January 12

Nails in the Sewing Room

For most sewers, especially those dealing with rough fabrics, maintaining nice nails in the sewing room can be a challenge. Our nails are typically trimmed or filed down to the nail bed to prevent any threads from getting caught on the sides and tearing in the middle of the nail bed.

I really do like bling, but regular nail polish is simply a waste of time and money. This is a worse case scenario, but  few years back, I made my nails all up nicely with regular polish in the evening, and in the morning I tackled a very rough SUNBRELLA® fabric (fibreglass) project only to see almost all the polish torn/sanded off in less than couple hours. Although most fabrics don’t trash regular nail polish quite that quickly, I resigned myself to only having pretty toe nails. LOL

I’ve been using gel nail polish since the summer of 2015 after having them done in a salon for a daughter’s wedding. The durability of the product,  the protection it gave my nails, and the ability to keep my nails a nice length was so impressive that last September, I invested in a gel polish kit complete with the lamp, polish, etc. purchase through Aliexpress.com, a direct from overseas buying site that is reputable like e-bay. Whereas I used to break 1-2 nails a week if I tried to maintain any length, I’ve only broken 4 since last July! I typically freshen the nails with a new top coat once a week, and a few other tricks, but can actually go 2 and often 3 weeks before re-doing them completely. Never thought bling could be helpful! 🙂

These last couple days, I was able to put the gel polish to a really good test with more fiberglass fabric. This fabric is not as rough as the other one I used, but is still very abrasive. Before starting the job, I took the before picture after freshening up one index finger to also compare the one week old polish to fresh with one top coat.

The verdict? After 4 hours work, my nails  are not damaged at all, the colored polish is unscathed, and the shiny top coat, (mainly the index fingers which usually take a week to wear off) was worn down on the tips. I can see that it would wear off the main color after a days work with such a rough fabric, but think the nails would have little or no damage. There was also only one top coat, so they would have worn even better with the normal two top coats.

I tried taking an “after” picture, but the light damage is not showing up on the pics.

To me, the minimal effort in keeping up the gel polish is worth keeping nice looking nails. Now I’m off to do a quick buff on each nail and apply a quick top coat for another’s week work of wear or maybe it’s time to strip them down for a fresh look. After all, it’s been two weeks and I do love bling! 🙂


May 7

Jean Seat Repair

This is a continuation of my initial post on Rips & Tears which contains all the instructions in detail.

The Rip
The Rip
Gluing the Patch
Gluing the Patch
Initial zig-zag around damaged area.
Initial zig-zag around damaged area.
Finished repair filled in to make less visible.
Finished repair filled in.
Repair at a distance.
Repair at a distance.

Please let me know if anything is unclear, or if there are other tutorials you’d like to see. I’d also love to hear  your sewing stories, how my tutorials help, or any other comments you have to offer. :)

Happy Sewing!

May 7

Conquering the Dreaded “Jean Hem”

Wait! Don’t run away! I’m serious! Yes, you can CONQUER the dreaded jean hem! No more broken needles and endless frustration! Read on!

A little over -dramatic? Not for those who have been left in tears, or just about, after having broken needle after needle trying to hem jeans. Needles are NOT cheap! For many people, few repairs in the sewing room inspire as much dread as dealing with jeans, especially hems and zippers. In this tutorial, I’m going to show the trick to getting over the “hump” in the hem, without breaking needles, or losing your sanity. 🙂

First, if you understand why the issues are happening, you can avoid them. It’s simple. The needles are breaking because the presser foot doesn’t stay level when going over the thicker side seam. Keep the foot level, and you won’t be breaking needles.

No, you do not need a heavy industrial sewing machine to accomplish this… Continue reading

March 27

No More Chasing the Sewing Machine Peddle!

One of my pet-peaves in the sewing room is chasing the sewing machine pedal on the floor. This isn’t an issue with the industrial sewing machines as they are built in the frame; but…. well any sewer knows the frustration.

However, there is a dirt-cheap, SIMPLE solution! The ever useful sticky-tack! If you’re not familiar with the product, just head to the dollar store and ask. Here’s the one I purchased:

It is just great product, and a cheap version works just fine. I’ve used it for years on the bottom back corners of wall mounted picture frames to keep them in horizontal, and from getting bumped off the wall by overly rambunctious “little darlings”.  🙂

So, here’s the fix:

Put a few pieces of sticky-tack on the bottom of the presser foot, then place on the floor in the spot you prefer. No more chasing the foot!
Put a few pieces of sticky-tack on the bottom of the presser foot (they are blue in this picture), then place on the floor in the spot you prefer. No more chasing the foot!