I've got a few notions for you to check out here, two new, one not so new but so indispensable.
First are my Clover Pressing Strips. These are new to me. I saw them suggested somewhere on line and immediately went to order them. I cannot tell how many times I have ironed bias tubes and wished I had a strip to put in side that would take the heat of the iron and let me iron the seam open and then let me turn the tube and line that seam up evenly down the length of the tube. My vision has the seam line going perfectly down the middle or the side of the tube. Oh, I've done it but fingers get burned by steam, and it is a touchy, aggravating process. I have slipped a thing or two down a tube or two but they have always turned out to be something that got too hot and burned me or didn't come out of the tube very easily. I can't wait to try these. The package gives you lots of widths from spaghetti strap width to 18 millimeters, roughly a bit less than 3/4 of an inch. They are called Clover Loop Pressing Bars and are available in many places online with prices ranging from 8.00 to 9.50. I paid 8.00 and free shipping.
My next great notion, and one I use A LOT, are my Derwent Inktense pencils. I know you have heard me mention these before. I've actually done a demo on them where I showed how to make a buttonhole on a print fabric a using a white thread, preferably cotton but poly can work too, and using the pencils with water to color the parts of the buttonhole thread to match the parts of the print. The BH literally disappears and it is really awesome. Another use is when you cut a buttonhole and that white interfacing or that white back side of a fabric is showing on the front of the BH which may be made in a thread of an obvious color, say red or blue. Once again, you can dip your pencil in a tiny dot of water to turn into paint and paint the inside edge of the BH where that white edge is sticking out. Looks so much better. Pressing anything you've painted with your Derwent pencils, which are technically "watercolor pencils" makes them permanent and I have had no problem with that. They are also great for mending and hiding those light thread ends. On this notion I say go big or stay home. I have the 36 count tin which goes for around 50.00 but it is so nice to have all the colors to match up when I need them. I have used them on my daughters face in my portrait project. They can be blended as well. I consider them a must have sewing notion at this point. I think if you get the smaller set you will wish for the larger one in no time. Make sure you get the INKTENSE pencils as Derwent makes many different kinds of pencils.
My last is another new discovery and wow, do I love it! it is , let me take a deep breath here, "Acorn Precision Piecing Products Seam Align Glue", whew! I must tell you, sewists, you do need to hang around the Local Quilt Shop. You will find amazing notions to really help any garment sewist that are not found in most places that have garment fabrics. OK, we've all heard of fabric glues. I've used many over the years from Aleene's to Elmer's white school glue to a fairly good product called Roxanne's Glue Gaste It and all in between. I use Wonder Tape a lot as well. This Acorn stuff, which my official name for it, from what I understand, is meant for people who do paper piece quilting. It is awesome for garment making as well. You have to use it in seams but that's the idea. It holds seams together. You put the tiniest dot imaginable down in your seam allowance and then hit it with the iron. If you have one of those tiny applique irons that has sort of a leaf shaped end to it that gets really hot, that is perfect. (There is actually a picture of one on the front of the package of the pressing bars.) You heat that up and keep it carefully close by. You dot your seam allowance, press the fabrics together, hit with the tiny iron, or a big one, and boom! you're stuck and you can sew with no shifting. Needless to say, this has been great for the tiny pieces on my portrait project. I also used it on a large mending project I did for a friend and it worked great. This glue has worked better than any I've tried over the years. It would be great to stick an underlining to the fashion fabric in the seam allowances before sewing to prevent shifting or to hold down those bias strips on Hong Kong seams that you wrap to the back and then topstitch, hmmmm,,,,How about some plaid matching too? Warning, this glue looked ridiculously expensive on Amazon but it was in a 4 ounce bottle. My bottle is one ounce and from my LQS. I may have paid around 8.00 or so. I have used it a lot and it has barely moved in quantity. If you can find the one ounce bottle, I suggest trying that out first. I think you'll really like it.
So these are some notions I am using right now, two of which I very recently discovered. I just have bumped into them and have no connection to anyone selling any of these products, just wanted to share a good thing.
There is something really weird about walking into your studio when you haven't been in there for a couple of days and turn on the light to see your daughter's face looking up at you from under the presser foot on your machine. Haunting,,.:) ............Bunny