All About our Pattern Essentials Tool Kits
Last week we launched a product that we've been wanting to offer for a long while now, our Pattern Essentials Tool Kits! We put a lot of thought into the contents and parts of this kit and we're so happy with how they turned out. We're completely overwhelmed with your response to them! I think it's important to have the correct tools for the job and what could be better for working on your patterns than a set of professional pattern making tools? I can't think of anything. A few of you may be asking "why would I need these strange looking tools?" Well I'm here to explain all of that to you today – let's walk through the set tool by tool!
The pattern notcher is one of my most used tools and I love it to death! Traditionally with home sewing patterns, notches are a series of triangles that jut out from the pattern pieces. I always found these awkward to cut and generally hated them. When I went to fashion school and was introduced to the pattern notcher I could NOT understand why this technique of matching notches existed and us home sewers didn't know about it!
This pattern notcher cuts a 1/16" wide, 1/4" long U into the edge of your pattern marking your notch placement. To transfer to your fabric you simply trace into the notch with your marking utensil of choice, then do a quick snip as you cut out the fabric piece. Since the notch is only 1/4" long the snip will be hidden in the seam allowance, so easy!
Needle Point Tracing Wheel
Needle point tracers are indispensable when making pattern adjustments. The super sharp tips on this tracing wheel allow you to mark through paper of all thicknesses. I use my needle point tracer when blending side seams, making facings and lapels, and marking the shape of the dart take-up when making bust adjustments.
Another fun thing you can do with a needle point tracer is trace off existing garments! Lay out the garment you want to trace off on top of paper, then trace around the seam lines and easily mark them onto your paper! The needles are fine enough that they won't damage most fabrics. Then remove your garment and use a pencil and ruler to mark the final shape of your pattern pieces.
Screw Punch with Interchangeable Tips
The screw punch is one of the coolest tools I own, and although it isn't as flexible as a few others purpose wise, the job it performs is one that's very important – punching perfect holes into things! On a pattern I use the 2 or 2.5 tip to punch a hole into my pattern so that I can easily mark dart points, match points, pocket placement, anything that requires transferring from my pattern to my fabric.
In addition to patterns, the screw punch will also cut through fabric. When setting snaps, like on a Tamarack for example, I'll cut a hole in the jacket using the smallest tip to allow the snap to set properly through all those layers. You can see what I mean in this blog post.
Wood Handled Awl
The wood handled awl is a real workhorse around the studio – we use ours for all sorts of things! I use mine for marking dart points, notches, match points, etc. while tracing my patterns out, before using my notcher and screw punch. They're also a great help while walking seam lines after making any pattern adjustments. We even use ours for poking a hole through our jeans and coats before setting our jeans buttons!
Where would I be without my beloved pattern hooks? In a giant mess of patterns, that's where! We hang all of our patterns using these hooks and they allow us to really make the best use of the space we have and keep things very organized. In addition to organization, they also allow you to keep your pattern flat which is helpful when it comes time to trace it out. I hate curly patterns and I hate ironing them even more!
Pattern Essentials Tool Pouch
To keep all of these tools organized we designed this handy lined tool pouch! The print was designed and illustrated by Lexi and we then had it screen printed and made into these organic cotton, fully lined pouches by Work + Shelter. They close with a solid metal YKK zipper to keep everything safely tucked inside. If you haven't heard of Work + Shelter, they're a great company with roots in Chicago that manufactures fair trade sewn goods in India. In addition to supplying women with jobs and training, they also set them up with their own bank accounts, and help them find living situations when needed.
So that's what's in our Pattern Essentials Tool Kit! We'll be posting some how-to videos featuring these tools in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for those, and if you haven't grabbed a kit yet, pop over to the shop and grab them before they're gone! We will be restocking them, don't worry, but if you don't want to wait, now is the time!