Nine Favorite Small Tools I Use All The Time
With the Holidays fast approaching I thought a list of my Ten Favorite Small Tools would be fun. These tools are listed in no particular order.
I use large washers from the Hardware Store to hold my fabrics and patterns in place on my work table. The size of the washer does not matter, but the weight of each washer is important; look for stainless steel or steel, zinc washers are too light. Washers come in many sizes from Grainger.com or special ordered from your local hardware store. The large washers are 3/4″ washers; washers are measured by the size of the inner hole ( to fit around a 3/4″ bolt.) The smaller washers are 1/2″ washers. On the far right is a small washer that was spray-painted white to disappear in photos. I like 3/4″ washers as I can easily grab a stack with my fingers to distribute or gather up. You can buy washers singly or in boxes of 20 for $43.41, plus $12. shipping, from Grainger or another hardware distributer.
Keep a small magnet near your sewing machine and/or cutting table. When you tip over your box of pins a magnet will make picking up the pins much easier.
A sharp seam ripper makes the annoying job of ripping out a seam much easier.
The small seam ripper is an inexpensive version like this one from Gold Star Tools. I have these inexpensive seam rippers in multiple locations in my work room.
The larger seam ripper was a gift from a cousin. It is double headed, with a large ripper on one end and a smaller ripper on the other end. I use this tool if I have a long seam to rip out as the large, ridged handle is comfortable and easy to hold for that annoying, mis-sewn seam. I have seen rippers like this one at craft fairs and small sewing/quilting stores.
I keep these by my sewing machine for clipping threads. The upper snips are inexpensive and efficient, but can’t be sharpened.
https://www.wawak.com/Cutting-Measuring/Cutting/Thread-Clips/thrifty-4-14-thread-clips/?sku=IS25 at $2.98
https://www.goldstartool.com/thread-clippers-springtype-all-metal.htm at $1.99
The lower snips are heavier and can be sharpened when needed. I keep these snips by my sewing machine and on my worktable; they are great for cutting notches.
https://www.wawak.com/Cutting-Measuring/Cutting/Thread-Clips/gingher-4-12-thread-snips/?sku=IS27 at $12.49
https://www.goldstartool.com/stainless-steelthread-clips.htm at $7.99
There are lots of different fabric markers on the market. I have lots of fabric markers in my workroom, but these are the two I reach for most often.
The Chaco Chalk Maker leaves a fine line that can be brushed away. In the photo is my blue Chaco chalk Marker; they also come in white.
https://www.wawak.com/Cutting-Measuring/Marking-Chalk-Pens/Chalk/clover-chaco-liner-marker-white/?sku=CK4 at $5.81 Little bottles of ground chalk for refills in a 2-pack cost $3.44.
Frixon Pens are the newest version of “disappearing ink” pens. The ink in Frixon pens is heat sensitive; the heat of an iron (140°) makes the ink “disappear”. The ink does vanish from view, but will reappear if exposed to extreme cold: 14°. I recommend the “Fine” point at 07. I find the Extra Fine at 05 is too fine.
https://www.amazon.com/Pilot-FriXion-Erasable-3-Pack-31578/dp/B004JXHTDK/ref=pd_cp_229_2/143-5975381-7412206?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B004JXHTDK&pd_rd_r=9cc92d31-dabc-463d-865e-00f7a66a128a&pd_rd_w=zqHkG&pd_rd_wg=hl2No&pf_rd_p=0e5324e1-c848-4872-bbd5-5be6baedf80e&pf_rd_r=41K6MQM2CECJR619W5GY&psc=1&refRID=41K6MQM2CECJR619W5GY for a 3 pack at $5.79.
https://www.staples.com/Pilot-FriXion-Point-Erasable-Pens-Extra-Fine-Point-Black-3-Pack-31578/product_343209 for a 3-pack at $5.79.
Hole Maker and Pattern Notcher
The Screw Hole Maker is perfect for making a hole in your pattern to mark dart tips, button placement, the break point of the jacket lapel, etc. With changeable bits, you can make a small hole, a medium hole or a large hole; the large holes are large enough to sew Tailor’s Tack through.
https://www.goldstartool.com/japanese-book-drill—screw-hole-punch-with-6-bits.htm at $13.99
A pattern notcher eliminates the fussy cutting of the triangle notches the major pattern makers use. Instead of cutting out 3 triangles, squeeze the pattern notcher once (or three times side by side) and get a cut into the pattern’s seam allowance. When cutting out your garment in fabric make quick snip into the seam allowance to mark the notch.
Pattern notchers are available at Gold Star tools, Wawak and other sewing tool suppliers.
https://www.goldstartool.com/pattern-notcher.htm at 14.99
https://www.wawak.com/Cutting-Measuring/Patterns-Supplies/pattern-notcher/?sku=TOOL15 at $18.35
Both of these needles help finish a seam. On the top, an Easy Thread needle, which threads from the top, is perfect for hiding thread ends.
On the bottom, a double eyed needle has an eye on each end. Thread the ends of a serger chain into one of the eyes. Slide the other end of the needle back through the serger seam and bury the thread chain ends to prevent the chain from raveling.
Easy Thread needles are available at Gold Star tools, Wawak and other sewing tool suppliers.
https://www.goldstartool.com/selfthreading-needles-10-pc.htm at $3.99 for a 10 pack
https://www.wawak.com/Sewing/Needles/Hand/john-james-assorted-easy-threading-hand-needles-4-size-4-2-size-8/?sku=NEDE48 at $1.79 for a 4-pack
The Double ended needles are harder to find. I found them at Sewing Machine Plus online:
https://www.sewingmachinesplus.com/havels_dbleneedle.php?gclid=CjwKCAiA5JnuBRA-EiwA-0ggPRwVPbTWsVMHRBbgbolswUNnQDq_fI-j_mUayHqFVQ3gPLkyQmYWGBoCMQMQAvD_BwE at $3.99 for a 2 pack.
I hope you have found a new tool put on your Holiday Wish List or buy for yourself. I’m sure you have other tools you love that aren’t listed here. Please share!
NB: all of the links to the shopping sources are provided by me, without any sponorship from the vendors. I have received good customer service from GoldStar, Wawak and SewingMachings Plus. Please let me know if the links don’t work!
5 thoughts on “9 Favorite Small Tools I Use All The Time”
Awesome – thanks Ellen.
This is great! Thank you for posting it.
I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites
really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark
your website to come back later. All the best