Designer Label -v- Design A Label : My garment sewing comes of age!

Hello sewing buddies!

I’m sure you’ll agree, Labels can be contentious things; from the ones we assign ourselves and the ones society places on us to the ones we’re told we should aspire to buy. I can be labelled ‘Mother’, ‘Wife’, ‘Middle-Aged’; as a ‘Sewist’ and ‘Maker’; an ‘Introvert’ and ‘Bookworm’ for example but can these labels, singularly or together, give you the whole picture of who I am? Of course not. (As far as labels go, I like ‘Human’ best ;-)) And, as someone who sews my own clothes, I’m rarely swayed by Designer clothing labels either.

That all said, admittedly, there is one Label I have been desiring for years; my own self-designed woven label to sew into my handmade garments!

And now I have them and I couldn’t be happier! Friends, I also have a 15% discount code for you too, should you want to whisper in Santa’s ear! …

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Inspector Gadget Strikes Again…A Roundup of my Latest Fave Sewing Tools, Gadgets & Gizmos!

It probably won’t surprise you when I say I really believe the right tools and gadgets make a huge difference to my sewing projects; whether it simplifies a process, neatens an outcome or just makes me smile in using it. So I thought I’d share a collection of the latest gizmos to have quickly become indispensable to my sewing kit. Who knows, something here may catch your eye! They’d all make great Christmas Stocking fillers; just sayin’.

First up, I’ve got this funky little acrylic sleeve placket template from’s Etsy Store. If you’ve sewn sleeve plackets before, like me, you may also find the trickiest part is actually marking your fabric pieces sufficiently. There’s a lot of marks to transfer (fold lines, notches, slash mark etc). This nifty little tool, designed to produce a 1″ wide placket, has cut-outs in all the right places to make pattern transferring that much easier. I’d also imagine this is really handy if you’d like to add a placket to a sleeve that isn’t drafted with them. As a caveat, I will say that this template is obviously of a fixed average size…and it may be bigger (or smaller!) than you want; however, I still think it’s useful for transferring those pesky markings!

It comes with an illustrated instruction booklet or see Inside The Hem’s vlog on how to use it here.

Next up we have what I think is one of the handiest little tools, perfect to pop into your bag when out fabric shopping or if you’re wanting to check your stashed fabric meets the stretch requirements of your pattern, I’m talking about the … Read More

Sewing tools

What’s in my Sewing Kit? My Favourite Sewing Tools & Gadgets

Sewing tools

I’ve been thinking of doing a little ‘What’s in my Sewing Kit’ series for a while. Given that I’ve got something of a reputation over on Instagram as ‘Inspector Gadget Smith’ (because I regularly post whatever the latest thing to make me go “Squeeee!” is), I thought I’d kick off with my favourite sewing gadgets. Some may be obvious, others perhaps less so but, happily, most are fairly inexpensive (I’m not covering sewing machine feet here as my favourite feet deserve a post all of their own!)

Now, don’t get me wrong, these gadgets are not necessarily the essential basic ‘must haves’ in your kit or mine; I’m not talking seam rippers here! They are however my absolute favourite tools that I routinely reach for and thank my lucky stars I possess; I would shed real tears if you were to wrestle them out of my hands and run off with them! (So, y’know, don’t) haha!

In no particular order:-

Clover Hot Hemmer

Favourite sewing tools

I owe Clueless Leigh major thanks for this one, as she mentioned it in one of her Vlogs; a basic concept, simply fold your fabric to your desired marking and press for perfectly even hems/seam allowances. I use it constantly. I think I got mine from Amazon and probably paid over the odds for it. I don’t care, it’s worth every penny.

Clover Fork Pins


For matching seams these little fork Pins can’t be beat! I leave them in place as I sew, slowly, by turning the hand wheel. They come in a little plastic treasure chest type box, which I mention because these little fork pins are my kind of treasure! Again, I think these were an Amazon purchase.

Hemline Bobbin Match Mates


These things are genius! Genius I tell you!! Keep your bobbin threads together with your main spool (they hold up to two bobbins). Your spool and bobbin thread ends wrap neatly together to stop them becoming a jumbled mess. I got mine from Minerva here.

A Bit of Folded Card

Favourite sewing tools

Yeah don’t adjust your glasses; I’m serious. I use this all the time! In case you’re wondering, I slide it under the back of my sewing machine foot to level the foot out when negotiating thick seams etc. I’ve had this particular bit of folded cardboard for over a year!

Hemline Sewing / Quilting Measuring Gauge

What's in my sewing kit

A nifty double-sided little tool which has 14 different measurements on front and back (from 1/8″ to 1 3/4″). I think it’s fair to say mine has seen better days, having nearly come to a sticky end under the iron! This is just brilliant for marking out your stitching lines prior to sewing something where accuracy is key, like the shirt collar here. I really ought to order another but I’m curiously attached to its wonkiness!

Masking Tape

Beginners sewing kit

Oh slightly sticky paper how I love thee. Great for marking the right side / wrong side as well as numbering your pieces; marking stitching lines and as a guideline on your sewing machine. It peels off easily leaving little to no residue. I loves it!

Wrist Pincushion

What's in my sewing kit

Oh there are flashier sexier wrist pincushions out there but this little sunflower is priceless. It was bought for me by my then 5 yr old daughter out of her own piggy bank pocket money. It makes me smile every time I use it. Using it has also meant the percentage rate at which I hold pins in between my teeth and, therefore, the rate at which I routinely stab myself in the mouth, has dropped significantly!

Clover Wonder Clips

What's in my sewing kit tools gadgetssewing tools gadgets kit

I say Clover, but I’m sure there are loads of generic brands out there. These little clamps are so quick and easy to use; they don’t leave pin holes and are supposedly designed so you can sew past them…although I haven’t tried that last bit so don’t take my word for it!

Simflex ‘Buttonhole’ Gauge

What's in my sewing kit

Not an accurate depiction of how you’d use this thing admittedly but y’know artistic license an’ all that! I haven’t used this a great deal to be fair but I can see it’s going to be seriously priceless when I come to sewing up some summer shirtdresses* soon. Great for evenly marking out pleats or anything else for that matter too. I got mine from Jaycotts; they have a tendency to get them in and then they sell out for a while before restocking.

Makeup Brush

What's in my sewing kit

No, not for re-powdering my nose when things go wrong and I get all hot and bothered; if you’re anything like me a brush barely meets my hair on sewing days never mind putting makeup on haha! But repurposing a brush from from your makeup kit is a good idea if you haven’t already. Thorough yet gentle when used for cleaning out the fabric dust from your overlocker or sewing machine and so much better than the itty bitty thing your machine probably came with. It tells you something about my priorities when I can say my overlocker is kept cleaner than my oven haha *feelsguiltyandrunstocleanoven*

Bias Binder Makers

Sewing gadgets

I love my little rainbow of binders and they work brilliantly; the set came in sizes 6, 12, 18 and 25 mm. I love making my own bias strips from left over fabric pieces. I tend to buy block colour bias but if I want something a bit more individual or particular, I make my own. I can’t remember where I got my little bias making kit from but a quick Google search reveals you can get them practically anywhere!


What's in my sewing kit

Great for when threading your overlocker or for pulling your threads out from under your sewing machine foot as well as a multitude of other little fiddly jobs. Especially good for pulling out nests of thread that have got tangled up in the feed dogs. Ask me how I know.

Chaco Chalk Liner

What's in my sewing kit

Does ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. The chalk is dispersed over the super fine drawing wheel so you can achieve sharp lines; great for marking darts etc. Comes in lots of colours and is refillable.

Any here you have or want? What’s your favourite tool(s),  I’d love to know…

Until next time,

Sew Sarah smith


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