Category Archives for "Crafty Tools"

November 20, 2016

Getting the Perfect Quarter Inch Seam with the Collins Seam Gauge – Review & Demo


We’ve decided to start including a product review each month and to begin, we have the Collins Machine Seam Gauge & Adhesive Guide. Note that this is a totally independent review. We have not been contacted by the company nor were we given this product to review for free. We purchased this ourselves.

What is the Collins Machine Seam Gauge & Adhesive Guide?

The Collins Machine Seam Gauge is a ruler that enables you to measure and set the seam allowance on your sewing machine. It includes a ruler and a padded adhesive and you use those to create the perfect seam. I love it as it has made a BIG difference in the accuracy of my sewing particularly when it comes to sewing quilt blocks.

Collins Seam Gauge


How do you use the Collins Seam Guide?

In order to use the machine gauge, you simply pop the ruler under your sewing machine foot. The ruler has holes that align with the measurements on the ruler. Just bring your needle down slowly until it goes through the ¼” hole on the ruler.


Ensure the ruler is straight. You can line it up parallel with a line on your sewing machine’s plate. Drop the foot so that it locks the ruler in place

Remove the adhesive backing from the adhesive guide and butt it up against the ruler. Push down so that it sticks to your machine. It is repositionable so you move it if need be. If it does lose its stickiness, simply use double-sided tape.


Lift your foot and bring the needle up. You can now remove the ruler and you are left with the guide on your machine.


If you find that the guide covers your feed dogs just do what I did and move the needle over. Check your machine guide on how to do this. Once the needle has been moved, repeat the steps above to set up the seam guide.

Once everything is in place, you can begin to sew. The fabric butts up against the guide and you end up with a perfect quarter inch seam.



Where Can You Buy the Collins Seam Gauge?

You can buy this seam gauge from Amazon.

October 1, 2015

We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board Review

envelope-punch-boardWow, what can we say. The We R Memory Keepers, Envelope Punch Board works a treat.

It is so easy to use and one of the things we really like is being able to make envelopes for those ‘sometimes’ odd sized cards we make.

So how easy is it to use.

Firstly you need to decide on the size of the envelope that you need.

There is a handy guide on the board itself that tells gives you the information, so look down the column that says Card Size and the next column tells you what size paper you need to create the envelope for that particular size of card.  The last column tells you where you need to line up your paper on the board before cutting it.

Because we are in Australia, our punch board came with a handy sheet in centimetres as the measurements on the board are in inches.   Which we don’t mind as we are quilters we are used to working in inches.

How to Make an Envelope:

  1. Select your card size
  2. Cut your paper to the size indicated on the board i.e. if you need a 5″x 6″ envelope cut your paper to 9″ x 9″
  3. Slide the paper under the Punch and align the left edge to the score line measurement – in our example that will be the 4¼” line.
  4. Press on the big blue button to Punch the paper.
  5. Create a score line using the scoring tool
  6. Rotate the paper 90º COUNTER CLOCKWISE (most important)
  7. Align the SCORE MARK you just made with the Score Guide
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for all 4 corners.
  9. Round the corners using the Reverse Punch on the back of the board
  10. Fold and Glue.

It’s really simple to do. And we can see ourselves getting a lot of use from this product.

The Scoring knife tucks nicely into the side of the board so you won’t lose it.



September 24, 2015

Crafty Tools n Tips: Fiskars Tag Maker – Review & Demonstration


We recently purchased the Fiskars Tag Maker because we like the idea of being able to quickly make a gift tag and easily insert an eyelet to finish it off.

This punch cuts a nice clean line through the cardstock.

Place your cardstock into the large slot, turn the punch over so that you check that your card is completely covering the hole.  And press down on the punch lever.

Now insert the punched out tag into the smaller slot and push it in as far as it will go. Press down on the punch lever to cut out the eyelet hole .

Putting in the eyelet was a little tricky to start with as there are no instructions but once we worked it out the eyelet went in fine.

So what you need to do is push one of the eyelets that are provided with tag maker, through the card with the right side facing, this only applies if you have a double sided card with a pretty pattern on the front that you want to showcase.

Place the hole with the eyelet pushed through, onto the eyelet setter and press down as hard as you can on the punch lever.

I found that I had to stand up and push down as hard as I could to get the eyelet to sit snuggly into the hole. On the first couple of attempts I didn’t push hard enough and didn’t set properly and simply spun around in the hole.  So give those muscles a workout and push down as hard as you can.

November 7, 2014

Frixion Pen Review: Fabric Pens for Quilters

I’m not sure where we found out about Frixion pens but we are so glad we did. These are awesome for drawing seam lines on fabric.

These pens weren’t originally made for fabric and in fact,  I don’t think Pilot even mentions using them on fabric, but they work brilliantly and we use them pretty much exclusively for marking the  lines on our fabric.

The video shows how these work, but essentially you draw on your fabric  and when you want to remove the line or mark you simply iron over it. The marks are removed instantly.

Bear in mind, that you will still see some ghosting marks but they are barely noticeable and you only really notice them on some fabrics.  Because of the ghosting, you wouldn’t really want to use this on an art quilt or a quilt that you are going to put into a show.

We really only use the pens on the wrong side of the fabric anyway so you would never see it.

The other issue with these pens is that, when the temperature hits 14 degrees  Fahrenheit (-10 Celsius) the marks will reappear. However, they can be easily removed by ironing again. But really, unless you live in extremely cold climates or you put your fabric in the freezer, you won’t ever see those marks ever again.

We use them all the time and highly recommend them. They make a nice crisp line…so much better than a chalk line as it is clear and easy to see.

Where Can You Buy Frixion Pens?

You can buy Frixion pens in a pack of 8 from Amazon.  Also, most stationery stores should stock these like Staples in the US, and OfficeWorks in Australia.

August 25, 2014

Simplicity Bias Tape Maker Review

This review is for the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker. When I want to quickly run up some bias binding for a craft project the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker is what I use.  Its easy to use and there are a number of tip sizes available which make ideal for most of the projects I do.

It comes packaged in a neat little container so it fits nicely in a spare spot on the craft table.  I haven’t had any problems with running the material through the machine it even handles the pieces of fabric that have been joined together without any hassle.  I did have an issue at the start as the I couldn’t get the material to run through on its own but it was operator error and once I worked out that I needed to push the cover in securely I have had no problems since.

It’s quick and easy to use,  you can make 12 feet of tape in 60 seconds. There are no burnt fingers, something I used to suffer when ironing my tape, now my fingers are no where near the hot iron.

Personally, I can’t speak highly enough of this little machine.  I generally use the 1¼” tip and I have a choice of two tips, one folds the material in half and the other folds in both sides to the middle of the strip.

I mostly use cotton fabric but there is a temperature gauge that allows you to set the right temperature for the fabric you are using.

And if I walk away and forget to turn it off  that’s not a problem as the machine turns off after 10 mins. This is a great feature because sometimes I am in such a hurry to get back to my project I simply bundle up the bias tape and forget to press the off button.

My personal view, I love it.

Check out the video above to see how it works.

You can buy the Simplicity Bias Tape Maker from or if you live in Australia it is readily available from the following outlets (to name just a few):