Sewing Tips and Tricks: Unexpected Tools for the Sewing Room

Don’t you just love it when something so unexpected becomes a convenient and useful tool for sewing? Today, I’m talking about a simple flat-head screwdriver and a wallpaper roller. You heard me right — two tools that are likely to already be in your home that you can add to your sewing room.

Wallpaper Roller and Screwdriver

Photos via Simply Sewing Studio

Believe it or not, both a flat-head screwdriver and a wallpaper ruler can serve a useful purpose in sewing.

OK, you might already have a screwdriver in your sewing space.

Often a decent sized one comes with your sewing machine to use when changing presser feet or to get into the throat plate. But, if your machine is like mine, you have this funny looking device to do the same tasks. Using a screwdriver for those purposes, however, is not what I am talking about.

How many times have you been sewing bulky fabric and you need something to compress the fabric down as it approaches a chunky intersection? Or, when your fabric begins to shift a bit with the potential of creating an unwanted tuck and you want something to stabilize it? In the past I would place the tip of my nipping scissors or a seam ripper on top of the seam to hold the fabric in place. That worked pretty well, but I always hated sticking those pointy tips near the sewing machine needle. Furthermore, sometimes I needed a bit more than just a tip of a seam ripper to do the job sufficiently. A screwdriver with a flat head works much better.

Close Up on Using Screw Driver While Sewing

I have one with a fairly wide head that sits among the sewing supplies I have next to my sewing machine. The wide head does a much better job of compressing or holding the fabric down as I sew. It’s wide enough to hold the fabric securely and I can get very close to the edge of the presser foot without worrying the machine needle will hit it. With it there next to me at the ready when needed, I can’t tell you how many times it has saved me.

The other tool I’m fairly certain is not in too many sewing boxes is a wallpaper roller.

Once again, you heard me right. It’s that thing you roll over the wallpaper seams to ensure the edges adhere securely to the walls. Well, it sort of does the same thing when used for sewing. I use to help flatten and secure open seams on fabrics like wool and fleece.

Using Wallpaper Roller to Flatten Fabric

First things first — buy a clean one! They’re cheap and readily available at any store selling paint and wallpaper supplies. You don’t want to use one with layers of wallpaper glue already on it, because when used for sewing, the steam from your iron will transfer the glue onto your fabric — yuk!

This simple device does the same thing a clapper and seamroll would do, but if you don’t have either of those, this is a great alternative. What I especially like is that it prevents the edges of a typical ⅝” seam from leaving an imprint on the right side of the fabric. Wallpaper rollers are typically only 1″ wide, so logically the seam edges remain untouched. This works well on wool and is a great tool for sealing glued seams on leather and even felt for craft projects.

Using Wallpaper Roller on Leather

Who knew something so simple and handy can become must-have tools in the sewing room. I love when that happens!

You might also enjoy my post on sewing stitch starters.

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