Thursday, February 16, 2012

A shout out to my favorite sewing tools.

When you first start sewing, you really don't need very many special tools.  Your machine is probably the most important one.  However, there are some items that can make your new hobby much easier, and can be had at very little cost.  Here are a few of my faves.
18" x 2" clear gridded ruler
This was one of those 'rocked my sewing world' tools, and was introduced by my most excellent sewing studio and flat pattern instructor in college.  I really feel that this one is a necessity.  I use mine soooo much.  They're great for making sure your grain line is parallel to your selvage, drawing straight lines when you're altering or making a pattern, and, of course, measuring.  I'm forever mislaying them, so I have 3 in my collection.  The blue ones can be found in the quilting section of most sewing stores, and the pink can usually be found in the drafting section of art supply or office stores.  I find it really helpful to have both colors.  If I'm using blue fabric, it's easier to see the pink grid, and vice-versa.

hem guage
 I talked a bit about this one during the sew-along.  It's basically a short ruler, usually 6", with a plastic or metal slide.  You can set the slide to the desired width of your hem. It makes pressing and marking way easier.  I am forever mislaying these, too, and they're pretty inexpensive, so I like to keep several on hand.  They can typically be found in the notions area of sewing stores.

mechanical chalk pencil
How great is this? I love regular mechanical pencils (especially for pattern drafting), and had to have the chalk version when I saw it.  I do most of my marking using the pin and chalk method, and went through regular chalk pencils like crazy.  With this little gadget, I can just change the color whenever I want.  You can find them in the quilting section of your sewing store. 

The Needle Nest
Just a flat plastic box with a magnet in the bottom.  Totally genius.  I used to try and keep my hand sewing needles in their original package, but they'd always end up falling out.  I tried a small, wooden, tube shaped case, but the lid fell off.  Needles everywhere, yikes.  I found this type of case several years ago.  Problem solved!

Turn-it-All tubes
If you've ever sewn a drawstring, apron tie, etc, you know what a royal pain it can be to turn the fabric right side out.  These guys make things much, much simpler.  Just slip one of the tubes inside your fabric drawstring (or apron tie, doll arm, whatever), and then push the fabric through the tube with one of the dowels.  Easy!

 EZ Pull Bodkins
Threading elastic or a drawstring through a casing is another one of those sewing chores that can take for-ev-er.  These little gadgets help you accomplish the task in a fraction of the time.

  Just slip the elastic or cord between the teeth of the bodkin, and slide the little ring down to clamp it in place.  That's it!  You're ready thread your elastic.

So, there you have it.  These are the sewing tools that I geek out over the most!  Do you have a favorite?

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