Dear international community of seamstresses: THANK YOU for supporting my little Etsy shop! I did not expect such high interest in Japanese sewing notions! My little shop received many more orders in a week that I expected to get in a month!
Thanks to you, I've already learnt so much and am working on the improvements. For example, yesterday I re-took all of the pictures, I ordered business cards and return address stickers.
Due to the amount of time I have had to dedicate to it and my travel expenses to purchase additional stock, I have decided to slightly increase the prices for some products. I hope you understand!
I appreciate your suggestions about the additional Japanese notions you'd like to see in the shop. The newly featured products are: Japanese dressmaking pins, leather thimbles, double (or fork) pins and Japanese thread scissors. And here's a little overview of why they are so good:
Double pins or fork pins
Quilters often use these pins for better precision in sewing parts of the quilt together. The first time I saw how they were used in sewing was from Susan Khalje. When I tried the double pins myself, I realized the advantage of using them: due to their forked nature, they hold the fabric tightly preventing it from moving very much when sewing. Fork pins are especially great for sewing with striped or plaid fabric. You can get the fabric perfectly aligned and avoid ripping your seams.
The quality of the picture below is not great, but that's the best I could make with my little amateur camera.
For the sake of experiment, I put two pins together: the yellow one is a pin from my shop, the black one from a manufacturer from Europe. I hope you can see that the yellow pin is way thinner and a bit longer.
Now I'll try to explain the feeling when you insert these two pins into fabric. It feels like the black pin is struggling to go through the fibers and does not slide very smoothly. My hand gets the feeling as if the surface of the pin is not smooth. The yellow pin seems to glide through fabric and I don't need to force it. It stops or moves where I want it to.
Also, the black pins leave tiny holes in the fabric, whereas the yellow ones do not.
Japanese thread scissors
As with many other Japanese sewing notions, I was introduced to these scissors by Ayumi-sensei. At first sight, they looked very strange and ugly. But my skepticism vanished as soon as I tried working with them.
Their advantage over classical embroidery scissors is that they spare you lots of time and effort due to the absence of the circular handle. Just think about it: every time you need to cut a piece of thread, you put your fingers through the handle (sometimes my fingers get stuck). With the Japanese thread scissors, it is just one easy movement - click -and then you are done!
Don't forget that kimonos are 100% hand-sewn and require lots of running stitching and consequently lots of thread cutting. Scissors like this significantly speed up the process! They are so smart, these Japanese inventors!
Another huuuge advantage is that they are for life. Made of metal, they never break! Contrary to the scissors where the handle is made of plastic. When the blades become blunt, it's recommended to sharpen them with a special sharpening stone. But the traditional "western" way at a professional sharpener works just as well.
If you live in an area with a high level of humidity, it's always better to keep the scissors inside a box.
Personally, I own two pair of scissors: the 100% metal scissors featured in my Etsy shop and another blue pair, from this post. I like the blue scissors less because of the ceramic blade. After using them for three years, the blade is not as sharp as it used to be.
I added the thimble to my shop because two customers asked about it. You can read more about it here. I can only say that having used it since November, I am more than happy with it. Despite its rather odd appearance, it feels very natural on my finger and protects it perfectly well!