OK girls…time to move onto Part 3…
NEEDLES, PINS and STABILIZERS!
Divide and store your machine sewing needles by size and/or type. In the past, I have used clear divided Tupperware™ storage wedges for my needle storage and labeled the different plastic wedged-shaped containers as follows:
- Specialty – metallic, topstitching, twin needles, etc.
However, since I now buy my needles wholesale by the dozens, I had to get something larger for my needles. I found this larger storage carousel at Staples:
Here’s a great article from HGTV on the different types of sewing machine needles.
There are many different clear divided storage containers available to store your new needles:
Another great idea for new needle storage is to use a small photo album with clear divided pages. You could also use clear trading card dividers and put them in a binder. You could easily find a photo brag book in the Dollar Store!
Check out this Diva one!
Here’s a cute Leather brag book:
Trading card sleeves:
USED NEEDLES / NEEDLES IN USE
Use an old-fashioned tomato pin cushion to temporary distinguish the current needle in your machine and your slightly used needles. Using a black marker to divide and mark your tomato into sections:
- E for Embroidery Needles
- F for Fine Machine Needles
- S70, S80, S90 according to the standard sizes you used most often
- T for Topstitching Needles
- M for Metallic Needles
Put a bright colored pin in the appropriate space on your tomato pin cushion to hold the place of the current needle in your machine.
Pick up one of these pin cushions at your local craft store or on eBay:
Even better yet, Dritz now has a Dresden pincushion!
Here’s a similar one available online:
Also check out this GRABBIT Needle Organizer. Just slide a needle into the loop strip next to the appropriate spaces and it stays put. You can also label the blank spaces. It also has an “IN USE” pin marker to easily identify the needle which is currently in your machine:
You might even like this nifty NEEDLETRAK™ by the Quilted Ribbon. You can easily keep track of your needle in your machine by moving the arrow indicators to appropriate needle style and size. It also attaches to your machine:
And if you don’t want to spend the $6 – $10 on the above Needletrak, you can make your own. I found this neat idea from the Moonlight Quilters Organization:
To make a needle case similar to the one pictured above:
- Cut 8” squares of Muslin, Batting AND printed cotton fabric. You should have 3 squares.
- Use a permanent pen to write the types and sizes of needles you use on the Muslim. (You could also draw your lines on a piece of tear away stabilizer and then just tear it away when you’re finished.)
- Use black thread to stitch the continuous grid you see in the picture. (Note: I’d cheat by making up a simple embroidery design file in my embroidery customizing program so I can stitch these out for my friends).
- Stitch a small piece of Velcro to the right side of the printed fabric. (Moonlight Quilter’s directions state to add a small piece of ribbon to sides, but I think the Velcro is a better idea as you don’t have to fuss with the ribbon ties…you just stick it to your machine with the coordinating Velcro piece.)
- Place the printed fabric and batting right sides together on top of the muslin.
- Stitch around all sides leaving a 2” space for turning.
- Clip your corners to reduce bulk prior to turning.
- Topstitch around all sides.
Presto…you have a neat handmade needle case! However, if you are really lazy, you could always use Velcro dots. Just stick a Velcro dot to the needle case of the needle you have in your sewing machine. It doesn’t get simpler than that!
Here’s something for your HAND NEEDLES…The Colonial NEEDLEPACK:
This compact hand needle organizer with pocket guide for selecting the right needle and thread for your project comes with Colonial English-made hand needles. It has 5 pockets for storing new needles and clear-view slots for separating used needles or for setting up multiple needles for projects. Also includes a set of printed labels included.
Lastly, Fons & Porter now have these needle disposal cases for sale:
Is it me or are those totally useless? Why would you spend money of those when you could easily use an empty needle case or a film container? JMHO…
There are lots of ways to hold your sewing pins. Try one of these:
A Magnetic Paper Clip Holder is perfect for holding your regular pins.
You can make your own pincushion to match your sewing room. Here’s a list of tons of pincushion tutorials:
However, if you don’t feel like making own yourself, check out all the handmade pincushions on Etsy.com.
STABILIZERS AND INTERFACINGS
It is very easy to become confused with all the different stabilizers and interfacings available to the home sewer. When I purchase them on small rolls, I mark the cardboard roll and stick the original plastic packaging inside the roll (the instructions are then easy to find). If I purchase stabilizers or interfacings from a bolt, I wrap it with its original instructions.
All stabilizers and interfacings can be stored in a large clear rolling bin (clearly labeled, of course). However, I recently came up with a much better solution….why not use a soda bottle holder or wine rack? Since I gave up soda a few months ago, I was about to throw out my 2 liter soda bottle holder…yet now it holds my stabilizers on a shelf! I wish I had thought of that sooner! No more digging in the big stabilizer box. I still will use the box for large "yardage" of interfacings on bolts. Here’s a photo of my soda/stabilizer holder…
There are many useful ones available on eBay:
You could even use a Plastic Wrap Organizer and mount it to the wall:
Think you can handle this challenge? You have 72 hours! Please post your BEFORE and AFTER pictures as soon as you’re finished!