Hello lovely sewing people!
Today we wanted to talk about our favorite sewing tools. If you’re like us, you probably have a sewing room or area bursting at the seams with all forms of sewing-related gear. Some of it has never been touched, some has been tried once or twice before gathering dust, and then there are the few that probably never actually get put away because you use them so often.
Let’s talk about the more interesting ones of that third group.
Ping’s top 5 sewing gizmos:
- Bernina foot #10, aka the edge stitching foot: I’ve considered putting this on a chain and wearing it around with me. For those who aren’t familiar, it has a vertical piece that settles into the groove of the seam and guides the needle along the edge. It makes topstitching SO much easier. I always feel guilty when people compliment my topstitching these days. It wasn’t really me! It was the foot!
- Design curve: I only started doing “real” pattern drafting a few years ago and one of my favorite tools for drafting is the design curve. There are two that I’ve used and I haven’t been able to pick a favorite. One of them is shaped like a giant comma and the other looks like an old school telephone. Mine has separate areas marked for neckline, armhole, and hip curves. It makes it so much easier to draft curves that your body parts will be happy with.
- Blue box of a million Schmetz needles: Ok, it's more like 100 needles. You can find these on Amazon for about $30 per box and they're all the same size and I can't recommend them highly enough. When 5 packs of needles cost $5-10, it's kind of a no-brainer.
- Fabric selvage: Ever since someone recommended this in class a few years ago, I've been saving the selvage off of a few different types of fabric to use as twill tape in garments. Depending on the weight of the garment I'm working on, I'll use either organza, muslin, or linen/canvas. I like to use it to reinforce necklines, pocket edges, and other areas where there might be fabric on the bias, or just a lot of wear and tear, to keep things from stretching out.
- Knee lever: I had no idea these existed until a friend at my sewing club in Boston introduced me to this and it forever changed my life. Some knee levers replace the foot pedal (which I still can't wrap my head around), but mine's attached to the presser foot raiser. It makes it really easy to work around tricky corners because I can use both hands and just use the lever to raise and lower the presser foot.
Sandra’s top 5 sewing gadgets:
- Bernina #10 foot: Seriously. Though I wouldn't wear mine on a chain, because my toddler would probably try to eat it. Even when I have my walking foot set up on my machine, I gravitate towards the edge stitch attachment, because I know I'll use it. Even when I'm not edge stitching, I like the visual guide showing where the needle will land on the fabric.
- Clear rulers with grids on them: These are amazing. You can see through them! They measure things! The big ones hold fabric down and protect your fingers when you're doing large cuts! They're great for pattern drafting and quilting, and I have so many different sizes and shapes it's a little ridiculous.
- Rotary cutter and mat: I'm pretty sure my cutting time is cut in half (har har har) when I use a rotary cutter. I'm not fiddling with the fabric to get my shears into position, and I can just zip the cutter around the pattern piece.
- Pattern weights: If the rotary cutter halved my cutting time, pattern weights halved it yet again. I don't need to manipulate the fabric to get pins in place or take them out. I just place the pattern piece down, check the grainline, put the weights down, and cut. I made mine by gluing large washers together.
- Magnetic pin holder: When I do use pins, a magnetic pin holder is a life changer! The pins are all oriented the same direction on the holder, so I'm less likely to jab myself while picking one up (it still happens, though). And while I'm sewing, I don't need to look at the holder while taking pins out, so I don't need to stop as often while seaming--they just always land on the magnets.
What are your favorite things in your sewing room?