Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kitting tools for portable hand applique

Sometimes I do handwork in my sewing room, sometimes in the living room, and sometimes out and about with my appliqué friends. Hand appliqué is generally pretty portable, but if you have a lot of thread colors, you might not want to drag them all around the house or further afield.

silk threads for hand appliqué

To make thread a little more portable, I wind the silk thread I use for appliqué onto machine bobbins so I can fit a whole bunch of colors into a single grab-and-go box, along with other essential tools. (If you’re interested in any of the specific tools and supplies, I’ve gathered a list of my favorites on Amazon.)

appliqué travel kit

That bedraggled tomato isn’t the most exciting pincushion in the world, but it fits nicely in my travel box and has emery in the strawberry for cleaning needles that start to get tarnished. As to why I’m hanging onto those bent needles on the magnetic strip, all I can figure is I wasn’t bothered to get up and dispose of them properly.

For traveling even more compactly, I sometimes use a smaller bobbin box, paring down the essentials even further.

mini appliqué travel kit

Generally I don’t need marking tools in this box, because I use it after I’ve already marked and basted a block up—though it’s handy to have a mini bottle of basting glue for making quick changes. The folding scissors are just right for snipping threads and making occasional clips into the appliqué seam allowances.

bobbin of silk thread

Since I’m not using the silk-thread bobbins in my sewing machine, I label them with reinforcement rings from the office-supply store to keep track of the color numbers. Keep in mind that when you wind thread onto a bobbin, it’s backwards, so instead of threading the leading end, thread the tail end into your needle for hand-sewing.

How do you kit up your appliqué supplies?


Nita said...

Good morning! I just found your blog ...hopping over from your interview on the Appliqué website. Congrats on the book! I do needle turned appliqué and am self-taught. I hope it is okay to ask a question...I use the same thread to appliqué that I use in my sewing machine (Gutterman) but I see that you use silk. Is silk better? I am still learning. Thank you!

Kevin Kosbab said...

Thanks Nita! The best thread is the one that works best for you. I like that the silk is smooth, strong, and fine--so fine that the thread hides in the weave of the fabric. I've used other threads, including plain cotton sewing thread, with good results. Some very accomplished quilters swear by 60-weight cotton. Gütermann's regular cotton is nice and fine, but I probably wouldn't use an all-purpose polyester sewing thread for appliqué.