Free Stuff Friday!

It’s Free Stuff Friday! You could win a Flexible LED Light from Prym Consumer USA! (MSRP: $19.95) Attach the light directly to your sewing machine, wall or other surface for bright light.

light 300x300 Free Stuff Friday!

For your chance to win, simply answer the question:

What’s your favorite quick-and-easy sewing tip? Do you use any regular household items to help you get the job done? Any unique/cool tricks? Let us know!

One person will be selected to win the LED light! (The winner will be announced on Monday.)

*Your answers could appear in a future issue of Sew News!

 Free Stuff Friday!
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72 Responses to Free Stuff Friday!

  1. Mary says:

    I use a beard trimmer to cut the threads on the reverse side of a misstiched embroidery.

  2. Sandy says:

    In lieu of the ironing board, I took a heavy piece of square cardboard, covered it with layers of left over batting, then a soft washed piece of white cotton fabric, and taped it down with the gray duct tape. Now when sewing my small quilting squares, I merely press without leaving my machine.

  3. Sherry Bush says:

    if I am going to reuse a pattern I iron interfacing to the back of the pattern pieces they become very sturdy and you can use them over many times

  4. Melinda says:

    When I am cutting a lot of small quilt pieces I put my cutting mat on my card table. Now I can sit down and rotary cut! My husband suggested this for me. It’s a lot easier than standing over the dining room table.
    Also, with Christmas coming – I keep an old rotary cutter to use to cut the wrapping paper for gifts. Just be sure to buy the 30″ paper so it fits on your cutting mat.

  5. Barbara McKenzie says:

    Zip-lock Bags!! Can’t live without them. They hold pattern pieces, especially if I’ve drawn custom pieces on separate paper, partially finished projects, quilt blocks, groups of fabric pieces for future blockes, template sets….and on and on. I use every size available for the best fit.

  6. Donna says:

    I use blue painters tape for my seam guide. It never leaves any sticky residue on my machine.

  7. Cheri Dodson says:

    For the patterns I use a lot, I iron them onto freezer paper. It also makes it easy for any alterations needed. I also use a bamboo skewer to get sharp points on corners, etc.

  8. Lianna says:

    I use a bamboo skewer (with the point cut off) when turning things back from inside out, to get the corners just right. I also use ironing tape when hemming, or trying to make sure a tight sewing area stays put while stitiching. Helps keep lines straight.

  9. April says:

    My son summed up the “how-to” spirit of sewing in our house. I don’t like the use just use something for it’s predetermined use only. I was running tight on time and my son had asked for an old patch to be taken off his black cloak so it was on the list. Well, he came to me and said “Mom, never mind, I got the patch off with my camping knife.” What? seems he took a careful look at the attached patch, found a single stitch thread, and carefully used his 6′ camping knife as a thread ripper/puller. Not a mark was left on the cloak. That ‘s my favorite use of anything…determination and thinking ‘out of the box.’ Proud of my son!!

  10. Pat H. says:

    I love short wooden skewers to substitute for a stiletto at the machine. No worry about hitting metal as the needle will pierce right through them. For my beginner quilters, I give each one as a class gift.

  11. Shirley Osborn says:

    When sewing on girl scout badges, I use clear thread in the needle and the color of the vest/sash in the bobbin. That way you don’t have to keep changing thread colors to match the badges and looks nice when turned inside out too.

  12. Sydnee Watson says:

    when sewing on very small buttons or any buttons I scotch tape them to the garment and then sew them on with my machine and they are perfect everytime….

  13. Anne says:

    Use fishing line or dental floss to sew buttons on coats, jeans, or any sewing project that might need extra strength.

  14. Debi Tullier says:

    I take a small two inch piece of hook from the hook and loop tape, make a fold and sew a fold about 1/4 inch in the middle cross wise. I attach this to my sewing machine towards the back and voile it keeps my thread from making nests. I take the thread from the needle and wrap it around the hook and the tension allows for tight starts.

  15. Jean B. says:

    I’m not one to use pin cushions when I’m at my machine. For years I’ve always had a rectangular piece of felt floor protector (like you cut and stick to the bottoms of table legs, etc.) stuck to the front of my sewing machine, and I stick my pins into that. So much handier to have them right in front of you. I even taught my mother that trick!

  16. Diana Lindsley says:

    I have a large collection of serger and embroidery threads that don’t have a slit to hold the thread. I got some lightweight vinyl, and cut it into sections big enough to wrap around a full cone of thread. Some are smaller for smaller spools; some larger for bigger spools. You can get a lot of thread covers in a yard of vinyl. Much cheaper and cleaner than thread nets.

  17. Debi Erbes says:

    My favorite new tool is the glue pens….by Sewline. I use them to hold down a seam, to glue baste a zipper, hold a button in place…and so on. Makes my life sew much easier!!

  18. Susi Ripple says:

    I love using wash away wonder tape whenever I apply binding. I holds the binding in place to secure it when I stitch it down. Then the first washing it is gone!

  19. Linda says:

    I use small plastic baskets to collect all the bits and pieces leftover as I sew. I have one next to the machine and another one or two on the cutting table. They are easy to move out of the way but always near by.

  20. Maria Kievit says:

    Since a lot of threads magically appear on my carpet outside my sewing room, I often use a lint roller to get most of it off the carpet before vacuuming. I also have a nifty shower caddy, in which all my supplies are: scissors, cleaning brushes, measuring tapes, stitch rippers, new needles, and whatever you can think off. If I go somewhere, I don’t have to look for items needed, they are always handy and ready to go.

  21. E. Sharon says:

    I use a coffee mug behind my sewing machine when using the large thread cones that won’t fit on my thread spindle.

  22. Katherine says:

    I have my iron plugged into the outlet that is also operated by the wall switch. When I leave the sewing room, I turn out the lite and I know that the iron is also off. So easy and no worry if the iron is turned off when I am elswhere.

  23. Linda Boothman says:

    My favorite sewing tool is the medical clamps that look like skinny plyers (hemostats) I think. They are wonderful for getting into tiny places, turning and poking out corners. Also, use them as a clamp to hold one end of elastic when pulling it through a waistband, etc. Just clamp it on and use a bodkin or safety pin on the end you pull through…no more pulling it too far into the waistband. Actually have these tools all over the house for many purposes!

  24. Laura says:

    I love pattern weights, but hate the cost. I purchased a bag of 25 washers, glued 2 together and got 12 great pattern weights for under $3. I use them all the time now.

  25. Linda Boothman says:

    My favorite sewing tool is the medical clamps that look like skinny plyers (hemostats) I think. They are wonderful for getting into tiny places, turning and poking out corners. Also, use them as a clamp to hold one end of elastic when pulling it through a waistband, etc. Just clamp it on and use a bodkin or safty pin on the end you pull through…no more pulling it too far into the waistband. Actually have these tools all over the house for many purposes!

  26. Lynn Puryear says:

    I use a soft small paint brush to clean out the lint in the bobbin area especially after sewing fabrics like flannel.

  27. Linda says:

    I use dental floss instead of thread to sew long stitches when gathering on heavier material.

  28. Roberta says:

    I like to have a cutlery tray to the right of my sewing machine. It keeps my scissors, fabric markers, rulers, seam rippers – anything I use regularly all nicely organized. My sewing machine instruction book sits underneath it. That way I always know where it is.

  29. I use a long hand made quilt rack for my fabrics of choice for current or later on projects. It angles up my wall, each peice is visible, and after preshrinking, it’s nice to view what I still want to create. It’s also a very pretty decoration leaning up the wall. I don’t forget what my “plans” are….I asked a carpenter friend to make them for me.

  30. Linda says:

    I use ziploc bags all the time..from holding stray threads to keeping pattern pieces nice and contained. I keep a bag taped to my sewing table for garbage items. I use them to keep blocks together. Oh, and I use them for storing items. I keep all my fabric paints in one and fabric markers in another.

  31. Sharon says:

    My favorite household item to use is a piece of carpet “non-slip” sheeting (the rubbery kind they sell pretty cheaply at “Walmart” under my sewing machine to keep it from dancing on the table when I am sewing “fast”. A small piece under the Controller helps keep it from moving when sewing too…

  32. LAURA says:

    Love the previous tips….
    When embroidering a dark fabric/black, I use Weed Block fabric as the stabilizer…it’s less expensive and works great.

  33. susan learned says:

    for turning things inside out and getting crisp corners I use a knitting needle. a Nice long one…easy to get into…Also I love my magnetic pin picker upper. With a bad back, I cant bend to get to the floor..just waving that gizmo over the pins on the floor saves me alot of pain!.

  34. Janet says:

    Sometimes it is hard to find the slot that keeps the thread from unwinding on a spool of thread. Use a permanent black (or any color) marker and mark the spot.

  35. Jan Jordan says:

    Another idea is to write any special instructions of details on your pattern instructions. For example you may want to top stitch or reinforce an area differently than what the directions call for.

  36. Patti Ashotn says:

    using dryer sheet for paper piecing and they are also good for cleaning off your iron

  37. When coming to a corner I sew right off the end instead of pivoting. I turn whatever it is to the previously stitched seam and then start stitching again. It makes for sharp corners without any clipping. Just poke the finished corners out as usual.

  38. January DeNittis says:

    I use and X-Acto knife instead of a seam ripper.

  39. Marilyn Moss says:

    for cutting long lengths of fabric I use my husbands 48″ aluminum carpenters ruler.

  40. Jan Jordan says:

    I do a lot of sewing for my adult daughter and reuse patterns many times. After a while, different areas get weak from pinning the pattern…I use a paper tape that is available in the hair care isle at most stores.

  41. Susan P says:

    I use sticky notes for patterns from books and magazines labeled with date I made something and any info I might need if I make the project again.

  42. MJ says:

    My lifesaver household tool is a soldering iron to remove (plastic) snaps that i’ve messed up on bibs, clothes, cloth diapers, etc. The heat melts the stud for a few seconds then it ‘pops’ right off! Easy breezy!! So much better than trying to break or cut them off and I haven’t once messed up (or melted) the fabric doing it this way!

  43. jance meleo says:

    After I cut out a pattern for the first time, I put the pieces I use in a regular size white envelope, and label it with the size, or view number, and pattern number. This goes inside the pattern envelope. That way, I can easily retrieve the pieces of pattern I want. This works well for making multiple views of patterns such as handbags, stuffed animals, and accessories.

  44. Barri Harges says:

    A skewer used for kabobs. I use it on collars, cuffs, pillows, etc.

  45. Susan Brooks says:

    I buy hair clips at the dollar store. They are the same as binding clips sold to hold binding on a quilt while you hand sew the back down. I also use them for hemming. They are easy to remove and you can’t stick your self with a hair clip like you can with a pin.

  46. Lori says:

    I use masking tape to hold down a zipper when sewing it into a garment. Also, I use a chopstick to push out the corners after turning project right side out.

  47. Ahliah says:

    I always condition zippers before wearing\washing the clothing item. (Both hand made clothing as well as ready to wear.) A beeswax stick run up and down the closed zipper, then a steam iron held over it to melt the wax, finishing with opening and closing the zipper several times. Conditioning the zipper will help keep it from binding and make it last longer.

  48. Susan Ruderman says:

    Canned goods make good pattern weights in a pinch. Cats, though, not so much. . .

  49. Peggy says:

    Coolest trick I have found lately is using the tools of an automotive technician. The small extendable magnet and small penlight – both are great for these week knees and not-so-good eyesight.

  50. Susan says:

    To turn a strap or other piece of small fabric right side out, I use a pencil. Eraser end first because the eraser will grab the material and pull it through.