This past week, I had more time than I think I’ve ever had to sew. I’ve been babying my lower back this week, because the last time I thought it was “good enough” (last Friday), I set my recovery back a week, at least. So with time at the computer limited, and no lifting sewing machines, I decided it was time to finish a number of UFOs. This seemed a good opportunity to put the wonder clips through their paces.
Most of my UFOs are not quilting projects.
- I’ve had 2 pair of jeans sitting on my desk for a couple of months that need hemming. They’re not even marked.
- Then there are the “thundershirts” for all of our furry creatures.
- The one quilted project is another featherweight case liner for yet another featherweight (there are 3 in total in the house)
So on to the performance of the Wonder clips.
UFO #1 – thundershirt knockoff:
Let’s look at the thundershirt, or what we’ve been calling their “storm shirts”, or their “big girl shirts”. The thundershirt is basically 2 pieces of stretch knit sewn together, then velcro fasteners attached to fit them to the dog or cat. It works on the premise of “swaddling”, like what you’d do with a baby. When the animal is swaddled, they feel more secure, and less like they need to control the situation. (Even if “control” just means running and hiding in the bathtub.)
The issues we’ve been having with our animals are:
- Stormi hates the dog. All dogs actually. She fixates on her, she hisses at her and generally gets herself completely riled up. She’s 17 years old, and has kidney disease. She honestly doesn’t need that in her life, but the dog isn’t going to live outside because of Stormi’s inability to adjust. (It’s been 10 years) I also believe that the car trips to the vet stress her out a lot more than she lets on. She’s stoic, but I think that the crating and the noise and motion of a vehicle bothers her a lot.
- Shadow is terrified of the outdoors and car rides. It makes vet appointments difficult to say the least. If you put her in the car, she’ll pant , cry and the one time, I watched her eyes roll back in her head. This generally makes me worry that she may have a heart attack. This isn’t so far fetched with her, she’s got some sort of heart anomaly. We didn’t have an echo done when it happened, but the last time she went to the vet to have her teeth cleaned (the first time she’d been sedated since she was fixed as a kitten), the anesthetic stopped her heart. I got the call when I was 10 minutes into the drive to the city. “Can you come back? Are you close? The anesthetic caused a problem with her heart…she’s stable at the moment, but if you can come back…” I was lucky that day that I didn’t pass a cop on my way back to the vet. I was over the speed limit, and possibly a little erratic. They managed to revive her and stabilize her, but it was terrifying, and I don’t wish anyone to ever see their pet come out of anesthetic. They can’t hold their heads up, so they loll around off the table if the head isn’t supported. They breathe weird. They rattle. They seem to shrink too. Perhaps that’s the size of the table compared to them. It’s a horrible thing to see. I knew that day that my decision not to become a vet was the right one. I couldn’t do that daily. Geez, even 2 years out, thinking about this still makes me teary. We think Shadow might be a very good candidate for a swaddling test.
- Dax, our shepherd husky cross (or so they say – we think she might be shepherd coyote cross, but that’s a story for another day) is terrified of the cats. I’ll give you 3 guesses as to why, but you’ll only need one… She’ll actually go around the entire house to avoid a cat that stands between me and her. She’ll cry and whine if one comes too close to her. She’s also terrified of thunderstorms, and can even predict a fireworks display. (What’s up with that? She’ll go nuts 10 – 20 minutes before a fireworks display even starts.) We can’t always be home when a thunderstorm hits, and the anxiety she experiences is pretty severe. If she can wear a thundershirt, we hope that she can manage the storms better.
- I found the Wonder Clips to be very good at holding the fabric in place. Comparable I’m sure to a binder clip, but snazzier looking, for sure.
- No stab wounds. Unlike pins, I didn’t have to watch my fingers as much, and I didn’t even bleed on the fabric once. 🙂 This may also reduce the need for profanity.
- The weight of several clips is significant and can stretch the shape of the knit in ways you don’t want or expect. This mostly comes from the fabric hanging off the edge of the desk into your lap. This can stretch the seam. If you’re one of “those” sewists, like I am, who removes the clip right as it gets to the presser foot, the stretch can be significant. This is especially noticeable if you have a “lip” between your machine and a extension table.
- The clips don’t manage the “curl” that a knit does at the edges of the cut as well as a pin does, so there’s some finger fudging as you’re feeding the fabric .
I don’t think I’d use them again on an easily stretched fabric. Some fabrics, like a fairly tight knit, or maybe something like a spandex might be OK, but these aren’t going to be my go to for tank tops and t-shirts.
On the plus side though, the storm shirts seem to be working. Our house is considerably more peaceful, and it even settles Stormi’s yowling at her food down.
UFO #2 – jeans:
I measured and cut the jeans.
Today, I used a process that had been described to me, but I hadn’t had a chance to use yet. If you’re in a situation where you don’t have a knowledgeable person to help you measure the hemline for your pants, you can put them and your shoes on, pull the excess leg material under your shoe and walk around on a dusty floor (a garage floor works wonders here). This will mark your back hemline for you. Now for the front, mark the hemline a 1/2″ higher than the back. This will account for the bridge of your foot, and avoid that “pucker” at the front.
I did this slightly “wrong”, in 2 ways.
- I didn’t wear shoes. I walk around in socks, bare feet and my “toe shoes” most of the summer, and all the time in the house. My hems are always being dragged and frayed.
- I used the hemline as a fold line. This had the net effect of raising my hemline about 1/2″ all around. The reason I did this was semi-on purpose. While I like my jeans to just brush the ground, I find that in wet weather, or mowing the lawn especially, that they drag and get filthy. I’m hoping that this may keep them slightly cleaner and drier.
I should note here: these were $5/pair clearance Victoria’s Secret jeans. If these were jeans I wasn’t going to use for mowing the lawn, etc, I would have made more of an effort to hem them 100% correctly.
- These clips were actually all pro. I ironed the jeans at the hemline, folded the hem under, then under again, and clipped. I did iron the first leg, but I didn’t really feel like it was that necessary with the clips. I believe that the clips may have saved me some time, and better still time saved during my least favorite stage of hemming.
- As noted above, there weren’t really any. The Wonder Clips really excel with non-stretchy fabrics. The weight of them is irrelevant with jean hems.
I’d use these in a heartbeat for jeans.
UFO #3 – FW liner:
These liners are my own design, and help me in a number of ways.
- I can lift the little FWs in and out of the case without bashing the power connector on the side of the case, even on a shaky day.
- The whole machine is supported at once, and because it’s in a “bag”, it’s less likely to fall if I loose my grip.
- The liner doubles as protection whether in the case, or if I put it and the FW in a soft case to make carrying lighter and easier.
- For the straight edges, these were wonderful. They helped keep the fabric steady for me, and for the most part, they didn’t get in the way while I was sewing. I do feel like they likely sped the process of installing binding up, because I was more willing to do the prep prior to sewing, instead of wrestling things into place as I went. Certainly the stab wounds and frustration factor was lower.
- Sewing seemed faster. As I got into the rhythm, I found I could “pull” the clip as it arrived at the bed of the machine, rather than stopping to unpin.
- Since they are low or no scratch, this is also a more viable alternative to pinning when sewing on a vintage collectible machine (ie, a featherweight) so would be great for piecing as well.
- I had the clips upside down (my fault entirely), and found that , not unlike a glass table that you bang your hip into regularly (I can’t be the only one who does this, right?), the clear side of the clips frequently got caught under the presser foot because I didn’t “notice” they’d made it to the foot yet.
- When pinning inside corners (not common on a quilt, but more common on a quilted project like this one), the clips can get bunched up and knock around a bit. As long as they don’t slip, or knock each other out of place, it shouldn’t be more than a nuisance.
These clips definitely feel like a time saver when pinning binding. I dreaded the process (I always do), but found that even with the 8 inside corners to do, and various corners in general, that these clips made it easier and more pleasant to do the binding. The lack of blood was really just a big bonus.
With the exception of knit fabrics, I think these are a winner all around. The only thing I would say is get more than you think you need. I have a 50 pack, and with the small projects I was doing, I used close to all of them on 2 of 3 projects. I’d initially planned to get 2 packs of 10, but SMS was out of the 10 packs when I ordered, and my rep talked me into the bigger pack. This was not a mistake.