Tools for marking
There’s so many ways to mark your fabric and prep a pattern for sewing. These ones you should always have on hand.
8. Quilting rulers
Quilting rulers are incredibly helpful sewing tools. They come in so many widths and lengths.
They have extra markings for cutting fabric on the bias.
You can use them in place of a T-square.
Shoot, you can hang them on a wall.
I have several quilting rulers, but the one I can’t live without is this 3″x18″ one from O’lipfa. 3″x18″ is a great all-purpose size. I use it to make bias tape, cut waistbands and neckband. In my ruler collection, I have a larger 8.5″x24″ beast. The bigger ruler is more practical for checking grainlines and making big pattern pieces. For most things, it’s almost too much ruler.
Whatever size, find a ruler you like and stick with it.
9. French curve ruler
If you sew garments at all, a French curve ruler is a must. It can help you draw pretty curves akin to your own body’s curves for your arms and hips.
And they can be a shortcut to drawing a nice curve when you’re fitting a pattern. And if you draft your own patterns, a French curve will be invaluable.
I love the little graph paper-like 1/8″ squares that can help you add seam allowances quickly.
Want to change a neckline quick? Fix a hip curve? Change up a sleeve?Yup, your French curve has your back.
You + French curve =pattern hacking magic
10. Chalk wheel
You can fabric for your sewing projects with so many different types of pens. But the one marking tool I will always turn to is a chalk wheel.
They’re small and they make razor sharp lines without damaging fabric. It’s my favorite universal marking tool. I get my chalk wheels and extra chalk locally at Colorado Fabrics. This Dritz chalk wheel is similar. And here is some refill chalk. I’ve heard really good things about the Chakoner too.
The Simflex easily wins the competition for the coolest looking sewing gadget.
It’s an expandable gauge that you use to help mark where buttonholes go.
If you’ve ever tried to mark where buttonholes go from a paper pattern, you know that the paper can shift unless you’re really careful. What you can end up with is a hot mess of unevenly spaced buttonholes. Not so cute.
The Simflex works so well because you only need to know where your top buttonhole and the bottom buttonhole go. When you have those two anchors, expand the gauge and use the slots to mark the rest.
The max distance between buttonholes is 3.5″ for 8 buttons. If you need more space vertically between holes, you can simply measure between 2 holes and skip every other marking slot.
So those are the 11 helpful sewing tools I personally can’t live without. What about you? Tell me in the comments: which is your favorite sewing tool? Did your favorite make the list? Dish!!
More awesome sewing tools to try and compare
Rotary cutter vs. scissors
Why each is an essential tool and when to use each one.
Sewing tools to keep you accurate
Rulers, the best measuring tapes, hemming gadgets, and things to help you measure curves more accurately
Transfer pattern markings the right way
Marking tools that work for every kind of fabric + some vintage tried and tested methods to help you transfer marks like a pro
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.