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Have You Been To The Hardware Shop Lately
By Victoria White, Secret Workshop


Shopping for sewing notions can be lots of fun. There are so many nifty ones available on the market today - everything from tubes for turning out small straps to special templates for fancy designs. Catalogue after catalogue and wall after wall showcase all the latest in sewing notions. While there are many wonderful resources, you might be passing by one of your best ones each day - the hardware store. Here you will find so many notions, tools and gadgets to help you sew up a storm everyday. Visiting the hardware shop might turn up these neat tools and lots more!

Clamps are something that can be found in all shapes and sizes. It is handy to have a few around for when you need that extra set of arms. They are great for holding fabric, patterns or just about anything in place. Is your fabric off grain and needs to be stretched back? - simply clamp it down and pull, or clamp the fabric down to hold it taut while hand stitching.

Weights are wonderful for holding your patterns and fabric in place when using a rotary cutter. Why not purchase some large washers? These not only work great as weights for pattern layout and cutting, but may also come in handy for any fix-it job around the house.

Tool boxes and storage bins come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Tool boxes make great sewing boxes. They are large, have numerous smaller compartments, are tough and travel well. After trying one out, you may never go back to your "regular" sewing box again. Storage bins designed for holding and sorting smaller objects are also wonderful. A medium to large size box can hold different buttons, snaps, cord locks, and all the other smaller objects that seem to get misplaced. Label the contents of each compartment to make finding things easy. Sort and divide colored snaps and buttons into different compartments so you are able to easily see what you have available in your stock.

Pegboard and dowel can be used in a few different ways. Pieces of dowel placed in a pegboard hung at a slight angle makes a thread rank. Hang from the wall near your machines and have all your thread easy to see and access. Pegboards with hooks are also wonderful for hanging larger items and/or packaged patterns.

Rulers are essential for almost every sewing project (believe me, the 'eyeball' method is not always the answer for straight pockets) Not only do most hardware stores stock a variety of shapes and sizes but most also stock T-squares.

On a larger scale and requiring a bit more work, C-clamps and 1 x 2's make wonderful quilting frames. The frame can be set on chairs when stitching. Purchase a pair of sawhorses and a sheet of plywood for an instant cutting table. Cover the table with linoleum or tiles.

Don't forget about all the smaller items that can make life that much easier. Magnets for picking up dropped pins, spray adhesive for holding things in place, chalk, exacto knives for cutting as well as mechanical pens and markers. Small strips of sandpaper attached to the bottom of your ruler will stop it from sliding around. To stop thread from unwinding, make holders by cutting a piece of plastic tubing down the middle. Just slip over the bobbin or spool, and the thread is held neatly in place.

Once you start looking around your local hardware store, you might be surprised at how many tools and other items could easily find a home in your sewing box. Just don't forget to stop at the fabric shop for fabric on the way home.


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