Sunday, August 24, 2014

A year later, a few of my favorite things revisited

Let's get down to the nitty gritty on some my favorites.  I have not been compensated in any way for writing favorable things about the items below.  These are my honest opinions and are subject to change on a whim (at least in theory) if I find something that I prefer.

Thread
Last year I tested a bunch of different brands and types of thread, and I named my favorites (Aurifil 50/2 for cotton, Mettler Metrosene for polyester, and Isacord for embroidery).  After testing even more thread options, I am pretty much going to stand by my picks with a few minor tweaks.

Cotton:
I'm a huge Aurifil fan.  I've used the 50 weight (the orange spools) for machine quilting, English paper piecing (EPP), machine piecing, hand binding quilts, and for making bags.  Since last year, I've been in the process of replacing all of my Mettler Silk Finish with 40 weight (the green spools) Aurifil.  The Mettler Silk Finish thread is a 50 weight, 3 ply thread which seems pretty comparable in feel/thickness/durability to the 40 weight, 2 ply Aurifil.  I find the 40 weight to have significantly less lint than the Mettler Silk Finish even in the  notoriously linty black and navy.  Since I tend to plan things out at least a week in advance (which gives me more than enough time to get an order placed and to have it shipped to me), I've decided that it is worth the wait to place an online order (I order almost all of my Aurifil from Hawthorne Threads because they have the whole range of colors in all available weights) instead of picking up a spool of Silk Finish locally.  I'm sticking with Aurifil all the way for my cotton thread needs, but I would pick Superior's MasterPiece as my second choice.

Polyester:
I named Mettler Metrosene as my go-to polyester thread because of the wide, local availability and the variety of colors, but I preferred the reduced lint of #50 Superior's So Fine.  I still have mostly the same opinion this year - Mettler Metrosene will continue to be my #1 pick for many projects, but I will use Superior So Fine for projects that will work with the colors I have on hand.

Embroidery:
I named Isacord as my go-to embroidery thread last year.  My opinion is the same this year.


Patterns
I went back through my list of picks from last year, and I would like to add a few more to my favorites.

If you are looking for a bag to hold notions for class, I don't think you can do any better than Annie Unrein's A Place for Everything bag.  There are a lot of steps to making this bag, and some of the materials aren't the easiest to work with, but it is quite do-able if you take your time and carefully read through the instructions.

I've also ventured out into the garment sewing world a little.  Since most of my wardrobe consists of t-shirts and jeans, I am going to name Pamela's Patterns' The Perfect T-Shirt as my favorite shirt.  I've made it 10 times in varying fabrics and sleeve lengths.  It's excellent.  For these shirts, my favorite fabric is Robert Kaufman's Laguna Stretch Cotton Jersey.  It has a fiber content of 95% cotton / 5% spandex.  When I want a slightly heavier weight cotton, I love Nancy's Notions' 100% Cotton Interlock fabric.  

Notions
In the last year, I've gotten hooked on Sewline notions especially the fabric glue pen and the air erasable marker.  I also use their white fabric pencil as an alternative to my favorite chalk marker, the Chakoner (an imported chalk roller from Japan).

I'm also changing my collection of regular glass head pins to the Clover Silk Pins with glass heads.  These pins are more fine (which glide even more smoothly into fabric) and have all of the benefits of the other glass head pins.

With very little exception, I'm going to name Creative Grids rulers as my rulers of choice.  I wish they had more angle marks like on my Omnigrid/Omnigrip rulers.

Websites
Since last June, I've found some great blogs.  My favorite is probably written by Katy Jones.  You might know her as I'm a Ginger Monkey.  Her blog can be found here.

I've been buying a lot of fabric in the last year, but I haven't found any that feel as amazing those from Art Gallery.  Most of their fabric is 100% Pima cotton.  Yes, Pima cotton.  It is incredibly soft and luxurious.  It is a breeze to sew, and their colors are amazing.  I've also bought some of their voiles and knits, but they are presently living in my pile for use in future projects (the voile for some PJ / lounge pants and the knit for more Pamela's Perfect T-Shirts).

So, that's it for this recap because I've got stuff to sew!

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