In my last post I showed you the sewing tools that are essential in every sewing kit, and today I want to talk about some other tools you might find useful for a number of sewing projects.
1. Pinking shears
Pinking shears cut a little zigzag through fabric, which minimalizes frying and gives a pretty finish. If you do a lot of crafting, they can be really useful for a quick but decorative finish. If you’re a dressmaker, pinking shears can be used to finish the seam allowances, which is quite common in vintage clothes.
2. Small Scissors
Having a pair of small scissors or snips to hand helps trim off loose threads quickly. They’re also good to keep with your hand sewing kit.
3. Bodkins or Safety Pins
Both of these are good for threading draw cords or elastic through channels, like waistbands for example. A big safety pin will do the trick but may become un-pinned halfway through the channel. Bodkins are big, blunt, needle-shaped threaders and reduce the chance you’ll accidentally stab yourself in the threading process!
4. A Point Turner
You can buy a point turner or use a blunt knitting needle to help give a nice sharp edge to collars, cushions, napkins etc. Alternatively, you can buy the next item on the list!
5. Sew and Knit Gauge
A sew and knit gauge is one of those super handy tools which you can find endless uses for. One end has a angled point for turning corners, the width is 1.5cm, the usual seam allowance for dressmaking, it has a movable measure on for hemming, it has a ruler for quick measurements, I could go on!
6. Tailors Ham
A tailors ham allows you to iron curves and rounded seams more easily- super useful for dressmaking! One side is usually cotton and the other wool, giving excellent pressing surfaces no matter the fabric you’re using.
7. Pattern Weights
As an alternative to pins, you can use pattern weights to hold your pattern pieces to your fabric when cutting out. They are also useful for holding pattern pieces in place and smoothing fabric out when pinning. You can use tins of beans, books, pebbles; I have been known to use wooden toy blocks, but you can buy really pretty ones too!
8. Rotary Cutter and Self-Healing Mat
Using a rotary cutter allows you to keep your fabric flat on the table as you cut, meaning there is less chance it will shift about as you cut. This is ideal when working with slinky fabrics to help make sure you’re cutting is as accurate as possible.
You need to use a self-healing mat underneath to avoid damaging your table with the sharp blade. These come in a number of sizes, from A5 up to A0. Go for the biggest you can afford and have space for. cutting mats should always be stored flat to prevent them from warping.
A rotary cutter is are also an essential tool for quilters as it makes cutting out lots of small pieces and straight lines so much faster!
9. Pliers and Snaps
If you want to add snap fastenings, jeans buttons, eyelets, rivets or studs to your projects, the Prym pliers make the job so much easier and more accurate than using a hammer. They’re a bit of an investment at around £13.50 but they are so easy to use. I’d highly recommend them if you’re planning on making children’s wear, for snap fastenings, or jeans, for the buttons and rivets or metalwork on a coat.
10. Self-Covered Buttons and Tool
What better finish to a project then the perfect button? When you make self-covered buttons, you will always have the perfect match for your fabric. The buttons come in a range of sizes and you can also buy a cover tool to make the job so easy, they are easy to cover in almost any fabric!
So, that’s our list of fun tools to help you sew beautiful projects. It certainly isn’t everything that’s out there but I think it’s has everything you really need on it.
Let us know if you have a favourite tool we've missed!
Our Learn to Sew series is designed to encourage new sewers to feel confident at their sewing machines and teach the basics of sewing so anyone can have a go. We have the same philosophy at Crafty Sew and So workshops. If you would like to have a go at sewing with a little more help and support, why not come to one of our ‘Start as you Mean to Sew On’ workshops, or one of the Learn to Sew workshop in our studio, where we can answer questions and help you every step of the way.