Alma's Sewing Tips:
To prevent thread from tangling when hand sewing, do not wax the thread. Instead, take a few running stitches in a new clothes dryer sheet, pulling the thread through the sheet before knotting the end. This works well for hand embroidery thread because it does not change the character of the thread.
Use a number 10 straw needle for hand basting. It has a larger eye and is longer than comparable sized sharps. Straw and other special needles can be purchased at most heirloom sewing shops.
When hand basting fine fabrics and you do not have silk thread, use number 40 rayon machine embroidery thread in a number 10 straw needle. It will help eliminate basting thread impressions on the fashion fabric when pressing.
If you use tube-wound rayon embroidery thread and have a problem with the thread falling off and getting tangled under the tube, you can solve the problem with the gray foam thread cushions that are used under serger thread. Just push the bottom end of the tube into the hole in the cushion. The cushion will hold the thread, preventing it from getting caught under the tube and tangling.
To sharpen triangle-shaped chalk markers, use a plastic bag closure found on bread bags and in grocery store produce departments. Just run the "V" shaped slot along the edge of the chalk until it is as sharp as you want it. Hold it over a damp paper towel or waste basket to catch the chalk dust.