Thursday, 25 May 2017

A word about Pins

I am passionate about good value when it comes to my tools, and that includes my pins too.

There are lots of brands of pins and lots of different kinds of pins. most of you will be familiar old fashioned steel headed pins such as these.

Stainless steal dressmaking pins
Some of you, like me, might find these painful to use - and jolly difficult to find when you drop them - as you inevitably will!  To over come both of these points you may use bobble headed pins like these.

Plastic head pins

And for those who like this sort of thing there are lots of pretty pins with shaped heads such as hearts or flowers.

Plastic head pins with heart shaped heads

These are all lovely and pretty, and solve the problem of not being able to see them when dropped, and they don't hurt your fingers like steel headed pins can when pushing them through fabric.

I used to use plastic headed pins myself until I discovered Glass headed pins.  These were game changers I have to tell you!  No longer did I melt the bobble heads with the iron (marking the plate on the iron), no longer did they bend at the drop of a hat, and no longer did the bobble heads come off mid use - forcing me to grab a pair of pliers to retrieve the darn things.

Glass headed pins are made with high quality nickel plated steel which is really strong, it holds it's point for a really long time and they never bend unless you hit them with some force.  Like other dress making pins they come in two lengths as seen below.

51mm and 35mm Glass head pins

Now, these pins are not cheep!  On average they are 3-5 times the price of plastic head pins, but - and this is a big but, they last 10-20 times longer!  The glass head stays on so much better than plastic, I think only one has come off in the 5 years I have been using them, this is very favourable compared to the several per week that came off the plastic ones.  I have never snapped a glass head pin and have only bent them on very rare occasions when I have hit one while sewing on the machine - which also damages the machine needle too if you hit a pin.

My favourite brand of glass head pins are Hemline

My favourite brand of glass head pins

As you can see they are pricey, but you will really appreciate how good they are.  This is an investment in great tools for your sewing, if you make patchwork they are especially good because you can iron over them.

So if you sew as a hobby, or more seriously, think about the pins you use and consider getting some glass head pins - they make great stocking fillers at Christmas for friend and family who sew too, you can get them at most sewing and craft outlets or online.

Happy sewing

Sunday, 21 May 2017

I bet some of you have been wondering where I have been over the last couple of months - moving house is the answer.  I have left Dorset behind, which is a bit weird given that I have lived there my entire life thus far, and hopped just across the border in to South Somerset to become a resident of Wincanton.  It's a nice small town with some lovely shops and a nice sense of community.  One major find is the local sewing shop called Sew & Sew.  Dianne, the proprietor is lovely and we have a great working relationship already.

My new workshop is now a dedicated space made up of two rooms, one for cutting with lots of storage for all my fabrics and stock, and one for sewing which is wonderfully lit with a nice big window and my own separate entrance.

Cutting room with lots of storage

And the sewing room - lovely and light

It is such a pleasure to work in my lovely south facing sewing room, I can look out of the window and the door into the garden and collect one's self for a moment when doing something challenging - especially working with black - the green of our lovely garden gives my eyes a lovely break.  Never realised how much I missed having a garden while living in my flat in Gillingham.

Already I am working on a couple of bespoke projects for new clients from the area, the first is a Mother of the Bride outfit in printed Cotton that my client and I met up at Hansons to buy the fabric for.

Pattern cutting for the first time in my new cutting room

 Here I am having traced off the jacket for my client's jacket, changing it ready to toile it for the first fitting.

Cutting out the dress toile fabric

You may note how closely I pin on my pattern pieces, I always pin no more than 5cm/2" apart so that the pattern piece stays put while cutting.

Happily sewing away on a sunny spring morning

I really love having a dedicated workshop to work in now, such a treat after working in my living room for many years - actually what started out as a living room with a work space, with my growing business it grew into a workshop with a sofa and a tele!!  For any of you who work from home, you will know exactly how nice it is to finish work at the end of the day in a dedicated room and then 'leave' work at the end of the day, with a commute of around 6 steps - and being able to leave everything out mid making is awesome.

Over the next few weeks and months there will be new shelving and other adaptations to accommodate all the work related things I had squirrelled in my bedroom and every cupboard outside of the kitchen in my previous residence that simply wouldn't fit in my work-space - there was quite a lot collected over the years!!

The very best thing about the move is that my partner and I are beginning our new life together - we went out for a day out to Weston-Super-Mare today, so have lots of new places to explore as I know about as little as he does about Somerset, despite it being so close to Dorset.