Let’s talk sewing gadgets


Hello sewing gang, I’ve missed you! Hopefully the feeling was mutual, so here I am back in blogging business… Though I must confess, May has not started very well on the sewing front. This was the first weekend in ages when, although I was not travelling or otherwise engaged, I haven’t done any anything sewing related. And I feel very guilty. Plus I have forlorn you guys for almost 2 weeks, which is not top of my proud achievements list either. Excuses I have, loads. Mostly work, but also more exciting stuff like teaching my first class last Tuesday, and a very exciting walking tour in Brick Lane, discovering the textile past of East London. But I just can’t brag too many great completed garments. I was sewing like crazy for a guest blog post, but that’s only going to be published next week, so I can’t reveal it just yet. Otherwise, bad sewing Alex, no cookie!

Still, I need to talk to you guys, I’ve only just made sewing friends and now I’m deserting you? No, that just can’t happen. So here we are with a non-make post, but one which I still hope you will find interesting and discussion worthy. SEWING TOOLS!!

As you might have gathered, I am not buying any clothes this year, so there is a bit of nice disposable income to spend on other things. And, as I am up to a fantastic amount  of 75m of fabric in my stash, I can’t/shouldn’t spend it on fabric either. So that only leaves sewing tools and gadgets. And today I wanted to share with you a few that have become indispensable.

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Serrated scissors for sheers and slippery fabrics

This is something I’ve only learnt about recently, but it has really made a difference. The scissors have tiny teeth on the edge of the cutting blade, which keep the layer(s) in place when you’re cutting slinky or very lightweight fabrics. I was working on a silk project lately and it made a huge difference towards cutting more confidently and precisely.


I’m using Ginghers, but they are quite pricey, tough I found they are totally worth their money.

They are available to order from the US of Amazon.co.uk.

Seam allowance guide

You Burda fans know what a massive pain it is to work with pattern without seam allowances included. And this little beauty helps with this particular issue. It’s a magnetic piece of plastic with ridges where you can place the small elastic rings included, to the required seam allowance. This way, you don’t have to measure and mark, but can cut it all in one go.

It’s all explained on their website, where you can also order it from. It is an Australian company, but they include free shipping and it arrived in about 10 days.


Buttonhole gauge

Buttonholes are one of my most dreaded parts of sewing. You make this amazing garment and then when you’re so close to finishing it, you (or at least me) go and almost spoil it all by making wonky, uneven buttonholes. Salvation comes from this tool, which will help you space the buttonholes evenly, in line with your points of reference (bust, waist etc), so you don’t end up with gaping blouses or buttons too close to the waistline.

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It can also be used for pleats and tucks, though I haven’t tried that yet.

This is what it looks like:


It wasn’t very easy to find in the UK, but I ended up getting mine from Jaycotts.

Chalk sharpener

I love using taylor’s chalk, perhaps one of my favourite marking tools. However, they do get a bit dull from too much use and they are not as precise. So this little gadget helps to get them back to their sharp self, with a little bit of patience and elbow grease. Just make sure to tip the shavings in the bin right away, otherwise you might end up with chalk dust all over the place.


Double marking wheel

Another very useful tool for copying patterns without seam allowances. I use it mostly for Burda Magazine patterns, that need to be traced out from those mind-boggling overlapped large sheets, which, of course come with no seam allowance as well. So I use the tool to follow the lines of the pattern with one wheel and then I press a bit harder with the other wheel for the final trace, which will include the seam allowance.


Scissors sharpener

When I
was a kid, we used to take our household scissors and manicure scissors to be sharpened in a little shop, where the owner would use a large grindstone to get the blades back in shape. However, I could not find such a shop in London anymore, so I ordered a mini sharpening stone to use at home. It does take a bit of elbow grease, I must warn you, but it does the trick. Have a look at a few videos online to see how to do it most efficiently.

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Pin tray

One more gadget I can’t live without. I must confess that I hate cutely pincushions, but I do love having my pins neatly (and safely) put away as soon as I I’ve removed them from the fabric. And this is an amazing option, especially if you are as haphazard as I am with my pin handling. Also helps when you spill pins on the carpeted floor, as I often do, to make sure you pick up all of them.


I splurged on a Prym one, as I am a big fan of the brand, but you can also make your own, see tutorial from Portia at Makery


So here we are, sewing boys and girls, there’s a good bunch of ideas for your next sewing gadgets purchases. As a disclaimer, I purchased all of these myself and I have no affiliation with either the manufacturers of the tools or the websites where they are sold. I just think they are super useful and I hope you do too!

But I am always on the look-out for new gadgets, so do tell me what cool things are you using that I haven’t heard about yet?

Have a great week and happy sewing!



    • Alex
      11 May 2015 / 7:39 PM

      I almost posted my roll wheel one (from Prym), I really like it too! Very good for delicates!

  1. 11 May 2015 / 5:32 PM

    Oh, this buttonhole gauge looks very interesting! Will have to investigate… Thanks for the tip!

    • Alex
      11 May 2015 / 7:38 PM

      Won’t regret it, so many uses!

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