Cat Purses!!

Be honest… who hasn’t wanted a purse with cats on it?? Well, I made a couple.

On A Break Crossbody Bag

On A Break Crossbody bag by Sincerely Jen Patterns

This is the pattern that I used to make my own purse last year. I really like this purse. It’s about the right size for everything I need to carry, plus it can hold my 32oz water bottle when I don’t have enough hands.

On A Break Crossbody Gray Interior

I didn’t want to use loud fabric for the lining on the gray purse. I thought the paw prints would be nice.

The purple purse with the rainbow of cats, though, needed the extra noise.

On A Break Crossbody Bag interior

This purse has an interior zipper pocket, and exterior slip pocket and the main accent pocket on the front (which includes a zippered pocket in the flap).

On A Break Crossbody Bag Exterior Pocket

The only modification I’ve made to this pattern is to widen the gussett panel by 1″.

I also made two more purses.

Artemis Shoulder Bag

Artemis Shoulder Bag by Toriska

I wanted a bag that would really show off the accent fabric. I also thought that some people might want more of a larger bucket-type of purse versus the compact crossbody style.

This purse has a zipper pocket on one side and a slip pocket on the other.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Exterior

Not to mention the exterior gussett pockets. I’m not sure what you would use them for, but you can leave them off if you don’t like them.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Top

The interior has a zipper pocket, too.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Interior

The only modification I made to this bag was to the strap. I made it 60″ long so that you could either keep it shorter for a shoulder bag, or make it longer for a crossbody bag.

Artemis Shoulder Bag Shoulder

Artemis Shoulder Bag Crossbody

If you’re wondering, I used waterproof canvas from Fabric Wholesale Direct. I bought the quilt cotton with the cats on it from JoAnn Fabrics and

And I can’t forget the beautiful zipper pulls!

Cat Zipper Pull

I know, it’s fuzzy. It’s a cat with a rose on it’s back. I bought them at Check them out!

I had a little difficulty with the Artemis Shoulder bag, but there are tutorial videos out there so if you get stuck you can watch the video to figure out what you’re doing wrong. I had to watch it a few times. I would definitely make this bag again.

I gave these to the cat shelter where I volunteer so that they could sell them at the craft show they had this previous weekend. I was asked why I didn’t sell them myself, but I just don’t have the time to sew up enough inventory to stock a booth/table. I wouldn’t mind doing custom orders as long as there wasn’t a hard-and-fast deadline.

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Chea-Pass Collet Chuck

Jay needed a collet chuck for his lathe. The problem? He couldn’t get the Finance Director to sign off on his requistion for a new one. His wife is mean like that.

The other problem was that the commercially available ones were ER32 and Jay already owned ER25. If he couldn’t get the requisition signed off for the collet chuck, there was no WAY he would get it signed off for the chuck AND a new set of collets.

While at work, he poured a cup of coffee and it was so bad that he thought he could machine a collet chuck out of it!

Collet Chuck 1

(I’ve asked Jay to help me write this post because I have no idea what’s going on in most of these pictures. He doesn’t like my commentary, so if the rest of this post is not funny at all it’s not my problem ~ Management)

“At work I took a coffee cup, set it into a coffee can on a bed of sand and made a mold around it. It was poured and I let it cool. Then I cut two pieces out of it to check the machinability and to be able to use it with the four jaw chuck.

Collet Chuck 4

First thing that had to be done was to clamp it on the mill and face off the big end.

Collet Chuck 2

I wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be a big interrupted cut and to get a reasonably flat surface for indicating on the lathe.

Once in the lathe I started facing and turning the large diameter.

Collet Chuck 5

I used a center drill in preparation for a registration shoulder to bolt it directly to the lathe spindle.

Collet Chuck 6

Collet Chuck 7

Collet Chuck 8

Once I had the registration surface, and it fit well, I moved it back over to the mill. I then found center on the hole and drilled and tapped a bolt hole circle to fit the lathe spindle.

Collet Chuck 11

Collet Chuck 12

The small end was no longer needed on the casting, so I cut it off.

Collet Chuck 13

Now I could remove the four-jaw chuck from the spindle and bolt the casting directly to the spindle for the rest of the work.

Collet Chuck 14

I began turning and facing to remove the rough casting. Even though the casting was full of holes I knew they were just on the surface and would be machined off in the process.

Collet Chuck 15

Collet Chuck 16

I began boring out the center.

Collet Chuck 17

I had to bore it out to 3/4″. Then I used the compound and began machining the taper.

Collet Chuck 18

(Note from Management – He used the chicken head to do this. Back to Jay…)

Collet Chuck 19

The external threads were cut using single point on the lathe. They are metric threads cut on an Imperial lathe. Interesting to say the least.

(Note from Management – Darth Vader was NOT involved….)

Darth Vader

After threading, contouring was the next step.

Collet Chuck 20

Collet Chuck 21

If you’re wondering, this is what five pounds of cast iron chips look like attached to a magnet.

Collet Chuck 22

Contouring…. Finished!

Collet Chuck 23

Collet and nut installed. The run-out on the taper is .0005″. Good enough for my underground shop. Now it’s time to grab a dull beaver and start making more chips!

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Project Linus Blanket #42

Project Linus Blanket #42:

Project Linus Blanket #42 - Time Out 4-28-22

“Time Out”

I was only a third of the way through this blanket when I had to put it in time out. Not that it had misbehaved, but my wrist was NOT having it any more. Despite trying to be careful, shoveling heavy, wet snow about a week and a half apart (lots of it) really did a number on my wrist. It was painful. It even hurt when I was wearing my brace.

So for Lent this year I gave up crocheting. That was painful, too. I’d just purchased some wonderful yarn for two more blankets after this one was finished. And it all had to sit there. Taunting me. *sigh*

Instead of crocheting I spent time reading and doing some spiritual study. It was good for me.

Easter day I put my brace on and made a few stitches. I was half-afraid that I’d forgotten how to crochet! I felt a little rusty, but I quickly picked up steam. I held myself back and only crocheted for about an hour, and I’ve been slowly increasing the amount of time that I can spend hooking. So far, so good. I was able to complete this blanket!

Project Linus Blanket #42 Detail

To be honest, I just wanted to get this one done so that I could move on to the delicious yarns. The yarn that I used for this project was some that I’d purchased a few years ago from Michaels. It’s their brand CraftSmart and it sucks. It’s worse than Super Saver, that’s how plastic it feels. However, I’m told it softens up a bit after a few washes. Let’s hope so. There’s not much left after this blanket so I think it’s going to get tossed so that I don’t have to use it again.

The blanket I’m currently working on uses Yarn Bee’s (Hobby Lobby brand) Sugarwheel. It’s so soft! I love it and I have some more Yarn Bee lined up for the blanket after that one. I can’t wait!

Project Linus Blanket #42

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Machining: A Tool Post Holder

I knew something was up when Jay was watching This Old Tony’s video about making Quick Change Tool Holders. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching This Old Tony’s videos. However, the fact that he specifically chose this video meant that he was mulling over an idea. And he was.

Tool Post Holder1

This is one of his current holders for his lathe.

Tool Post Holder2

When I asked why he decided to make his own he said it’s because he needed more. I guess he could have purchased a set of four holders, but he only needed two in the set. The other two were ones that he already has a bunch of and doesn’t need more. Also, he said that he wanted to challenge himself to build multiples of a part that requires tight tolerances.

Tool Post Holder3

He started out with a single block of material.

Tool Post Holder4

He cut the block down into individual pieces. That was loud. I was in the bedroom, which is directly above his metal-cutting bandsaw, and the floor was vibrating. Bob was not impressed.

Bob In Bed 05 2017

One of the tough aspects of the holders are the dove tails that are necessary to fit onto the machine and lock into place.

Tool Post Holder5

This required a lot of measuring, removing small amounts of material, measuring some more, etc.

Tool Post Holder6

This was rough and took a lot of time. Then a box showed up on the porch and inside was a material waterer.

Tool Post Holder7

Somehow this helps the metal piece to ripen.

Tool Post Holder8

I guess it’s just a little mister to keep your material fresh.

Tool Post Holder9

The other part of the holder includes some bolt-like things. So Jay made some of those, too.

Tool Post Holder10

“Gnurly, dude!”

Tool Post Holder11

And there you have it… four new tool holders for his lathe.

And apparently they all fit and have been used.

Tool Post Holder12

Way to go, Jay!

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A Laptop Backpack

Jay and I have been pretty busy around here. I showed you the decorative hangers he made for his mom. I promised to show you the project that I’d been working on for about a month. When Jay received his new position at work it meant he would also be issued a laptop. He mentioned that he would need a bag for it so I offered to make him one. He wanted a backpack, so I showed him his options. Then he picked out the color of fabric, webbing, and zippers. Are you ready to see it?

Laptop Bag

The pictures aren’t great because it was dark and I had to get them before he took the bag to work and it got filthy. No matter how hard you try, you can’t keep anything clean in a foundry.

This is the Demi Big Backpack by iThinkSew patterns. If you remember, I used their Dillan Lunch bag pattern to make the 20 lunch bags last fall. I knew I wanted to use waterproof canvas for the main fabric so I let Jay pick his color. Then he picked the strapping, and that’s when the rest of the fabric was decided upon. I used 1.25″ canvas strapping that I found on Amazon. It’s actually used for woven belts, but Jay liked the camo print so I decided I could work with it. If I were to do it again, I would stick with a poly webbing for these straps.

Laptop Bag Side

For the lining material, and as an accent for the gussett pockets, I found this digital desert camo print. It doesn’t really match the camo print on the canvas webbing, but it works.

Laptop Bag Back

The pattern doesn’t actually call for any padding to be added to the back straps. Jay wanted padded straps so I bought some Soft and Stable from ByAnnie’s because I knew it would be a great foam for this application. The problem was that Soft and Stable is not a fusible foam and these straps were made with right sides together and then turned inside out. How was I going to pad them and keep the foam in place as the straps were turned? I could have gone out and bought some of the fusing that you use to fuse two layers together, and then I remembered that I had something else that might work.

Laptop Bag Straps

I had two rolls of this fusible strip stuff that is usually used for hems. I fused a piece of foam to each piece of back strap material and then sewed it together. I made sure to cut the foam smaller to keep it out of the seam allowances. It did bunch up a little bit when I was turning them right sides out, but for the most part it worked.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the sign you can kind of see in the background, I found it on Amazon.

Sewing Room Sign

Despite the fact that the cat is sewing from the wrong side of the machine (obviously whoever came up with this design has never used a sewing machine), I thought it really went well in my sewing room. I still have to hang it up so that it’s not sitting on my cutting table.

Since the Demi Backpack is not actually a laptop bag I had to modify it a bit. I looked at other patterns that were made to be laptop bags and used the basic concepts of how they added laptop sleeves to their bags. I then used the same foam that I used for the lunch bags as the padding in the laptop sleeve. After all, I still have quite a bit of it left (I’m using the box as an end table in my living room… I just threw a table cloth over it).

Laptop Bag Foam

Here you can see more of the interior fabric and the flap that I made to secure the laptop in the sleeve.

Laptop Bag Inside

Here is a view of the inside of the large compartment after I was finished. This pattern uses binding for the seams, which would have been fine except mine were already so thick I ended up using some of the leftover ripstop that I used in the lunch bags. I was afraid that if I tried to use waterproof canvas I would either break a billion needles or else just not be able to sew it at all.

Another modification that I made to the pattern was topstitching the main zipper. In the picture above you can kind of see how it tacked down the seam created by sewing the zipper onto the front panel. I was afraid that if I didn’t do this it would continually either get caught in the zipper or just generally be in the way.

Jay's Laptop Bag

I think it helps give the front of the bag a more “finished” look.

You’re probably wondering about the zipper pulls. Let me give you a closer look.

Laptop Bag Zipper Pulls

Again, I let Jay pick out his hardware. I had seen some fun zipper pulls and purchased them without any projects in mind. When it came time for Jay to decide what zipper pulls he wanted he picked these ones. Since they are double zippers I would have thought he would have picked the same one, but apparently he needed all of them.

MF Zipper Pull

Yes, you are correct. All of the zipper pulls are Star Wars themed, except Calvin and Hobbes.

Gary Zipper Pull

Jay wanted them next to the Stormtrooper so that it would look like they were laughing at him. If you are familiar with the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes then you will be able to understand it a little more when I tell you that Calvin and Jay are VERY similar.

There is a front zipper pocket, a larger front pocket and then the main compartment. I think the Demi Backpack pattern has the front zipper opening up into the larger zipper pocket, which didn’t make any sense to me. I tried making it a separate liner that would separate it from the other pocket, but I didn’t quite calculate correctly so Jay is looking at a blank wall when he opens it up.

Laptop Bag Front Zipper Pocket

If you are thinking about making this bag, I would caution against using the cotton webbing and the waterproof canvas unless you have an industrial machine. I used my Singer 403 and was able to get through most of it. The worst part was trying to sew the back panel on because I not only had the waterproof canvas and lining for the back, but the strap connectors (two layers of waterproof canvas) and the laptop sleeve (two layers of linin fabric). Plus, since I used the closed-cell foam for the padding it did not give a millimeter. It would push my sewing machine foot off the material, especially when I was trying to sew on the binding. And I manually turned the handwheel of the machine ALL THE WAY AROUND the back panel so that I wouldn’t break a needle or ruin my machine. Again, it’s my own fault for choosing those materials, but I managed to get it done. Just don’t look closely at the binding.

Laptop Bag 2

It’s quite a large bag. Oh, and as I’m looking at this picture, I should tell you that I used pieces of peltex at the top under the areas where I sewed the strap to the bag for some added reinforcement. I also cut a piece of peltex to fit on the bottom of the gusset to give that a bit of reinforcement. I knew a laptop would be resting on it, so I wanted a bit more structure.

The last thing I wanted to show you is that I don’t have a fancy set up or a lot of room in my sewing room. A lot of the time when I’m cutting out lots of fabric, or large pieces of fabric, I bring it all out to my family room and make a mess in there. If you don’t like to see messy things please look away now.

Fabric Cutting Area

As you can see, I’m using my fancy pattern weights (cans of kidney beans, tomato paste and tomato sauce). I don’t often use a rotary cutter because it’s difficult to manipulate it correctly in this setup. I usually trace the patterns onto the fabric using chalk and then cut it out with my fabric scissors.

I have just finished cutting the pieces out for four purses, so once I have those finished I will post them here. They are going to be absolutely adorable!

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Small Wooden Wall Hangers

Hey guys! I was trying to give Jay some time to take pictures of the things he’s making, but the only thing he has remembered to take progress pictures of were the small wooden wall hangers he made for his mom. She showed him a picture (which was drawn a LOT better than mine):

Heart Hanger 1

She told him the approximate size she wanted and what she was going to hang off them. They are just going to hold light fabric banners, so he decided he could use some 1/4″ birch plywood. Have you tried finding any of that lately? Good luck! He managed to find enough scrap pieces in his shop to make the quantity that she requested.

Then he drew it up in SketchUp because he was going to use the CNC router to cut them out.

Heart Hanger 2

Due to the limited material he had on hand, he had his mom proof the design before he started cutting. It got the go-ahead.

Heart Hanger 3

I think the large CNC router is having some kind of wiring issues, so he fired up the small CNC router.

Heart Hanger 4

It worked quite nicely.

Heart Hanger 5

After the router was done he just had to cut the tabs holding the hangers onto the larger piece of plywood. This is easy enough to do with a scalpel.

Heart Hanger 6

Easy peasy.

Heart Hanger 7

When he was done he had a decent little stack.

Heart Hanger 8

His mom is going to finish these herself, so once he was done they were delivered. No sanding and no finishing work for me. I was perfectly fine with that because next week you’ll see what I was working on for the last month.

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Hat and Backpack Gifting

The past several weeks have been very busy. I actually looked up while I was at work and realized it was 6pm. Whoops! Needless to say, I haven’t taken the time to update the blog. Instead I worked on a few sewing projects while Jay brought MORE work home.

My best friend’s little girl turned 2 and goes to daycare, so I decided she needed a little backpack. After all, who doesn’t like a cute backpack? I looked around and decided on the Lindsport Mini Backpack.

Indah's Backpack

Please be gentle because this was the first backpack I’ve ever made. It was a little rough going around some of those curves.

Indah's Backpack Side

Gary wanted to model it for me. He did a good job.

It has double zipper pulls on the main pocket. Inside I made a simple slip pocket.

Backpack Inside

Are you wondering what you can fit into this backpack?

Backpack Size

I was able to fit a composition notebook in it without any problems.

But that’s not all. There’s a front zippered pocket on this, too.

Indah's Backpack Back

This is the second bag I’ve made with a front zippered pocket where the pocket did NOT end up across the room in a fit of anger!

Also, this pocket has an adorable cat zipper pull.

Backpack Zipper Pull

Not the best picture, I know. You will have to take my word for it that it’s adorable.

This pocket also has a slip pocket, but this one is divided into two sections.

Backpack Front Pocket

But wait! That’s not all! When you purchase this backpack pattern you get two zippered pockets, plus we’ll throw another one in for free!

Backpack Back Pocket

Yes, that’s a Darth Vader zipper pull.

If you’re wondering, I used waterproof canvas for most of the exterior, but the celestial fabric is quilting cotton. I only used SF101 for interfacing the cotton. Oh, and the pink parts are quilt cotton, too.

The next gift I made was a little bucket hat.

Indah's Bucket Hat

I told Gary it was too big for his head, but he insisted on modeling it.

I used a white cotton denim for the exterior and quilting cotton for the interior.

Indah's Hat Inside

I used a stiffer interfacing for the brim (not sure what number because I had it sitting around without the paper). This turned out really cute. It was fairly easy to make, except I didn’t read the pattern all the way through so I didn’t realize that I would have to hand sew the interior cap to the brim.

Indah's Dixie Cup

I think what I’m going to try next time I make this is to make the interior just like the exterior, attach it at the brim, and do the top stitching at the end. I think that will be much quicker and easier for me. It turned out cute, regardless. I’m sorry that I didn’t link the pattern, but I can’t recall where I found it and I don’t have the pattern handy.

The gifts were almost two weeks late, but they were well received. She absolutely loved them. At least, that’s what I was told. 😉

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Walker Caddies and the H2O 2GO Sling

I haven’t been able to crochet for several weeks because I aggravated my wrist when trying to shovel 40″ of snow we received from the last two storms. That’s okay, though, because I had a few things I needed to sew.

The first one is the H2O 2GO Sling by Linds Handmade.

Addie Modeling Sling

Addie was nice enough to model it for me.

This sling is big enough that it holds my 32oz water bottle with plenty of room left over.

H2O2GO Sling

This was a birthday gift for Jay’s mom. She likes to have a bottle of water with her when she takes her dog for a walk.

I thought this would work great for her because she could keep either her keys, phone or extra poop bags in the zippered pocket.

H2O2GO Sling2

I was at JoAnn Fabrics when I saw this celestial fabric. I knew I had to get it. I just didn’t know what I was going to make with it.

H2O2GO Sling3

Then I started figuring out what I was going to make Karen for her birthday. That’s when this fabric jumped into my head because these are her colors.

H2O2GO Sling1

I used waterproof canvas for the lining and the crossbody strap.

The next project I worked on was a walker caddy for my friend. She was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy last year and has recently started to use a walker. I thought these might come in handy.

Walker Caddies

I believe she was going to get one walker for home and one for work, so I made two. And yes, she loves cats as much, if not more, than I do.

Blue Caddy2

Aren’t those little faces so cute??

I wasn’t sure what the measurements were for her walker, so I used Simplicity pattern #S9309.

For the blue one I used white denim on the back, and on the pink one I used more waterproof canvas.

Pink Caddy Back

I didn’t want it to be too flimsy.

Pink Caddy2

There are pockets on both sides so I tried to make sure that you could see all of the cats between the two sides.

Pink Caddy1

I love that cat fabric. You can find it at Walmart, if you’re wondering.

I’ve been working on other projects, but they are being shipped to the lucky recipient, so you will have to wait until next time to see those!

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A Guy Walks Into A Bar…

Or maybe a guy works at a bar. No, that’s not right. Hmmm. Let’s start looking at pictures and maybe I can work out the right saying.

Work Bar 1

Jay used to be a bit irritated if I brought work home, but look what he’s doing! This particular project is to help the guys set a casting on the table correctly.

It all started with some angles and a drill.

Work Bar 2

What do you get when you drill six holes into two pieces of metal?

A lot of metal shavings. I’m serious. You should see the floor…

Work Bar 3

Hey! There’s the bar I was discussing earlier in this post. I guess that a guy walked in with a bar and drilled a hole at one end.

Work Bar 4

Then he made his own pin. Not a broach like what your Aunt Esther would wear, but a pin. With a nubbin.

Work Bar 5

You put the pin in the bar and you turn it all about… you put the pin in the bar and you let it all hang out.

Work Bar 6

And finally, the “How NOT to Mount” your new bar picture. Nowadays you have to put these kinds of warnings in the instructions because you know that somebody will try it and hurt themselves.

Like I said, this bar is going to be mounted to a table where the heavy castings are placed, then the bar pivots and gives the guy a little more leverage to push it into place so that it can be de-sprued.

That’s it. Nothing fancy. Have a good day!

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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…

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