The Sara Project’s Favorite Things Gift Guide for the Home Sewist

This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.

Hey everyone! Christmas is nearly here and I’ve gathered some of my favorite things to add to either your own Christmas wishlist, or to give to your favorite sewist! This list is also great for birthdays, or any other gift giving occasion. Scroll down to read why I love each item on my list, and to find a direct link to each one.

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1.Brother 1034 D 3/4 Thread Serger with Differential Feed: My husband bought this serger for me for Christmas 2 years ago and it has been SUCH a game changer for my sewing projects and capabilities. I use mine to finish off my seams giving them a professional look, or to sew knit projects. I couldn’t sew without this! I haven’t had any issues with mine, it always works great. It’s also super easy to thread and use- not at all intimidating as I once thought sergers would be.

2. Slim Flex Expanding Sewing Gauge: this is something that is on my wish list this year. This sewing tool is so awesome! It’s an expandable gauge to mark button holes evenly along a garment placket, as well as mark pleats, hooks, gathers, etc- saving so much time!

3. Life Is Hard, Sewing Is Easy Tee: Another item on my wishlist is this t-shirt. I think it pretty much speaks for itself!! Need for an everyday top. Any Sewist woud love this.

4. Fiskars Micro Tip Scissors: I have a lot of scissors. A lot. I’ve found I’m constantly reaching for these guys. These small scissors are super sharp and just the right size for trimming threads, adding notches, clipping, trimming seam allowances, etc. Perfect stocking stuffer!

5. Bobbinsaver: This item is something I never knew I needed. It’s a little rubber donut, and makes for the most perfect bobbin storage holder. Bobbins fit just right into the hollowed donut slot, and all of the threads stay inside instead of unraveling into a big mess. Love my bobbinsaver!!

6. Sewist Necklace: I’ve wanted this sweet necklace ever since it launched last year. If you’re looking for a more meaningful gift, this would be perfect. It also comes in two metal options: silver or gold. Just in case my husband is reading this- I would choose the gold! 😉

7. Tulip Patchwork Glass Head Pins 60 pk: My mom has these pins and I admire them every time I walk into her sewing room. Their glass heads are not only beautiful but allow you to iron over them, they wont melt under your iron like the plastic ones tend to do. These are really great quality too. I’ve stolen a few and they have held up really nicely.

8. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion: If you’re looking for a good book option for the sewist in your life (or yourself!), this book is a fabulous choice. Anyone that makes their own clothes will really appreciate this book. This book is eye opening and packed full of information about the world of fast fashion and consumerism. I’lll never look at H&M the same way again. It’s also helped me make better choices when it comes to working towards making most of my clothes and what I buy in stores. Okay, writing this review is just making me want to go read it again! It’s that good.

9. Fashionary Women’s A4 Sketchbook: A few months ago I was shopping with a friend and she pointed this book out to me. Husband if you’re reading this- I want this one too! This fashion dictionary, sketchbook, diary combo looks really awesome. Perfect for planning projects, and sketching out ideas. It includes blended figure templates to brainstorm and design your next sewing project.

10. Clover Chaco Liner: I used this tool with almost every sewing project. This is one tool I have to have. It’s a chalk liner pen that makes marking, well anything, super easy, clean and fast. In fact, this is what I chose to give my friends at a favorite things sewing party one year.

11. Fiskars Tabletop Fabric Shears: These scissors are a game changer, and the only ones I use for cutting out projects now. These are made for cutting along a table top (or floor if you’re like me), and the angled blades make cutting really smooth. You don’t have to slightly lift the fabric as you cut, and it keeps everything laying nice and flat during the cutting process. LOVE THESE!

12. Riley Blake Blue and Gold Magnetic Pin Bowl: I also have a magnetic pin bowl and I love it. Sometimes I throw sewing feet or small scissors into it as well when I’m transporting things around my sewing room.

13. Olfa Frosted Ruler 6″ x 12″: I got this ruler recently and I’ve found I use it all of the time. It’s the perfect size for most of my pattern alterations/hacks and also while sewing. Not too big or small, it meets a lot of my needs. It’s also really pretty with the frosted finish on it!

14. Medical Pattern Paper: Another must have for my sewing room, is medical pattern paper. I’m always hacking patterns and I’m constantly pulling this paper out. It’s great for tracing pattern pieces, and making pattern adjustments.

15. Oliso Pro TG1600 Smart Iron iTouch: I started using this iron a few months ago and it’s sooo good. Basically you can leave the metal plate laying down on your ironing board and when you let go of the handle a little foot pops up to hold the iron a few inches above the ironing board. ( very convenient to use). The steam functions are amazing, and it’s really cute too! If you’re looking for an iron upgrade or a bigger gifting option- go for this!

16. Clover Seam Ripper: if you don’t already have this seam ripper, you need it. It ergonomic shape fits perfectly into your hand, and the rubber grip makes it easy to use. Another tool I need and use with every single sewing project.

17. Sewing is My Therapy T-Shirt: These shirts kill me! I feel this way all of the time. The way sewing calms me down and clears my head is my perfect therapy!!! Love this hilarious t-shirt- great gift for any kind of sewist!

18. OttLite Craft Anywhere Rechargable LED Lamp: I’ve been on the market for a new light for my sewing room and recently found this one. What caught my eye about this one is that it’s cordless! I have so many things already plugged in under my desk I didn’t need on more thing. I love that this lamp is easy to move around to where ever you need it! It’s currently in the mail on it’s way to me!

19. Kylie and The Machine Clothing Labels: Hands down, these are the best, funniest, cutest sew in clothing labels out there, personalizing any handmade garment. There are a lot of fun options to choose fun and any sewist would love these. I have this particular pack and I’ve really enjoyed them! Another great stocking stuffer!

20. Mrs. Meyer’s Rain Water Hand Lotion: I recently started using this lotion and it smells amazing! I love using it after a sewing session when my hands feel a little dry. You’re hands are your most important tool when it comes to sewing- don’t forget to take care of them!

I hope you you find these ideas helpful for either yourself or someone you love. I feel really proud of this list, and as you’ve noticed- some of these things are also on my Christmas list this year too. Wink wink husband! 😉 Happy gift giving season everyone!

JOANN Hemet Store Grand Opening

JOANN recently invited me to help celebrate their brand new store grand opening in Hemet, California. This store was implemented with JOANN’s new store design and it is beautiful! Everything is displayed and organized in such a way that you instantly feel inspired to make something. This store isn’t quite so close to home for me but it was definitely worth the visit!

I was asked to teach a class while I was visiting the store and had the pleasure to work with the Hemet store’s creator studio team (a few employees not pictured). They were so warm and welcoming, showed me around and explained some of the new features of the store. I had a lot of fun getting to know them. What a great team they have there!

Okay, first let’s talk about this stunning fabric display. Isn’t it so pretty!? I also love that they have added a mirror so you can see how the fabric looks against your skin. Genius! So necessary and helpful.

I know a lot of people feel frustrated when searching for interfacing, so I was so happy when I saw a whole aisle section devoted to just interfacing. It’s so organized and very easy to look through.

Is this the most beautiful cut bar you ever did see? It’s so sleek! Check out the updated shopping carts, too! You can also see the new Creator’s Studio in the background.

In the fabric section I noticed this fixture advertising and showcasing all of the solid linen fabric. I love how they show the fabric sewn up into a garment, and also how all of the colors are beautifully displayed. It truly makes me want to sew something up out of linen and “dress to chill”. I really like the idea of the fabric feature fixture.

I never thought a bunch of displayed zippers could make me feel so happy. How clean and fresh does this look!? It’s stocked, color coordinated and so easy to navigate. The thread and other sewing notions are also organized similarly, and it looks so nice.

Okay, so thats my quick tour of just a piece of the store and the things that really stood out to me! Like I mentioned earlier, while I was there I had the opportunity to meet with customers and teach a class. I demonstrated how to make pattern weights using washers and ribbon, and it was a hit.

(Notice how the extension cords come out of the ceiling! So handy for crafting!).

It seemed like most of the class attendees were unfamiliar with using pattern weights instead of pins, and they were excited to make some for themselves. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone that joined us for the class, asking them about their sewing backgrounds and what they enjoy making.

How fun are these!? The navy and gold star ribbon was a class favorite.

I really enjoyed talking with this woman about her sewing background. She told me all about her BERNINA sewing machine, and how she enjoys sewing for some of the young girls in her life. I also got to take some time to help her find a specific sewing pattern she was looking for. How cute is her top, too!?

I felt an excited energy there as customers explored the new store design. I noticed a lot of the customers seemed to know each other from the previous store that closed right before the new one opened. What a neat community of makers in Hemet, CA.

Thanks so much for having me, JOANN! I can’t wait to see what other new stores pop up next! If you get a chance to see the new store design, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Life Scarf

Hey guys! This post is going to be a little different than usual! Lately I’ve gotten to work on a few projects with Michael De Leon, the Manager of Stylish Fabric. Michael is also the co-founder of Life Scarf, a children’s charity project.

These scarves are really nice. The quality is great, and I really love the size. When you purchase a scarf from Life Scarf, 20% of the net profits are sent to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital to help children in need, giving you a “special way to support critical, life-saving and life-changing care for children”. (On March 4th 30% of the net profits will be donated, and Life Scarf is planning to bump donations up to 50% by October!!). They are all currently on sale for $13.72 (regular price $18.30).

So why did Michael begin this charity you ask? Read on!

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(pictured above: The Heidee Mayan Sea Breeze Scarf)

Michael shared a really personal story with me about his nephew, Raffy, who was born in the Philippines with a rare case of cranialfacial cleft.

“It was a pretty sad day since the doctor in the Hospital where my sister gave birth told us that there was a slim chance that he would survive. Days had gone by and we saw that Raffy was really fighting and he was very eager to survive. We talked to a lot of Hospitals in the Philippines to get help but no one really agreed to help since the medical technology during that time was not as advanced compared here in the U.S. My sister decided to contact some of our relatives here in the U.S and like a miracle, Raffy got an invitation from CHLA and he’s been getting  facial constructive surgery since.
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 When he was 7-8, it was the first time they operated on drilling a hole in his nose so he could breathe with his nose. Two days after the procedure we took him home. While I tried to take him out of his car seat he blew the blood from his nose to my shoulders, I got shocked at the amount of blood on my shirt and got worried so I checked on him and before I knew it he was already awake, he tapped me on my shoulder and said “Uncle, I can feel the air in my nose) – pointing to his nose with tears flowing from his eyes but with a super wide smile.. It made me cry like a baby, I hugged him and I promised myself that I will forever be thankful for that day and that I will do whatever I can to help him and other kids in need. I really want this movement to be able to raise awareness on helping out kids with any form of a medical condition.”
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I was really touched by Michael’s story, and happy to spread the word about this awesome movement he is starting.  Project Lifescarf.com is an organization that will help raise awareness on how easy it is for us to help children in need of medical attention in different ways. Most of us are so blessed, I can’t even imagine watching one of my children go through something like this.
Side Note: How cool is this packaging?!
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Life Scarf is also joining in for #MAKEMARCHMATTER, and they are holding a really fun event this Saturday in Los Angeles on the Santa Monica Pier from 12:00-5:00 pm. This looks like a super fun event to check out if you’re in the area, and interested in donating towards this awesome cause.
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Thanks so much for listening guys! Now back to normal sewing posts!

Dutch Label Shop + Customized Clothing Labels

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Hey everyone! I just received my new custom labels from The Dutch Label Shop and I wanted to share my experience with you! I’m so excited to finally have something to add a personal touch to all of my handmade garments.

The Dutch Label Shop offers some really great products. They have basic woven labels you can design using their fonts, or woven logo labels where you can upload a photo of your logo for a more personalized look. They also offer hang tags, size tags, care labels, and so much more.

I chose to go with the woven logo labels. I uploaded my image and chose the colors I wanted for my label. I really love the gold metallic option I used for my font. It’s not listed on their website, so just choose any shade of yellow and ask for metallic gold in the notes when you’re checking out. I wasn’t sure how my font would turn out but it’s perfect, I love it so much!! If you decide to choose gold for your font, make sure to choose a darker color for your label color so the font stands out. For my label color, I chose Red 199C.

I also chose the standard label type (no fold) and the standard size and shape (2.5″ X 0.6″). I also opted for the sew on label.

When you’re checking out, make sure to select the option to review your label before they are all made and shipped. They make one label for you and send a photo of what the finished label looks like. I didn’t like the first option I went with, and they kindly made me a new sample using a different color.

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They are quick to answer any questions you may have, I had a few! Haha. The quality is fabulous. I’m so so excited to add these to all my clothing made by me.

 Dutch Label Shop is kindly offering 15% all orders until February 16th using the code “saraproject” at check out. Happy sewing!! 

 

International Sanctuary + Purpose Handcrafted Jewelry

Hey guys! This post is a little different then my usual sewing posts. Today I want to share a company with you that I’v been working with the last few months, and you might have noticed some of their product in my photos.

Chevron Necklace

Purpose Jewelry is a non-profit handcrafted jewelry company, but not just any jewelry company. Also known as International Sanctuary, Purpose Jewelry sells beautiful bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings handmade by women who have been rescued from human trafficking and are given professional opportunities, job training, education and medical care through this non profit group. 100% of the proceeds support these women in form of employment, paychecks and job training.

Isla NecklaceAndiya Peach Bracelet

Horizon Earrings

International Sanctuary empowers survivors with true freedom”. They have a few sanctuaries all over the world: Mumbai, India and Orange County, CA (my hometown).

Heirloom Necklace

Every piece of jewelry is handmade by survivors, and tagged with the individual’s handwritten name that made each piece.

Stella Necklace

It’s so special to wear this jewelry and know not only the name of the woman or girl who made it, but that I’m helping her, among others in a small way. And you guys, this jewelry is gorgeous!

Chevron Necklace

By purchasing Isanctuary jewelry, we are giving hope and dignity to the survivors. This is such a beautiful cause and I wanted to share it with all of you, I’ve linked direct links under each image of where you can purchase the jewelry, among lots of other beautiful pieces found on their website: purposejewelry.org

 

 

“Purchase with PURPOSE and join the movement to end slavery, and spread hope to women and girls around the world.”

BERNINA 350 PE Nutall’s Class #1

Hey guys!

As a BERNINA ambassador, I get to take a few courses on learning all the ins and outs of my new BERNINA 350 PE sewing machine at my local Nutall’s BERNINA store. I thought I would share my thoughts, and some of the things I learned in the class. Some of this is common knowledge, but maybe someone out there will find it helpful!

First of all, NEVER plug your BERNINA sewing machine directly into the wall. Make sure it’s plugged into a Serge Protector Power Strip. Our instructor that taught our class told us a story about how a woman’s house was struck by lightning, and it took out her sewing machine! So sad. Don’t risk it.

Second of all, we were told to give our machine a birthday. This will help you remember to have your machine serviced once a year, as recommended by Nutall’s. While being serviced, your machine will be cleaned beyond where you are able to clean it, and also the software on your machine will be updated.

Next we discussed needle basics. Good rule of thumb, if your machine is skipping stitches, etc, switch out your needle! We talked about two needle types:

Aloy: Good for 4 hours of sewing

Titanium (recommended): good for 8-12 hours of sewing

(I am TERRIBLE at throwing away and switching out my needle, except for different projects that require a specific needle, but still I don’t throw them away).

The reason WHY you need to switch out your needle after so long is that while you’re sewing, your needle tip can heat up from working so quickly, and this causes friction which in turn creates little rough ridges along the tip of your needle. So, throw out those needles ladies! Keep those stitches smooth.

A PERK to owning and using a BERNINA machine is that they can use most needle sizes, 10-18. Not all brands can support a size 18 needle (typically used for leather). BERNINA is the best guys.

Next, we talked about thread. I live in Utah, and it is VERY dry here. We were advised to store our thread in a sealed plastic container, in a dark space to keep our thread from drying out, and to keep it at it’s top quality.

Also going along with threads, I learned threads that are manufactured in the U.S. are not as well made as threads made in Europe for example. Here in the U.S., we cannot support the growth of long strands of cotton, but instead grow short strands. The benefit to using thread made with long strands of cotton is that you don’t get the shedding of your thread all junked up inside your machine. ALL thread will shed lint, but European threads shed a whole lot less, and are also sealed for extra shedding protection. Food for thought, I guess it is worth it to invest a little in your threads.

We spent a few minutes discussing thread properties and fibers. When sewing with knits or cottons, use a thread that has a polyester BLEND. If you use a thread that is 100% polyester with these fabrics, you’ll notice little holes (especially after the project is washed a few times), because the thread is stronger than the fabric. 100% polyester is great for polyester fabrics. A great brand recommended for BERNINA machines is Mettler thread. It’s a poly cotton blend.

TIP: After threading your machine, if you find you need to pull the thread out and re-thread, NEVER PULL. Always cut your thread with scissors near the thread spool, and then gently pull the thread out. If you pull with out cutting, it creates lots of fiber shedding into your machine.

If your machine seems to be a little off, second rule of thumb: CLEAN IT OUT.

Cleaning out your BERNINA is so simple! (UNPLUG the power cord and foot pedal, and remove your foot and needle before proceeding).

1: Notice the little thumb print next to my index finger pictured below? Press down on it and your plate will pop right off.

2. See all the red lint in mine? That’s from ONE project!

To clean it out, it was recommended to use Blow Off Duster, but make sure you spray from an angle and to the side, NEVER directly on your machine. Also, you’ll notice if you shake or spray the bottle excessively, it will feel cold to the touch. DO NOT use it at this point because you will add moisture to the insides of your machine. Wait for the bottle to become room temperature again before further use. It takes two seconds to blow the lint out, so you shouldn’t have this problem. It was recommended to do this whenever you want, a good rule of thumb being every two-three projects, depending on how big they are of course.

Oiling your machine: When you fold down the bottom hatch where your bobbin goes (remove bobbin case and bobbin), you’ll notice a black circle. To the left of it is a little metal piece. Push the metal piece in ever so slightly, and the black circle will pop forward and fold downwards. Inside you’ll be able to easily remove this silver half moon piece, pictured below:

You’ll find a flat edge along the backside. This is where metal hits metal. This is where you need to oil your machine. Just simply add one drop of oil to this flat edge, and rub it in gently across the whole flat edge. That’s it! Pop it back into place, raise the black circle back in place and pop in. You’ll know everything is in properly if the metal circle where you insert your bobbin case spins when you twist your hand wheel. It was recommended to oil as often as you would like, again about every 2-3 projects. Your machine will come with oil, and you can also purchase it online or in your local Nutall’s BERNINA store.

I hope this is helpful to you! I really enjoyed learning a little more about my BERNINA 350 PE sewing machine. I’ll share more with you next week after my next class!