flatlay of helpful sewing tools

11 helpful sewing tools you can’t live without

With so many helpful sewing tools out there, which are the best sewing tools out there?

As the daughter of an engineer, a good gadget wins a lot of appreciation for me.

And I’ll be the first to admit that I probably have too many sewing (and kitchen) tools.

But if a tool actually makes my life easier, I get practically evangelical about it.

Which sewing tools are of the deserted island variety?

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Sewing tools for cutting

There’s plenty of different types of helpful sewing tools, and cutting tools are some of my favorites. Fabric that’s cut well will give you a much nicer project in the end.

Gingher embroidery scissors on ribbon

1. Small embroidery scissors

A lot of people would say “seam ripper” as their #1 sewing tool. And why not?. We all make mistakes and need that faithful friend to help fix them.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that small embroidery scissors are even more useful.

These Gingher Stork scissors are my absolute favorite. I hang these little embroidery scissors on a ribbon around my neck when I’m sewing.

They’re great for clipping threads and trimming small corners. And because they’re my necklace of choice, I’m never having to fish around for scissors when I’m sewing. When I’m going for lightning fast sewing efficiency, these are my BFF.

Also, they double as a seam ripper. The fine blades fit right inside a stitch, so you can pull out errant stitches really easily with about 0% chance of damaging your fabric.

If you’ve ever put a hole in your fabric with an eager seam ripper, give small embroidery scissors a chance.

2. Awesome scissors

Kai dressmaking scissors

Rotary cutters are wonderful gadgets. But you need a cutting mat making them less portable.

You know what cutting tool will never let you down, and you can carry anywhere? An excellent pair of scissors.

The best sewing scissors are the ones that fit your hands and you keep wicked sharp. I love these serrated Kai 7250-SE Serrated Scissors.

They’re lightweight which is huge for my small hands.

True: I actually once took a pair of heavier Gingher shears back to JoAnn for a refund because they hurt my hands. The cashier thought I was bananas.

It’s hard for me not to sound like a commercial with these guys. But seriously, the first time you cut with them it’ll feel like every other pair of scissors you’ve owned up until this point might as well be rusty garden shears.

Win-win: sharp scissors save you time. When you save a little time, that’s one more way you can make time to sew.

Sewing tools for the construction process

Let’s talk gizmos that can make your actual sewing process more fun.

3. Turn it all tubes

Turn it all tubes with fabric

I think one of the first projects I did as a kid was to make an elastic hair scrunchie. After sewing the whole thing, I used my fingers to try and turn the tube to the right side. I got there eventually, but I was frustrated and annoyed with the process.

Oh, but I wish I had these Turn it all tubes. They’re a lot like drinking straws, but they’re more sturdy. Basically the idea is that you take a tube you need to turn to the right side. Put your chosen diameter straw inside.

Then push the dowel or metal stick from the wrong side through the hole in the straw. The tube will go through the inside of the straw turned perfectly pretty much instantly.

If you make belts, spaghetti straps, or any kind of tie, these work unbelievably fast. They’re so speedy that they earn a well-deserved spot among the most helpful sewing tools.

See how this one works in action on the video below plus some of the other tools in this article.

4. Glass head pins

pin cushion and pins

To be totally transparent, I don’t use that many pins. In fact, you can read here about why I think you should give sewing without pins a good try.

That being said, people love them some pins. And they do have a place in a sewing arsenal.

If you do use pins, get some really fine glass head pins. They have a small diameter so they won’t poke big old holes in you or your fabric.

Plus, you can iron right over them. Plastic head pins, not so much.

I love using these for fitting and especially for holding pleats in place when they need to be pressed.

And once you have a good set of pins, keep them handy with a DIY magnetic pincushion.

Make a DIY magnetic pincushion

Keep those pins away from your feet!

next page graphic with spool of thread

13 thoughts on “11 helpful sewing tools you can’t live without”

  1. I love everything on your list! There are some things that I would like to get from your list. I didn’t know the Gingher embroidery scissors doubled as a seam ripper. I would like a clapper (Love the name!), because one day I would like more crisp collars. I think the buttonhole marking tool looks very cool and is must have. I love the idea of the glass pins, because melted pins are not my friend. So many get stuck to my iron. My favorite tools are my Clover chalk rollers. I have tried marking pencils, which weren’t helpful for me at all. I love that the chalk only comes off when I need it to. Kudos to whom ever came up with that idea! Loved this article!!!

    1. Thanks Capresha! A clapper will change all your collars and denim sewing forever! I have a few of those melted pins too, LOL! The Clover chalk gadgets are great too–love that ultra fine line!

  2. Those Kai scissors sound interesting. I’ve been using those springy Fiskars ones for years because it’s easy on my carpal tunnel, but I feel like they only last a year or two and then I have to relegate them to paper scissors. And somehow, I’ve ended up never getting a tailor’s ham, though I have some variation of every other tool you mentioned, if not the same thing.

    1. My Mom always had the springy Fiskars–they are pretty nice on your hands, but I had the same experience as you of them losing their edge. Kais were an investment but definitely have helped with my own repetitive motion issues. Hams are the best! Such pretty curves with them!

  3. I pretty much have everything on this list! The only thing I don’t have is a clapper/press thing – instead I just use a scrap of wood. I would like my husband to make me a real one though. I recently switched from Ginghers to Kai after my Ginghers got loose and I found basic Kai’s on Amazon and Wawak for under $20. I love them so much more than my Ginghers!

    1. Scrap wood is really smart for a clapper! I think the one I have is maple so it seems a lot denser than the 2×4 scraps we have in the garage–but no matter. It’s always a good thing to use what you have! That’s an awesome deal on your Kais! I love mine so much more too!

  4. I started using a clapper when I decided to fuse lightweight interfacing on the back of a really scrappy quilt block. I hate the little bubbles and waves that sometimes appear with fusibles, but the clapper did its magic and no bubbles.
    I don’t know if it cools it off or holds the heat, but it works.
    And I love the idea of wearing your embroidery scissors. I’m always mislaying my favorite pair.

    1. You’re so right Jan; clappers are so useful for so many things. That’s a great idea with interfacing! And forgetting where I put my embroidery scissors is exactly why the ribbon happened. As long as you’re careful with them, it’s so handy to have them right there at all times!

  5. Hi
    Where did you get your ironing board cover in the gadget video with the of fashion pattens in it ? Love it
    Thank you

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