Tag Archives: sewing tools

The 15 Essential Sewing Tools You Need


1 – FABRIC SCISSORS – choose a specialist pair of dressmaking scissors that will have long blades and angled handles allowing the scissors to stay close to the table without lifting your fabric too much.  DON’T USE THEM FOR ANYTHING BUT FABRIC!!!  Recommended brands: Fiskars, Mundial, Kai

2 – PAPER SCISSORS – again, I prefer a pair with long blades and angled handles to make cutting patterns easier.  You can relegate a pair of fabric scissors that have been abused for this job!  No brands to recommend, although mine are Fiskars and are sharp and comfortable to use.

3 – SMALL SHARP POINTED SCISSORS – for cutting threads while working on your sewing machine, tidying thread ends on garments and the inevitable unpicking.  They should have a very sharp point and like your fabric scissors SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR ANYTHING ELSE!!!  Recommended brands: Fiskars, Kai, Hemline embroidery scissors.

4 – UNPICKER – handy, but I don’t always recommend them to students because it’s very easy to slip when using one and gouge a chunk out of your fabric (or your finger!).  I prefer small scissors for unpicking and removing tacking stitches (see no. 3), but unpickers are useful for cutting open buttonholes. You will usually get one with your sewing machine or you can buy one from any sewing shop.  Clover make quite nice fancy ones if you’re that way inclined…..!

5 – FORCEPS OR TWEEZERS – really useful for removing those stubborn tacking stitches (or any stitches for that matter) that just refuse to budge and fiddly awkward to get at bits of work on your sewing machine.

6 – SEAM & HEM GAUGE – gauges like this make quick and easy work of marking seam and hem allowances rather than wrestling with a tape measure.  You can buy cm and inch versions of mine online here, others are available!

7 – TOE DIVIDERS (!) – no I haven’t gone mad, this was a fantastic idea I originally saw on Pinterest.  Toe dividers are the perfect size and shape for keeping your bobbins neat and tidy!

8 – LOOP TURNER – when you’re making narrow fabric loops or strips, this is a useful gadget for turning those tubes of fabric back  through to the right side.  Available from all sewing shops.

9 – BLUNT KNITTING NEEDLE – great for poking out corners and so much better to use for this job than scissors, which I’m sure some of you will be guilty of!

10 – TAILOR’S CHALK – some people don’t like using the lumps of tailor’s chalk as they get blunt quickly.  I find them good for some jobs and you can sharpen them – either buy a special chalk sharpener (yes they do exist – just search online for “tailors chalk sharpener”) or run scissors along either side of the edge (obviously not your fabric scissors!).  Recommended brands: Hancocks, Prymm.

11 – CHALK PENCILS / PENS – for those who don’t like the lumps of chalk you can get various forms of chalk pencils.  Some are just like ordinary pencils that you sharpen, but I often find these a bit too hard and can really drag some fabrics.  I prefer these style of mechanical chalk pencils that you can buy refill leads for.  Recommended brands: Hoechstmass, Sewline.

12 – CHACO LINERS – these are great for precision marking and for use on delicate fabrics that are easily dragged by chalk pencils, eg. silks, lightweight jerseys.  The marks do rub off easily though as the marker uses chalk dust.

13 – HAND SEWING NEEDLES – have a pack of mixed sizes – “sharps” are the name of general purpose hand sewing needles.  Avoid the cheap packs of generic needles as these can be blunt and have small snags on them which makes sewing with them extremely unpleasant. Recommended brands: Hemline, Clover, Prymm.

14 – PINS & MAGNETIC PIN CUSHION – pins can sound like an obvious one, but they’re one of my biggest bugbears – there’s nothing worse than pins that are too short / thick / old and rusty.  I prefer to work with the longer length dressmaking pins and don’t recommend going shorter than 30mm or thicker than 0.6mm.  I don’t need to say much about a magnetic pincushion – it does what it says on the tin.  I’m a new convert and I don’t know how I ever managed without one! No more scrabbling around on the floor picking up dropped pins. Recommended brands: Prymm, Clover.

15 – THREAD – you can use any old thread for hand tacking, but choose a bright colour so you can see it easily to remove it.  For your machine always choose branded threads, cheap threads can cause endless machine problems.  For lots of detailed guidance on choosing the right thread for the right job, have a look at my previous blog post here.

Where to buy?

Here are some online shops (some that also have bricks and mortar shops) that  I’ve found to be good sources for tools and equipment:

What about Sewing Machines?

So obviously the biggest, most important and most expensive bit of kit is your sewing machine!  If you don’t have one yet and are feeling daunted by the choice and range of advice available, have a read of my no-nonsense, completely un-biased guide here.

Next in this series on Tools & Equipment, I’ll guide you through all the essential pressing kit you should have.

Neon Orange Sewing Tools now available on Etsy!

pattern cutting tool and sewing tool miy collection miy workshop

At last, my neon orange sewing and pattern cutting tools are now available online from my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/miycollection

The little sewing tool available in cm’s and inches is £10, the big pattern cutting ruler (in cm’s only) is £16, or you can buy a set for £23, all with free P&P in the UK!  Go on, treat yourself (or that stitchy friend of yours).

New Neon Orange Sewing Tools!! Win a Set……

sewing and pattern cutting tools miy collection miy workshop

Fancy winning a set of my new zingy orange sewing and pattern cutting tools?!

Enter my free competition over at MIY Collection here.

New Pattern and Tools Available From my Etsy Shop

After much talking about it, my Pull-on Loose Fitting Shift Dress sewing pattern is now available to buy from MIY Workshop and online from my Etsy shop.  It was a very popular purchase at the Knitting and Stitching show this weekend at Alexandra Palace!shift patternThe pattern is suitable for beginners; there are no fastenings or openings to deal with and there are lots of ways to make it your own style – it can be made with or without the collar, optional side seam pockets and the pleat can be put in the front and/or back or completely left out.  There’s also an optional tie belt.  It works in woven and knitted fabrics and I’m planning on making a few that mix different fabrics for the skirt and for the bodice……..

It’s a quick pattern to make, here are a few made by students this summer at my Summer Frock Making one day workshops:

shift-studentsMy neon green perspex tools are also now available at MIY Workshop and online from my Etsy shop:


The perspex is called “live edge” and you can see why!  There’s no way you’re going to loose either of these tools in your sewing stuff.  Even when they’re just sat on the table with not much light around, they somehow seem to glow…..


You can buy the little sewing tool and seam gauge in cm’s and inches and the bigger sewing and pattern cutting ruler in cm’s only.

And well I hate to say it but……Christmas is just around the corner…….one for your own list or for your crafty friends?!

Competition winners!


The 3 lucky winners of one of my little wooden sewing tools are:

Yvonne Flewin

Sian Tunstall

Zoe Child


There will be another competition coming soon……watch this space.

Competition – win one of my little wooden sewing tools!

tools-april13-fangateimageI’m running a competition over on Facebook which closes on Monday 6th May at 7pm.

If you’d like to win one of my little wooden sewing tools there are 3 up for grabs.  All you have to do is leave your name and email address, here’s the link to enter: http://promotion.binkd.com/Direct.aspx?id=8627

Good luck!

Come and see me at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia in March!

I will be having a stand (number E13) with MIY Collection at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Kensington Olympia on Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th March.


I love how the theme for this year’s show is “Make It Yourself” MIY, how apt!!

Tickets are £12.50 if booked in advance or £15 on the door and the show will be open each day from 10am-5.30pm.  Click on the image above to go straight to the Twisted Thread (organisers) website and information on the location and how to get there.

I will have my patterns and tools for sale and I’ve got a few other things up my sleeve…….

MIY Workshop tools featured in Sewing World Magazine

My sewing tools feature in the “Shopping” section of the March issue of Sewing World magazine which is out now!

One lucky reader will receive a set in the magazine’s giveaway, if you’d like your own they’re available at MIY Workshop or online at my Etsy shop – just use the link in the column on the right of your screen.