I thought it’d be fun to start a little series on some of my favorite sewing tools, starting with my basic everyday sewing must haves. These are the tools I find myself using almost daily while sewing around the studio and things I’d be lost without! Clockwise from top left we have the following…
- Dritz #110 Super Fine Sharp Pins: These are my absolute favorite pins. They’re thin and super sharp so they’ll go through whatever you need without leaving a mark or damaging your fabric. They’re pretty average in length, perhaps a slight bit longer than standard dressmaker’s pins, so they don’t get in the way while you’re working the way some longer quilting style pins can. The only things I don’t use these pins on are heavy wool coating (they’re not strong enough for that) and knits (usually don’t use many pins there).
- Buttonhole Foot: Since we sew a lot of Archers around here the buttonhole foot is in heavy rotation at the machine. The buttonhole foot shown above is for our BERNINA machines but no matter your machine you should have one of these in your toolkit that came with the machine. I highly recommend getting familiar with it and making it one of your best friends. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who tell me they’re scared of buttonholes and either won’t make anything with a button/buttonhole or have garments completely finished waiting around for months for the buttonholes.
- Button Sew-on Foot: This foot goes hand in hand with the buttonhole foot and is indispensable to me! There’s nothing I like less than sewing on a ton of buttons by hand, so having this foot is a total game changer. And before you ask, no I’ve never had a button fall off when attaching it by this method. There’s a button sew-on stitch on my machine that knots the thread at three points during the sew on process so it’s actually more secure than when I’m in charge!
- Quarter Inch Foot: This foot is my number one most used machine foot! BERNINA calls it a Patchwork Foot which I really think sells it short. I learned on a sewing machine that had one of these feet (a Sears Kenmore from the 1970’s), then in school all the industrials we used had a similar foot. I love that it’s small and has an open front so it affords me a better view of my sewing. I really feel lost without it!
- Scissors: I’m not much of a rotary person, but the scissors I find most useful for almost every project I make are my Gingher bent handle shears, embroidery scissors, and my not pictured thread snips. I couldn’t sew without them! I use the small scissors for things like clipping, grading, and other small precision cuts. The shears are for cutting my projects and cutting corners, while the snips live next to my machine and serger for clipping my threads as they come off the machine.
- Buttonhole Chisel: If you’re making buttonholes this is a must have. You’ll never live in fear of slicing a buttonhole open and the cut it makes is so nice. People always ask me if I use fray check on my buttonholes and I really feel it’s not necessary when you’re using the correct tool to open your holes. There’s no pulling of threads when using a chisel like there is with other methods, so the cut is super clean and precise. Just a heads up, you’ll likely need to get this sharpened with your scissors if you use it a lot, they do dull over time.
- Bone Folder: You’ll find these at your local paper supply store as they’re used in book binding a lot, but I love them as point turners in sewing. They’re sharp enough to turn the point but won’t poke through the corner the way some sharper tools will.
- Seam Gauge: These are excellent all purpose measuring tools. Use them for measuring your seam, checking your needle distance when adjusting it from left to right, placing buttons, etc. They’re super handy!
So those are my favorite tools for my everyday sewing with a heavy dose of buttonholes! What general tools can you not live without?