Current Favorite Sewing Tools
I thought it might be fun to talk about some quilting/sewing tools I have been using lately. I truly believe they are responsible for making my sewing more accurate.
First up is starch. I buy it by the half dozen cans or more at Walmart, where I have found the best prices. If you haven't discovered the benefits of starching your quilting fabric before cutting it out, it might be time to give it a try. I go through two or three cans of it when I prepare my fabric for a new project. There are loads of YouTube tutorials that extol the benefits of starch and explain how to do it. I like the ones by Kimberley Jolly and Lisa Bongean. Starching gives your fabric a body that really enhances cutting and sewing accuracy.
My new CHI iron. Oh my goodness, I love this iron. It supposedly has 400 steam holes. I didn't count them, but I can tell you that it puts out a lot of steam. And the 30-minute-auto-shut-off feature is easy to love too.
These funny things are called tailor's clappers. Mine are made by Riley Blake and are some kind of hardwood. After pressing a seam you lay one on top of the seam and the heat from the pressed fabric passes to the wood and back to the fabric and somehow all that hot goodness makes the seams lie flatter. It really works. I liked it so much I bought another one. And you know something? One of them is noticeably heavier than the other. Bummer, right? I want two equally heavy clappers.
Some of my favorite quilting tools are trim tools. This clever device is a "Cute Cuts" trim tool by Lori Holt. I bought a set of them in various sizes and don't regret the expense one bit. This little tool is perfect for hourglass blocks or blocks such as the one in the picture above. Those blocks come out wonky 100% of the time unless you make them larger and trim them down. With the center, vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines clearly marked on the trim tool, your block units will now come out perfect without fail every time.
Any BLocLoc tool you buy is worth it. Flying Geese, Half Square Triangles, Strip Cut Ruler- they are all excellent. They come in many sizes, but for half-square triangles, you can use a larger one and use the markings on it to trim your unit down to the right size. I am using a 3 1/2" tool to trim my HST down to
2 3/4". For flying geese, it is best to have the exact size you are making.
I love my BlocLoc rulers for half-square triangles, but I use triangle paper too. Back in the 90s I purchased a ton of Thangles triangle papers, because they were new on the market and I wanted to try them. I have since purchased Star Singles triangle papers and Kimberly Jolly's Triangles On A Roll papers and think I prefer them to the Thangles. However, I have a drawer full of Thangles and decided to use them up on a project I am working on that calls for a lot of 3" hsts. I'm sure they are still sold in stores, but you won't get the price I paid back in 1996!
You know how sometimes when you are making a project, you find yourself repeatedly cutting the same size strips of fabric over and over? These Creative Grids rulers come in 2 1/2" and 3 1/2" widths. There are more sizes available, but those are the two that I got, and I love them. No kidding, I grab either of those rulers non stop when I am cutting out fabric for block units. Of course, you can use a bigger ruler, but I love the accuracy of these that are the exact size I want.
You know those projects where you have to trim dozens of corner triangles? It gets tiring to snip each one individually. So, a little trick I learned is to place a number of them on your cutting mat, and with a ruler with the quarter-inch marking clearly visible, line it up and use your rotary cutter to trim a bunch at once.
Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the tools I have been reaching for a lot lately. If you have a special tool or sewing aid you like, please share in the comments! And if your favorite sewing tool is M & M's, that's fine too.