Every Crafter has their favourite tools, the ones that you discover have more uses than you initially thought, and the ones that quickly become indispensable and you can’t remember what you did before they entered your life. It sounds dramatic, but I know you get it! This is a compilation of my personal favourites, why they are outstanding and how they are used.
Dressmaking Scissors Tailor’s Shears 8″ Finny No. 72020
Made by Kretzer Solingen/Germany
I discovered these scissors about 12 years ago at Fabricland (a Canadian fabric retailer). I’m left-handed, and was looking for a sharp pair of fabric scissors. I bought these because they were ambidextrous, and it was the only choice! Well, they have been amazing! Very sharp right to the tip, I only use them on fabric and felt so they have kept in great shape even 12 years later. They are lightweight and definitely take less effort to cut with compared to other scissors. This is incredibly important for me as I struggle with repetitive strain, tendonitis and chronic muscle overuse in my arms, elbows, wrists, fingers…LOL. So these have definitely been a lifesaver for me.
I loved them so much that a couple of months ago I wanted to get a second pair so I could keep them in both of my sewing spots in the house. I went to Fabricland but alas, they no longer stocked them! I found a couple of left-handed scissors to try and honestly – they sucked. I didn’t realize that left-handed blades meant the actually blades were reversed which is a nightmare when your brain is trained to “cut” as though you’re right-handed. Anyhow, I turned to the web, and located them on Amazon, so I finally have two pairs!
Dritz Quick Turn (aka Turning Tubes)
So when I was getting back into crafting in an obsessive way a couple of years ago, that was when I discovered Etsy as a platform to purchase really cool patterns that were really so much more original and creative than the ones you used to buy from the big pattern companies at your local fabric shop.
One of the first ones I did was this Witch Moon by Old World Primitives. Note all the curves and tiny details in the profile.
I turned this thing just using a chopstick because that was all I had, and it took me FOREVER. It was so frustrating, I accidentally poked through the seam in a few places..and of course the stuffing of it was equally challenging as I didn’t have a tool yet for that either!
So I did some reading and discovered turning tubes. I have a set of Dritz Quick Turn tools, there are other brands out there that would work equally well. Now I look back and kind of want to re-try that pattern to see how much faster I can do it!
These were an amazing gift from a friend. I’d never worked with them before, and realized quickly they’re not for cutting fabric. They are just for cutting threads but they are amazing because of the way you hold them (very ergonomic), they are sharp, and they are able to cut very flush to your fabric!
They are quick – if I have a pile of produce bags I’m trimming up, I can make my way through the stack much quicker. They take some getting used to – my mother didn’t take well to them at first. Within a week she had claimed them for herself (lol)).
Paper Towel (weird, right??!)
This may seem like a strange one but oh boy, for pattern design it’s a game changer! I use the thicker kind, and it’s amazing for doing clothing design for dolls! You can pin it in place, you can sew through it, you can mark it up with adjustments – it can hold finger creases, it’s got some structure but yet it can mold nicely around curves – and it’s dirt cheap AND compostable!
I generally work out clothing patterns using the paper towel first, I literally sew it with my machine as I would with fabric. When I’m happy with the pattern fit, I will then transfer it to paper, add seam allowance and re-try the pattern, but 90% of the time it’s spot on!
That Purple Thang
This is a must have for crafters! I retail it in my Etsy shop because I really think it’s the perfect tool for working on little figures and ornament like my Nativity Scene Series and Larissa Holland’s ornament series. It gets into all the nooks and crannies, and if the pointy part is breaking through your stuffing, try using the flat edge to push the stuffing in place! I find between the two tool ends it never fails me!
These are a recent discovery of mine. I have always just used pins for everything, but with some delicate items I’ve worked on, sometimes the residual pin marks actually can show, or sometimes you’re really trying to keep the edges of the fabric aligned and pins aren’t actually the right thing to use!
I like the quilting clips for lining up the centres of shoulder seams to sleeve caps. I also use the clips to line up fabric notches in a pattern, they really help to line everything up and then I use pins intermittently between. They are also good if you have to line up more than two layers of fabric! They don’t mis-align like pins sometimes can.
AND they’re useful for clamping things together after gluing – think Lord a Leaping from the Twelve Days series, or when you make the little envelopes for the Little Elves (both Larissa Holland patterns) – I find the clips work really well at holding things together while the glue dries!
Table Top Ironing Board
Yes I made it myself! It was very quick and I use it almost daily. It keeps me from having to set up the ironing board for every little thing!
I have to include this – my mug warmer. Oh my. I love it. When I’m still sipping on a morning coffee but want to make my way up to my sewing room, I no longer have to stop every 20 minutes to go reheat my coffee (I hate cold coffee lol). I keep it on my little mug warmer and it stays warm for hours! I just got mine on amazon, there are lots of choices! I find when I start sewing I lose track of time, go back to my coffee and its cold. So I go down, reheat it, bring it up, and the whole vicious cycle begins AGAIN!.
This little “nice to have” has increased my productivity and kept me focused as well as nicely caffeinated!
That’s the list! I realized I’m still hunting for the perfect fabric marking tool, and in examining what I currently used I realized I use different ones depending on my fabric and intent. So I think that’s a whole other blog post!
If you have any questions about any of the tools I’ve mentioned above, send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!