Oct 072013

At the August sew in, Joann Russell, Kathy Shelton and I sewed cuffs on stockings and chatted about everything including heated seats on motor cycles (who knew?) and perfection vs well done. We talked about putting the right amount of effort into each project. Then my wise friend, Kathy, said, “Save perfection for Paducah”. We laughed and said she was absolutely right.

That mantra has been going though my head since then and I am using it as a measurement for each task I do. I do my very best, but I try not to get so hung up on perfection that I never get anything done.

~ submitted by Silvia Vaughn

Aug 262013

Several months ago I finally found the best furniture arrangement in my sewing studio after years of moving things around, but the fabric storage has continued to be a thorn in my side. I’ve done the bins … a bin for each color, everything in one huge bin, etc. The bins don’t work for me. When I’m auditioning fabric, the bins are piled all over the place, fabric doesn’t get refolded and put back nicely … well, you get the picture!

I’m so excited about this fabric storage idea I found on the Internet recently. Comic book storage boards to the rescue! They are like heavy cardboard and are archival. Fold your fabric, wrap it around the board, pin it, store them upright … looks like mini bolts of fabric in the store!


I got the boards at Top Cut Comics (formerly known as Tomorrow is Yesterday) at the corner of North 2nd Street and Grand Avenue in Loves Park. They carry about four or five different sizes with 8 1/2″ x 11″ being the largest. I bought the 7″ x 10 1/2″ size and am cutting them in half for my fat quarters and will probably leave them whole for 1/2 yard plus pieces. A package of 100 costs $10.00. I also found them on amazon.com. A very economical storage solution!


Because of the way I folded my fat quarters, there’s even room to write notes on the board if I want to.


Once I’m done wrapping all my fabric, I can use the bins to organize my mess of scraps. It’s a good day!

~ submitted by Cindy Larsen


Jul 252013

If you accidentally scorch your fabric while pressing, take another piece of fabric, wet it with Hydrogen Peroxide and put it over the scorch and press with your iron. It may take a time or two but the scorch will come out. ~ submitted by Coleen O’Kane

Jul 232013

paper piecedPaper piecing:  There are many products on the market to use for paper piecing, however, it seems that when I want to paper piece, I don’t have them handy.  I have a box of sandwich papers stashed in my sewing room to use for emergencies.  I purchased them at GFS for a small amount.  They are great because you can trace through them and they tear away as easy as anything else.  Depending on your printer, you can tape them to a sheet of paper and send them through, but I usually just trace my pattern. ~ submitted by Karen Grover

Jun 242013

How to clean and condition your green Olfa rotary mat: Give it a bath! (I think this will work for most all brands.) Place mat in bathtub with 1/4 cup white vinegar to each gallon of tepid (not hot) water and a couple of drops of mild dishwashing soap. Use a mushroom brush or other mild bristle brush create a lather and gently clean and condition your mat. Rinse and let air dry flat. The mats love moisture. It helps to keep them supple. Be sure to store them flat and keep them out of direct sunlight. — Submitted by Laura Hunt, thanks to Pam Holland, pamhollanddesigns.typepad.com

Amy Ottens also sent in a tip about mats from the Quilter’s Ultimate Visual Guide: Store your mat flat and away from heat.  Heat will cause permanent warping.  If the mat cannot be left on the cutting surface, hang it or store it flat under a bed or chest. Do not set anything hot on your mat. Wash when necessary with lukewarm, soapy water.

Jun 172013

A great way to get perfect circles for applique is to go to the craft store and buy a circle puncher. These are found in the scrapbooking section. Using any of those annoying cards that come in magazines (or any other heavy paper), punch the number of circles you want for your project.  They are perfect everytime. — submitted by Karen Grover


When you are basting the fabric to a circle template to make perfect circles, leave a tail of thread in the color you are going to applique with.  When you go to applique the circles to your project, just thread your needle on to this tale and you will be ready to applique. — submitted by Karen Grover



Jun 152013

To prevent the creep of the top piece of fabric finishing past the bottom piece when sewing somewhat larger squares or triangles, e.g., I use a stilletto to gently “brush” the top piece forward while sewing.  This motion mimics an even feed foot such as that which is on the Pfaff machines.  I hold the stilletto nearly horizontal to the top fabric pieces to “brush” and guide them along as I chain stitch. — submitted by Anne Brown