Hello, lovely sewing people … I’m back with a perennially favourite topic of mine : a roundup of my latest sewing tools and gadget loves! Although a somewhat eclectic mix of stuff, they’ve all passed the Indispensable Test – not only have I really enjoyed using them, they’ve all achieved ‘How Did I Ever Manage Without Them?!’ status to become absolute essentials in my sewing kit.
In no particular order :
Clover Loop Pressing Bars
This is one of those gadgets I’ve often thought I needed without knowing it actually existed : a heat-resistant resin bar for pressing straps and ties etc. How many times have you made fabric straps, button loops, ties and the like for a garment, successfully turned them the right way out and then fiddled like crazy when pressing them to get the seam to lay straight and uniformly?
This simple tool slips inside your just sewn fabric ‘tube’, allowing you to press the seam allowance open in the middle – or to the side if you prefer. Then when you turn the strap right side out, slip the bar back inside and re-press, again aligning the seam to the middle or side as you prefer. Everything lays nice and flat with no twisting. So simple, so effective; it comes as a multi-pack containing several different widths (6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 mm). The design at the end of the bars also allows you to thread elastic or ribbon, so you can use them like extra length bodkins! I bought mine HERE.
Ok, so not strictly a sewing tool per se but my LED headlight quickly become one of the first things I reach for when I sit down to sew! With these endless dark winter days and even darker winter evenings, this has made all the difference to my sewing / crafting. Even though my sewing machine has a great amount of in-built light and I have a really strong daylight lamp on my sewing table, I was still struggling to see adequately – no doubt due to ageing eyeballs as much as anything!
I love how this lamp can be angled to direct light exactly where it’s needed. It’s also incredibly comfortable to wear; I soon forget I’m wearing it in fact. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve left my sewing table to talk to someone else in the house and unwittingly blinded them! Great for any close work, from unpicking to handsewing and everything in between. (I’ve worn them when knitting and trying my hand at embroidery lately too!) Of all the tools and gadgets I own, this is in my top 10.
Self Measuring Body Tape
Ah this thing is so handy. Like, literally having another pair of hands! It has a self-locking system with a simple push button for release and retraction of the tape; you simply wrap it around your upper arm, for e.g., and then press the central button – this ‘tightens’ the tape. You then unclip it – the locking button means the tape doesn’t retract until you want it to, allowing you to read the measurement. (Note the measurement starts at 2″, this is to take into account the 2″ width of the device itself – the tape extends to 60″ / 150 cm). It has a nicely curved edged to fit flush and comfortably to the body.
It’s also so much tidier to store as the tape fully retracts into itself. No more unruly tape everywhere! There are loads of different types out there. (Edit : I’ve removed the link to the one I bought – although mine works perfectly a Reader received a faulty one).
That Purple Thang
This is one of those seemingly useless things that you then find yourself constantly reaching for! It “…pushes, pokes, pulls…”; this six inch long stick thing has a myriad of uses. It has two ends, a stiletto and a square edge (which measures 1.4″ wide). I find myself using it to stabilise, ‘grab’, push and adjust fabric as I sew; great when sewing gathers, for example, to reduce puckers going under the foot. I also use to swipe underneath the foot to bring out the threads. If you look at the pictures above, you’ll see I used it to seperate a weeny seam allowance so I could get the nose of my iron in place. It’s the most useful, useless thing I’ve ever owned, haha! I bought mine HERE.
Seam Guide Foot and a 1/4″ Foot
I think the Quarter Inch Foot came with my machine (a Pfaff) but the Seam Guide foot I bought from Sew Essential (the same place I bought my sewing machine).
I am infatuated with the seam guide foot. It makes sewing around curves an absolute breeze. Previously, I would resort to chalking in my sewing lines when I really wanted absolute accuracy on certain curved seams and I can omit that step now. You can get them with the adjustable plastic arm guide as well but I prefer this for regular sewing.
The quarter inch foot is obviously great for piecing a quilt but I find myself reaching for it when understitching or basting, etc. It’s great when working with fabrics that are easily chewed into the feed dogs as there’s only a teeny hole for the needle to pass through. Because the foot is narrow it’s great when you need to sew really close to the edge of a fabric as it holds it firmly in place as you sew.
My Iron – Russell Hobbs PowerSteam Ultra
I feel like I’ve been on a heck of journey when it comes to irons. I’ve bought cheap ones and I’ve bought expensive ones and they’ve all been pretty crap. This, though relatively inexpensive, is a cut above! It’s weighty, has a great shaped ‘nose’ which makes pressing open seams a breeze, a decent sized tank (350 ml), self cleans, has a powerful vertical steam function and, best of all, it has a timer and an automatic cut-off…no more burning out. It wakes up quickly and easily too, so I’m really happy just leaving this thing plugged in for hours as I work. I also think it’s a sleek looking; for the money, I love this thing. As much as it’s possible to love an iron, that is. (My only criticism is the cord, which is nice and long at 3m but doesn’t easily wrap around the base; I coil and tie it with a strip of velcro when I put it away).
I bought mine HERE.
Scotch Magic Tape
I’ve found this eco-friendly matt tape has so many uses, aside from its intended use, including some ‘genuinely’ magic ones, as you shall see – think taping over a button or a pesky hook and eye so as to hold in place on your garment as you sew it on; it can be sewn through and then ripped off. It’s also really good when redrafting your paper patterns; it’s almost invisible when applied and can be written over. Also good for wrapping a short length around your fingers to collect fluff and fibres.
All well and good but now here’s where it gets really interesting…
… I’ve read loads of tips lately from fellow sewists who have really found the ‘Magic’ with this magic tape – highlighting a variety of other possible amazing uses! For example, using it to part-cover the needle plate, just under the needle itself (and avoiding the feed dogs), in lieu of having a straight stitch plate. This apparently helps in stopping delicate fabrics being pulled into the feed dogs – I think we can all agree this sounds much quicker, less faffy and a damn site cheaper than switching out your stitch plate! Others have mentioned adding the Scotch tape to the underside of a presser foot – if you havent got a teflon foot handy – to assist in the way materials such as laminated fabrics, vinyl or leathers glide, rather than stick, under the foot as you sew.
Mind blown! I bought mine HERE.
Have you tried Scotch Tape in your sewing? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
The only thing my sewing kit is missing at the moment is something that money can’t buy – time!
I’ll be back soon with some more sewing and crafting goodness! In the meantime, I hope you’re keep well? If you’d like to keep in touch, I am posting a little more regularly again over on Instagram; you can find me there, HERE.
Take care, happy making!
Disclaimer : Not a sponsored post; all the products mentioned in this post were purchased by me.Some of the links given are Affiliate links; if you chose to purchase via one of these links you will be supporting this blog at no additional cost to yourself for which I thank you xx