Thursday, January 14, 2010

What are your sewing quirks?

The sewing saucer, in all it's glory!

A dear friend of mine dropped around the other day just as I was finishing up some sewing. “You don’t mind if I go ahead and complete this, do you?” I asked, to which she said “Sure”, and then proceeded to investigate the contents of my fridge.

Once she found some sustenance, she sat and watched me. After a few minutes she declared “Do you know what – you are a really weird sewer”

“Whaaa-hey?” I asked, puzzled. I am never particularly articulate when confronted with such bald statements. Plus I had a mouthful of pins.

“Well”, she said, “You have all these strange sewing quirks. Like the saucer. What is that all about?”

I got slightly defensive as I answered “I like to sit a saucer next to the sewing machine. It’s the perfect place to put thread ends, and any bits I’ve snipped off, without scattering them all over the floor, or getting up every two minutes to pop something in the bin."

“Allright”, she said. “I’ll pay that one. Anything that saves sweeping up is fine by me. But what about ironing your patterns before you use them? I thought only sad old grandmas did that sort of thing.”

“But it makes sense!”, I cried earnestly. “I’m usually ironing the fabric nice and flat before I cut out the pattern anyhow, so I iron the pattern pieces too. It makes it all nice and straight, and makes it easier to cut the pieces out accurately, rather than dodging all the wrinkles and stuff.”

“Ok, ok!”, she said laughing. “Your quirks have merit, I’ll concede. But face it – they’re still weird!”

We both chuckled, then I somewhat selfconsciously got up and emptied my saucer of threads and scraps into the bin. But it did get me wondering… am I weird? Actually, scratch that – I know for a fact that I am a little bit strange! But what I really wanted to know is if any of you guys have any sewing quirks that seem perfectly natural and common-sensical to you, but distinctly dotty to others. C’mon, spill the beans!


  1. Good question.
    I've never sewn with other people - well, maybe once at the CAE tailoring course, but that was too long ago.
    I know I should iron my pattern pieces but rarely do.
    I have a little dish with pins in, but should have a magnet pin cushion like my friend A has.
    I move my sewing machine into the lounge and sew while I'm watching TV. Is that weird? I have the ironing board behind me (also in the lounge) so I can swing around and iron as I sew. That could be weird.

    I've always tried the sewing on from the minute I sew the first seam. My family always seemed to think that was weird.

  2. I have a terrible habit of dropping pins.

  3. I've always had a bin on the floor beside me, so no saucer required. I suppose my quirk is the pincushion - there has to be a designated spot for the needles and pins can't be pushed all the way in.

    I think all sewers have their 'thing'!!

  4. If i'm using a tissue pattern I certainly iron it first! Hmmm I sew over pins (the few that I use), I like to have a magnet near by to collect them as they come out. Other than sewing at the speed of a run a way train i'm not sure what is weird

  5. I think I might be totally normal...I HAVE to have three pairs of scissors on hand at LEAST before I start and i have just started a seperate opincushion for the needles - I hate when they disappear into the pincushion !

  6. Hmm, i'm not sure. Maybe we need to sew together and you can tell me if i have any weird quirks ;)

  7. Marlena1:43 am

    I have a paper bag right next to my chair to throw scraps and thread clippings. And I also lower my ironing board and pull it up next to me so I can just swivel from the machine and iron without getting up. And I iron my patterns too. :-)

  8. Apparently, you're no weirder than I am. I, too, have a sewing saucer that collects all the thread bits, fuzz, broken needles and bent pins (yeah, I know I'm not supposed to sew over pins, but hey, I'm a rebel).

  9. I don't have a saucer but I do pile up all the threads neatly in a little pile and I do iron the pattern if it needs it, it does make it easier to cut out the fabric. I don't think you're weird at all!

  10. Those don't seem weird to me at all. I wish I'd think to use a saucer. However, I do iron all my pattern pieces before i cut anything out. Does your friend sew?

  11. Anonymous5:49 pm

    I use a fridge magnet to put all the pins on as you pull them out. I don't think its weird, but my mum always laughs at me...

  12. Katie7:08 pm

    I was taught at school to alway iron out patterns!

    I transfer all of my patterns onto cheap trax paper or light weight interfacing so I can keep the originals.

    I use my overlocker repair tweezers - super long ones - for tying of loose threads. I now find it impossible to use my fingers to tie knots!

  13. I use ice cream containers for my scraps, and I swear by the magnetic pin holder next to my machine as well as a wrist pin cushion - can't work without it, and, recently I've taken to the thread snips attached to a lanyard around my neck - hey! i always know where they are - I started ironing my paper patterns as well..... it's all good!

  14. I used a favourite little bowl to put cut threads a bits into until I broke it, now I use a little tin with a lid, so I can just put the lid on when I'm done if its not full. I got the idea from seeing Rachel Ray on Oprah with her bowl on the kitchen counter to save trips to the bin while preparing dinner.

  15. I iron my sewing patterns too...more for accuracy than anything. The pattern pieces are always so wrinkled that I think that to make sure I cut the fabric pieces to the right size that I need to iron the pattern.

  16. It's so great to read everyone's "quirks!"

    I can't think of any, but your confession about your thread-end dish made me realize that I simply throw all the threads, scraps, and other trash directly on the floor. No wonder my better half complains about thread snippets ending up all over the rest of the house! Maybe I should try a dish...

  17. oh i'm not sure if i do- but i think the saucer idea is awesome! will be putting one next to me now because i hate finding a loose thread on the floor after i've cleaned up.

  18. I thought you're supposed to iron patterns! I do. I think it might be a quirk that I have to throw out bent pins. Any slightest bent. The pin still works and shouldn't be thrown out, but I can't stand looking at something that was supposed to be straight that's now bent! Weird.

  19. Now I'm feeling slack. I don't iron the patterns and my floor is littered with threads. I actually don't smip off as many threads as I should and snip them off over the years whilst I am wearing the clothes.

  20. Not weird at al... Most people I know iron patterns prior to use and usually have a small paper bag taped to their work bench to slide threads and other sewing rubbish into..

  21. Anonymous9:14 am

    I switch between the imperial system and the metric system constantly when it comes to sewing. When I'm drafting, sewing seam allowances or measuring things it could be in either centimetres or inches. The silly thing is we are only taught the metric system in school and I don't use the imperial system when it comes to anything else in life.


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