Sewing requires plenty of specialized tools, but did you know you have some items hiding in plain sight that make great additions to your sewing toolkit? Here are a few common household items to try with your sewing techniques.
Add these unexpected items to your sewing toolbox!
Blue painter’s tape
That big roll of low-tack blue painter’s tape you bought when redecorating? You can bring into your sewing space!
Blue painter’s tape makes a great, quick marking tool. It’s quite easy to write on with pen or pencil, so you can make notes, such as indicating the right or left sleeve. You could use pieces of tape to mark the wrong side on fabrics that look the same on both sides.
I have even used it to attach slippery fabric to the cutting table. Test a small piece on a scrap or edge of your fabric first to make sure no adhesive stays behind when you remove it.
If you or someone in your household plays golf, then you know that there are always golf tees around. They are just the right size to pair a threaded bobbin with its matching spool. You could also use pieces of drinking straw, or even large paper clips to achieve the same effect.
Wooden kitchen skewers
A wooden kitchen skewer is another useful tool to keep near the sewing machine. You can use the point to guide fabric under the presser foot, particularly on a curved edge where the fabric might not feed as smoothly as on a straight seam. A wooden cuticle stick would work, too.
If you are in the medical profession, then you will recognize this as a hemostat. If it looks unfamiliar, it’s a surgical tool used to staunch blood flow — but you can use it in your sewing room, too.
This tool is invaluable for grasping stray bits of thread or removing basting and tailor’s tacks. The hemostat’s jaws are serrated, so they interlock when closed and really hang onto what ever tiny bit of thread you grab. They are also useful for pulling out corners such as in a collar or cuffs. I even find it handy for threading the serger — it works better than the tweezers that came with it!
Hemostats are available in straight or curved versions, and you can readily buy them online. Once you have one in your sewing toolbox you will wonder how you did without it.
Wooden spoon or dowel
You might have a wooden clapper and a tailor’s ham,but have you added a wooden spoon to your collection of pressing tools? A piece of wooden doweling (which you can find at the hardware store) that’s longer and has a slightly larger diameter, is better, but in a pinch, a wooden spoon will work!
Place the shaft of the wooden spoon precisely under the seam to be pressed open and press. Using this technique presses the stitching open but avoids the edges of the seam allowance to create a shadow on the right side of the fabric as shown in the photo. Be sure to select a brand new spoon that has not been used for cooking so as to keep your fabrics perfectly clean.
Freezer or waxed paper
Waxed paper is ideal for copying a detail from an existing garment. It is translucent but a bit stronger than tissue paper. Plus, you can use a serrated roller designed for applying tracing carbon to outline a neckline, collar or another feature.
Freezer paper can be used as pattern paper, particularly if you want to preserve a tissue pattern. Place the pattern piece over the freezer paper, trace any lines with your serrated roller, and voila — a very easy way to copy the pattern pieces.