Through the years, I've aqcuired quite the collection of sewing tools and they range from, can't do without, to useless, to some not actual sewing tools. Some are cheap, some a expensive...I guess it's all very personal, but here's a list of some of my favourite (an not so favourite) sewing tools.
I can remember the first time I used a steam iron and it was such an eye-opener! Press all seams open or to the side before you sew the next step and it will give you better end results. Using steam will make it even easier. Trust me on this one...sewing and pressing go hand in hand. Sewing is pressing. I own a simple iron a model similar to this one by tefal
Fabric scissors / Paper Scissors / Thread Nipper
Fabric scissors, paper scissors and thread nippers...you want them all. I don't have a fancy pair of scissors. I buy cheap fabrics scissors and I have a little tool to sharpen them, to prolong their fabric cutting life. Thread nippers or fabric snips
(like the one in the image) are great for snipping threads and notching fabric and they reduce the risk of snipping where you don't want to snip becuase of the short blades.
Rotary cutters I´ve used them mostly for cutting a lot of bias binding, fabric strips and (button band) interfacing, they are perfect for that. Sometimes I use it to cut pattern pieces from fabric, but takes practise and a big cutting mat. The big advantage is that it's faster and more precise than a pair of scissors, because you don't lift up the fabric to cut. Works best on thin fabrics like, knits, silk, modal, etc.
When I started sewing I loved the look of the tape measure around my neck, but it's also very handy to have the tape with you without noticing it ;)
Metal Ruleres, Set Triangle & Other Rulers
You'll collect a few along the way, but here are the ones I use a lot. Plain metal ruler for cutting PDF patterns and drawing straight lines. A tiny ruler to draw seam allowances on patterns. My favorite for when I trace patterns is the set triangle
. I use it to guide my pen on straight and curved edges, and I also use it as a guide when pressing seams.
Tailors Chalk & Snap Off Knife
I use tailor chalk that I sharpen with a snap off knife (I like this one by OLFA)
. It helps to get crisp and precise lines and I love crisp and precise lines. I've tried chalk pens
, but I don't like it. The chalk core break easily when you drop the pen so I've ended up with lots of small pieces.
Use it to rip seams or to open up a button hole. When you use it for a button hole, make sure it's sharp and use a pin at the end to prevent ripping past the button hole. You'll know when to replace once you see thread pulls in the fabric next to the button hole.
Magnetic Pin Cushion
Pins / Glass Head Pins / Stuffed Toy Polar Bear
If you have ever dropped a case of pins you know how handy these magnetic pincushions
are :) Or picking up stray pins after sweeping the floor. But the real joy is just throwing your pins at the magnet instead of pinning them into a cushion while you try to keep sewing.
Pins...You want them plenty, thin and sharp. Sorry Polar bear! I know they are endangered, but it does such a great job at organizing my pins and hand sewing needles.
Hand Sewing Needles
There will always be a bit of hand sewing involved in most projects, whether you want to baste something before stitching or add sew on snap buttons. You want different sizes / lengths. I've always used cheap needles that come in sets with different sizes.
Ironing Board / Sleeve Ironing Board / Old Towel
When I started fashion school I didn't have the budget or the space for a big ironing board, so I started with this mini / budget board from Ikea
. Sleeve ironing boards are great for sleeves and pant legs. And one day I will make my own pressing hams, but for now I use an old towel that i roll up.
Extra Bobbins & Bobbin Holder
This ring a.k.a bobbin saver
makes sure the bobbins don't unravel and roll away. One of my first purchases after buying my sewing machine were extra bobbins.
Mine are (ugly) paper weights from a Chinese gift shop, but I've used books, cans and just about anything that will do the trick. No need to buy special weights. You can use them to hold your pattern in place instead of pins, but I hardly only use the weights. I like to pins the corners for more precise results.
The Narrow Hem Foot
This is a tool I can do without. I have tried to use it on many occassions and I can't get it to work for me even after watching and reading countless tutorials and demonstrations. I would return it if I could.