Favorite Tools

I found something last night that I had sewn about a year ago and couldn’t believe I made it. The seams were ugly and very messy and the whole thing was crooked. I thought back to all the things I’ve sewn since then and realize how much I’ve learned. Back then, I used an old machine and all my sewing stuff fit into one large tote that I would drag up from the basement every so often. I now have a huge sewing cabinet stuffed with fabric, notions and projects. I have a wonderful new sewing machine that is pretty much permanently out on my dining room table along with the current project that I’m working on.

My sewing hobby really started when I discovered the whole blog world. Craft blogs are jam-packed with inspirational ideas, tutorials and wonderful stories behind it all. You can’t help but to get excited about trying something new and doing it yourself!

So in thinking over all this, I thought of the “stuff” I’ve accumulated and realize there are only a few tools that I reach for with almost every sewing project from quilts to pants. Since I’ve learned so much from other’s I thought I’d share something as well so here they are:

My Favorite Tools

Stores are filled with walls of notions and tools, but in my opinon, these are the necessary basics. A rotary cutter (this one has a 45mm blade) which is wonderful for those straight edges and quick cuts. Next is what I call my hemming ruler as I’m not sure what’s the “official” name. It’s about 6″ long and has a plastic marker that can be moved for easy, repetitive measuring. (I couldn’t find this when I was making my skirts the other day and so I made everyone stop what they were doing to help me track it down.) Next is a good pair of scissors… or two. Keep these away from everyone else and use them only for sewing! A good, sharp pair is essential. And don’t forget straight pins and safety pins with a pincushion. I was never a big pin lover, but to sew a neat seam and do it only once, you gotta use these. I love using safety pins for quilts when you have to keep all those layers together for the binding. They don’t stick out and poke you while you work like straight pins and they stay put if you have to put your quilt away. And don’t forget a seam ripper. Well not only one, I’ve found that you must own at least 4 because one is all you can ever find when you need it. If it’s not sharp, throw it away! It’ll ruin your fabric and drive you nuts if the seams aren’t cut easily. Lastly, in this photo above is a measuring tape. I suggest one with large, easy to read numbers and lines with the measurements on both sides going in opposite directions. I’ve got three of these and this is the one I use the most because of it’s size and the opposite numbers. No matter which end I grab, I can simply flip the tape to find the first inch measurement.

Okay, now these tools are a little more spendy, but well worth it:

My favorite Rotary Mat Omnigrid Ruler 18 x 5

The first is a self-healing rotary mat which is necessary when using your rotary cutter. The one I have is 18 x 23, but it’s too small. I cheap-ed out and bought this one because the next size up was almost double the amount. I’ve regretted it ever since because nothing fits. I’m constantly folding up fabric in order to fit it on the mat to cut which doesn’t really give you a straight line. I think the better mat size is 24 x 36 which is on my Christmas list this year. πŸ˜‰ (FYI- my mat was about $24 and the larger one is about $45.) And the last tool which is by far my favorite is an Omnigrid ruler. Mine is 6 1/2 x 24 and it’s the perfect size. I use it for everything from quilts to skirts. It helps line up everything and get that straight edge to run your rotary cutter along. I also use it to take in patterns or adjust seams quickly and easily. It was 20 bucks, but I would have paid double now that I know how well it works.

So that’s it, those are my favorites… how about yours? I would love to hear what you can’t sew without or any other tips for that matter. But now, I’m returning to my sewing to hopefully get the boy’s costumes finished so I can play with my newest addition to my stash:

New Fabric!

I’m in LOVE with these and can’t wait to get started. Hope the rest of your week goes well!

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6 responses to this post.

  1. I’m with you – I’ve always wanted to learn how to sew, but I never felt such a burning desire as when I discovered some of the crafty blogs out there. I bought myself a sewing machine and have been unstoppable ever since, LOL! It’s such an inspiring community. blogs + flickr = so many great things to try!

    Reply

  2. Great list of sewing tools!

    hmmm…what would I add as my favorite tools?
    1. definitely a HAVEL seam ripper…far sharper than the average seam ripper and it works great on serged items, too. Looks like a surgical knife. http://www.sew-materialistic.com/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=479

    2. Pattern weights…I love the Olfa ones, but canned vegetables would suffice. http://www.createforless.com/products/productDetail.asp?ProductID=24407

    3. Tailor’s chalk…Clover’s Chaco Liner in Yellow is my favorite:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Clover-Chaco-Liner-Chalk-Quilting-Liner-NEW-Yellow_W0QQitemZ260139342277QQihZ016QQcategoryZ19161QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem

    With friendship,
    Lisa

    Reply

  3. Hello πŸ™‚ Along with your Christmas list of craft related items…I would include a 40% off coupon to any/all craft stores in your area. It’s the only way I could purchase all my supplies! Makes the price of self-healing mats manageable. Just my 2 cents. πŸ˜‰

    Reply

  4. Posted by Emily S on October 23, 2007 at 1:26 am

    OOOOOOooooo,
    I just bought the squirrel fabric too!!!

    Reply

  5. Snicker, snicker. I love your seam riper collection, a girl can’t sew without one!

    Reply

  6. Any chance you know the name or maker of the cute squirrel fabric? I love it!

    Reply

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