Mar 272013

I thought I would share with you some of the tools I use most when sewing as well as various items that I have found very helpful in my sewing room. To be clear, this is not a sponsored post. I am not providing links to buy these items and I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post or if you buy anything as a result. I just love these tools and want to share how to make your sewing experience easier!

First off is my clear ruler–so very helpful for so many things! Oona already wrote about how this one tool is crucial for any sewist. It has marks down to 1/16″ of an inch and does both metric and imperial measurements.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

I love my Nancy Zieman seam gauge. It does a bunch of different things and locks in place so my seam allowances remain accurate. You can watch a video on the give things this tool is designed to do here.

This wooden wine rack holds all my stabilizers and tracing paper. It is an amazing deal and holds far more than other “stabilizer holders” on the market. Plus it is less expensive and you can add more as you need. I have added onto mine twice. You can also build it into any configuration you need so it fits the space you have. It is very handy.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Steam a Seam 2 Lite on the roll– Cannot live without! I use this stuff for everything…everything. When I need to hold something in place before stitching, if I need to sew something difficult and don’t want to use pins, when inserting zippers, bound buttonholes, basting, hemming, holding down seam allowances, making piping, and I am sure many other things that escape me right now. This stuff is a lightweight fusible web tape that comes in 1/4″ and 1/2″ widths and is sticky on both sides so it holds  even before pressing.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Ez-Off Iron Cleaner-This iron cleaner works really well and buying it from Wawak gets you a much larger tube at a much lower price than buying a similar product at Joann’s or Walmart. You put some on a towel and then rub it on a hot iron without steam. It cleans of all that fusible or burn marks that get stuck to the bottom of your iron.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Hugo’s Amazing Tape-I wrap this around thread to hold thread tails in because many threads do not have a place to store the end. I also use this on my stabilizer and tracing paper rolls to keep them neat and tidy. Another recent use is to keep our master patterns in tact. This “tape” sticks only to itself and can hold a lot of weight. I also use it to bundle things together to keep them organized. There are so many uses for this. It also comes in a variety of different widths depending on the need.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Dritz French Curve/Styling Design Ruler-This is the french curve I use almost 100% of the time. I have a set of professional french curves but I find this one works for nearly every curve I need. It is also handy that it has a straight edge on it that I can use without having to switch to an entirely different ruler when I am drafting. This one is also relatively inexpensive and widely available.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

Another tool is the marking tool that I discussed in this post. The Frixion pens are wonderful. I wrote a review on patternreview here about how they work.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

I also use the Olfa seam allowance gauge a LOT. I wrote a review on patternreview on this gadget as well because I find it so helpful and many people do not know about it. It is just like the seam allowance guide that has been popular for scissors for adding seam allowances only it works with a rotary cutter. I cut almost exclusively with a rotary cutter because it is significantly easier to cut on slippery fabrics that way and I love chiffon and charmeuse! This guide is adjustable so you can use it so cut out with seam allowances or cut off excess seam allowance before cutting. Let’s say you are working with a 5/8″ seam allowance pattern. You can use this gauge to easily cut off the excess 1/4″ to make it a 3/8″ seam allowance. In any case this is wonderful for not having to go around and add seam allowances on each seam with a pencil before cutting out. I can use the original seam allowance free pattern and cut directly into my fabric because this guide does all the work!

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools

I also love the clapper pressing tool. I use it so often because I work with a lot of slippery fabrics and some polyester fabrics that do not like to press well. Pressing with the ironing and then immediately pressing over it with the clapper and holding it until the seam cools works wonders. It is also great for thick seams in thick fabric like coating or denim for hammering them down. They also make clappers with tailor points on top which are great for pressing our corners and collars and for pressing seams open without getting show through on the right side.

Lolita Patterns | Helpful Sewing Tools


These are just a few essentials I use often. Trust me, I have tons more! But these seem to be the ones I use nearly every time I set foot in my sewing room.

What is your favorite sewing tool?

 I discovered most of my tools through recommendations from fellow sewists so I would love to see what you use and recommend! Please tell us!

amity bow | Lolita Patterns

  6 Responses to “Helpful Sewing Tools”

  1. Thanks for these tool tips. Some I have and use a lot, some I have and didn’t know how to use them (eg the Steam-a-Seam), and some I’ve never heard of. This is an incredible resource for me. I even have one of those wine racks that I haven’t touched in years, and now I can put it to good use. And that clapper looks awesome. Definitely picking one up.
    Take care and thanks again.

    • I’m so glad you now have a use for that wine rack! Also, if you ever need any ideas on what to do with Steam a Seam, let me know…..I must have hundreds!

  2. I have a few of those tools! The seam guide, the Dritz French curve ruler and the Steam a Steam 2 lite. My Favorite tool/notion lately is my Clover Wonder Clips!(best investment I have made) I have never tried that brand of iron cleaner. I tried others and the only problem is cleaning that out of the steam holes. I have found a method I like better. I use a wet Magic Eraser to a hot iron.(just be careful!) It works wonderfully! No more left over residue. I was nervous at first, but it hasn’t seemed to damage my iron at all:)

  3. Thank you so much for the tips. I have most of the items except the Olfa with the seam gauage, and the wine rack. Where do you recommend purchasing the wood wine rack. Also I have not used the lite steam a steam 2. Thanks for the ideas. I am looking forward to using the pens also. Thanks again.

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