When I first started quilting, I purchased a basic rotary cutter, cutting mat, and one ruler. This was all the I used for the first few years. More recently I have expanded my quilting and sewing tool equipment. I am always interested in new tools and gadgets to make sewing easier, more enjoyable, and that give a professional result. I wanted to share with you some of the new (or new to me) sewing tools available that I have recently added to my collection.
This tool is a rotary cutter and ruler in one. It is a grided 12 x 12 inch ruler with a rotary cutter attached that will cut up to 8 layers of fabric. This ruler is so easy to use and ensures that you cut perfectly every time. The rotary cutter is attached to the metal edge of the ruler so that it cuts straight – there is no opportunity for the cutter to wobble or go off course. It is also very safe as your hand presses down of the orange cutter and your fingers are nowhere near the blade. This would be the perfect cutter and ruler for a beginner quilter as it will ensure accurate results every time. When I taught Sarah to make a patchwork quilt when she was in primary school, I used to cut all the fabric for her as I was worried about her using the rotary cutter. This equipment would be great for teaching kids/teens to sew. I can also see the value for anyone with a disability affecting their hand as there is no need to grip a rotary cutter – you can just cut with the press of your hand. The 12 x 12 inch size is great for small patchwork projects, and it includes bias lines to make cutting a variety of angles easy. The Fiskars Rotary Cutter and Ruler Combo is available from Spotlight and Lincraft stores nationally.
The No Touch Blade Change Tool works with compatible Fiskars products and is a nifty device that assists you to remove the old rotary blade by snapping it into the change tool and then sliding a new blade onto the cutter. There is no need for your fingers to come into contact with the blade as it uses a magnet and fastener system to change blades. The tool comes complete with five rotary blades so you always have a sharp new blade on hand when you are quilting. The blades in this device are titanium coated which means they are stronger and stay sharper than other blades. This tool is very safe to use and eliminates the risk of cutting yourself. There is no longer any need to be nervous when changing blades with this innovative tool.
I love to make small patchwork projects and it is difficult to trim small squares without the ruler wobbling. The Bloc Loc rulers have a groove on the underside of the ruler that aligns with the seam allowance which results in the ruler sitting flat as the seam allowance locks into the channel. It makes it really quick to square up blocks and results in perfect results every time. I purchased the 4 1/2 inch square and have been using it on half square and quarter square triangles and it has really improved the accuracy of these small blocks. They come in a variety of sizes for half square triangles and flying geese units. Say goodbye to ruler rock with these handy rulers.
Wonder clips are a great alternative to pins when sewing binding on a quilt. They are also perfect when working with materials such as vinyl, leather, plastics, and heavy weight fabrics. They hold the layers together securely and they open wide when clipping together thicker materials. They grip the fabric well without leaving marks in the fabric and they have seam allowance markings on the clips. I usually hand sew quilt bindings on in front of the TV and have been known to leave pins in the sofa. These are a much safer alternative and they are now available in a range of colours. I bought mine from Massdrop (a group buying site that have a range of quilting/sewing products at reduced prices).
I sometimes have trouble at night or in low light conditions threading my needle. It is so frustrating when you attempt to thread a needle multiple times without success. I added a Needle Threader to my tools and it is great for those situations when my eyes let me down. It is such a nifty little gadget. You place your needle with the eye down in the needle slot, place the thread in position, and then press the button and it threads the needle for you. It only works for smaller needles but it is brilliant and very quick to use.
I love my Home Hemmer! When you need to press a seam allowance for a hem, you can measure, mark, and press with this handy gadget. It is heat resistant which means you can press directly on the ruler with your iron (both steam and dry). It has 1/2 inch grid marked on it and can be used for straight hems, round hems, interior and mitred corners. It is one of those gadgets that you wonder how you ever managed without it!
Superior Titanium coated needles come in a variety of sizes. I have been using the 80/12 and the 90/14 sizes for the past few months. They work perfectly in my Pfaff Sewing Machine and they are living up to their claim of lasting 5-8 times longer than regular needles. I haven’t had any breakages and they are definitely outlasting my previous brand of needle. These were another Massdrop purchase.
I bought this Olfa rotary cutter for no other reason than the colour! Aqua is my favourite colour so I treated myself to a new cutter. It cuts well and fits nicely in my hand, as well as adding a splash of colour to my cutting surface.
Until recently, I only used one type of pin. I now have a range of pins to use depending on the purpose. Silk pins (red and white heads) which are great for delicate fabrics such as Liberty Tana Lawn. They have a head of iron proof glass. Quilting pins (orange and green heads) smoothly pass through fabric, as the pin tips are thin and sharp. Long size pins are perfectly suited for quilting. Head is made of iron proof glass. Fork Pins are perfect for holding the seam allowance in position on either side of the seam.
10. Scallop Scissors
I have pinking shears but recently added some Scallop Scissors/Shears to my equipment. They are great for cutting felt with a pretty scallop edge. Check out the great tutorial by Pretty By Hand for making cotton tape labels using scallop scissors. I found my scissors on ebay.
That is a roundup of new sewing equipment that we have discovered recently. Have you found any great new products? Please share with us in the comments.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Fiskars for sending us the Rotary Cutter and Ruler Combo, and the No Touch Blade Change Tool to trial. All opinions are our own.