Many everyday objects can double up as improvised sewing tools. In the Deer&Doe workshop, we’ve tried everything we could get our hands on, from tuna cans used as pattern weights to customizing our machine with masking tape to mark seam allowances. Today we’re sharing our favorite tips, each of them tried and true 😉
Ironing aids, such as Glide or Faultless, can be found in most supermarkets and craft stores and they are very useful to sew rayon or silk. Just spray it on the fabric and iron, and slippery fabrics become as well-behaved as cottons! But did you know you can actually achieve the same effect using ingredients from your kitchen cabinets?
Once you have finished sewing your garment, you just need to rince the mixture off and let it air dry and your fabric will go back to its original drape!
Another cupboard item that can tame fabric: white vinegar! Soaking your fabric with a little vinegar before washing it for the first time will help lock its colors in. This is especially useful for fabrics that tend to bleed a lot, such as denim. Just add half a cup of white vinegar in a bucket of cold water, and let your fabric soak in for 30 minutes before putting it in the wash.
While you are in the kitchen, grab a roll of aluminum foil to sharpen your cutting tools! If your rotary cutter’s blade is dull, instead of changing it right away, try this technique: take a long sheet of foil and fold it several times on itself, until you have at least 8 layers. Place the foil on your cutting mat and roll your rotary cutter on it, several dozen times. Try it every so often on a scrap of fabric: you should notice a clear improvement! This works just as well with fabric scissors 😉
Last but not least in the kitchen series, the infamous wooden spoon! To press open the shoulder seams of a lined sleeveless top, such as the Datura blouse, slip the handle of a wooden spoon between the layers and use it as a pressing tool.
My favorite improvised tool might be in your kids’ backpack: Pilot FriXion felt-tip pens! These magical markers disappear with the heat of an iron, and can be used to mark fabric very clearly without leaving any trace afterwards. You can find them in most supermarkets and they come in plenty of colors. Try the felt-tip pens rather than the rollerball gel-ink ones as they will glide on fabric better, and don’t forget to try it on a swatch beforehand!
How about black or navy fabrics, on which you can’t really see felt-tip pen lines? In this case, do like Eléonore and mark your fabric with soap! Soap is very visible on dark colors, glides smoothly on the fabric and goes away in the wash. Carve your soap bar to get a thin edge, or use tiny soap bars like the ones you find in hotels 🙂