Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nifty Notions!

Readers, I got some new toys. Don't you just love when you find that sewing gadget that absolutely blows your mind and you wonder how you ever lived without it? Of course you do! Let's geek out over some notions, why don't we?

First up is this Clover Chaco Liner Pen (pictured above) which my draping teacher Sharon introduced me to. Good grief, I love this thing. No more messing about with dull chalk wedges that draw horrible chunky lines! This thingie has a thin wheel at the tip that dispenses a pencil-thin line of chalk. And it works perfectly in conjunction with a clear ruler. I got one in pink and I think I want to marry it. I used it to mark bound buttonholes and it changed my life. (New Yorkers, they sell these at SIL Thread on 38th Street.)

Next, I present to you the Clover Double Tracing Wheel. I'd heard tell of these wonders, and saw one in action for the first time in my trouser class last night. You can trace the seam line and the seam allowance on a pattern all in one fell swoop! Perfect for making muslins, and also marking seam allowances for patterns that don't come with them. Sew Fast Sew Easy sells them in the store, and I bought one on the spot after Kenneth King, our teacher, demonstrated it. I haven't actually used it yet, but I'm pretty sure it's going to change my life too.


Lastly, have you guys tried Soak? I bought some a couple months ago to wash my delicate fabrics in. It's great for that, of course, but I really love it for spot cleaning my sewing projects. If you have some stubborn chalk marks you want to remove or Diet Coke you sprayed over your beautiful work-in-progress (been there, done that), put some of this stuff on a q-tip, swab it on the area, and let it sit for about ten minutes. Then rinse the spot under water. Comes out like magic! Plus, the Flora scent smells like candy. Mmmm.

That's all for now, just some good old notion talk. I just had to geek out and I knew you'd understand. Have you discovered any fab new notions lately?

38 comments:

  1. Perhaps it's just me but my mind seriously went to a different place when I saw the chalk pen image.. It sounds really great though - I currently make do with washable fabric markers but I'm scared to use them on light fabrics.
    My most recent discovery has been the wonder of twill tape to stabilise waistbands; it makes such a difference. And my tracing wheel has changed my life - a double one would be amazing! I'll have to see if I can find one in the UK.

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  2. Putting all three on my wishlist, especially the chalk pen. Fingers crossed i can find them in the UK too!

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  3. Super-duper chalk-pen! Wonder if I can get these in OZ? Totally geeking out over these notions.

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  4. I like the chalk pen. I'm still trying to work the rolling wheel thingy that cuts straight lines... what's it called? Ugh. Forgotten. :(

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  5. That is one *ahem* interesting looking chalk pen! Must see if we can get them in the uk too. I rarely use fabric markers because they never seem to make the requisite marks. Lovely dress from yesterday, I meant to comment then forgot!

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  6. Original Mischief - I think you're talking about a rotary cutter.

    Clare - glad it wasn't just me :D

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  7. I've found all three in the UK as below:

    http://www.sewessential.co.uk/Category.asp?CategoryID=1551&NumPerPage=5&page=1

    http://www.sewessential.co.uk/Category.asp?CategoryID=205&NumPerPage=5&page=2

    http://www.first4yarns.co.uk/soak-wash-525-c.asp

    Funnily enough they've all landed in my basket too!

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  8. haha, obviously everyone's mind is in the gutter, not just mine!

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  9. Not so much notions, but I tried on a 50's dress this weekend that had a row of covered buttons from neck to bum all down the back. I didn't buy the dress purely because I can't do those beautiful buttons up without help. My mum laughed at me when I mentioned it this morning and told me about a hook device you can use to do up buttons you can't reach by yourself (or if you don't have servants or a hubby to help you - her words!). Genius! I'm now off to google it and see if I can find one!

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  10. Oh I like the chalk pen! I have something similar that is shaped like a piece of tailors chalk that draws a very fine line. I love that thing to bits!

    I love the double tracing wheel, will have to search for one in the UK too! Although, I have something similar for marking seam allowances. Its two pencils held together with a rubber holder that marks a 1.5cm seam. I think its a quilting tool but still very handy for when I copy out Burda magazine patterns.

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  11. I say ix-nay on the chalk pen. Kenneth King turned me on to tailor's chalk that disappears when you iron it. It comes in "slices", is fairly cheap, and you can whittle it if it gets chunky. I got a little overzealous with standard chalk one day marking the center front for buttonholes and it is STILL visible. My favorite new gadget is the Dritz Bound Buttonhole maker (got it on ebay last month for $25.00)! -- San Antonio Sue

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  12. I was just gifted a Gingher rotary cutter last week, let me just say it is a life-changing tool. My mother has a really nice set of sewing scissors, but she caught me trying to smuggle them out of the house - this thing is just as good, if not better, at cutting out fabrics. I just need to go get a proper cutting mat and see-through ruler now. Eee, I can't wait to actually be able to do some proper sewing and cutting with that baby.

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  13. HA! About the pen liner . . . I totally had the same thought as I was writing this last night but I decided I was being silly. Sigh . . . now I can never look at my pen liner the same way again! I changed the top image just so no one gets the wrong idea about what kind of "toys" I'm talking about!

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  14. I love my Chaco chalk liners, and I have a bulkier, more, um, suggestively shaped version. I'm pretty I got mine at Jo-Ann or Hancock Fabrics, and I know they are available from createforless.com.

    But I don't have *pink*. Totally jealous.

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  15. These sound amazing. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  16. Gutter mind here too lol. And yes, you can get those chalk pens in Australia. I have two :)

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  17. I've been using fine line Crayola markers to mark my fabric. They're for kids, so the ink is made to wash out. And they have many pretty colors, so no matter what color fabric I'm using, I can find one that will show my marks clearly and then Voila, wash away.

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  18. Yup, I did a double-take on the pink chalk pen... what a smutty-minded bunch we are! Sadly I see the picture has changed now... Anyway, pink or blue, smutty or not, it sounds like it's the answer to all my needs. I have chalk pencils which are completely useless and keep breaking; tailor chalk is just unwieldy and difficult on some fabrics; and the last time I thought I was being really clever and used a white gel pen on some dark fabric, it failed to occur to me that it wouldn't wash out...

    So thank you Gertie for bringing them to our attention, and thank you Louiz for UK addresses!

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  19. I have the Chacoliner that's shaped like a piece of tailor's chalk. I tried the pen, but found it doesn't have the mojo the other style has. Hey, I even like the little sound it makes, that's how much I love my Chacoliner!

    My current favorite notion is the Clover awl thingy. You know what I mean, right? It's not called an awl -- what IS it? Anyway, it's just the handiest thing ever to get me out of a tight spot.

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  20. This isn't life altering or anything (although I think that chalk pen might be!). I just got this bobbin tower and I really like it! I carry my tray of bobbins back and forth to the sewing lab a lot, and I could never keep them wound nicely in there. This holds the thread down and doesn't take up much space on the shelf when I'm at home. I can add more "tiers" to it as I need them. http://www.clover-usa.com/product/0/9508/_/Stack_%27N_Store_Bobbin_Tower_with_Nancy_Zieman

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  21. I love Soak! I have never thought of using for removing mini-stains, though. I like it for the fact that I can hand-wash my woolens or other delicates, and then don't have to waste gallons of water rinsing out the soap. You can just leave it!

    I will have to search for that chalk pen--my pencils aren't doing it for me.

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  22. wow, thank you so much for posting about the double tracing wheel! I had bought a drawing compass with a vague idea of using it to add seam allowances to my Burda magazine patterns, but the chalk wheel looks about 10 times better.

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  23. So cool. I just use regular chalkboard chalk for now... might have to make the switch!

    Melanie@Unravelled Threads

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  24. I also love Soak! my local lingerie shop sells it; it's so good smelling, great value, and Canadian-made. Yay!

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  25. These are terrific! I'd like to know about your favorite basic notions, too, such as a seam ripper. The last one I had broke, so I'm sure I was doing something seriously wrong!

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  26. Wow! I just saw those and was wondering if I should pick them up. I sure will do now!

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  27. So...this is a totally stupid question...but what the heck does one use a tracing wheel FOR exactly?
    I have Swedish tracing paper, and if I'm tracing an old pattern onto it...I just draw the line around with a pen. Is this what the wheel would be for? It would mark the tracing paper?

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  28. I love the Chaco liner! I'm still in awe with the perfectly straight chalk line it draws. No more struggling with crappy marking pencils!

    LA folks can get nifty Clover brand notions at Ace Sewing on 8th, close to the fabric district. Of course Clover is Japanese -- they think of everything!

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  29. Oh how I love sewing notions! I can't believe I hadn't discovered the chalk pen or double tracing wheel!

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  30. Got to get me one of those pens. Me, I swear by iron-on transfer pens and pencils, and transfer paper. And my most useful tool at the moment is, surprisingly, a chopstick. It's useful to turn things, and the best thing ever to use with transfer paper to transfer pattern markings!

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  31. I'll definitely have to get one of those pens! I have seen them but after being really disappointed by chalk pencils I dreaded the investment and went back to good old tailor's chalk.

    I also love my bias-tape maker and a little device that turns sewn tubes (no more picking myself with those "safety pins" and getting a cramp while turning.

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  32. Hilarious that you changed the pink picture... now everyone who reads the first few posts will wonder what we were thinking about as that blue liner looks totally innocent!

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  33. must get chalk pen!

    can do without tracing wheels though - they never ever ever work right for me for some reason

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  34. I had that chalk pen in my hands two hours ago and put it back. I wish I'd read your blog post first. Now, I have to drive back to the store to buy it. I've lost my Wright's EZ chalk wheel
    and this looks like an excellent replacement.

    I love my double tracing wheel. I use it when I'm working on Burda World of Fashion patterns.

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  35. Ohhhh, I love notions! They do make life more creative! Great toys.

    To restlessrobot - try using the selvage cut into strips for twill tape. Works great and saves money. The selvage of silk organza is thin, strong and works better than the cotton twill tape that is often too thick. But you can use any selvage.

    My favorite notion is the old buttonholer. You can get them on ebay fairly cheap so it is well worth trying. Ones made for the short shank are very common and can work on most of the latest machines. (short shank) You absolutely can't get a better buttonhole, even on the new machines.....they just scream homemade. There are a total of 9 templates if you can get all of them.(The eyelet template can be as much as $65.) The buttonhole attachment came with 5 or 6 templates which included the keyhole. Two screws and you are set to go! Easy to line up for consistent spacing; just sit back and press on the foot pedal. A must for coats and jackets that are thick. The only other buttonholes are hand worked and bound. I just get the shudders from the buttonholes made by a sewing machine. (IMHO)

    By the way, neither Joanne's nor Hancocks carry the double wheel tracer.

    Doreen

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  36. Oh, I have the same chalk marker and lurve it! For those in Australia, Spotlight sell them. I found mine in the quilting section. If you like to buy online check out this shop www.punchwithjudy.com.au they have a really big range at good prices.

    I'm always buying little notions. My favs are:

    1. Little pink bobbin buddies. http://www.punchwithjudy.com.au/shop/bobbin-buddies.html?quantity=1 They clip over a bobbin to keep it from unravelling when stored.

    2. Seam tracer http://www.punchwithjudy.com.au/shop/seam-tracer-5-8.html which I use when I trace off patterns - it adds a 5/8" allowance.

    3. Teflon pressing sheet. It's great when using fusible interfacing.

    My latest purchase, not yet arrived, is the June Tailor pressing board which has 12 different surfaces. pressinghttp://www.punchwithjudy.com.au/shop/june-tailor-tailor-board-3_piece_pad-set.html

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  37. Hi Gertie!
    I read you via google reader, but had to drop by to let you know - my hubby love the words'notions'. He loves it when we are out shopping I say 'I have to pop in to the fabric shop for some notions'. I think he finds the word and the concept rather mysterious and old fashioned.
    =)

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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