6.22.2015

My Favorite Sewing Goodies #1

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | schmetz

Any sewist will tell you: size DOES matter. We're a truthful bunch. I have at least a dozen sizes and types of hard steel at my fingertips. THEY ARE MY PLAYTHINGS. I use them up and toss the shafts aside without a second thought.

Size 12 is my favorite. Naturally.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | schmetz

(Actually, I'm a fan of all sizes. At least, when it comes to Schmetz.)

Presenting the second installment of reviewification! Two months ago, I reviewed my Maytag iron (many of you took the plunge based off of it, and I hope you love it as much as I do!), and I thought I was high time I enabled shared some more. 

First up, the supersize-me box of Schmetz Universal 80/12s. They come 100 to a box. Do the math of a 5 pack at your local Joann's and it should be a no brainer...but the thought of all those needles floating around loose in there kept me from it. However! There's no need to worry-- the needles are layered between slices of anti-corrosion paper, and sandwiched into the case with this little plastic flexible doodad that protects them during shipping. Awesomeness.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | clover quilting pins

I'm going to shout now. MY. NEW. FAVORITE. PINS. Quilters, do you roll around in your piles of bespoke bedding and cackle at the thought of allllll the quilting notions we garment sewists don't know about? YOUR TOOLS ARE THE BEST! The latest quilter's notion to grace my little sewing corner are these Clover Fine Quilting Pins. That teeny white guy next to my green & gold glass head beasties is a Clover Silk Pin, which is nice and all, but good lord did I have to search for one that wasn't bent so I could show you the difference. The diameter is only a touch thicker (0.6mm quilting versus 0.5mm silk), but it's enough to keep my ham handed digits from bending them to bits. And lengthwise, that's an extra half inch of steel. YEAH GIVE IT TO ME BABY YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKE. The length makes things so much more nimble. My gorilla paws never felt so deft, I can pin one handed now.

There was one red headed silk pin camouflaged on my pincushion when I first broke these out, and any time my fingers found it I would laugh. LAUGH AND POINT AT THE WEAKLING SILK PIN! I mean, yeah, sometimes you gotta go for a silk pin. But since putting these new guys out, my hands have been so happy.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | kai scissors

Also making my hands happy, ever since Carolyn gave me a pair two years ago: Kai Ergonomic Scissors. I started my sewing journey with Ginghers, thinking they were the best and why bother with anything else? And for some they remain the best. But the first time I cut with a pair of these, my hands sang.

On a whim, I bought the white sheathed pair from a Japanese pharmacy--sadly, the handle is not ergonomicifed, so I'm not linking them, as I'm only going to direct you to things I adore. But for 14 bucks, I couldn't pass up the coolness of them. And they're good to have in my arsenal, for friends who visit and want to learn a thing or two (but NOT ON MY SCISSORS).

I dropped the green ergonomic pair some time ago (don't. drop. your. scissors). A new pair is on its way to me, after a fruitless Brick & Mortar search in the Garment District. Every shopowner I asked scoffed at the stainless steel nature of Kais, but if your hands hurt when you cut, a pair of Ergomomics will fix that and leave your bank account smiling. And I'm all about ALL of that. You can grab them for around 20 bucks

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | lance needles

Speaking of, let's give some love to the brick and mortar, shall we? Panda Thread on 38th was one such store that gave my request for Kais the side eye. I've been in this shop a bunch over the years, always leaving empty handed after a brief conversation with any number of humorless humans behind the counter. Last month was the first time I actually made a purchase. It's the kind of joint where you have to ask to see anything, and I'm not big on permission.

This go 'round, I entered the conversation without mirth. When in Rome, yo. I needed better needles for handsewing silk. These guys were presented in a large box, my opponent unwrapping packages for my inspection with such careful reflection, I wasn't sure I was allowed to actually lay hands on the merchandise. You would have thought we were examining Tiffany diamonds and not 2 dollar packs of needles. Five unwrappings later, size 11 darners were the winner (we had also allowed each other a smile or two). Much better than the Clover imports I found at SIL-- which were three times the price, and three times the diameter shaft wise. Again, it's all about the shaft. This shaft is so fine I want to sing to it.

(Side note: I've said shaft, length, diameter, and finger so far. Just keeping track.)

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | gutermann mara

My new friend also had Gutermann Mara 120 for 2.50 per 1000m spool. As far as I can tell, Mara 120 is a bit finer than what they sell on smaller spools to home sewists. Again, you had to choose your colors from a catalogue and call out your choices. That picture in no way does the color justice. It's full on fluorescent. I chose three neutral shades to begin with: charcoal, ivory, and...That one is neon! my gentleman called from the shelves. Are you sure you want that?

YAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS I hollered back.

I earned another smile.

oonaballoona | a sewing blog | my favorite sewing goodies #1 | swedish tracing paper

Let's end with the granddaddy of them all, the Big Kahoona, the reason I trudged into the murky waters of affiliation in the first place: Swedish. Tracing. Paper. This is one of those items you hear about, always in glowing tones, and you just don't get it until you use it. I've used dotted, vellum, medical... I love none of it so much as this. It's akin to the texture of a coffee filter, and you can sew right through it. I trace off my pattern and sew it right up, multiple times even, it takes pressing and folding and crumpling like a champ, and in the end I'm left with a perfect pattern. Super hard to define how great this is, but for example, the fit of my Vogue bodice on my quilted christmas dress was a product of muslining with this paper. Obviously, you don't want to hulk out on it, it is paper after all, but if you have some extra dough and have always wondered... go for it.

That's it for installment #1, I'm hoping to do something like this once a month (whether it's a roundup of notions or a big find that needs a whole post). Did you find something intriguing here? I'd love to hear about your favorite sewing goodies!

as always, i'll let you know if i include affiliate links, and yes indeedy, the non brick & mortar items here are ye old amazon links! i only link to things i love and use myself. and, if you're in NY, i highly recommend stopping into panda thread. just wear your game face.

40 comments:

  1. I think we've established you're a size queen, Baloona

    ;)

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  2. Those little differences lessen the hassle and happiness rises up giving a sense of bliss. Discovering the perfect tool for the job is so awesome. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. they really do, and there should be no stress in sewing! those pins make me do a little dance.

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  3. For you lefties - those Kai scissors come in a true left handed version, too, with reversed blades. I'm not left handed, but my daughter is, and I realized what a problem "universal" scissors are when I noticed my daughter had learned to cut right (wrong?) handed because she couldn't get her scissors to work!

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    1. yes, i saw those! is kai the only brand doing that? i think they make lefties in every version, too (serrated, etc).

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    2. I might have to look into those! As a leftie I've gotten used to using 'normal' scissors but sometimes I do have to hold the fabric and/or pattern in weird and wonderful ways to be able to cut things out neatly.

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  4. i bought two rolls of that Swedish paper at the beginning of this month and I LOVE it. I'm probably never cutting my patterns again.

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    1. i mean! it actually makes tracing patterns enjoyable!!

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  5. I had no idea you could buy machine needles in a box of 100. You just blew my mind!!!!!!

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    1. For real! In the UK you're lucky if you get a box of five!
      Deep sigh....

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    2. I'm in the UK and just bought two boxes of 100 Schmetz needles - 70s and 80s. Other sizes were available. Postage free, posted within the UK.

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    3. i didn't know till a few months ago, and yep, MIND BLOWN. i reaaallllly want a bulk box of microtex sharps but the price goes up for those bad boys. anne, that's good to know, bulk love for the UK!

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  6. These are all awesome! thanks for sharing!

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  7. Lovely post Oona! I'm quilting pins and Kai sheers all the way.

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    1. oooooh of course you're quilting pins, kai sister! i remember your post on dropping your kais, my heart sank for you. how we love our tools.

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  8. J'adore the Swedish tracing paper too. I usually buy mine from Wawak.com. Same amount for $10.96/roll.

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    1. good price!! i do wish you didn't have to spend a hundy for free shipping, tho :(

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  9. Now I need to buy everything. Thanks. Really, I have to try Swedish tracing paper. I keep thinking I've tried it but I'm not sure. Everyone who has totally raves. So I must have had some kind of knock-off. Like Norwegian tracing paper :-)

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    1. you are MOST welcome. tell me if you find that knockoff.

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  10. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT SCHMETZ IN BULK!!???!?!?!?!?

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  11. This is awesome. I need some mega boxes of needles. And I've just fallen in love with those quilting pins and thrown out all my bent clover silk pins tooooooo!!!

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  12. I never knew about bulk needles!! Amazing! I spend a fortune on needles, they cost ten bucks for a five pack where I live. As for Kais, I'm all over them. The best.

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  13. Quilting items. Quilting pins. Mental note taken. I know a tiny shop in Brno that sells quilting cottons and Singer accessories; maybe they also sell pins.
    I'm sad to report that 100 packs of sewing needles don't seem to be a thing in the Czech Republic. Schmetz, you're sitting in a neighbouring country, you'd better do something about it.

    My personal favourites: John James handsewing needles.

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    1. oh, yes john james! i haven't seen them around the GD in forever!

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  14. OMG you have the best notions!

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  15. I LOVE Kai shears...like a hot knife through butter!

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  16. I LOVE Kai shears...like a hot knife through butter!

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  17. I LOVE Kai shears...like a hot knife through butter!

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  18. Nice tip on the scissors! I have a drawer full of uncomfortable ones. I'll have to give Kai a try :).

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  19. I read this and then had a dream about giant pins! Like 10" long. What a weird dream inspiration, lol!

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  20. I love my clapper, yes it's an overpriced piece of wood but when fabric is difficult to press it's amazing!

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    1. i keep waffling on that item! i need more pressing tools....

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  21. I bought a pair of Kai shears a few weeks ago when I dropped off my Ginghers for sharpening (they have lots of Kais at Westpfal!) and had to leave them for a week. They're amazing- I almost didn't want to pick up my Ginghers after buying the Kais!

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    1. RUINT! you are going to be ruint on them ginghers, i tell you!

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  22. Hi, Oona/Marcy! I'm a bit late to the party for this post but decided it's about time I voice my admiration (these excellent equipment tips were the trigger). I've been steadily reading through your blog and loving every bit of it — the sewing news/tips/info/photos and, of course, your fabulous voice and humour (the English teacher in me rejoices in your sentence structure and punctuation; the novelist shakes her head in envy!). Anyway, I've been sewing for less than a year. I love it, and your blog gives me all the more to love. Merci from Across the Continent and North of the Border!

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    1. I am shocked and flattered! Surely you meant you reject my sentence structure and shake your fist in anger! ;)

      De rien, my friend.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied, if not always written!