My 'Ride or Die' Quilting + Sewing Tools!

Posted on June 14, 2016 by Clare Hansen | 0 comments

Bobkin  ||  Binding Glue  ||  Needle Threader  ||  Basting Glue  ||  Rotary Cutter  ||  Rotary Blades  ||  Binding Ruler

 

My Favorite Sewing + Quilting Essentials

 

 06.14.16

 

I've been asked on more then one occasion what are my favorite products and tools I use.  I've even been asked if I would make a YouTube video series. Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves here (haha!)  Let me start by giving my suggestions and tips on my favorites. There are many, but I'm going to show you what I feel are my 'can't live without' products, tools and THEE best tip for binding that rocked my quilting world!!

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SEWING

Bodkin:  Gone are the days of using a safety pin to thread you elastic through casings. There are many different types of Bodkins that due different things depending on the task. It makes quick work of threading elastic through your fabric. The most common Bodkin is about 4" long, usually made of metal, and used for things like sheet threading.  It's used much like a safety pin.  You might be wondering how is it any different then a safety pin? The differences are huge. You can't get poked like you can with a safety pin because the Bodkin doesn't pop open.  It also slides quicker and easier through the fabric making quick work for your project. 
Needle Threader:  If you've ever had a hard time trying to find the eye of a sewing machine needle, then you can't live without this. A needle threader is a very thin, long, bendable tool to help guide your thread through the eye.  On one end you put your thread through a big loop (eye), and then push the other, pointy end through your needles eye.  Then just pull through and Voilà!
Rotary Cutter:  Back in the old days all fabric was cut with scissors only, which includes ME! Using a rotary cutter is a life saver, especially if you're cutting large amounts of fabric.  Even with smaller projects, it's a necessity in my opinion.  I recommend a 45mm blade for most all projects.  A 60mm is best when cutter large amount of fabric into sections. Rotary cutters revolutionized the sewing/quilting world. I can't even remember what it was like before they were invented. This is my favorite cutter.  I can't explain why, other then it just feels the best in my hand.  You might find another best for you.
Rotary Blades:  Using a dull blade is a big no-no! If there's one thing to change in your sewing technique right now, it's CHANGE YOUR BLADES! A dull blade will hack up your fabric. When you find yourself having to go over areas more then once because its not not cutting the fabric, or your "sawing" the fabric by rolling back and forth, stop and change that blade.  This will cause your fabric to fray. Frayed fabric leaves messy seam allowance areas among other things.  
Seam Ripper:  I never use to think there was a difference between seam rippers.  Anyone who sews will need a seam ripper eventually. A friend told me about this seam ripper and upon first use I was blown away!  I'm here to say there is a difference. If finances permit, I would highly recommend this one.  It feels nice and weighty in your hand, and the blade is super sharp.  That blade makes all the difference. Watch this video and learn where to buy one, and about how you're probably using a seam ripper all wrong.
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 QUILTING

Spray Basting:  There are severals methods to baste your quilt.  1) You can baste using the oldest method, which is to simply use a needle and thread making very large stitches throughout the quilt. The stitches would be removed as you quilt. 2) You can use safety pins placed apart be about a fist width.  There are safety pins designed specifically for this purpose. They are curved, making it easier to insert into the quilt and remove as you quilt. 3) My personal favorite is Spray Basting. You use a temporary spray adhesive, here's my favorite, to adhere the back, batting and front of quilt together. Watching this video will help you understand the application better.

Binding Template:  Binding can be a daunting part of quilter for some.  Anything that makes binding easier is awesome in my book.  This template makes cutting your binding strips very quick and simple. The marks on the template are easy to read, making it simple to cut the strips at a quick pace.  Here's another video that explains this great template better then I can.  I just LOVE it!

Iron:  I'm asked what one step of quilting is the most important.  That's hard to answer because I believe each step is equally important.  However, if I had to pick just one it would be ironing.  If you don't press nicely and correctly throughout each step of quilting, it can really throw off the entire quilt.  In most cases, if an iron has adequate steam it should be just fine. Just make sure it doesn't leak or 'spit' so you don't effect you fabric. On the other hand, if you sew or quilt often I'd look for an iron that can keep up with your steaming needs.  I've finally found the one the seems to work perfect for me.  The steam if constant and I've never had a problem. You can find it here if you're in the market for a new iron.

Sewing Machine:  I have quite a few machines because I'm in a business that requires it.  So I have a pretty good idea of what's a good machine and what isn't.  I won't go into sergers or your typical, everyday sewing machine is this blog; but I will at a later date.  I'm going to suggest the best quilting sewing machine that I just can't live without.  I have a Juki tl2010q. This machine is a workhorse. It doesn't have a zigzag. It's a straight stitch only, which is all you need for quilting.  It isn't computerized, which is perfect.  I find that the computerized ones just have way more then you need and can break down more then I think is ok.  If you have a machine that does exactly what you need for quilting, and does it well, stick with it! All the bells and whistles aren't always needed. 

Snippers:  Here is a great pair of scissors that have a curved edge, perfect for snipping away those threads on your quilt that are stuck in the binding, or along a seam line.  No need to spend a fortune on a pair of snippers. These are perfect, I've had them for years and never need to sharpen! 

Binding Glue:  I saved the best for last.  I've probably changed the way I bind at least a dozen times.  I've gone from a 2 1/2" width binding, to 3" & back to 2 1/2".  Sewing on the front and wrapping to back to sewing on the back and wrapping to the front.  You name it and I've tried it.  In the end, having used just about every product to help my binding, I've landed on what is MY perfect binding method.  I'll make a proper, full binding tutorial in a separate post someday because it would require that to go through the process entirely.  Today I'm going to introduce you to THEE product that changed the outcome of my binding overnight.  I was told about using glue to hold down your binding before you sew it down as the last step. I dismissed it because I thought it was lame.  I've used wonder clips, those bendy hair clips, and of course hand binding.  Hand binding is my ultimate, in a perfect world, method of sewing down your binding.  I don't have that luxury in the business of selling quilts.  It's just not cost effective because it takes a fair amount of time.  So back to the glue! I was convinced that I should try this one glue (that I won't mention) to hold down my binding. I was loving the fact that your binding could be temporarily placed in just the perfect spot (1/8" over the sew line).   You then can turn to other side of you quilt (weather you start on the front or back of you quilt), and sew in the ditch along your binding edge.  This will catch the other side of your binding perfectly, tacking the binding down 1/8" away from the edge. If done right, this makes a sweet binding look.  You don't have to use clips and remove them as you go, and you're pretty much guaranteed a uniform sewing line. Unfortunately this glue required you to iron down the binding as well. Not just the glue alone. This was just one too many steps that I didn't want.  I then found THIS glue. No ironing. Just hold down with fingers for a couple seconds and you're off.  MIND BLOWN. My binding as been pretty much perfect every since using this glue.  Don't worry, it washes away in this first washing.  

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I would imagine some of this will be helpful to those that sew, some of it you may already know, while some might not make any sense what so ever.  Whatever the case, I hope there was at least one thing that was informative and helpful!

HAPPY SEWING!

 

Xo,  Clare

 



 

 

 


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