remain nameless) and started working with it when I got home. It didn't fuse on evenly, the adhesive was splotchy, and getting the paper backing off was close to impossible! After about thirty minutes of struggling, with something that shouldn't have been a struggle, I hopped on the Internet and ordered a five yard package of this. I go through a lot of it so as soon as I open one package up, I wait for my next (40% OFF) JoAnn coupon, and order another one. You can also get it pretty reasonably priced through Amazon.com. I learned my lesson the hard way about letting my supply get too low.
It's important to buy the "Lite" because it's designed for stitching through by hand or by machine, and it won't gum up your needle.
100% Cotton Batting: There are a few brands out there, and for this one, I don't have a preference. I just prefer cotton batting over polyester. When I first started using batting many, many moons ago, I started using the polyester. Once I started using the cotton, I never used the polyester again. I just really like the less puffy look that the cotton gives, plus there's less shifting. This of course is a personal preference but in my studio, you'll find a heaping pile of the 100% cotton.
Pellon Fusible and Non-fusible Fleece: This may be last, but it most certainly is not least! I love this stuff and I use it to line tote bags, purses, mini quilts, mug rugs, Christmas stockings, you name it! When I use the non-fusible, I do use it as if I was using quilt batting. I stitch through it every few inches to keep the fleece from shifting around after the project is complete. The fusible fleece is what I use for my mug rugs because if performs double duty. As you can see in the image below, when making my mug rugs, I just fuse this to the wrong side of my fabric, arrange then iron my applique pieces to the right side, then use my machine to stitch the appliques to the background fabric. I stitch right through the fusible fleece while it acts as my stabilizer! And for those wondering, I've never once gotten a gummed up needle. Since the mug rugs are so tiny, I just add a backing fabric and a binding, and no additional quilting stitches are needed.
I hope you have found my list of favorites helpful, but most of all, I hope I have inspired you to create something fun for yourself, or someone else! Have you never made a mug rug before and want to give it a try? I have a mug rug tutorial right here on the blog, or of course you can choose one from the huge selection I have at my shops (links at the right).