I used to be a gadget girl all the way! Every time a new quilting notion came along, I had to try it. Most of the time, those gadgets ended up collecting dust. Over the years I have simplified my life, discarding what no longer serves me or is useful to me and keeping only those things that truly make my life easier, richer, more intentional and fun! I apply these same principals to my quilting studio and creative process, keeping only what I use on a (very) frequent basis. The following is a list (in no particular order) of these items, their uses, and why I love them. These are a few of my favorite things….
Fiskars Rotary Ruler Combo with 45mm Blade
I love this thing! I first started using it out of necessity when I broke my wrist in February of 2021. It was so much easier to cut fabric when filling fabric orders for the shop, since I was unable to hold both a rotary cutter and ruler. As my wrist healed, it was still helpful because it didn’t require using as much pressure when cutting fabric. I’m sure people who suffer from arthritis or weak hands or wrists would find this very helpful.
The Fiskars Rotary Ruler Combo is 6” wide and 24” long. It comes with a 45mm blade that is easy to change when it gets dull. I have found that the blades seem to last 3 to 4 times longer than my traditional rotary cutter blades (this awesomeness is not to be understated!) I’m not sure why this is, except perhaps because I don’t need to press down as hard while cutting, saving the sharp edge of the blade.
Fabric Glue Pens
Fabric Glue Pens are the best friend of accurate piecing and matching seams! How many times have you lined up your seams perfectly, pinned them carefully, and proceeded to sew them, only to find the seam shifted while sewing? This used to happen to me all the time. Now, I use these awesome little pens, put just a dab of glue on the seams I am matching and pin as usual. No more shifting and MUCH more accuracy. They work well for regular piecing as well, in lieu of pins.
The pens shown above are from Sewline, but there are several other brands available. The colored glue dries clear and is water soluble. Refills are available (these are a must!). I have them all over my studio, one at each machine and also at my cutting table.
The Sasher is from Pauline’s Quilter’s World. It allows you to quickly and easily fold bias or straight grain fabric strips in half (raw edges together) or perform a perfect bias fold using just the Sasher Tool and an iron. These are perfect for making quilt binding! I featured this tool in my Tutorial: Binding Your Quilt.
The Sasher comes in sizes ranging from 1/8 inch to 4 inches. Sasher sets are also available. For quilt binding I use a 1 1/8 inch Sasher because I cut my binding strips 2 1/4 inches. For binding strips that are 2 1/2 inches, you would use the 1 1/4 inch Sasher.
To use the Sasher, you fold your fabric strip in half and thread it through the slots. You then slide the Sasher along the strip, following along with your iron. The fabric is automatically folded in half and pressed as you go. No more burning your fingers with the iron while making binding or bias strips!
Clover Chaco Liner Pens
Clover Chaco Liner Pens are great for general fabric marking of any kind and are my favorite marking tool of all time. They have a roller wheel that you roll along the fabric, dispensing chalk (evenly!) as you go. They are easily refillable and come in white, blue, pink, yellow and gray so you will never have a problem getting them to show up on different fabrics. The chalk cartridge is see-through so you can tell how much chalk is left. My go-to color is white, followed by blue if I'm marking on light fabric.
Clover Hera Marker
While we are on the topic of fabric marking tools, I thought I'd mention the Clover Hera Marker. This is a neat little tool because it marks the fabric by making a crease. There is no residue, nothing to clean off and the creases are not permanent. Here is an example of the crease made by the Hera Marker.
The crease does not show up on all fabrics, however. If the fabric is too busy, it is difficult to see. Because of that, the Hera Marker is not suitable for all applications. On the fabrics where it does show up, its an excellent option for marking quilting designs when you don't want to mark on your quilt by other methods.
Clover Wonder Clips
Clover Wonder Clips are so versatile! I am continually finding new things to do with them! They are a great alternative to pins, especially when working with heavier fabrics. They are often used by quilters to hold quilt binding while sewing. Because they are flat on the bottom, your fabric lays flat as it feeds toward the machine. When cutting fabric pieces for a quilt, I will often use them to attach a note to a stack of squares (or whatever) noting they are for "section A", or "row B". If I need to clear off my cutting table for another use, I can easily move my quilt pieces without getting them messed up or out of place.
Wonder clips come in packages of 10, 50 or 100. They are also available in various colors. The 50 or 100 quantity packages come in a plastic storage case as shown above. There are three sizes of Wonder clips - regular (shown above), mini and jumbo.
Mary Ellen's Best Press
Mary Ellen's Best Press is a must for all my piecing. I like it so much better than regular spray starch because there is no flaking or white residue left on dark fabrics. Best Press gives body to the fabric, making your fabric edges crisper and easier to piece accurately. For most applications, I use a light spraying on one or sometimes both sides of the fabric, followed by ironing. If I'm working with fabric cut on the bias (like my Christmas Tree Lane Runner Pattern), I will apply a 2nd spraying to ensure the edges do not stretch or distort.
Best Press comes in 11 different scents (my preference is scent-free). Three sizes are available - The sprayer size is 16.9 oz. The 33.8 oz. and the gallon sizes are to refill the sprayer bottle.
Karen Kay Buckley's Scissors
I love Karen Kay Buckley's scissors! They are my go-to scissors for most tasks. The cushioned handles with large finger holes, make using them for long periods very comfortable. Some sizes have a serrated blade, some have a straight blade and some have a combination blade. Whichever version you use, they are sharp to the very tip, making them perfect for cutting fusibles, applique and just general purpose sewing and quilting uses. The photo above is my collection, they are as follows (from upper left, going clockwise):
- 7 1/2 inch Purple Perfect Scissors - These have a serrated blade. I use them for fusibles, stabilizers, freezer paper and general purpose fabric cutting.
- 7 1/2 inch Pink Perfect Scissors - These have a straight blade. I use them for general purpose fabric cutting.
- 4 inch Green Perfect Scissors - These have a serrated blade. I use them for delicate thread cutting or snipping small areas. These would also be prefect for machine embroidery.
- Red Perfect Curved Scissors - These are perfect for cutting threads close to your quilt.
- 6 inch Blue Perfect Scissors - One blade is micro-serrated and one is a regular blade which can be sharpened. I use these for general fabric cutting, snipping threads and quilt binding.
Although there are other notions I find helpful, these are the items I just love using over and over and have become an integral part of my sewing/quilting studio. I still do look at new products as they come on the market, especially if I'm deciding to carry them in the notions section of my Etsy Store, but for the most part, I'm content to keep it simple and save my money to spend on more fabric!
Subscribe to this blog's RSS feed using https://cuddlecatquiltworks.com/blogs/cuddle-cat-quiltworks-blog.atom