Five Sewing Gadgets to Put on your Christmas List

I keep an Amazon wish list called “Nikki’s Christmas Wishes” and it’s sole purpose is to make Christmas shopping easier for my husband, ha! It’s not that he doesn’t love to give me gifts, he just doesn’t have any ideas when it’s actually time to go Christmas shopping! So I help him out with a list. My husband and I only do stockings for each other, no big ticket items on Christmas, so that our money can go to other gifts, so I try to keep to smaller things on my wish list.

Over the years, I’ve collected some pretty useful sewing gadgets, so I want to share with you five things to put on your own wish list this Christmas! Some of these I’ve received as gifts in the past and a few are items on my list currently. Let me know what you would add!

Sewing gadgets to add to your wish list! Five great gifts for people who sew || PIn Cut Sew Studio  #sewinggifts #sewingtools

FastTurn

My mom gifted me a FastTurn turning tool in my first year or two of marriage and it’s still going strong these many years later. This is is SO handy. It will turn your fabric tubes of all sizes right side out, no fiddly safety pins required. Major time saver! It’s made super well, obviously, since mine is still in use after 17 plus years of use, and not one piece has broken. This is a must have gadget for any sewer!

Five must-have sewing gadgets to add to your Christmas wish list! || PIn Cut Sew Studio #sewingtools #howtosew #sewingroom #giftsforsewers

Seam Roller

This Clover Roll & Press is on my Christmas list this year. This inexpensive little gadget will save me from having to go to the ironing board after every little seam, but should do a little better of a job than finger pressing. Also, for fabrics that don’t take to ironing very well, this should help press those seams open without damaging my fabric.

Expanding Button Gauge

This gadget was in my stocking after I put it on my wish list a few years ago and I’ve used the heck out of it! It’s an expandable ruler that helps you measure spacing accurately. See this post for how I use it to make perfectly spaced buttons and button holes.

Tailor’s Ham

This is on my list this year too. I had a tailor’s ham at one point, but it’s one of the random things that inexplicably got lost in a move. It’s too useful to go without though, so I’d like a replacement. A tailor’s ham is a pressing tool that can help you iron shaped pieces like sleeve heads. BUT, it’s also handy for pinning pockets onto shirts. Since the shirt will often have a bust dart, pinning a pocket onto in the flat doesn’t make sense. Placing the shirt onto your tailor’s ham gives it the curve that it would have when being worn, so it makes pocket placement easier.

Spring Loaded Hole Punches

I’ve had these punches since my scrapbooking days, so probably for 15 or more years. I don’t think mine were marketed as sewing tools where I bought them, but they are actually spring loaded eyelet setters. They do set eyelets, however, I use them in my sewing room very often for much more than that! These come with three sizes in one package and they’re great for punching holes for animal eyes, snaps or grommets. I use them to punch extra holes in leather belts or purse straps too. You simply place the cutting end on the spot you want a hole, pull up on the other end and let go. Super easy! I keep a tiny self healing mat around just for use with these handy little gadgets.

That’s all for now, although I did sneak a dress form onto my list just in case my husband feels like going big, haha! I’ve never had a dress form before, but I often think to myself how it would make so many things easier!

Please tell us which sewing gadgets you couldn’t live without! I’m always looking for more handy tools for the sewing room :)

Cheers!

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Unrelated: Vol. 2

Happy Sunday! Sundays are my favorite days. Church, Mod Pizza, then Broncos, or sewing, or reading, or book store wandering, or just generally relaxing. I try to do all my school planning and other must-do-by-Monday things (like writing this post, for example, haha) before Sunday so none of that is weighing on me, which can make for full Saturdays, but it’s worth it when Sunday comes!

Anyway, I’m back with the second edition of “Unrelated”, where I share with you, my tribe, five things I’m loving that aren’t related to sewing. I’m really loving sharing these tid-bits with you and it’s been fun to keep a mental list of the things I just have to put in the next edition of Unrelated.

First, though, we did make the wreath idea I included in last week’s edition! It was fun to make this with the kids and we smile every time we pull into the driveway :)

I made a DIY Fall pinecone wreath!. Click over for the link to the great tutorial! || Pin Cut Sew Studio #falldecor #wreath #diy

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links. For more info, see my disclosure policy.

Let’s get to this week’s five favorite things!

One:

Thriftbooks! Oh my goodness, my friend told me about thrift books a few months ago and I cannot get enough. Every time I place an order, it almost feels too good to be true. Thriftbooks is pretty much what you’d imagine, an online store store for used books. The best part is that you get free shipping for orders over $10 and you earn a free book every now and then when you get enough points from your purchases. Most titles cost $3.99 and many I’ve bought have been in new condition. I’ve found all genres of books on my to-read list, including homeschool books. BEST PART, you can get a 15% discount on your first order by clicking over through this link!

Two:

Grain Free Granola recipe by Iowa Girl Eats. I can’t eat gluten, it gives me awful headaches. Most store-bought granolas contain wheat, so I was buying this Grain Free granola from Target. It’s pricey for a pretty small bag, though, so I sought out a recipe and this one delivered, big time! It’s soooooo good, I’ve made it twice now and it lasts for about a week, even with my kids snacking on it. I put it on my cheerios, my yogurt, or just eat as a snack on it’s own.

Three:

Besides sewing, photography is a favorite hobby of mine. I go to Barnes & Noble to peruse the magazines sometimes and the other day I grabbed the newest edition of Shutter Magazine. The black and white theme is what caught my eye. I browsed through it at home and it’s really inspiring! It’s what led to my challenging myself to post a black and white photo every day on my personal Instagram account, which has been really fun so far. If there are any photographers in your life, a subscription to Shutter magazine would be a good gift idea. If you’re a photographer yourself, It looks like you can access the digital editions for free, which is pretty cool!

Here is a photo I took of Layla the very day I bought the magazine. I always have a willing subject at hand when inspiration strikes ;)

Black and White photography || Pin Cut Sew Studio

Four:

I bought this pair of olive and rose gold Puma sneakers at my thrift store last month. They were in like new condition, so I really lucked out and I ended up LOVING these shoes. They are so, so comfy and bendy. I like them so much, I’m thinking of ordering this similar pair in the elderberry color, because you know, a girl’s gotta have options. I do however, use inserts in all my shoes. I have one good pair with nice arch support that I just switch from shoes to shoes. So when I get new shoes, I rip the original inserts out and use my good ones. Even in my running shoes. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it’s opened up a whole new world of shoe options for me! I have scoliosis and my body would just start to hurt if I wore shoes that didn’t have the right support. So, if you have knee, ankle, hip or back pain, might I suggest the first thing you try should be good inserts for your shoes? I recommend Vionics or similar brand, NOT the gel or memory foam kind and not the cheapo kinds you can get at Walmart. Lecture over, ha!

Five:

I was at Hobby Lobby today and they carry the oh-so-popular CC hats. We have a few of the hats and they are pretty great. The range of CC products has expanded though and now they have gloves too! AND, they’re “smart tips” gloves, so they claim you can use your thumb and finger to access your phone while wearing them. I was skeptical because I have tried on gloves that make these claims in the past and they really didn’t work at all. But, I tried them on and played with my phone there in Hobby Lobby and they worked! I didn’t buy them, but I want to and Amazon has lots more color choices than they had at Hobby Lobby, so I think I’m gonna go with the oatmeal confetti color.

Here’s a photo I took of Natalie in her CC hat last year. She’s had this hat a few years now and it’s still in great shape.

Pin Cut Sew Studio #fallphotography #ccbeanie

That’s five things! Please tell me what unrelated things you’ve been loving lately! Be sure and come back tomorrow to see my September thrift store haul, it’s a fun one.

Cheers!

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How to make time for hobbies

This post my contain affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to promote certain items, I will earn a small commission should you purchase items through these links.  For more info, see my disclosure policy.

How to make time for hobbies by Nikki Schreiner

One of the things I have been most often asked throughout my entire adult life, is, "How do you have time for all that sewing?" I usually kind of shrug and laugh it off, feeling a little bit like maybe a grown woman with kids who home schools ought to be too busy for hobbies, or worried that people think I neglect my home and family and sit in front of the TV with knitting needles all day (I was literally accused of that once), but I actually do strategically fit my hobbies into my life on purpose and I'm going to share some of the ways I do that here today. 

First, though, let me just say that there is a season for everything and while I do have a busy life as a home school mom, I am home quite a bit and I do not work outside of my home. You may truly be in a season of life that is just too full to squeeze in one more thing, even if it's something you enjoy, so if that's you, please don't read this and find any guilt for not getting the watercolors out with your kids in the evenings or not reading more theology books, okay? No guilt! Second, we all must find a balance between using hobbies as self-care as we can fit them in and idolizing that "me-time" that hobbies can provide. If I'm yelling at my children to leave me alone because I'm immersed in a sewing project, my priorities are out of whack.

So now that we have those caveats out of the way, these are simply ways I have managed to squeeze in things I love to do and that keep me sane throughout various seasons and life changes.

1. Make your hobbies convenient.  

I had a neighbor growing up who kept a sewing machine in her hall closet way up high and would get it out to fix a hem or something. Because my mom had a designated sewing space, I thought this was totally weird, ha! If your sewing machine is up in a closet somewhere and all your tools put away, you'll probably never get it out to sew. Making your hobbies easily accessible will go a long way in how much you get to enjoy them. At our house, I keep a pretty vintage magazine holder next to my favorite chair full of the books I'm currently reading, so they're easy to grab when I have a minute to sit. I have a mug of paint brushes on a shelf over my dining room table and the bin of watercolor supplies nearby so it's easy for us to get out and paint without searching for supplies. My sewing space has migrated as my seasons of childrearing have changed. When the kids were younger, I made space in our various living rooms, so I could sew while also being where the kids were. Right now I have a large space to sew in, but in Hawaii, I only had a hallway desk. When we go out and I take my big camera, I don't even bring it in a case, I just sling it over my shoulder so it's easily accessible to me, knowing that if I had it in a backpack with several choices of lenses, it would feel like a chore to even get it out. 

how to make time for hobbies

2. Find small pockets of time to work on your hobbies

I sometimes sit down to play the piano while dinner is in the oven, or while waiting on friends to arrive. I read in between dance drop off/pick ups. I know many sewists who complete projects one seam at a time, in ten minute increments. This is another perk to having your hobbies out and accessible to you. Especially if you have small children at home, using those 10 or 20 minutes to enjoy your hobby is a good strategy. 

Making time for hobbies

3. Take your hobby with you

If you're anything like me, you have more than one thing you love to do and at least one of those things is portable. Hand sewing projects, crochet, knitting, photography, reading, embroidery; these are all things that I've brought along in the past. Use those hours sitting at basketball or dress rehearsals to your advantage!

How to make time for hobbies

4. Realize that hobbies can come and go

There were many years that I was a scrapbooker. I loved to do it, I loved to go to crop nights with friends and I found a lot of satisfaction in that. There came a time, though, when I just didn't have time to keep up with it and I did not need a hobby that made me feel behind in something! So I put it aside. When we were moving here to Utah from Hawaii, we didn't have our belongings for a few months and my hands were itching to create something, so I brought an Amigurumi crochet book, a hook and some yarn and it gave me something to put my hands to in that season, even though crochet isn't something I make time for ordinarily. Even in sewing, there were seasons I enjoyed quilting more and others when I preferred garment sewing. It's ok to pick up hobbies as you go and put others aside. There can be guilt in knowing how to do something or knowing you're good at something and not putting those skills to use, but that's just silly, isn't it? 

How to make time for hobbies

5. Find buddies to enjoy your hobbies with you

I love talking books with my mom and show-and-telling sewing projects over FaceTime. I enjoy teaching my friends to sew. I love sharing and commenting on sewing projects through social media. My girls and I have a blast coming up with photo shoot ideas, they are definitely my best photography buddies! There are tons of ways to find people who love the same things you love and that kind of community makes hobbies so much more fun. 

When dancers play baseball

When dancers play baseball

6. Think twice before offering up your skills to others

Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should do it for money, or even as a favor, to others. There have been many times I have taken on sewing work that I did not want to do and that I did not need the money for, just because a friend asked and I knew I could do it, so I said yes. Find a way to say no that is gracious and then SAY IT! I usually say something like, "I don't take on custom work, I just don't have time". I should add that there are times I am asked that I actually do want to take on projects, such as costumes for the Narnia play our home school co op put on last year, but I weigh those decisions carefully before volunteering. That's sewing, though. Photography I actually LOVE to do for my friends, but I cannot do it for money, it's just too much pressure and I don't have time to deal with the administrative part of trying to make a go of photography as a business. So I usually say I work for coffee, ha! My point it, as with all things in life, you have to figure out what your boundaries are and stick to them. If you don't, before you know it, the precious time you have to work on your hobby will be eaten up by projects you really didn't want to do in the first place. 

Mr. Tumnus 

Mr. Tumnus 

7. Last, but not least, stop wasting time

Dare I say it? Put down your phone!! While a few of us may really, truly not have moments to spare for enjoyment throughout the day, I'd be willing to bet the majority of people who say they don't have time to fit in hobbies are wasting large chunks of time on mindless activities that produce nothing. How do I have time for "all that sewing?" I do not watch TV in the middle of the day. It feels rude to say that to people when they ask me that questions, but it's what I really want to tell them! (When I do watch something in the evenings, I use that time for yet another hobby: I do the New York Times crossword every night, like a grandpa, ha!). Furthermore, around Christmastime last year, I decided I really wanted to read more. I have always loved to read and while I had a good excuse why I didn't get many books read in a year when my kids were little, I can't use that excuse now that they're preteens. I decided that if I had a few minutes, where I would almost always pick up my phone and fritter the time away, I'd pick up a book instead. You guys, I have read 32 books so far this year!! What!? Theology, history, biography, so many good books. That is a LOT of hours I was spending mindlessly on social media. Use your time wisely. 

My living room sewing space in our Colorado house.

My living room sewing space in our Colorado house.

If you have anything to add to these ideas, I would love to hear them! Please share in the comments. 

Cheers! 

 

 

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