I may go a little “My prescioussssss!” in a notions aisle, but, when it comes right down to it, there are only a few items that legitimately fall into the category of daily sewing necessities. Here are my top five must-have sewing tools. If any one of them disappeared from my studio, I would be utterly, hopelessly lost. (And very grumpy.)
What’s on your list?
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1. Olfa Rotary Cutter
At first, I didn’t believe all the hype about Olfa. I figured that, as long as you kept a sharp blade installed, all rotary cutters were created more or less equal. But, when it comes to the smoothness of the cut, the movement of the blade, and the sturdiness of the handle, there’s simply no comparison. Take a deep breath, then spend a little extra money and go with Olfa—you won’t be sorry. (I use the 45mm size, which is perfect for just about anything that I need to cut.)
2. Tracing Wheel with Serrated Edge
Though it may look like a Medieval torture device (or maybe something a bit more kinky), when it comes to transferring patterns and marking fabric, a tracing wheel with a serrated edge will quickly become your new sewing BFF. Unlike rotary cutters, I’ve found that the brand and shape is more a matter of a personal preference—as long as the wheel is sturdy and the handle feels comfortable, you’re good to go. (Mine is from Perfect Pattern Aids, but I also like the look of this bamboo version from Clover.)
3. Clover Seams Right
The tiny Seams Right includes all of the most common sewing measurements in one place, and I use it for everything from adding seam allowances to patterns to marking evenly spaced hems and button holes. It’s as small as a credit card and easier to wrangle than a standard measuring tape, so it’s perfect for making quick adjustments as you work. The best part: it’s metal, so you can use it with an iron to make hem creases or press corners on the fly, no marks needed!
When it comes to measuring tools, the Clover 5-in-1 Sliding Gauge comes in a close second. I reviewed both on Craft Test Dummies.
4. Omnigrid Rulers
My sewing skills would decrease dramatically without my Omnigrid rulers. I have two sizes, 8″ x 4″ and 24″ x 6″, and I use at least one of them on every single project. The rulers are clear with dual-color markings, so they’re visible on both light and dark fabrics. The bottom is textured, which keeps them in place on the fabric as you mark or cut, and the acrylic is thick enough to make rotary cutting quick and safe.
5. Clover Chaco Liner
As long as I’ve been crafting, I’ve been on a constant search for the best, most universal marking tool. I wanted something that would make clean, crisp lines on all types of fabric and felt, and standard chalk pencils and fabric markers were definitely not cutting it. So, when I came across chaco liners at one of my local fabric stores, I could almost hear the birds chirping and fairies singing. I bought a couple of colors on the spot, and now I won’t use anything else. The refillable pens come loaded with a fine chalk powder, which is distributed with minimal pressure through a roller in the tip, creating perfect lines with no stretching or snagging on felt, stretch fabrics, or delicate materials. (That’s right, perfect marks on FELT!) It’s a sewing miracle!
Did I miss something? Add your favorites below!