Hello! Today I've compiled a list of the Top 10 Tools for Sewing & Quilting. This isn't a list of the most expensive or trendy products in the industry-- it's a list of my tried-and-true, ultra-affordable, daily-use items. I've went through all the work of researching and trying out products over the years so that if you're new to sewing, you don't have to waste your time and money.
**This post contains affiliate links. Keep in mind that these recommendations are highly curated and not sponsored by any brand. These are genuine recommendations, and if you choose to buy any of the products linked in this article, I will receive a small portion of your purchase. This allows me to continue bringing you awesome content for free. I link to products in three ways: A product banner, a direct link (underlined text) or an image. You can click on any of these and it will open a new browser window to the affiliate link**
The backbone of sewing & quilting, right? I use Connecting Threads for Variegated, Coats & Clark for Piecing, and Mettler for a good shiny solid for quilting. I don't have a favorite place to buy Coats & Clark or Mettler, I usually just buy it wherever is closest to me when I need it, but Create For Less has some great deals.
Thread, in my experience, is the most frustrating notion to go through the trial and error process with. In the past I've bought thread from estate sales and thrift stores and random brands I've never heard of but purchased just because they were cheap and... spent so much time just rethreading my machine after the thread would break again and again and again. Or constantly cleaning the machine when a cheap thread would get SO MUCH LINT everywhere, and as all sewists know, a well-oiled and super clean machine runs best. So through the process of trial and error, I've found my three favorites.
Some quilters swear by Aurifil, and it seems to be the latest trend to exclusively use this brand. I haven't tried it, because I can't justify the price point. If I'm going to get luxurious with my thread choice, I go with Mettler.
Faultless or Best Press ONLY. I don't fuss around with starch. Perhaps that's a remnant of my previous life as an undergrad working as a presser at a locally owned dry cleaners but a GOOD starch that won't flake or make you cough or do any other weird thing is super important to me. I like my fabric to nearly stand up on its own. When fabric is starched well, the cut and subsequent piecing is noticeably more accurate.
I use Fiskars and Omnigrid. I haven't noticed a difference between the rulers except for the price point, so in my opinion it really doesn't matter what kind you have. Having the right ruler for the job makes all the difference. For example, it is SO MUCH EASIER to trim Half-Square Triangles when you have a ruler that is the exact size of your finished block. As such, I have 3.5'', 4.5'', and 5.5'' rulers as well as a 6.5''x24'' ruler and a 12.5'' square ruler.
This is the same deal as with the rulers-- I have used both Olfa and Fiskars, and haven't noticed a difference, so I opt for the cheaper brand.
I use a Fiskars cutting mat. I actually just bought a new one last month, after my cutting mat I bought in 2012 had worn out. So, these cutting mats have about a 6 year lifespan in my experience, although now that I'm sewing more often I bet I'll have to replace the mat every two years or so. What's your experience with cutting mats?
It's an oddly shaped little plastic thingy-ma-bob that is a DREAM for turning corners out and marking where you want to quilt or embroider without having to use a pen. Sure, there's lots of wash-away or air erasable pens out there that people swear by... but I just don't want to risk it. Before straight line quilting, I lay a basted quilt flat on the floor and use a long ruler (like this one) and a Hera marker to measure out my lines.
I use these for so many purposes. The intent to these little clips is to tack on the binding of a quilt while you're sewing it on. They're super stable for that. I'm never going back to using straight pins. I also use them for clipping together piles of blocks and cut pieces, and basically anything else that needs to be temporarily, yet durably, held together. There's many, many options for purchasing binding clips, I've linked a few below. The best deals are online, I've noticed at Joann and local quilt shops that there is a hefty markup, like ten dollars for five. yeah no.
I use Ginghers. My fancy pair of Ginghers was a gift from my one of my grandmothers. It is worth the price. I also have two tiny pairs of Ginghers that I use for embroidery- these tiny stork ones and this simple silver pair. I've tried several other types of specialty scissors for fabric and thread through the years and they've all crapped out on me pretty quickly. Ginghers are worth every penny-- I'm a gal on a tight budget but scissors are not something that I compromise on.
I use the Stringblade by QuiltStory. It's an adhesive thread cutter that is perfect for separating chain piecing. I have several distributed around my sewing studio.
Juki, always a Juki.
and also,.. my favorite song this week/month/year... my theme song when my toddler won't give me privacy for 30 seconds to pee. Life is great.
Thanks for reading! See you next week!