Category Archives: Tip of the day

Tip of the day: Smart phone thread list!

Aha! I found another handy sewing use for my smart phone.

A thread list!

I’m told that the Fancy Damn Sewing Machine (a Viking Husqvarna Sapphire 830) is a snob when it comes to thread. I don’t know if it really makes a difference, but I put premium in my car ’cause I’m supposed to, so I use Gütermann in the Viking.

Thus, all my previous Coats and Clark was rendered somewhat useless. (Well not entirely. I keep it for the old Kenmore.) And my good thread collection is small and rather manageable.

The other day, I was struck by inspiration: Since I only use the one brand (JoAnn’s carries it, so it’s easy to find), why don’t I just list every color number I have and the approximate amount (in broad terms such as “plenty” “a little” and “TONS”) in my phone in a simple notes app!

This is the fancy NoteMaster app, but any note app would work.


I picked up some fabric on Friday. When I took it over to the thread display and cross-referenced against my handy-dandy thread list, I determined that I already had plenty of color 506 that would work. I didn’t need to buy more. I just need to remember to update the list as I use thread.

Just one more reason to love my smart phone.

Tip of the day: When NOT to sew

I shouldn’t even have turned on the machine …

After three-quarters of a painfully unproductive weekend was over (no sewing, no cooking, no cleaning), I attempted to salvage some sense of accomplishment via my sewing machine.

I should have known better.

The thread snarled, a dart got mangled in an errant line of stitching and I sewed the zipper seam from the large dot down, instead of from the large dot up. Then I undid everything and tried it all again.

I fought my way through a couple of hours of sewing with mediocre results and called it quits. Fretting over my inability to accomplish much of consequence the entire weekend, I ended up not going to bed until after midnight. I woke up before the alarm went off. I had been awake all of 5 minutes when I realized that I’m using an invisible zipper in this project. I shouldn’t have sewn the zipper seam at all — the zipper goes in first! Sigh.

How many times must I learn the same lesson?

I should not sew when I am:

❦ Crabby in general
❦ Irritated by life
❦ Annoyed with myself

My sewing machine can sense this, and will NOT help me out in any way.

Today, I’m tired but determined to make up some of the cooking and cleaning. Tomorrow, I plan to rip that zipper seam out for the second time.

And then I’ll sew it all over again.

Tip of the day: Trimming fusible interfacing

When trimming interfacing before fusing it to your main fabric, cut off the edge in one continuous piece. That way it’s a little easier to remember, or at least see, which edges you’ve already trimmed so you can avoid trimming one edge twice.

Tip of the day: Be smart with your smart phone

Here’s a handy use for a seamstress’ smart phone: When you buy fabric, snap a picture of the bolt end with your phone (or a camera, if you don’t have a smart phone) to capture all the information you’ll need about your fabric when you get it home: width, fiber content, cleaning instructions, even price. I import the photo to my sewing app (Sewing Kit, buggy but useful), but you can also print the photo on plain paper (by emailing it to yourself) and keep the printout with the fabric. Be sure to make a note on the paper about whether you’ve washed the fabric.

Bolt end from smart phone

All the info you need to know about your fabric captured in a flash (literally!). This was the only bolt of batiste I could find at JoAnn's, and it's predominantly polyester. Sigh.

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