My Favorite Sewing Tools

Studio Sewing Table
The right sewing tools can make your life so much easier. And there are tons of them out there. Some work great and your projects come out even better because of them. You wonder how you got along without them. But there are some that are truly a waste of money. I’ve bought a few that make no sense and feel just plain awkward to use.
Interestingly, most of my favorite sewing tools were not really made for sewing at all. I thought I’d share a list of what I use all the time in the studio.

My Favorite Sewing Tools

Favorite Sewing Tools

Aluminum Foil

Most of us who sew and use sewing templates know the wonders of grocery store freezer paper, but tin foil is pretty awesome too! I fold up a little square of it to cut through several times to sharpen all my scissors and thread snips. Works great! Tin foil is also really helpful for making appliqué circles.
Porcupine Quilt Sewing Tool

Porcupine Quills

Yep! I keep a few quills on hand to use as a sewing stiletto. They aren’t found to easily where I live, but you can get naturally shed quills online (I found mine on Etsy). A stiletto can act as almost a third hand, holding seams together without pinning as you guide them under the presser foot, as well as keep seam allowances from flipping the wrong way under the needle. There are all kinds of things you can use as a stiletto, but  these are by far the coolest ones.


A bar of soap that is too small to use, or a travel sized bar works great to mark the surface of my quilts. I use soap on any fabric that I would use chalk pencils on (dark, darker prints) and it flakes away when no longer needed.


The shorelines near my house are covered with these smooth stones. I have been known to bring handfuls home to decorate with crochet, doodling, my kids have painted them… Sometimes I’ll even cover them with leather, a project that is in my first book. There’s a basket of them in my sewing studio. I use them for holding pattern pieces down on fabric instead of pinning, to keep a designated fabric stack and its corresponding paper project sheet in a nice, neat stack, and countless other ways. Nice to personalized ones around and nice to use.

Packing Tape

When I have a paper template that I need to trace around a few times, but not something I’ll need to keep permanently, I will cover the entire template with clear packing tape, then cut out the shape. This will keep the template from distorting as I trace around it, and as a bonus the markings and notes on the template are still visible.
Favorite sewing tools

Pipe cleaners

I learned this trick from Christina Cameli and I’ve been using it ever since. Using a pipe cleaner to get inside the bobbin case and around the lint-covered areas of your sewing machine works so well. It almost acts like a magnet to the little lint bunnies, and it can bend and get itself into those hard to reach areas. I use one at least every other day, to clean my machine out.
Do you use an unusual sewing tool? I’d love to hear about it, leave it in the comments below!

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