Whether you've been quilting for 40 years or 40 days, you’ve probably slipped into a routine of using the same sewing notions to complete various tasks. Certainly, familiar tools can produce predictable results. On the other hand, you might find that a new or different gadget allow you to work faster or up your game.
These suggestions should introduce you to new tools, teach you to use your sewing notions in a better way, or help you find better versions of the tools that you already use.
Some people regard rotary cutters as straight-line tools, and scissors as the right device to cut out curves. However, smaller cutters can also make the task of cutting curved patterns easier. This is particularly true for people who would rather not strain their hands or are simply not that good with scissors. If you've been frustrated with a rotary cutter in the past, the one you have might be too large.
If you haven't used a rotary cutter before, you should know that you'll also need a cutting mat. Of course, these mats are handy even if you use a scissors because they provide a flat surface and measured grid. Once you try a mat, you may never go back to cutting on the living room floor again.
While this might not usually fall in the category of sewing notions, a good iron is an essential tool to produce professional results. After the item has been stitched, the heat helps to sink stitches and press the fabric flat. This step can also make up for minor irregularities or imperfections in stitching.
Here’s an important note, though: a seam iron is not necessarily a steam iron. Steam may distort some fabrics.
Obviously, you need to measure fabric and mark lines. If you're still using the ruler that you borrowed out of your child's pencil bag, you're wasting time and probably not working as quickly and accurately as you could with a transparent ruler. Some using rulers will make you lazy, but actually, they will make you more productive and precise.
Lots of quilters and seamstresses have tried a variety of different marking tools without enjoying the results. Inferior tools may simply not work, bleed through to the other side, or even leave stains. Unlike other tools, however, a hera marker leaves invisible creases on fabric. You can use this tool to make straight or curved creases. Of course, the crease also makes it easy to fold fabric. This is one of those sewing notions that you'll wonder how you lived without—you have to try it to believe it.
Sometimes you do need to mark your fabric, and a simple crease won't do. However, even the best colored markers may not show up well on bright prints. A white marking pen will do the trick—unless of course you’re using white fabric.
It's a sad but true fact that every seam won't meet your expectations. Lucky for you, you don't need to set your work in stone but can rip out stitches and try again. You just want to be sure that you use this sharp tool correctly, so you can start over fresh. My Childhood Treasures offers a pretty quick tutorial about two effective ways to use a seam ripper correctly.
Consider adding thread snippers to your collection of sewing notions; you’ll quickly come to keep them right beside your sewing machine for quick snips. They’re smaller, more accurate, and faster than the large pair of fabric shears that you might use for cutting.
Any serious quilter should invest in good shears—and then use them only for fabric in order to make sure they stay sharp.
With all these sewing notions… Where will you start?
You can certainly find a remarkable variety of sewing notions on the market—and it's hard to know which ones will offer you the best value for your money.
You might start shopping by considering those things that frustrate you about your craft. If you've hit a roadblock, you can bet others have had the same problem and devised with some creative solutions.
Ready to get started? Runaway Quilting has everything you need
Looking to stock up on sewing notions? You’re in the right place.