The most recent addition to my sewing studio, is NOT the cat! With eighteen cats already sharing our home, my husband just wouldn’t go for another cat. The addition is the mousepad with wrist rest that the cat (Sheila) has claimed as HER spot. The idea to use a mousepad to keep the machine foot pedal from sliding around on the slick floor came from Melissa Dawson’s post on the Facebook group Quilting Misfits. I tried lots of other things to prevent the problem of slipping mousepad…including a piece of nonstick shelf and drawer liner under the foot pedal. The shelf and drawer liner does work pretty well…but not as well as the mousepad. There are a couple of things that make the mousepad work better, in my opinion. The important thing is the non-skid backing on the mousepad, which is really important. But the built-in wrist rest also acts as a stop to keep the foot pedal from creeping. This has been a SUPER addition to the sewing area! I am no longer spending valuable sewing time chasing my foot pedal around…though I do have to reposition it at the start of each sewing session as Sheila Cat likes to sit on the mousepad. Before I had the mousepad she just sat on the foot pedal itself…so sitting on the mousepad instead of the foot pedal itself is an improvement.

The second most recent addition to my sewing studio was some dedicated bobbin boxes. It sounds like a simple thing…but when you’re used to storing all of your bobbins in a Pyrex bowl with a lid, and using the terry ponytail holders to keep the threads from getting tangled, having dedicated boxes which keep them organized is a massive improvement. It definitely makes it easier to find just the color you’re looking for…which has become more important since I started making the crayon rolls…which require matching thread.  These bobbin boxes each hold 30 bobbins. My machine uses 15 class and it works fine for those. The area that the bobbins fit into is foam and is squishy, so I think the bobbin boxes would accommodate most bobbins. I bought bobbins to go in the boxes at Sewing Parts Online. The class 15 bobbins were 10 for 4.99 for clear. 10 for 6.99 for colored. I picked up the bobbin boxes at Amazon for $7.99 per set of 2. I think this was a great bargain!

Going back a bit further, I added the ironing plate cover. I’ve had this iron for a while, and it heats well…but its sole plate never was what I’d call nonstick. As the iron has aged it’s gotten even less nonstick. Since I’d had sole plate covers before, and liked them, I decided to see if I could find a sole plate cover that would make my old iron function like a new iron. The sole plate covers I had before were made out of light metal with a coating. They worked well and I had no complaints with them. However the reviews were mixed and some people had issues with this style of iron cover fitting their irons so I kept looking and found something called the Iron Shoe which is thin and draws up and ties around the iron…kind of like the drawstring on an ironing board cover works. The iron shoe is made of fiberglass with a nonstick coating. It’s thin and arrives flat. You position your iron in the center and pull on the drawstring to draw the edges of the shoe up around the iron. I’ve been VERY pleased with this. It fits my iron well…and I’ve had none of that sticky gunk that used to collect on the bottom of the soleplate.

Going back a bit further, I heard about some little clips that you can use to hold small pieces together, when the pieces are too small to accommodate pinning…or when you just want greater control…like on quilt binding or when applying bias binding around the neckline of doll clothes, or lace along the finished edge of a project. I knew when I heard about the clips that they were a great idea, but they have proven to be invaluable. I use them for all kinds of things…holding binding in place when I’m adding binding to quilts or other projects, holding lace in place when I’m adding it to the finished edges of projects, holding groups of quilt pieces together, holding layered projects together, and a whole host of other tasks where pins prove inadequate. I got a hundred of these handy little clips for less than $16 at Amazon. I’ve used them A LOT.

The last thing on my list of sewing studio additions for this time is the extra-large ironing pad that I made myself. It’s pictured above with the iron. I shopped on Amazon for an extra-large ironing pad but didn’t really find what I’m looking for. What I wanted was a pad that would fully cover my table which is 6 feet long by 30 inches wide. Most of the “extra-large” ironing pads were about half that — 33×19 or something similar…like this one from Amazon. These are not bad ironing pads. I have several. But they didn’t provide the large ironing surface that I wanted for pressing large pieces of fabric or for pressing rows of quilt blocks as I piece quilt tops. Not finding what I wanted I decided to make my own.

Not being one to reinvent the wheel if I don’t have to, I used this tutorial from The Talented Talon for the process.

Rather than using a 1 yard piece of ironing board fabric and a 1  yard piece of cotton fabric I used a 2 yard section of both the ironing board fabric and the cotton fabric that is mentioned in the video. Other than using fabric pieces that were 2 yard cuts rather than the 1 yard mentioned in the video, I followed the instructions in the video. I was a bit worried about how the ironing pad would launder, but I’ve laundered it a couple of times since I made it and it’s held up beautifully. I REALLY like having the ability to iron big pieces of fabric and to press long rows when I’m sewing rows of quilt blocks together. The ironing pad has been a lifesaver!

Not only does it work well for quilting and apparel sewing it works well for traditional ironing…like those wrinkly blue jeans.


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