Annie's Favorite Tools
Having the proper tools for any job makes accomplishing the job so much easier and more fun. Here is a list of tools that we consider essential for any quilter/purse maker/sewist. What would you add to this list?
Sewing machine in good working order
Machine feet including
Walking foot (with guide if possible)
A walking foot is essential when machine quilting to keep the top and bottom layers moving together at the same rate. This helps to prevent puckers and wrinkles in the bottom fabric. Many feet come with guides that can be attached to help guide straight-line stitching. Using a guide means less marking as you can just run the guide along the previous line of stitching.
A 1/4" foot makes sewing accurate 1/4" seams easy. Some feet (such as the amazing Bernina #37 foot) also help make accurate 1/8" and 1/16" seams quick and easy.
Teflon foot (optional)
A Teflon foot is helpful when sewing on vinyl as it cuts down on static and drag.
Rotary cutter and mat
We recommend a 45mm or 60mm rotary cutter for cutting the project pieces. A 28mm rotary cutter is helpful when rounding the corners; its smaller size makes cutting curves extra easy.
A 24" x 36" mat will be helpful for this project, though you can get by with a smaller mat if that is all that you have.
We used 4" x 4", 8½" x 24", 12½" x 12½", and 15" x 15" rulers for cutting the pieces for this project. If you have a 20½" x 20½" ruler, use it for cutting the largest pieces. This is a ruler that you don't use often, but when you need it, it is so wonderful to have!
This handy tool is one of those items you don't know you need until you have one! With gripper teeth and locking handles, a hemostat comes in handy for many uses. We like to use them to adjust the polypro strapping inside the fabric strap.
Quick Turn Fabric Tube Turning Tool
Perfect for making straps and handles, the Quick Turn tool comes with 3 sizes of plastic cylinders and wooden rods used to push and turn fabric tubes quickly and easily.
When sewing with Soft and Stable, we recommend a #90/14 topstitch needle. We prefer using topstitch needles for all of our sewing. Topstitch needles are strong and sturdy and have an eye that is twice as big as a regular needle eye which makes for extra-easy threading. My mature eyes love this! The large eye also prevents thread from shredding as you sew. They also have a groove down the shank in which the thread rests. This, too, prevents shredding and fraying of the thread. We love Superior Threads' titanium-coated topstitch needles; their titanium coating helps them stay sharp longer and extends the life of the needle.
These Clover chalk markers are the perfect tool for marking temporary lines on fabric or Soft and Stable ™. Lines and marks are easily visible and the marker is easy to use with straight edge rulers. The tapered fine point permits accurate drawing of both straight lines and free hand curves. Clover Chaco Liner Pen Style Markers are available in several colors. We prefer using the white marker on dark fabrics and the silver or blue on light to medium fabrics.
Bias tape maker: Small and simple, yet big in convenience, this 12 mm bias tape maker makes 1/2" bias strips as easy as 1-2-3. Just slip the tape in one end and pull it out the other as you iron.
Wonder Clips: Wonder Clips are perhaps the most versatile and useful sewing tool ever devised. For years sewers have used binder clips, hair pins or even clothes pins for any number of sewing applications where an alternative to pins is desired. The Wonder Clip, designed and manufactured by Clover, is the first clip developed specifically for the needs of today's sewers, quilters, crafters and beaders.
Seam ripper: The Seam-Fix is not just another seam ripper to put in the bottom of your sewing kit and forget about. Instead, you will find the Seam-Fix to be a tool as useful as a rotary cutter or pair of scissors. Ripping a seam is the easy part, and there are all kinds of seam rippers available to take a seam apart. But what about all of those little threads that are left when you use a seam ripper to take apart a seam? Instead of taking the time to pluck out all of those little bits of thread, use the Seam-Fix Mini to simply erase the bits of thread right off your project. The specially-designed plastic tips at each end make this easy. Say good-bye to eye strain and get back to sewing!
Basting spray (optional)