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Favourite Sewing Tools

Best sewing tools

Below we share some of our favourite sewing tools and how they make our sewing tasks just that little bit easier – we can’t imagine sewing without them!

Clover sewing clips

Wonder Clips

Wonder Clips are incredibly useful strong clips that are great for holding layers of fabric together when pins are not an option – perhaps the layers of fabric are too thick, for example when making a bag or stitching binding to a quilt, or you are using a delicate fabric where pins will make a hole. They come in small and Jumbo size. 

You can buy Wonder Clips from Minerva CraftsJaycotts or Plush Addict and they are priced around £7 for 10 clips.

 

Prym chalk marker

Chalk Marker

You will spend a lot of time needing to mark fabric when you are sewing and some tools make it easier than others.  We love the Prym Ergonomic Chalk Wheel Mouse – it produces fine chalk lines and is an ergonomic tool; easy on the hands. Complete with an integrated chalk level indicator window and easy to use. You can buy refills too. Buy this from Jaycotts, Sew Essential and Eclectic Maker.

 

Starch spray for sewing

Starch Spray

Personally we use Best Press, available from The Cotton Patch but you can use spray starch available from a supermarket usually for ironing shirts!  These products help to make your fabric much more manageable.  The creases iron out more easily, smaller pieces of fabric keep their shape better and are easier to handle.  Plus the scented versions make your fabric smell lovely! 

Best scissors for dressmakers

Good Cutting Tools 

Whether you prefer scissors or rotary cutters, good cutting tools are essential.  You don’t want something that mangles your fabric or makes it hard to cut out or you will be put off your sewing.  This is an area where it is well worth paying out for good quality.  We both use Fiskars scissors and pinking shears, available from Plush Addict and these are sharp and powerful.  Eclectic Maker have a good range of Olfa rotary cutters. If using a rotary cutter you’ll also need a self-healing cutting mat. 

Dressmakers sewing gauge

Small Gauge

This tiny gadget is really handy to keep by your side when sewing as it allow you to check key measurements such as seam allowances, without having to resort to using a bigger ruler or tape measure. It has lots of commonly used measurements for dressmaking and quilting and will be a very useful addition to your sewing arsenal. You can measure from 1/4″ to 1 3/4″ with this tool.

Various brands are available – ours is a Collins Measuring Gauge. You can buy this here priced at £1.79.

Bamboo presser

Bamboo Point Turner

No more grabbing a knitting needle and making a hole when you need to push a corner out on your sewing, the bamboo presser is a more gentle way of poking out those ends. It’s also a great tool for providing a temporary crease line on fabrics – particularly good for marking straight quilting lines without the worry of using a marker pen which may or may not disappear after you’ve quilted. The wide end can also be used as a simple pressing tool for small pieces of fabric instead of using your finger! 

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Buy a bamboo turner similar to ours that was kindly provided by Hantex – it’s available from Fabricate Mirfield priced at £3.50.

Essential sewing tools

FriXion Marker Pens

 A relatively new innovation that has found a use in sewing for marking patterns and lines on fabrics. The beauty of these pens is that the line is erased when friction is applied and from the heat of an iron. Be warned though that lines have been known to re-appear if the item is stored in a cold environment, but used with care, they are a great tool for sewers.

You can buy a pack of three Pilot FriXion pens from stationery supplies stores and chain stores.

Quality pinking shears

Pinking Shears

Pinking shears have serrated blades that are incredibly useful for finishing seams on lightweight fabrics where a sewn finish would add too much weight. They will stop fabrics fraying and we love them! 

You can buy good branded pinking shears from The Cotton Patch and Sew Essential.

Tools to make sewing easier

Extra Long Tape Measure

So useful when measuring for quilt backings, curtains or cutting out larger projects, try this 254cm (100 Inch) tape measure available from Sew Essential.

What tools does a dressmaker need?

A Good Iron

A critical tool whether you are using it to iron your fabric or press seams.  This is another area where we’ve found it’s worth paying out for a good one, ideally with a steam setting.  If possible check out the size and weight to find which is most comfortable for you as you will be holding it a lot! 

Read our pressing tips here. 

 

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