My Favorite Things
I have been creating a list of my favorite tools and accessories for sewing and have been sharing this with my Sewing Lesson Students. I wanted to post this link in a way that you have direct links to Amazon (note: these are affiliate links. There is NO additional charge to you).
A few links for these. My younger students love being able to use the smaller size and so does Emma. If you are only going to buy one pair and have younger sewer, get the smaller set. They are only 1" shorter. I use both interchangeably, but Emma prefers the smaller size. I also included a link for micro-tip scissors. I use these to cut thread (and I keep them next to my machine). I also use them when I need to cut with precision (when I am cutting a notch, in tight spaces, or awkward angles).
Do NOT use these scissors on anything other than fabric. It will dull them.
- Regular Size
- Smaller Size
- Micro-Tip/Thread Scissors
I also have these scissors - but do not let my students use them because they are SUPER SHARP!
That Purple Thing
Yup! That is the real name of it. This perfect little tool is great for turning small items, pushing out corners, or feeding thick fabric into your machine.
Magnetic Sewing Guide
If you have done a sewing lesson with me, you have probably used this handy tool. This magnetic guide is awesome and helps create straight stitching. I keep it stuck to my bobbin winder on the top of my machine (it is also a magnet and keeps it in a handy spot). This set also comes with a seam guide to help you measure the perfect width of your seam.
I avoid pins if I can. They are can a pain (pun intended) and I often find them with my feet or fingers. I find for the majority of my projects, clips work so much better. There are still times I need pins (when attaching two pieces not on an edge). These are the clips I use and love (and they come in an adorable metal container).
I said I hate using pins, but sometimes it is a necessity. These pins are great in that you can iron fabric WITH them in and are flat to the fabric. The larger head size is nice so it can easily see them in my fabric and pull them out easier. They also don't roll since they are flat!
If you are trying to get precise corners, I love this tool. It helps me turn projects and get the nice corners.
This one is also nice and I also use it to press open seams if I don't feel like using my iron.
Heat Erasing Pens
I am going to post 2 links for these.
I use the FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Pens. These have been longer lasting than the Madam Sew pens listed below, but do not come in white (which I need for dark colored fabric).
Madam Sew Heat Erasable Fabric Marking Pens are the ones I have used for many years and now mostly use for the white ink when marking on dark fabric. They are refillable and come in 4 colors (white, red, blue, and black). These are great and erase with heat (such as your iron).
Fiskar Rotary Cutter
I also love my Fiskar Rotary Cutter. While the Olfa is a higher quality one and less grip needed, I tend to migrate to using my Fiskar. One of the reasons is I cut fabric with both hands. On the Olfa, you put the blade on one side (for left handers) and the other (for righties). I am constantly using both hands and the Fiskar has the blade in the middle. Both of my cutters use 45mm blades (see below) and I put the Olfa blades into my Fiskar (better blades that last longer).
Olfa Rotary Cutter
I love this rotary cutter for a few reasons. It is comfortable to use, especially when I am cutting fabric for hours. For safety reasons, I like that I have to squeeze the handle for the blade to engage. This is wonderful as my prior cutter, I would lay down and forget the blade was out (and that is why I keep bandaids on my cutting table)!. This cutter does have a feature to lock the blade, either open or shut. I do this when Jack is trying to "help".
Note: I recently upgraded to this on from the Fiskar and it is a game-changer. The blades last SO much longer and I do not have to press as hard when cutting.
Unlike scissors, the downside to a rotary cutter is the blades dull. I always have refills on hand and only use the name brand (the generics tend to wear out quicker). These fit the rotary cutter above (45mm blades). I NEVER use my fabric blade on paper, it will dull it faster. Both of the rotary cutters below use the blades that have a circle in the center (there are some cutters that use a slightly different center shape - so make sure you get what matches your cutter).
Self-Healing Cutting Mat
If you have a rotary cutter, you NEED a self-healing mat or you will destroy the surface you are cutting on. If you are new to sewing, the smaller mat will be a great size. If you have room for a larger one, go for it! Three sizes are posted below. I have all three scattered across my large cutting table. I started with the smaller one and then added to it when I increased my table size.
24" x 36" MAT ONY
Mat, Rotary Cutter and Ruler set
if you are going this route, double check the rotary cutter and make sure it is one to your liking. I like this set and the blade is locking. It does not have the same "squeeze to cut" as the one listed above, but better than the very basic one.
Bigger is not always better. Having a small ruler is a great tool. I have many sizes and often reach for my 2.5" ruler.
If you buy the combined set, it has a 6.5" wide ruler. This is also a great size to have. If not, I would recommend a 24" long ruler. Quilting cotton is usually 40-42" wide. If you fold it in half, this ruler is plenty long enough to cover the entire width to get a nice straight cut.
This is another trick of the trade I use. This double-sided tape is great to hold two pieces of fabric (I mostly use it with Zippers) to keep them from wiggling when sewing. This type is wash away (meaning when you wash it, it goes away). There are permanent versions, but I find this is what I reach for 99% of the time.
Many of my students have commented on my iron. I have an Oslo which is expensive and NOT needed, Any household iron will do. I will warn you, this gets HOT. I have burned myself on the steam before.
If you are not ironing a lot - get a mini iron! I use a Cricut mini iron for quick things and also safer for my daughter to use.
Let's talk sewing machines
The sky is the limit when it comes to machines. You do not need to spend $$$$$$ to get a machine that fits your needs. If you care for the machine, they will last.
I HIGHLY recommend price around for your machine. Prices are not consistent. These links are just to give you examples. I am always happy to answer any questions you have when purchasing a machine.
This is the machine I have for students to use (and belongs to Emma). This machine is great for all ages and will last for a long time. There are many machines that are a lower price point, but I like this one for a variety of reasons:
- It will NOT let you sew with the presser foot up. This is a nice feature and prevents the machine from jamming.
- This machine has a speed control allowing you to slow down the machine regardless of how much you press on the foot pedal.
- Drop in Bobbin Feature. This is easier to see when your bobbin is out of thread
This is a very similar machine at a lower price. The big difference is this machine does not have the speed control - it is controlled all by the foot pedal. This machine still has the feature it will not sew with the presser foot up and the drop in bobbin.
For my sewing machine, I use ONLY Gutermann thread that I get from Joann when it is on sale. This is a higher quality thread and tends to hold up better over time. The spool has a built in thread slot so it prevents it from unraveling when you are not using it.
For my Serger/Coverstitch, I use Maxi-Lock that I get from www.Wawak.com this is a great website that has a TON of sewing notions. Super quick shipping and a small business!