Unexpected Sewing Tools

Selection of household objects that can be useful when sewing.

Did you know your home is full of unexpected sewing tools?
Let me show you my favourites! 

1. Magnets

Magnets are an absolute life saver when using pins. You can buy special magnetised containers and accessories designed for sewing, but any magnet can be used!. Free fridge magnets seem to reproduce whenever my back is turned and this is a great way to put them to good use! As you sew and remove pins from your fabric, put them on a magnet to keep them altogether. This not only keeps your sewing space tidy, but it also ensures your pins are exactly where you need them, ready for the next seam. 

2. Washi Tape

I could probably write a whole blog post on washi tape – maybe I will one day! But here are my three top uses for washi tape. 

– You can create a new seam allowance line on your sewing machine. If you are sewing something that requires a seam allowance different to those marked on your machine baseplate, you can simply create your own! I have a quick reel to show you. 

– You should label your pattern pieces if they are tricky/confusing. One example is when making shorts where the rise and the inside leg seam are similar; it can be easy to get a piece upside down and then sew it the wrong way. Another example is the front and back of pieces when the fabric doesn’t have a clear right and wrong side. Tear a small piece of washi tape, write your ‘front’ or ‘top’ label on it and stick it to your fabric! No more upside down legs and back to front sleeves for you. 

– Washi tape can be used to stick your paper pattern piece to your fabric when cutting. This is particularly useful when using waterproof fabrics since you should avoid using pins as they will leave holes. Washi tape is also great when cutting slippery fabrics as it holds the pattern piece really securely. 

Hot Tip
Washi tape shouldn’t leave any residual marks or stickiness when removed, HOWEVER, always test on a piece of scrap fabric before sticking it onto your main pieces. It’s not worth risking marks for the sake of a two second check! 

3. Pipe Cleaners

These are a brilliant tool for cleaning your machines. They will grab loose threads and dust that you just can’t reach with your fingers or a large cloth. 

Hot Tip
Fold your pipe gently in half, leaving the end so it looks like a loop, not a sharp bend. Use the loop to clean your machine. You shouldn’t use the ends of the pipe cleaner because the ends of the wire could scratch your machine. Using a loop or gentle bend avoids any sharp edges and just uses the fluffiness! 

4. Bulldog Clips/Binder Clips

Treat these like sewing clips on steroids! They will hold together even the thickest and slipperiest of fabrics. They’re perfect for when regular sewing clips just aren’t cutting it. 

Hot Tip
Either test your clips on scrap fabric before storting, or make sure the clip only touches the seam allowance. Bulldog/binder clips are strong and can leave marks on some fabrics. 

5. Hammer

This is an essential tool for applying heavy duty metal snaps and eyelet/grommets. 

6. Reusable Straw and Skewer

Check out this reel to see how to use a straw and skewer to turn even the tiniest of tubes. This is perfect for creating thin straps or even drawstrings. 

Do you have any unconventional sewing tools you like to use? Let me know!