This post is part of Craftsy Review Month on Sew Sweetness. To see schedule of all posts, click here! This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here. Today’s post is from Leslie of 50 sq ft Studios. Check out Leslie’s blog and follow her on Instagram!
To begin, I’d like to say thank you to Sara for hosting Craftsy Review Month. I’m a Craftsy fan, so I’m thrilled to participate.
My name is Leslie, and I consider myself to be a quilter, bag maker, and very occasional garment sewist. I wanted to review Sewing Notions Workshop: Solutions for Savvy Sewing with Linda Lee because I believe there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained (and lots of cool products for a self-professed notions addict to acquire) by watching how people use their tools. As the class is focused on notions for garment makers, I thought this would be a great place to start.
The two hours of instruction are broken into 7 different lessons that vary from 14-22 minutes in length. Each lesson begins with a brief overview of the type of tools that Linda will cover before shifting to the actual demonstration.
Unlike many Craftsy classes, this course does not have a specific set of associated projects, but the amount of content within the class didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing out by not having them.
Putting the Lessons into Practice
As I moved through the lessons, I saw a mix of familiar and unfamiliar notions. Even though I use some of them on a regular basis, I learned some tricks that will improve my effectiveness and efficiency. This is critical for me because who doesn’t want to have better results in less time? Here is a little bit about what is covered in each section and how I use one of the featured products for my bag or quilt making projects.
Lesson 1: Better Marking
Proper marking is essential for success, and choosing the wrong tools can create a recipe for disaster. In Better Marking, Linda covers a variety of options that include different types of chalk, pens, and tracing wheels. As a frequent bag maker, this is familiar territory. There is no single solution that will work for every fabric all of the time, so I love that Linda stressed that you need to test your marking method for each fabric on each project.
The Chakoner Chalk Wheel is great for marking placement lines for a strap on a bag’s exterior.
The Chakoner wheel is my favorite chalk tool. It creates a fine line that doesn’t leave an excess amount of chalk on your fabric.
Lesson 2: Joining Fabrics
The second lesson is all about joining fabrics. Linda explains a variety of methods for joining fabrics that range from temporary solutions like pins or fabric clips to fusible tapes and glues.
Clover Wonder Clips holding layers of duck cloth, interfacing, and quilting cotton together on the bottom of a bag before it is stitched together.
Wonder Clips are one of my all-time favorite notions for holding fabric together in a non-permanent way. I use them in place of pins on fabrics that are thick, fabrics that would incur permanent damage from pin holes, and they are fantastic for holding quilt binding in place while it is hand stitched.
Lesson 3: Stitching Solutions
The Stitching Solutions lesson covers a handful of tools that are used while sewing. Notions covered in this class include the stiletto, seam jumper, and the magnetic seam guide.
Want to adjust your seam allowance? No problem! It’s easy to measure and re-position the guide.
I love how easy the magnetic seam guide is to use with my Singer Featherweight machine from the 1960s. Unlike a zig zag machine where you can move the position of the needle, my Featherweight’s needle is fixed in one position. With fewer markings on the needle plate, the magnetic seam guide can help you to maintain a consistent seam allowance without the need to apply an adhesive backed tape to the machine.
Lesson 4: Turning Tools
I suspect that lesson 4 will probably be the lesson that I will refer back to most frequently. If you’ve ever needed to turn an open ended tube or a tube with one open end by hand and the mere thought makes you cringe, you will love this lesson as much as I do! Linda explains how to use bodkins, cylindrical turners, and point pressers.
The Fasturn set is great for turning short to medium length tubes in a variety of widths.
Most of the fabric tubes that I make are for bag handles, so the Fasturn set is my most used turning tool. I love that the set includes tubes of varying widths, and it’s a quick process.
Lesson 5: Pressing Essentials
While it is probably my least favorite sewing related activity, I cannot deny its importance to the process. Linda covers tips in this lesson that can help you choose between the many different available irons, starch and starch alternative sprays, protect your fingers, and some tips on how to create a custom pressing surface.
Flatter smoothing spray and Dritz Thermal Thimbles are two of my must haves.
I love using steam right up until the point where I give myself steam burns on my fingers. The Thermal Thimbles serve double duty by protecting my fingertips from steam and the little grippy dots help to keep the fabric in place while I press.
Lesson 6: Advanced Pressing
Well, I haven’t been using some of my notions to their full potential, so this was really an eye opening lesson for me. Linda demonstrates tools that will help you shape (and even re-shape) your fabric.
Pressing a dart in a bag lining is a piece of cake with a tailor’s ham.
Of the notions covered in Advanced Pressing, a tailor’s ham is my most used. Darts are used to create shapes in fabric. Whether they are long or short, wide or narrow, a dart that isn’t properly pressed can easily become distorted and unattractive/unflattering. A ham provides a curved surface that helps the dart to hold its shape while being pressed. This isn’t the only way to use this handy tool, but it is why I won’t press a dart without it.
Lesson 7: Fast Fixes & Solutions
In the final section of the class, Linda walks you through a couple of tools that should be in any sewing basket and what she keeps in her grab-and-go essentials kit. From how to properly use a seam ripper (yes, there is a right way) to mini vacuum attachments, Sewing Notions Workshop is packed with information from the beginning to the end.
This thread pick has been a life saver for fixing snagged sweaters, machine embroidery, or for grabbing an errant dark thread that is visible behind white background fabric on a quilt.
This picture doesn’t do the thread pick any justice. While it isn’t my most frequently used tool (it’s pretty infrequently used to be honest), I am always thankful to have it when I need it.
I really enjoyed this class! While there were a few items that look like they were pulled right out of a medieval castle dungeon rather than a 21st century person’s sewing basket, the notions presented can help you take your sewing to the next level. Several of the notions were new to me, but I also learned a few tricks and tips that will help me make better use some of the tools that I already have.
With so many notions covered in the class, knowing that I could post a question or access the class at any time to return to a section and re-watch a demonstration on how to use the notions. The materials for the class include a full list of references and resources details all 50+ products shown in the class.
Overall, there were quite a few a-ha moments for me, and there were a couple of notions that I decided that I should pick up on my next trip to a fabric store. I have watched quite a few Craftsy classes over the last several years, and I feel like I gained a lot of knowledge from watching Linda Lee’s Sewing Notions Workshop.
To wrap up, I’d like to thank you for spending some time with me today by reading my review (I hope you enjoyed it), Sara for being the hostess with the most-est, and team of staff and instructors at Craftsy that work hard to bring a large variety of classes to those of us that are passionate about learning.