To come up with some new and unique gift ideas, I wanted to go to the experts: the staff at Bolt. We have the benefit of extra time in the store to find those hidden gems and we get to hear all of the amazingly creative ways our customers use the fabric and tools we carry.
I picked up a few tips on shopping for sewers that I’ll summarize for you before we get into everyone’s lists.
1.) You can’t go wrong with fabric - especially double gauze or anything Japanese.
2.) We appreciate a splurge on some well-made basic tools.
3.) After beautiful fabric and well-made tools, we’d love some more time to get down to business. Try tucking some free babysitting or uninterrupted sewing time coupons in with your gift.
I loved getting a peak into my co-workers wish lists - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
From top to bottom:
- Earthy Delights cotton prints - a zany, gorgeous way to bring some more color into our cloudy days.
- Beautiful tweedy brown wool perfect for a skirt, jacket, cape, scarf, or framing and hanging above your mantle.
- The Little Spark, by Cassie Bloomston.
- More time to sew!
- The dreamy Nani Iro double gauze border print.
- Cozy knits for Alabama Chanin-style garments.
- A new cutting mat!
- Carolyn Friedlander’s new book Savor Each Stitch is full of beautiful patterns and emphasizes handwork. A perfect antidote for harried holiday making.
- The adorable and practical Marianne dress pattern (for knits!) by Christine Haynes.
- Super soft and cuddly Japanese double gauze. Can you spot the tri-polar bears?
- Quilting Line and Color, by Yoshiko Jinzenji, has a clean modern take on abstract quilts.
- The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking, by Wendy Ward also is a refreshingly simple, modern beginner sewing book with good projects for skilled seamstresses, too.
Clockwise from the top:
- An Art Bin for organizing and storing tools
- Nani Iro polka dot double gauze
- Japanese selvedge denim
- Bobbin saver
- An Olympus Sashiko Kit to fuel some meditative winter stitching. We have kits, samplers, needles, and thread in the store and online.
- All natural, all local, all awesome Otter Wax. Adrianna just wrote a helpful blog post on Otter Wax and we sell it in our online store.
- Pattern weights are great for accurate cutting and protecting your paper pattern for future use.
- Essential Sewing, by Tess Evelegh
From left to right:
- One of Hannah’s beautiful Doe Handmade leather handles - also available online.
- I’ve been doing a lot of hand quilting lately and have learned that I need a thimble for about four out of ten fingers to keep from hurting myself. The leather thimble is more flexible and colorful than the standard metal thimble.
- With some leggings and a sweater, I think the Alder Shirtdress by Grainline Studios could keep me in dresses through the winter. Check out Heather’s lovely version.
- Gingher snips are the sort of tool I would love to have, but have a hard time buying for myself, a.k.a. the perfect gift.
- My favorite wax print birds that I want to wall paper my apartment with.
- Robert Kaufman railroad denim
- Deep blue cotton-linen blend
Along with introducing new display and store fixtures to Bolt, we have been bringing in new tools! I am more than excited to present to you the batch of Sewline Markers and Glue pens we discovered, and deemed worthy enough to sell at the store. With all the new sewing equipment and gadgets that come about every year, we take great care in testing and examining products that are suggested to us. The Sewline set really caught our attention, and hopefully now yours!
Currently, we are phasing out some tools that haven’t been consistent or a favorite (which are now 50% off!) to be replaced with superior ones. A few of the things we are swapping out are our marking tools. After listening to your feedback and suggestions, we found that the Sewline Markers and Glue pens are something you will all enjoy.
In the set comes several varieties of marking tools. There are two versions of the Duo Marker and Eraser, one with a regular marker felt tip, one with a fine point tip. These markers are great, in that the Eraser completely gets rid of the marker line. I have tried these markers on various fabrics, including a bridal gown, and yes, the marker actually comes out! I have found these tools especially handy when I am tailoring, as the markers allow you to create a clear, straight, and bold line that can be erased completely. Compared to some chalk, pencils, and markers I have used in the past, these definitely work better.
Other marking tools by Sewline are the black and white, fine point pencils. I love these, possibly even more so than the markers. Like the markers, these pencils come with an eraser that knows how to do its job. The pencils provide a finer line than the markers, and are great for creating a detailed mark on fabric. These can be used across the board in the sewing world, for embroidering, quilting, apparel, etc.
Last but not least, there is the Glue Pen. This guy is especially handy. The glue pen is like a glue stick, but more shaped along the lines of a pen. You can use this tool to help “baste” a hem, or seam, or applique, or zipper, or whatever you need to be held in place temporarily.
Here is an example of how I used these tools:
When repairing a pair of ripped jeans, I used the duo marker set and glue pen.
The marker to create a patch…
The glue pen to hold the patch in place while sewing…
The eraser to get rid of the line! The eraser eliminates the lines using a water substance, so your fabric will be a little damp, but once dried the line will no longer be there!
Here is an example of the white pencil, it creates a thin, fine line, about the width of a sew line (har har). This pencil is great for marking details on fabric :)
So come on in and give these new toys a try! And snag up the sweet deals on the merchandise we are phasing out, such as select rotary cutters, markers, chalks, and more! Don’t worry, there isn’t anything wrong with these products, we just need to make room for all the new products we are bringing in.
See you soon and happy sewing!
Do you have someone on your list who wants to learn how to use that sewing machine taking up space in the closet? A friend who’s been quietly hoarding fabric waiting for the perfect moment to start that quilt they’ve been dreaming of? The holidays can be a great time to give them a jumpstart with a good book, starter project, or kit.
For the Young Sewer
We have some great kits and books for the young and young at heart.
Sewing School and Sewing School 2, by Amie Petronis Plumley and Andria Lisle, have great projects for kids itchin’ to get stitchin’. I especially like that they have projects that appeal to girls and boys.
For kids not quite ready to take on a sewing machine, we have some sweet kits. We carry several different Heidi Boyd kits that come with all of the materials you need to make an small toy or embroided felt wall hanging like the fox above. We also have several fun sock animal kits available in a variety of colors.
These finger puppet patterns are a great gift for a little maker with a theatrical side.
For people interested in sewing their own clothes, a good instructional book is invaluable. We have a couple in the store that are great introductions to creating your own wardrobe.
Sew Everything Workshop, by Diana Rupp, is a good reference book and comes with staple patterns to get you started.
The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking, by Wendy Ward, is another great choice. It’s got good information on apparel sewing and timeless, wearable patterns that would be so easy to modify for a different fit or style once you have a few makes under your belt. We got the book in a few weeks ago and we all spent some time ohh-ing and ahh-ing over the pattens and styling.
For the maker in hiding, the right book or tools can be just what they need to get started creating.
Embroidery can be a great gateway craft. You don’t need many tools or much experience to get started, but the opportunities for creative expression and learning are limitless. Every time I look at Embroider Everything Workshop, by Diana Rupp (the lady writes some good beginner books!), I’m inspired. Just like the Sew Everything Workshop there’s lots of basic instructions to get you going and lots of ideas to keep you stitching for a good long while.
Made by Hand, compiled by Lena Corwin, is a gorgeous starter guide to fiber crafts from knitting to printmaking to dyeing. Even the most tentative maker can find something here to get them started.
Classes and Supplies
Some skills are easier to learn in person. In Portland we have an abundance of great sewing and crafting schools to choose from. A class and a Bolt gift certificate for class materials would be a dynamite gift for a beginner. Check our list of local classes for some ideas.
We also carry a great range of basic supplies and tool boxes to help outfit your new sewer.
Come by the store and we can help you put together some supplies for your beginning sewer!