I used to keep my machine needles in a pencil case, but whenever there was a sale on them, I could never remember what needles I needed to buy. This case folds in thirds and the first two thirds have clear sleeves where the plastic needle cases fit exactly in. The bottom third has holes for needles that have been used, and it's labeled so you know exactly what needle is in each hole.
A school I went to used rolls of medical paper -- you know, the paper that you sit on in the doctor's office? Personally, I didn't like it too much. It was a bit sturdier than tissue paper, but I'm kind of rough with my paper so mine always tore. It's narrow though, but you can get a very long roll of it for $10. Not sure where you would buy it, my school sold it special for the fashion classes. It was translucent enough to see through so transferring patterns wasn't a huge headache.
I don't know if this sounds awful or not, but after I finish making muslins and I can't re-use them to make more muslins and I don't want to keep them hanging around for no reason, I like to make rags out of them. And sometimes, I like to make pocket linings out of them, as long as they don't show from the outside. But usually, they turn into rags for my swiffer.
One of my sewing teachers taught me this to the point where it's the only way I make darts.
Start from the outside seam and work towards the point at a regular stitch length. (I usually mark the dart with chalk so I know what I should be following.) About 1/2" before you get to the point, make sure you're riding right next to the fold already. Shorten your stitch length to about 1-1.5 (depending on the machine). Sew the last 1/2" right next to the fold. Sew off the point for a little bit, maybe an extra 2-5 stitches, which will lock in your threads enough so that you don't have to tie off. (Personally, I get a little paranoid and still sometimes tie off my darts)
Using a ham or some kind of curved form (ie, towel rolled up to kind of mimic a boob), steam iron the dart before you open it up. This "melds" the stitches in. Then open up your dart the way you're supposed to iron it (for a side seam bust dart, excess dart fabric should point down). Then steam iron it again on the wrong side and then the right side. When you steam it on the right side, make sure your dart isn't forming a pucker at the point.
If this doesn't solve your problem, it might be something else. How much intake is your dart eating? It may be too much and your dart might be too big. If you need that big dart, maybe you could just cut the dart excess to make it like a seam that you can fly open in the inside.
Haven't been in anything horrific personally except for excessive scratches from raking over pins in my garments. But I have heard of things happening...
I was in a how to use your serger class one day when one of the ladies sewed through her nail. She was stuck to her serger for awhile. People tried to ease her out, but I think it was really close to her finger so she was in a lot of pain. She had been trying to fix the fabric under the foot of the machine and stepped on the pedal by accident. Someone finally managed to maneuver her finger out.
I was in a hand sewing class where my teacher told a story about this lady she knew who lived on a farm. She had been hand sewing in her house when people came to visit. They were outside when she felt a bug bite her on the thigh. She slapped it. It felt like she was still being bitten so she slapped it a couple more times. She then noticed the bite swelling over the weeks and it became more and more painful. After four weeks, it had gotten worse, so she went to the doctor's to see what was wrong. After an x-ray, it turned out that the bug bite was a hand needle stuck in her leg. The needle was rusted and she had a slight infection. She had stuck the needle in her pants when she took a break and had forgotten that it was there!
I like to go to my local Jo-Ann's too, mostly because I don't like spending money on gas trying to find a better store. What I've noticed is that the employees are rude to each other!!! There's some employees who have no clue what they're doing at the cutting table which means the customers get really impatient and rude and then they ask their coworkers for help and then the coworkers are rude to them. And I've caught them gossiping about the ones that are incompetent with the customers. The past three times I've been there, there's been dissatisfied customers complaining or waiting for the manager so that they can complain.
I've always had a problem with Jo Ann's. I'd been trying to get hired there, and I thought I'd be eligible because I actually know how to sew, but I've never gotten call backs. Of course, it's impossible to ask the employees anything about sewing because they know nothing to very little. And when they do ask what I'm going to do with the fabric I'm buying, and I think someone is interested so I tell them in detail -- they stare at me with the most blank expression.
Is it so crazy to have the employees at a fabric store actually know something about sewing? I would like to think that when I ask for tricot fusible interfacing, they won't pull out the non-woven sew-in interfacing. Or cut diagonally into fabric.
The first is a princess-seamed dress with a peplum. The skirt pegs in just a little. I got the floral fabric from school for free and who can resist free fabric? I was feeling vintage inspired. Sorry for my sloppy appearance... It'd been a really, sleepless long month.
This is a jacket/coat. It's almost like a sponged wool that I had interfaced. I don't have a picture of the lining, but it's a gorgeous poly satin with giant purple roses. There's tiny pockets in the princess seam. The back has a center inverted pleat, princess seams with piping. The lining hangs straight while the wool balloons to create that shape, and it holds itself up instead of hugging the hips to create the shape. It looks real good on my tall, skinny friend with hanger-like shoulders, but makes me looks like a potato with limbs. The skirt is just a simple straight skirt, required in order to make a complete outfit.
there's several places that i remember from my time at ucd. in downtown davis, there's A Better Place to Bead and there's In Sheep's Clothing. i volunteered at the craft center too, and they can definitely tell you a lot of different local resources.