Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sheer for Summer: Two Tools for Working with Tricky Fabrics

Even though it's been chilly and grey here in Berkeley, California, we're getting ready for summer sewing!  With our beautiful silk chiffons, soft double gauzes, and dreamy cotton voiles, there is plenty to be inspired by in the store.  Sheer fabrics like these are perfect for breezy summer garments, but they can be notoriously hard to work with.  Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves, and we'd like to share with you two new items we're carrying that will help you conquer any fabric.

If you've been following us on our social media platforms or have been to the store lately, you might have noticed we now carry Soak products.  We talked about Soak Wash in the last blog, and now it's time we introduced you to Flatter!  Flatter is a starch-free smoothing spray made from plant-derived and renewable ingredients.  It really makes ironing easy!  Here we used Flatter on a pink 100% linen that we wrinkled up.  This picture below is before ironing or using Flatter.

We were using the scentless Flatter.  It really is scentless, and it is made with a mild formulation for sensitive skin.  What really sets Flatter apart from other starches or starch-alternative sprays is its fine, even mist.  It won't drip or leave big splotches of liquid on your fabric.  And it certainly won't leave any wrinkles!  As you can see below, Flatter was used on the bottom strip and it really made a difference!

Another way we've been using Flatter is for finger pressing.  This is especially helpful with delicate fabrics that don't respond well to ironing or steaming.  Below, you can see the piece on the left after ironing, without Flatter.  The piece on the right was not ironed again, just smoothed out with our hands and Flatter.

You of course won't get the same results with finger pressing as you would with an iron, but it works well, especially with fine, delicate fabrics.  And while we're on the subject of helpful new products, let us tell you about another new tool we're loving!

Tulip needles have quickly become a staff favorite here at Stonemountain.  We never gave much thought to our hand sewing needles before, but after using Tulip needles, we realized what a difference the needle makes!  Whether you are hand finishing a hem, hand quilting, or sewing appliqués by hand, these needles make a noticeable difference to your hand sewing experience. What sets Tulip needles apart is their smoothness, flexibility, and strength.  The Hiroshima-made needles are polished lengthwise so that they glide through fabrics with ease.

This smooth fabric piercing is also made possible by the needles' points, which have undergone special high-density abrasive polishing treatment for sharpness.  You don't feel you have to grip the needle as hard to push is through many layers or dense fabric, like denim, which makes a huge difference for those with carpal tunnel syndrome in their sewing hand. Last but not least, the needles have just the right amount of flexibility so they are resistant to bending or breaking.

What also makes Tulip needles different is their adorable packaging!  We're suckers for the little vials these needles come in.

You can read more about Tulip needles and the history of needle making in Hiroshima on Tulip's website.  We are currently carrying #8 sharps, #9 quilting betweens, #3-#6 embroidery, and #7-#10 embroidery needles, with plans to carry more of their line.  They're just that good!

Have you ever used Tulip needles or Flatter?  Tell us about your experience!

1 comment:

  1. This is a new fabric product, haven't heard of it until now! I usually rely on my steamer for delicate fabrics and it worked for me so far.