V11: Sewing Tool Binge Day – Thing You Never Knew You Needed

So ….  I might have gone on a bit of a bender at JoAnn’s yesterday …

It’s Hallie Larkin’s fault.

Hallie wrote an article on her blog, “At the Sign of the Golden Scissors,” about all the useful treasures to behold hidden away in the quilter’s tools aisle.  On yesterday’s trip to JoAnn’s, I was fully in search of the chalk pencils and the clear ruler:

This was a little expensive, but just look how much chalk is in there.
nice wide ruler for cutting nice wide bias with the rotary cutter


I also found bias tape makers, a tool I’ve been searching for for AGES.  I am so freakin’ tired of tending steam burns on my fingers from trying to fold and press my bias tapes at the same time.  Anybody who’s suffered this will know exactly what I mean, and the value of these little tools.

Can’t wait to use these!

Other binge items – embroidery floss, for the valiant effort I intend to make at creating Tudor/Elizabethan thread-covered buttons.  I also snatched up several packets of iDye, the best home dye I’ve used, since this is a recent addition to the local selection of fabric dyes, and normally I have to order it from Dharma.

Thread, you’ll be a button soon…
iDye.  Yes I do.

What I didn’t find (and totally forgot about, so it was probably right there in front of me but I got distracted by the shiny bias tape makers) was the flexible ruler, but that is another item I’ve been searching for and hope to find soon.  Hats and armscyes benefit from this tool.

I also nabbed my lavender satin-stuff fabric for the 1912 gown, but I will share that with you later. 🙂


  • Beth

    January 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    I need the glass headed pins she recommended! Somehow I never realized they wouldn't melt under the iron.

    When you go back for the flexible ruler, pick up some 1/4" quilter's tape too – it's like draping tape, but I can't ever find that! Quilters really do get all the fun toys. The tape is perfect for marking stylelines without damaging your muslin or dressform (low tack, but stays on fabric no problem).

  • Artemisia Moltabocca

    January 11, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I have all of those items already, except for that chalk! *addstowishlist* Some other cool tools I've found are the Simplicity Wonder Clips and a small sewing awl for poking pattern marks. You can get a 36" long flexible ruler for around $10 on Amazon.com.

  • Verdaera

    January 11, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    I highly recommend the Fons & Porter chalk mechanical pencil from the quilting section to be the best thing I ever bought. I hate how wide the chalk lines are for traditional pencils, especcially when doing things like making pleats that need sharp lines.

  • Anne Elizabeth

    January 11, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    I've been using that same chalk pencil for quite some while now, and I love it! I love in how many colours it comes, and how it's more precise than normal chalk. I had bad experiences with the ink markers that were meant to fade… they never did…

    I can also recommend the glass headed pins – the only pins which won't leave visible holes in silk taffeta. (But bend very easily when caught by the sewing machine.)

    Bias tape makers are awesome – it's not as easy as it seems, but still much easier than doing it entirely by hand. I really envy you for the thinner one, though. I could do with narrow bias tape more often!

    Most of the sewing/quilting specialist stuff I use is from a company called Clover and comes from a quilting store. Speaking of Clover: I can totally recommend the Sweet Rose makers!


    They're fun and the roses look better than with the usual techniques.

    I am looking forward to your thread buttons.

    Random in between question: How do you guys pronounce quilt? I am not a native speaker and always assumed the "qu" would be pronounced like in "question" or "quartet", but more and more often I hear people pronouncing it like the Scottish "kilt". I am confused.

  • MrsC (Maryanne)

    January 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Alisa I can possibly answer your pronunciation question. I think you are missing the u but it will be there. The u in question is much more noticeable because it is followed by e, which makes the mouth open laterally. The i in quilt does not, so much, which means that the u is less emphasised.
    Where I live in NZ, we say a and e much more alike than in the US, and this was very noticeable when playing the guitar with an american friend who couldn't hear the difference between me saying A minor and E minor. Which one??!! he would yell over the music. EEEEEEEE I would shout back, to no avail! hehehe. But NZers can hear the difference not trouble at all. Funny how our ears are all quite different even though they are the same!
    Lauren, great haul!

  • Angela

    January 11, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Lady D, check out the UKmagazine Mollie Makes, they have a lot of resources that might lead you to a store like Joanne Fabrics.
    Lauren, I so love my see-through ruler…if you use a rotary blade/matt the ruler is essential and fabulous especially when cutting bias strips. Cheers

  • Stephanie

    January 11, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    I have that chalk set, (and the bias tape makers and ruler…) and I LOVE IT! It is so great to have chalk in various colors and it simply brushes off with no residue. I bought it about a year ago and could not think of using anything else for marking. I also have the small glass head pins and they are perfect too!

  • KittyKatt

    January 12, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Singer makes an electric bias cutter. No word on how good it is, though. (I think you can attach the bias folders to it and do the whole thing at once.) I don't have many Clover tools, but I do love them.

  • Anne Elizabeth

    January 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Thanks to Mrs C and Sheila! Then I got it right. 🙂 I wonder where people get the "kilt" one from. French?

    Mrs C, the a and e thing reminds me of "My fair lady" and of me trying to teach my Scottish husband the difference between the German "u" and umlaut "ü". He just doesn't hear the difference, but I understand why.

  • Jenni

    January 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I have that chalk set too, and have found that some of the colors don't come off – even in the wash – so please be sure and test before using on your nice fabrics!

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