Hello my crafty friends! How is your day so far? Do you have a favourite or most used sewing tool that you cannot live without? What is it?
The other day I was making a paper pattern for my next bag project and misplaced the tracing wheel. I found it after 10 minutes but I got so frustrated that at one point I just wanted to order another one, just in case this ever happens again. This got me thinking. What other tools are essential to me and which ones I cannot live without.
My favorite sewing tools
1. Tracing wheel – this little tool is very handy, if like me you spend countless hours doing pattern amendments, hacks or alternations. When I first considered getting the tracing wheel it was purely because it was used on the pattern drafting class I took few years ago and at that time I thought it might be useful sometimes. Boy, how right was I!?! Now more than ever I reach for it almost on a daily basis, because I am constantly working on a new bag pattern.
It is super easy to use and it does not cost a lot of money, which is always great. I like to us my tracing wheel to make a mirror image of the pattern piece that is on fold before I hack it or amend it however needed. Also, trueing darts, pleats and other folds is so simple and I cannot leave without this tool now.
2. Friction pen – I am using friction pens for the past 2 years, and I must say I prefer them more than any other marking tool. I used to use an air or water erasable marking pens in the past, but disappointedly sometimes (depending on the fabric I guess) the markings stayed. Imagine the horror when you’ve spent few hours making a dress or button up shirt, just to realize that bust dart lines or a buttonhole placement lines did not disappear. Not even after few washes!
With the Pilot friction pens I had never run into this problem, but now I always test the pen on a scrap of fabric first. Better be safe than sorry, right? They also comes in many colours, so it is super useful! Wish there was one in white (maybe there is, but I did not find it yet) because marking a black fabric is still a pain in my bum.
3. Quilting rulers – I yet have to try making my first quilt, but already am loving the vast collection of quilting rulers available on the market. They are so useful when it comes to taking measurements or marking a pocket or zipper placement.
I come from Poland and we use a metric system there, and working with inches boggles my mind, but unfortunately majority of the quilting rules I came across only use imperial measurements. I was ecstatic when I came across quilting rulers that use metric system instead! Thank you OfficeTree!
I purchased 2 sizes already: 16cm by 60cm and 15cm by 30cm and am using them all the time. Cutting long straps and handles is quicker now and I can be as precise as I need to be while developing my patterns.
4. Expandable buttonhole gauge – this is such a fun little tool that I highly recommend if you like to make lots of shirt, blouses or dresses with button placket. In the past I used to use a simple ruler to measure the distance between each buttonholes and buttons, but for some unknown to me reason they always were wonky and uneven. Suffice it to say I do not have this problem anymore.
The expandable buttonhole gauge is useful not only to make buttonholes, but I also use it to mark a placement of rivets, eyelets or pleats.
5. Hump jumper – this one is a little different, because I only use a strip of faux leather belt that I cut out while making the Lila bag. I am hoping to get the “real” hump jumper very soon. Since I’ve started making more bags I often get to the point that my machine cannot handle. Especially when making straps and handles when there is a big level in the fabric layers that I’m sewing through.
6. Scissors – do I even have to explain this one??? Without sharp pair of scissors I wouldn’t be able to make a single garment or a bag, so I always make sure to have a pair next to my workstation.
Since I work with various materials I like to use different scissors for different projects. I have my Gingher Italy shears for my dressmaking fabrics and the orange Fiskars scissors for my bag making cork ,faux leather and wax canvas. I also use a pair of old cheap scissors from a local shop to cut my paper patterns. The small embroidery scissors are used to cut a thread. I believe that by using individual scissors as intended will keep them sharp for longer.
7. Wonder clips – I only purchased wonder clips, because I’ve seen a lot of bag makers that I follow on YouTube are using them on a regular basis and are highly speaking of the quality and ease of use. Since my bag making / designing journey started I had broke an embarrassing amount of pins, and was using a simple binders clips instead. I have to say that I really like using wonder clips even for my dressmaking, because it is quicker to remove it, but it is definitely a life saver when it comes to working with cork or faux leather materials as it does not leave permanent holes like normal pins would do. They also comes in variety of sizes and different colors.
8. Screwdriver – are you surprised that I’ve put a screwdriver as one of my favorite sewing tools??? Promise I have a valid reason! If I’m completely honest they are great not only to tighten any loose screws in your machine, but I also use the flat headed screwdrivers to push out corners in my sewing projects or to help feed the fabric under the presser foot.
9. Tailors ham – I like to use tailors ham not only to press the seams during garment construction, but I also use it while ironing my clothes after each wash. Especially bust darts or princess seams or cuffs that we all know are so annoying to iron. Lately I also started to use it to give a final press on my bags. I will insert the tailors ham inside the bag and press the external panel while holding the bag. It helps to eliminate some wrinkles and provides better results.
10. Peg board and hooks – If you ever looked at any craft room inspiration photos you most probably came across a variety of different peg boards! I have mine few years now, and am changing the look and organization display depending on what I am currently working on and what tools I like to have an easy and quick access to. There is a bunch of hooks and containers available so you can really get creative while setting up your peg board display.
What are your favorite tools?