Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pattern Storage

So while we’re on the topic of patterns, let’s talk about storing patterns.

Once upon a time, I tried to store my used patterns back in the tiny envelope they came in. Talk about an exercise in futility. It was never a pretty scene trying to cram all that tissue paper back in. Then a friend showed me how she stores her patterns in manila envelopes. It was a life-changing moment and I never had pattern storage issues again.

So I come home today with some new patterns from the 99 cents sale at Joanns. And of course Bobo had to check out the new purchases…

I pull out the pattern pieces and instructions from the pattern envelope, and then I cut up the envelope.

I have a stack of 9″ x 12″ manila envelopes just for patterns. I tape the cut up pattern envelope to the outside of the manila envelope, and then I stick all the pattern pieces and instructions inside. And now, even after I’ve opened up the nicely folded tissue paper pattern and made a big mess of folding it back up, I will still have a nice roomy envelope to put everything back into.

The best part is that the manila envelopes can be stored in filing boxes. I got these boxes from Target and my house is really small, so I have to put them in the garage.

I might have a few too many patterns…

I use filing folders to categorize my patterns so it’s easy to find what I need.

I’ve also seen people store patterns in large ziplock bags, so that’s another option if you don’t want to use manila envelopes.

Anyone else have any good pattern storage suggestions? I’d love to see/hear about them!

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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Tips & Tricks


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Rescuing a Pattern After Your Cat Destroys It

Is it just my cats or do all cats find crinkly, fragile tissue paper patterns to be irresistible toys?

So here is Yoyo demonstrating his amazing pattern destruction abilities… and now I have 2 pattern pieces to use for this tutorial. Thanks Yoyo!

The first step to protecting your patterns is kind of obvious: try not to leave them on the ground at all. I try to remember to lay pattern pieces I’m not currently using over the back of my chair or on my ironing board. Sometimes I forget though or sometimes they fall off the chair (no doubt helped along by a paw or two).

Rescue your pattern piece from your fuzzy monster and lay it out as flat as you can on your ironing board.

After assessing the damage, this pattern doesn’t look too bad actually. If the pattern just has some crumpling and tearing, we can save it. If it’s been completely destroyed (like your cat used it for a chew toy as well as a scratching toy), it’s probably time to start stalking Joanns for the next 99 cent pattern sale, and just replace the pattern.

Set your iron to the lowest setting and start ironing your pattern. You want to go gently and lift up your iron in places where there are tears so you don’t tear the pattern farther. If the iron isn’t hot enough to press your pattern flat, turn it up a little. You don’t want to get too hot though as that will cause the tissue paper to warp.

Once you’ve ironed the pattern smooth, it’s time to perform some patch-up surgery. Using clear tape, seal all the tears and holes.

And now we have a usable pattern piece again!

If this is a pattern you really like and know you will be using a lot, a basic patch up job might not be enough. In that case, I like to reinforce the pattern piece by backing it with fusible interfacing. Interfacing isn’t cheap though so I only do this for patterns I will be using a lot.

I’ll use my second destroyed pattern piece for this part of the tutorial.

If you plan to back a pattern piece with interfacing, don’t put any tape on it. I haven’t verified this, but I have a feeling scotch tape will melt onto an iron and that could get very messy.

So the first step is to iron your pattern flat just like before.

Now get a piece of interfacing big enough to fit your pattern piece.

I like to wait for interfacing to go on sale at Joanns for 50% and then buy an entire bolt of the lightweight fusible interfacing. Always having interfacing around is pretty handy.

 Lay your interfacing on the ironing board so the fusible side is facing up. Lay your pattern piece on top.

Now grab a scrap piece of fabric to use as a press cloth. I used a scrap piece of muslin. Lay the press cloth on top of the pattern and fusible interfacing, making sure you cover the areas where the fusible surface is exposed. The press cloth is to protect your iron from getting fusible gunk on it as you iron. You’ll probably want to throw it out after you’re done as it will have sticky residue on it.

Start ironing your pattern. You might need to turn the iron a bit hotter to make sure the fusible melts and attaches to the pattern.

Iron down your entire pattern and when you’re done, trim around the pattern piece.

And now you have a sturdy interface-backed pattern piece that will last a very long time!

Of course, the whole point of this exercise was to seal up those tears and holes that Yoyo put into the pattern and as you can see, the interfacing does a great job at it.

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Tutorials


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Bitter YUCK! spray

ooo….one day

I was surfing around the internets looking at and drooling over beautiful sewing rooms.  In an ideal world I’d have a gorgeously decorated and organized sewing area too, with space for cutting and lots of light and everything in its place!  Of course in an ideal world I’d have perfect skin and be able to hold my own in educated conversations about the current geopolitical situation and its impact on environmental health too!

But I noticed that even in something as beautiful as this – isn’t 100% catproof.  Specifically – power cords.

When I got into full sewing mode a few weeks ago working on a particular dress, I dragged my kitchen table over to the living room to be able to have the tv on while sewing.  While it made my living room an absolute wreck and unfit for company, the main problem was having the sewing machine power cord trail l off the table to the table behind.  That tempting cord that was now waving around in the wind proved irresistible to my cat.

I’ve heard of kittens in particular liking to gnaw on power cords and my friend’s kitten once sent herself to the emergency room overnight and my friend to tears with this habit.  Not all cats grow out of it and while mine doesn’t make it a huge habit or anything he took a few test nibbles on the power cord recently.  I totally freaked out because I thought he might end up frying himself the second I stepped away.  Enter in the solution: Bitter YUCK! spray. It leaves a non-toxic but nasty tasting residue on the cord that cats (and dogs) don’t like.  He took one more sniff and then left the cord alone!

This ought to work as well on general household things if your pet has a chewing fixation, and I did test this spray on something else first and it didn’t leave a stain.  So huzzah!!  A product that mutually assures the safety of both your pet and your household items.

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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Shopping


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