The fabulous Heather Bailey has begun a fun tradition called March of the Tools, in which crafty bloggers share some of their favorite tools. I love reading and learning about sewing tools. In fact, just this morning I ordered some magic fabric pens recommended by Flossie Teacakes in her March of the Tools post here. I've been thinking about the tools that make my sewing more fun and efficient, and I'd love to recommend a few of my favorites.
Pfaff's IDT System
There are lots of great sewing machines out there, and lots of people sew great things on not-so-great sewing machines. I sew on a Pfaff (though mine is an older, made-in-Germany model), which I love mostly because of the IDT system, developed by Pfaff decades ago. IDT is basically a built-in walking foot that feeds fabric evenly from the top and bottom to help prevent slipping and stretching. I sew a lot on knits, and I can't imagine sewing without IDT. Although other sewing machines have mechanisms for even feed, most are newer copies of IDT, and few seem to allow the use of all sorts of presser feet with IDT.
This is also sometimes called a Narrow Edge Foot. I use it all the time, though I rarely use it to stitch-in-the-ditch. It's a wonderful tool for topstitching. It lines up perfectly with a seam or fabric edge, and by adjusting needle position, I get beautifully even topstitching. Although mine is made by Pfaff, I think pretty much every sewing machine company offers a foot like this.
Isn't bodkin a fun word to say? Bodkin, bodkin, bodkin. I use my bodkin all the time to feed elastic through a casing. Sure, a safety pin works fine. But my Clover Bodkin works even better. It grabs the elastic and doesn't let go until I tell it to. I love it.
I trace lots of patterns, and I usually cut with a rotary cutter. I can't stand to have things wiggle around. Although any pattern weights will work (even canned food, which I've used), these are special because they nicely conform to curves. When you want precision, these are the best. I got this photo from The Sewing Place, which sells Wiggle Weights, though I'm sure other vendors probably do too. I did notice recently a warning on the tags saying that the weights contain lead and should not be handled by children. Sort of strange, but I wouldn't let my kids play with them anyway.
Swedish Tracing Paper
Swedish Tracing Paper is my favorite for tracing patterns. It's substantial, almost like interfacing, and it doesn't slip around nearly as much as other papers do. You can sew on it too, though I rarely do that.
These are great for quick cutting. Once you get accustomed to using them, I think they're actually more accurate than scissors. They work especially well for knits because they seem to stretch the fabric less. I have two sizes, both Olfa, and I use them equally.
I already told you about this favorite tool. I can't imagine sewing without clips!