Today I’m continuing the TOP FIVE lists with my favorite sewing machine needles!
Microtex: Microtex are also sometimes called sharps. They’re perfect for neat piecing because they are sharp. I typically piece with a 70 or occasionally an 80. I also sometimes quilt with a Microtex 90.
Quilting: I use these for quilting (shocking I know!). They’re designed to go through multiple layers. I find the tension is usually magically perfect when I use these. I prefer the smaller size 75 because I use a relatively thin batting.
Jeans: I use these almost anytime I have something with interfacing. They’re designed to prevent breaking when sewing through difficult substrates like denim. I love that they rarely break! I use all the various sizes depending on how thick the interfacing and thread I’m using is.
Leather: If you’re stitching through leather, these are the best. The needle pierces a hole in the leather for smoother stitching. Because of the piercing nature, these needles aren’t always perfect for synthetic leather because it can cause ripping. I always do a test.
Ball Point: This is mostly when I’m in garment sewing land. It can also be called Jersey. These are perfect for stitching with knits. I use assorted sizes depending on the thickness of the knits.
One needle that I get a lot of questions on that is notably missing from my list is the Universal. Universal needles are part ball point and part sharp. I find they don’t do either job particularly well. Would I use one if that’s all I had? Absolutely. Do I buy them regularly? No. They’re universally not that great because they’re trying to do two jobs. I prefer to use a Ball Point when I need it or a Microtex when I need it.
As part of my Blogoversary celebration, I’m spending five days sharing top five lists. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on this post! Today, I’m sharing my top five sewing tools. These are more specialty tools but everyone of them I use on a weekly, if not daily, basis!
The Kwik Klip: If you baste with safety pins, you need this tool! It saves your fingers and fingernails. There’s more here including a video of the Klip in action!
Clover Wonderclips: These clips are lifesavers in the sewing studio. You can use them to clip down your binding, keep your pieces or blocks in order and even clip up your hair in a pinch! More here.
Sunflower Thread Cutter: This thing is a must when you’re a chain piecing fool! You can clip apart your pieces in half the time. There’s more info here.
The Purple Thang: It has so many uses! You can poke out corners and check your quarter inch seam. You’ll reach for it over and over and keep finding new uses! More here.
Perfect Seam Guide: Everyone should check their 1/4″ seam! Even if you’re using a 1/4″ foot, it helps to visually see the 1/4″. More here.
What are your favorites?
Sometimes, once I am finished quilting with a bright color, I have just a bit left on the bobbin. I go ahead and use this in the bobbin while piecing bright fabrics.
This is less wasteful and gets the bobbin empty and ready for its next color. I use Aurifil 50 weight for all my quilt piecing and a lot of my quilting, so I am not mixing weights, only mixing colors!
There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re hand stitching than thread that keeps knotting up and tangling. If you thread the end that comes off the spool first, you’ll have less issues. The thread will travel through the fabric in the more natural direction.
Wishing you tangle free stitching!
UPDATE: Great comment over on Instagram to help remember this!
When I make a quilt with lots of appliqué that I plan on densely quilting, I skip the actual appliqué. This quilt is dresdens that I glued down. Instead of stitching them down, either by hand or machine, I just started quilting.
You’ll want to carefully stitch over each point and cross the edges frequently. This is a great trick to speed up a quilt full of appliqué!
Today’s tip is pretty simple, but also pretty life changing if you don’t know about it. I learned it from Adam, the awesome tech who works on my sewing machines. You can remove and clean out the cutter on the side of your machine. This might not be true for all machines, but if it’s true for yours, prepare to basically have a brand new cutter. This picture is of my BERNINA 530 and it works on my 350 as well!
Once you pull out all the thread, the cutter works perfectly!
This trick is bag related! When you’re stitching the sides of your bag, you want to sew in one direction, i.e. stitch from the top to the bottom on the left and then the top to the bottom on the right.
Once you’ve stitched both sides, you can stitch across the bottom. This will prevent your bag from pulling in one direction. If you stitch down one side, across the bottom, and back up the other side, your bag will likely lean a little to one side.
Okay, full disclosure, I had to actually google whether this was terrific tool Thursdays or Thursday’s terrific tool. It’s been that long since I’ve posted a cool tool! But I am back with a doozy. The Oliso. I know what some of you may be thinking. Is it worth it? Can it really be that great? Do I really need another iron? The answer to all of the above is yes!
For an iron, it can be a bit spendy. Think of it in terms of fabric. Do I want 15 yards of fabric or do I want the most amazing ironing experience of my life? For those of you who aren’t familiar, what is unique about the Oliso is that it pops up and down. This means you never pick up the iron. When you are quilting all day and pressing repeatedly, it makes a huge difference in how your wrist feels at the end of the day. Here’s a short video.
I have definitely heard rumblings about Oliso’s that leak water. I will say I hear these complaints about most irons. I have no concrete facts on whether this iron or that iron leaks more. That said, I do not use steam and therefore do not ever put water in my iron. None of my irons leak;) I can say that a really good way to prolong the life of your iron, is to use a spray bottle instead of putting water in the iron.
Another full disclosure, I was given this iron by Oliso last Spring at Market. I wanted to use it a bit before I introduced it on the blog. After a few short months of use, one had to be purchased for The Guru! Iron envy is a dangerous dynamic for a mother daughter duo. If/When this one dies, I’ll be purchasing a replacement stat. My wrist thanks me in advance.
I love a good dresden quilt! It’s one of my favorite blocks. Today’s tip is to help with getting your dresden point perfectly centered. As you go to stitch across the top of the dresden, finger press down the center line.
Once you’ve turned it right side out, use the finger pressed line to align with the seam.
Press! Your point will be right in the center.
Today is Tuesday Tip number 100!! I’m pretty excited and decided to celebrate by…posting a tip! This is an oldie, but a goodie. If your ruler is not wide enough, stack in another ruler. Here I’m cutting 8″.
Only one needs to be as long as your cut. This is an especially great tip for classes and retreats. You can bring one short ruler and one long ruler and make all your cuts.