Tag Archives: sewing tools

ironing board cover

I LOVE My New Handsewn Ironing Board Cover!

Did you know? I now have a brand new ironing board cover!

Redecorating my sewing studio has been sew fun! I began decorating the walls, then made brand new sewing machine covers, as well as a beautiful and functional new seawing apron. I thought I was set, until I realized – I could use a new ironing board cover!

Pictured below is one of my original ironing board covers. I’ve loved having it, and it’s gotten a ton of use over the last three years.ironing board cover

Three years ago, I covered all of my ironing boards with the same material. I then separated them by type: one for clothing, one for making quilts, and a third for everything else.

I chose the one for quilts specifically because it has two square ends (rather than rounded ends), making it much easier to iron large pieces of fabric. Sometimes, I need two quilting boards just for one sewing class!

Unfortunately, ironing board covers really don’t last long in my studio since my students and I are constantly ironing our projects every single day. As you can see, my original cover now has a very large burn due to all the heavy traffic!ironing board cover

Sewing An Ironing Board Cover: My Process

As such, I thought it was high time to sew a new ironing cover to replace my old, burned one. Luckily, ironing board covers are surprisingly easy to sew! Plus, the fun part is picking out fabric to really make it your own. You can even choose material that matches your decor.

For my new ironing board covers, I chose a pattern with red and black scissors on it. You can buy patterns at a fabric store, get them online, or just make them yourself.

To begin, I took my old ironing board cover off, laid it on top of my new fabric, and cut around the edges so that it would be the right size.

Then, I placed bias tape over the edges of the fabric. The brand I buy contains iron-on tape on both sides, so I just ironed the tape onto the fabric, and then sewed it on to keep it in place.

I then threaded string into the casing that was formed after sewing on the bias tape. I pulled the string tight, and then laid it onto the ironing board to tie it. Easy as that!   

ironing board coverironing board cover

I LOVE My New Handsewn Ironing Board Cover!

My ironing board covers turned out great! Here are some pictures of the final product:

ironing board coverironing board cover

Sewing Tip: The bias tape I used for this project has iron-on tape on both sides. This makes my projects go much faster, with very little stress! However, there are brands out there that don’t offer this feature – and I could have wasted a lot of extra time and hassle had I not known! When you’re selecting new sewing supplies, I suggest doing your research first, looking at reviews of the products (if you’re online, specifically on Amazon), and seeing if there’s a brand out there that works more efficiently than the others. Even if it’s a little more expensive, trust me – you’ll thank yourself later!

Slowly but surely, my studio is coming together. Stay tuned for details on my next sewing project: handsewn pincushions.

Happy Sewing!


JoLene’s New Janome Sewing Machine

With so many sewing machine options, how do you figure out which one is right for you? It’s  no easy task. There are basic electric machines, computerized models, specific types for quilting or embroidery, from simple to fancy, and everything in between. It can be enough to overwhelm a would-be sewing enthusiast!

I’ve always loved Sears Kenmore appliances. I’ve owned dishwashers, freezers, stoves, and refrigerators with that brand. So of course it only makes sense that my favorite appliance would also be a Sears Kenmore!

Thirteen years ago I purchased my first computerized sewing machine, naturally a Kenmore. I loved it. It wasn’t the fanciest, but was definitely fancier than anything I’d ever had before. My first computerized machine has 75 stitches, auto needle threader, and programmable needle up or down. It has many features that I didn’t even know were possible!

Fast-forward to a few years ago when I purchased basic Sears Kenmore machines for my sewing school. They have been fantastic machines and I’ve never had any trouble with them. I roughly planned to replace them every four years. Doing some research, I learned that Kenmore had stopped having their machines manufactured by Janome, who had been the last private label manufacturer to produce Sears Kenmore sewing machines. You can find out more of the history of the company here.

During my research, I learned that Janome took back the remaining Kenmore machines and put their own Janome label on them. Although I wasn’t able to find the models I’m using in my sewing school, I did find the exact computerized model of sewing machine that I’ve always wanted.

My new computerized machine (pictured above) is one step up from my old model, which could use a little break after thirteen years of consistent and faithful use. I didn’t purchase the fanciest computerized model currently available, but sometimes, especially with sewing machines, we only use a fraction of the available functions anyway.

I’m absolutely thrilled with my new machine. It used to cost $800 but I found mine with the Janome brand for only $399. I’ve been sewing up a storm and using many of the new features. It does everything from utility to fancy stitches, and my students can use it to make monograms for their projects. One feature that is particularly useful is the “turtle and hare” setting, where I can set whether the needle will move slow or fast, without my having to control the speed with the machine’s foot pedal.

Like most of us, I love things that make my life easier!

Happy sewing,


Ripping Seams with a Well-Made Tool

As I’m sure you can tell, I adore all things that are sewing-related. I’ve always loved to sew. And when I became a sewing teacher and started passing along this skill to young people and other adults, my fondness for all aspects of sewing – from fabric to notions to fun projects to tools and machines – became all the stronger. I’m always looking for different sewing items and tools that are both useful and decorative.

Also, when I started my sewing school as a home-based business, I met many other folks who have done something similar: take what they know and love and build a business around it. It has been a great pleasure to network among others whose local businesses help support our families and communities in fundamental ways.

One of my friends, Phil Plummer, helps me with my taxes. He also has a home-based business making pens out of plastic and wood. He showed me a cool seam-ripper he made for his wife and mother-in-law. I was immediately enthralled; I just loved it! One day he gave me one.

There are many benefits to these seam rippers. I find that mine is far superior to the flimsy plastic ones I’ve often found in fabric stores. Phil’s seam ripper is beautiful, and has a heft that feels substantial in the hand. It’s ergonomic and fits well in my palm, giving me a better grip.

It also is double-sided, with one larger seam ripper on one end and a smaller on the other. I find it tremendously helpful to have two different sizes at the tip of my fingers for different applications. One of my favorite features is that I never lose the cap, leaving the seam ripper vulnerable to being broken or damaged. In Phil’s product, the seam ripper portion comes out of the base and nests inside, staying sharp and protected until I need to rip out some misplaced stitches.

The seam rippers can be made in a variety of colors, and each one is made by hand. It also feels good to support a local and home-based business, keeping our dollars right here in Portland. Phil is working on building a web page, but in the mean time you can order one for yourself or your sewing-enthusiast loved one by calling him at 503.432.5622.

Having the right tools makes the work and pleasure of sewing so much easier and more efficient. When you have to tear out stitches that don’t belong where you put them, I know that I prefer to use a lovely and well-made tool.

Happy sewing,

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