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Ode to Elmer

I’ve been meaning to share a couple of tips with you, my fellow Sewing Super Geniuses in the making, that feature the humble glue stick. Yes, the Elmer’s Washable School Glue Stick is one of my trustiest companions lately. Here are a couple more ways to use this handy product that you may or may not have tried:

  • Basting Seam Allowances: When you’re making a casing, on a skirt or a pair of pajama pants, for instance, the pattern usually recommends that you baste the seam allowances either with your machine or using a piece of fusible tape. This is an extra step worth taking, by the way, which I’m sure you know if you’ve ever skipped it and then got your elastic stuck as you try to work it through the casing. Anyway, I forgot to tack down the seam allowances before I made my way to the iron to press in the casing. What to do (other than go back to the machine, which was unacceptable to my way of thinking)? Well, I decided to hit the backs of the seam allowances with the glue stick, from the top down about an inch and a half, and then pressed them open with the iron. After that, I pressed and stitched the casing, and was able to feed the elastic right through. Worked like a charm!
  • Adding Embellishments: I have a terrible time pinning trim to fabric when I want to embellish a project, but have never been able to keep it straight otherwise. For that matter, I have a hard time keeping the ribbon or whatever in place when it comes time to remove the pins as I’m sewing, which is even more maddening. I mean, ten minutes of pinning ought not result in a curvy messed up ribbon running right across the middle of my project! Once again, the ol’ glue stick came to my rescue. Just dab a little down the center of your trim and then lightly press it with the iron. I let it dry for a few minutes, and then on with the sewing.

Now, I have only tried this with cotton fabrics and cotton-blend ribbons, so it would be a good idea to test a swatch before going at your beautiful project with the glue stick, only to find that it leaves unsightly marks, or that the iron melts your ribbon or whatever. This hasn’t happened to me, but consider this my disclaimer.

Oh, and Elmer’s is the brand that I happen to have on-hand; I have no idea whether or not the brand is key.

OK, everyone back to the machines and sew— sew like the wind!


4 responses »

  1. Ack! That’s a forehead smacker. Great idea.

  2. We sometimes forget about simple solutions to problems; thank you for the helpful tips. What a great ode to Elmer!

  3. Um, brilliant! I love shortcuts and this is a great one! Thank you.


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