When the Workshop and Sewing Room Collide…

Today would normally be a day when I would post something that Jay has made. Except, I think the only thing he’s been making are blank bullet molds in preparation for his coworker’s ammo requirements. It gives Jay a project and the guy gets cheaper ammo.

Bullet Mold 25

It’s a win-win all around.

There have been two projects, though, that Jay was asked to do that involved sewing rooms.

First, his mom asked if he could 3D print a larger spool cap cover for her machine. If you’re not familiar with sewing machines, the spool cap is what holds the spool onto the pool holder.

Babylock Spool Cap

She had a small one, but wanted a larger one that would help guide the thread around the rougher edges of the spools she was using. She hasn’t sewn in many years so she’s just practicing right now and using up thread that she has on hand. Jay made one for her and it worked great, but she wanted a second one.

Spool Holder 1

On the right is the original one he made for her. On the left is the hunk of UHMW plastic he cut for the second spool cap.

Spool Holder 2

He mounted it on the lathe using a bolt, I believe.

Spool Holder 3

Then turn-turn-turn, cut-cut-cut, and plastic spaghetti was flying all over the place.

Spool Holder 4

Using the little nubbin that had surrounded the bolt, he turned the piece around and remounted it so that he could drill the hole out a little larger to spec.

Spool Holder 5

Spool Holder 6

Within a few minutes he had it done. His mom was so happy!

Spool Holder 7

The next project was for my sewing room.

When I was making the lunch boxes I purchased zipper tape because that was the best way of getting the number and length of zippers I would need.

Zipper Tape and Pulls

If you’ve never heard of zipper tape, it’s a zipper in yardage form. You can cut it to whatever length you want and then install a zipper pull. And believe me, there are a TON of zipper pulls out there. The most common size seems to be #5 as that’s used in a lot of bag making, but you can also buy it in #3 (on the right in the picture above). Personally I have #5 plastic zipper tape (on the left), #5 Nylon zipper tape (in the middle) and #3 Nylon zipper tape. It works great, except it can be kind of a pain to get the pull onto the tape. If you don’t line it up just right then you’ll have a bulge in front of the pull and it will look bad.

I find that it’s tricky for me to try to both hold the little zipper pull in my hand while also trying to thread both sides of the tape into the pull. It took me 30 minutes one day to get a zipper pull onto the tape without it looking bad. You can buy a zipper jig that will hold the pull for you (search Zipper Jig on Etsy), but I’m sure that you probably already have some stuff laying around your house that you can use.


No, I was not eating while I was sewing. You can use a fork to hold the pull. How? Let me show you.

Fork and #5 Pull

Fork and Zipper Pull

It will even hold my smaller #3 zipper pull.

Fork and #3 Pull

The fork holds the pull so that you can use two hands to start it on the zipper tape.

If you don’t want to use a fork from your utensil drawer you can buy single pieces fairly cheap at Walmart or the dollar store.

Next determine where you will most likely want to mount the fork while you are trying to attach it to the tape. Make sure the surface has a deep enough “ledge” that will allow the wood to get a good hold on it (you might be tugging at it more than you think).

Fork Holder Base

Also, make sure it’s a snug fit. I literally just slide it onto the side of my sewing table and it doesn’t move.

Fork Holder Clamp

Use some screws to clamp the fork in place (you don’t want it wiggling around), pick up the empty spool that fell down under your feet when you were sewing this weekend, and you’re ready to start threading pulls onto zipper tape!

Fork Holder

It’s so simple! I would tell you where I keep this in my sewing room, but I don’t want Jay to know. He might use it (with the clamp) should we run out of clean forks in the kitchen. I’m not even kidding…

This entry was posted in Machining, Sewing, Wood Work, Workshop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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