Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spooky Basket: Small Solutions, Big Differences.

I know I haven't been sewing much lately, but that doesn't mean the acquisition of new sewing gadgetry has halted. In fact, it would be much the opposite... it seems the amount of buying such finery has reached "plunderer" levels of audacity.

To begin, back when I purchased Ophelia, I had a nagging suspicion that eventually I will either gain lots of weight or sustain it, so I preemptively bought the Fabulous Fit kit along with her. Funny enough, I had lost enough weight after the initial post that I was a "model" 12 all around and sustained it up until this point-- so my pad kit just sat in my closet taking up $75 worth of space (ouch) in the meantime.

"You sure about this, momma?" "Momma, these smell funny"
There was a bit of confusion during the ordering; choosing the size for the dress form, because some people say get it according to how much you want to increase and the box says to get it according to the dress form you currently have... the former sounds more correct to me from the perspective of increasing to get to a certain size. I don't know, but in the end I took my advice from those who've tried it... and it still ended up being the one recommended on the box: I have a size 12 dress form, and I needed to increase below the waist up to a 16-18, so a size medium set of pads is what I purchased.

Let me just state that you need a partner and at least an hour and a half to play around with these pads... because they can so very easily go awry with the wrong measurements and a biased perspective. I learned that I thought my butt sat a little higher and a little bigger than Ophelia's: this was not the case, though I wished it was ahahah! I thought the front of my thighs were a little larger, also turned out not to be true. The only thing that my eyes saw correctly was my stomach pouch, or what I like to call the "fanny pack".

It turned out to be the only pad I needed to place onto Ophelia, fancy that. Seems like a waist of a nice kit (*rim shot*), but if it'll get me the right fit I'm happy. These pads seem generally very handy should I ever have the need to custom fit someone else, so I am not entirely critical on myself for having spent the money on this pad set that I don't think I will ever use in its entirety for myself. Honestly, though... if I didn't see future use besides fitting me alone, I would have just given her the ol' Frankiestein mod job.

Take from my experience what you will, but I say if you've never found a dress form that fit at all right and your fit issues are quite extensive, then this is a great set for you to address it all on any dress form you have-- it even fixes some vertical fit issues like high or low bust line points and dowager's hump for example. For people with average body sizes like myself, that your variations are only inches apart from the form but everything sits relatively in the right places, best just to stick with padding your form up with batting, because it's still accurate but vastly cheaper.

Next items are pattern material and a roll-a-pattern rotary marker.

The usefulness in these is appreciated by those, like myself, who find the idea of cutting into master patterns shuddersome-- if you're cutting at a small(er) size, the larger sizes go to waste. Sure you might've only paid a dollar, maybe even less... eventually there will come a time when you no longer want that pattern and you could pass it on in pristine condition; one day it too will be considered vintage! Not just that though, no one ever stays the same size throughout their lifetime... but a favorite pattern might remain a favorite decades later, so it's nice to be able to accommodate for any changes easier with the range of sizes available on the pattern.

Anywho *steps off soap box*.
I purchased these from Nancy's Notions as a bundle here, and it is about the only place I know that offers a decent amount of pattern material with a handy marker tool for such a great price. Most other places offer the material by the yard/meter or in 25 to 50 yard bolts for exorbitant amounts.

Seems like the kind of thing that should be even cheaper than muslin and even batting, and yet it isn't in most cases for whatever reason. It isn't stronger than muslin, it's more like dryer sheet material though it is still strong enough to endure some pretty rough handling and pinning heaps better than paper tissue in comparison; it is still see through for the purposes of copying a pattern with much less hassle than using a tracing wheel with transfer paper onto muslin. I now use this for my final drafts after I finish all revisions from my master patterns, but will continue to use cheap gift tissue paper during the redraft/redesign process since it would not be nice to waste this material, hehe.

I haven't "officially" used the rotary marker, though it seems like a pretty ingenious little trinket.

I like that they made it refillable, because I would hate for this entire hunk of plastic to be disposable-- though I got the very bottom of the marker bit off and revealed the felted ink well bit inside, so I wonder about the possibility of "filling" it back up with ink when the time comes to replace it.
I have played with it a bit on a pad of paper, and its got a very gentle flow of ink, doesn't need much pressure to get a very crisp black line; I worry that the ink will bleed onto the master pattern with such thin pattern material, which is why I haven't actually used it yet... though that could be because it's still so fresh from the box. That could change as it begins to run/dry out.

Next items are the notions that just didn't make my cut; I tried and tried and they just don't deliver for me.

It looks like three but it's really two and a half.
The bottle of fluid and "pen" is a fabric folding pen by Clover; it claims to do precisely its namesake... fold fabric (without the need of an iron).

I read and reread the instructions, looked at different online video demonstrations but none of it seemed to make this pen and its fluid work, and I wasn't using anything too different from cotton. Maybe my batch of folding fluid is faulty or maybe it's just that it only works on cotton and cotton blends, heh.

Next is another Clover item, which disappoints me because I am typically a fan of anything from Clover. This one is even on Nancy's top 10 notions list! It's the Clover desk needle threader. I have a vintage one I bought from the thrift store oh so many years ago, but it's green and this is purple... and you know me when it comes to purple tools!
Later I find out the brand of the original threader I have still exists in some shops and even comes in purple! Here. Seems like a hefty price to pay for a simple needle threader that I already have, but I live by my 1950's INFILA... it would great to have it in purple, haha!

Unfortunately, this Clover one is more trouble than its color is worth. It doesn't give me a range of needles to thread unlike the INFILA; larger than a size 5 sharp doesn't even fit into the slot. On top of that it only threads oval eyes, which is fairly typical for hand sewing needles, but there are round ones out there and on the off chance I get them I want to be able to thread them quickly too, heh.
I like using Bohin's size 8 sharps for my basting and hand stitching which seems just small enough that it doesn't always catch and thread that needle in a jiffy. The range seems to be between sizes 5 and 7. For how much it costs, it's not worth it at all unless of course you stick strictly to the sizes it can thread, as someone who has a wide range of needles for various purposes it just doesn't cut it... but it's cute nevertheless.

I really did want these to work because I like the idea of them quite a bit and would definitely use them if they worked as advertised and/or had a wider range of use.

Till next time, my ghouls!


  1. Besides the one in my sewing machine, I don't have any needle threaders. I was not aware that there are machines for that! I know the small ones made from metal, but found them to be more fuss than usefull. And I don't see the point in a fabric folding pen. I use a plastic blade for "cold ironing" but can't imagine the pen to work...

    1. My hands get very wobbly sometimes when I'm sewing, so having an automatic needle threader for everything, including hand sewing, is a convenient thing to have!

      Well, I think the point of the pen was to force some materials that can't be ironed that well without being ruined, or finger folded quite so nicely-- I saw a demonstration on knit material with the pen that blew my mind away. It made me want to buy it... doesn't appear to work on slightly heavier cotton or cotton like material. Or perhaps I didn't use enough? Whatever the case, it's back to using my hera marker for finger pressing I suppose lol.

  2. As someone who has gone up and down in size a lot I swear by tracing not cutting! And as someone who has a lot of pattern mags, well, I don't have a choice with those, I have to trace! I love that tracing stuff, it's so much more durable than tracing paper and easier to fold or roll without wrecking it!

    1. I know! I tend to go up and down in size frequently, I just cringe when people cut into their master patterns and magz.

      I hate that this pattern material is so expensive though, in comparison to tissue paper. I move darts, and take in or out some inches, things of that sort so often; it means I scrap many pieces of tissue. That could get mighty expensive quickly if I used this material alone lol.

  3. Plunderer level ... HAHAHAHAHA! You made me snarf coffee! :) Those pads make all the difference in sizing, don't they? Hmmmm ... maybe when I get more serious about sewing.

    1. I've gone mad for notions, I tell ya!
      They don't at first seem like they would, but yes, even with such a seemingly small alteration that I have done has already made the biggest difference. Pretty amazing set.

  4. Oh, my, this could be useful...I'm still just a noob when it comes to sewing, but I'm sure, that a proper dress form would make things easier...:) Thanks for the rewievs, I actually learn a lot from your posts^^

    1. It makes things HEAPS better. Things fit and go where they should; this set is especially nice if you're not in the market to spend a couple hundred on a quality form, have a cheap one but want still want to alter it for your specific body shape. The set is pricey, but still cheaper than a new form, hehe.

      I am so very happy to hear it! It does me good to know that, since I can never tell if I helped any, hehe =P

  5. Amazingly, even with my crappy eyesight I've never bought a needle threader! For a sewer, I hardly have anything but the most basic gadgets. Bring a large carry-on bag with you when you come up ... just in case I feel the need to lose a few more patterns and some fabric while you're here. Oh, and in case you decide to get some of that delish purple material from Chintz, which is still there and also available in scarlet, black, grey and a stunning chartreuse colour. ;)

    1. My momma is a gadget girl... which in turn made me a gadget girl, hah! She taught me about all the sewing trinkets out there. Funny enough, she herself never learned to sew, though.

      Omigosh, I'll have to triple up! I want that purple fabric like no one's business... and it's in chartreuse and black now too you say?! UGH! MUST. HAVE!


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