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Vendor Spotlight: 1,000 Clever Sewing Shortcuts & Tips

Reported by Erin Bassett
In the age of social media, where you only consume 140 character chunks of information at a time, this book is like “following” all the people you wish you werAdd Imagee following on Twitter and that they only tweet useful information and not what they eat for lunch. The nuggets of tried-and-true tips were compiled by Deepika Prakash, founder of PatternReview.com, and come from sewers with all different skill sets. Tips range from how to de-gunk your iron to how to create no side seam pants. There are some funny “warnings” shared from doing things the hard way and plenty of “now-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” tips.
The book is smartly organized into sections that make sense and there is a very handy index for looking things up quickly. The chapter titles are:
  • Sewing Gear
  • Set Up Your Sewing Room
  • Design & Pattern Prep
  • Fabric, Thread, & Notions
  • Layout, Cutting, & Marking
  • Fitting
  • Sewing
  • Finishing
  • Embellishments
There are also five Master Class sections from master teachers: Sarah Veblen on sewing knits, Susan Khalje on sewing fine lace, Kenneth D. King on sewing lamé fabrics, Shannon Gifford on how to create a rolled hem with a serger, and Anna Mazur on elegant bead embroidery.
I noticed that quite a few tips in the book could really save you some money too… like how to make your own dress form, or how to upcycle everyday things that you would never think of using for sewing.
There is also a wealth of information on sewing different types of fabrics, zippers, scrap storage, pattern prep and reinforcement, hems, and seams. Below are a couple of the pages to whet your appetite!
I do recommend that when you get your copy of this book that you pick up a new packet of sticky notes to flag tips as you read.
Pros:
  • Packed full of tips for all levels of sewing
  • Organized in chapters that make sense
  • Book royalties from this book will be donated to breast cancer research in honor of the many members of PatternReview.com who battle breast cancer…including Shannon Gifford (one of the master teachers who contributed to the book) who lost her battle earlier this year.
Cons:
  • The print text is small. I was able to read it just fine, however it may be an issue for some.
  • There were a few typos. Not enough to really annoy me, but they did catch my attention.
  • Due to the contribution of PatternReviews.com’s online members some of the tips include acronyms that new sewer many not know.
My grandmother is a tremendous resource for me, but this book is like having her and all her sewing friends right here with me. It’s going to be such a help over the years. Where do you go for help sewing?
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Pro-Tips From Martha Stewart Crafts Professionals

We’re home now, but while on our Martha Stewart Crafts Getaway Weekend, we were privileged to get the inside scoop from the Martha Stewart Craft Editors.  Nothing like hanging out at the pool with crafty gurus sharing all their tips and tricks.  It was cool enough to meet these amazing ladies but to have them share some of their vast craft knowledge was the ultimate experience.
We brought back some of their coolest and craftiest tips for you!
Jodi Levine and Hannah Milman sharing some of the inspiration behind their projects for Martha Stewart Craft

Meet the amazing ladies from The Crafts Department that were on-hand to create, teach, and inspire.

Here are some pro-tips from the masters!

Hannah Milman
SVP Exec Editorial Director Holiday and Crafts

1.  Create snow globes this holiday season with an old jar and a simple recipe.  Mix water and glycerin and just a pinch of glitter to your old jar.  Affix plastic or ceramic figures to the inside of the lid with cement glue.  Attach the lid to the jar with silicone.  This is a great project to get the kids involved with or children of all ages.

2.  If you want to wow your guests at your next holiday party, you can add some sugared flowers to your cake.  Adding something as sophisticated as edible flowers like pansies or snapdragons will spark interest amongst your guests.  Whisk one egg white with one teaspoon of water and begin by carefully painting the mixture on the backside of the flower.  If you are leery about using raw egg, you can also substitute with freeze dried eggs.  Dust with superfine sugar.  Repeat the process on the top of the flower, working slowly as to not tear the petals and again dust with sugar.  Dry the flowers overnight on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Store in an airtight container.  Now, just add some to your favorite cupcake or cake or even store bought dessert and voila, your guests are amazed.

3.  Before covering a piece completely with glitter, tint your glue with a little acrylic paint or dye ink.  That way, should a bit of glitter fall off your project, the color will still remain and it will be less noticeable.  When creating completely glittered ornaments, this tip is a must-do!

Jodi Levine
Kids Editorial Director and Designer for Martha Stewart Crafts

1.  I am always taking used but clean copier paper home from the recycle bin at work. My kids draw a lot. You’ll often find a (non-confidential) memo or expense report on the back of their artwork!!!

2.  We recycle lots more junk into crafts, like paper towel and toilet paper tubes.  My boys and I use them for making cars (with plastic bottle cap wheels) and castle towers.  We came home from the museum one day and were inspired to make totem poles and the paper towel tube was the perfect base!  You can use them to make cute bracelets too.

3.  Another recycled craft we loved: Styrofoam tray prints!  We save the trays that fruit or meat is sometimes packed on.  If you don’t have Styrofoam trays you can use cut pieces of corrugated cardboard glued to another piece of cardboard. You ink up the raised cut shapes on top and create these abstract rose prints.

Lauren Murphy
Crafts Department Assistant/Glitter Queen

1.  When covering an item completely with glitter, it is best to double glitter!  Cover your entire piece with glittering glue and then glitter, allow to dry then add another layer of glue and glitter.  This will ensure that there are no bald spots on your piece.
Perfect for making Ombre Glittered Bells.

2.  When working with glitter, mix up those colors!  You can create a whole new color by mixing several tones.  If you are working on a vintage project, mix in a little metallic to your color to give it an Old World feel.  Add gold glitter to your warm toned colors and silver to your cool tones.

3.  When using several colors of glitter on a project, use cupcake liners to hold your glitter.  The liners are lined with wax, thus anti-static, and great for getting that glitter back into the bottle when you are finished.

We can’t say enough good things about these talented women, or about what a wonderful time we had at the Beaches Resort on Turks and Caicos. Hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures! Check back soon for our list of Martha Stewart Week Winners!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Money-saving Craft Tips

It’s Tax Day in the USA, and we’re all feeling the pinch… here are some great money-saving ideas for your crafting!

Reported by Erin Schlosser

We all love to craft right? Sometimes I splurge and buy a material specifically for a project knowing that I didn’t really need it, but it was an awesome embellishment, so how could I pass it up? Most of the time, though I really try to keep crafting expenses at a minimum. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

Tip #1: Paint is your friend! Need to change the color of that brad? What about changing the color of that free lamp you picked up off the side of the road (yes, I have done that!)? Don’t be afraid to use spray paint! It’s easy to use, and you can paint a lot of different things with one can. I’ve painted old brass lamps a nice brushed silver, and used finger polish to get the perfect shade of red on a brad for a project!

Tip #2: Buy with a group! Find a few like-minded crafty individuals and place a combined order. Many online craft stores have great prices and free shipping over a certain amount. If you get a few people to pitch in and order with you, you’ll get free shipping. It also helps if you want to buy in bulk. You’ll get the best prices and you can split the order.

Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to buy stuff that you might not use right away. I’ve been known to buy Christmas red place mats on clearance in January because they’ll also work great to embellish for Valentine’s Day! Just make sure you don’t forget about them!

Tip #4: Save your yogurt containers! Especially the ones with lids! They make great free storage containers! Use your paint and paint them all one color. Then embellish with paper and a label and you’ve got storage containers for all the little embellishments and supplies you keep around.

Tip #5: Swap! Getting tired of all those pink brads you bought? Host a swap and switch them out for other supplies you’d like to use.

Have any money-saving tips you’d like to share? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!