Getting Started: Intermediate Tools

Thursday, 15 July 2010, 8:00 | Author : Kricket
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Assuming you have gained some familiarity with the basic tools, this second set of recommendations will complete your collection of “essential” sewing tools. Although this comprehensive list is intended to introduce you to new tools, I am not suggesting that every item should be purchased.  Several items are only useful in a single situation and other items are intended to be an upgrade for the items listed in the “Beginner Tools”.

Air Dry Erasable Pen

As the name implies, the purple ink inside the pen will air dry within a few days of application – or it can be removed with a damp cloth.  Test the ink on an inconspicuous area because it is very dark.

Bias Tape Maker

Bias tape is a folded strip of fabric that you can use to trim the raw edges of your costume.  A bias tape maker is a small metal chute that evenly folds in the edges of your fabric as you pull it through the mechanism.  You must iron your fabric as it is pulled through to keep the shape.

Clear Ruler

This transparent ruler has grid lines that allow you to make quick changes to your pattern.  We often refer to it as the “invisible ruler” since it has occasionally disappeared on the carpet while we were working on a costume.  (Different brands have different colored grid lines.  We prefer the Quilt and Sew Ruler by Collins Inc.)

Curved Hand-Sewing Needle

The “U-shaped” curved needle is a specialty item that is particularly useful for hard to reach spots such as shoes and wigs.  For heavy weight fabrics, purchase an Upholstery Needle pack.

Leather Hole Punch

Although this item is intended to punch various size holes into leather, it can also be used to hand-punch holes into your fabric – which is very useful for grommet and eyelet embellishments.  Since this tool is intended to cut through leather (not fabric), we usually back our fabrics with a square of vinyl while “punching”.

Magnetic Pickup Tool

This telescoping magnet is used in garages to pick up bolts and screws.  Fortunately, it is also very useful for finding needles that may be lurking in your carpet.  You can purchase this tool in the hardware section of any department store.

Pinking Sheers

Pinking sheers are scissors that cut a zigzag edge rather than the typical straight-edge; this will help reduce fraying.

Rotary Cutter

A rotary cutter closely resembles a pizza cutter and should be used with a cutting board to slice straight or zigzag lines through your fabric.

Razor Blade

If you purchase a simple razor blade from your local hardware store you will be able to “saw” through your stitches much quicker than if you used a seam ripper.  Remember to use caution as a sharp blade will easily glide through fabric and thread alike.

Tracing Paper

Tracing paper is a very thin piece of film which has been coated with colored lead on one side.  By applying pressure to the paper, you can transfer the lead (and likewise any design) onto your fabric.  The colored marks can often be removed with a damp cloth.

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