It’s gift-giving season!
Do you have a friend who loves to sew and you’d like to give them a sewing gift? Do you have family or friends asking you for ideas of what to give YOU for the holidays? Well, we are here with a list of some of the things our admin and tester team listed as their sewing must-haves, from tiny to big, to help you finish those gift (or wish!) lists. Follow along for a few of our favorite sewing things!
Note– Links are not included for these items simply because they are widely available at many retailers including local sewing stores as well as giants like Amazon and Joann. The smaller things listed are all fairly inexpensive and similar prices at many stores. As you get into the bigger items there will be a much larger span of items available in many price ranges. You will want to shop around for the best item to fit your budget. For any of these items, a quick google search will show you many options. We also love to help people in our Facebook group! Have a question about a great serger, or what shears people love? Join the amazing community of sewists in our Boo and Lu Facebook group where we can chat about all your questions.
Our Favorite Little Things
Sewing Gauge: A handy little tool for measuring your hems, and any other small spacing/seam measurements. Perfect for getting an even hem at exactly the allowance noted by your pattern.
Seam Ripper: An absolute must-have for any sewist. No matter how experienced of a sewist you are, there will come a time when you need to unpick a seam. Make sure you have a seam ripper near you! They dull down over time, so if it feels like it doesn’t cut as smooth as it used to, it might be time to replace it.
Buttonhole Gauge: This very handy tool allows you to perfectly space button and buttonhole placement. Simply select the number you need, and stretch that many points across your alotted space, and mark! Perfect spacing every time.
Turning Tools: These little tubes and coordinated-size sticks make turning tubes of fabric a breeze. Whether its bows, straps, etc., you put the plastic tube inside the fabric, and then poke it through with the stick. You can also use the sticks to poke out corners nice and clean.
Rotary Cutter: Cutting fabric is easier and more precise with a rotary cutter. You can follow the curves of the pattern line without having to lift the fabric away from the mat at all, helping with accuracy. You can also easily cut straight lines with a rotary cutter and an acrylic ruler!
Clear Acrylic Ruler: And speaking of acrylic rulers, make sure you get one to go with your rotary cutter! In addition to being handy for pairing with a rotary cutter for long straight lines, you can also see through it which makes measurements easy too, especially with fussy cutting. They come in many sizes, I like to have one that is 3″x18″ and one that is 4″x36″.
Hot Hem Ruler: If you thought measuring hems was easier with a sewing gauge, wait until you try a hot hem ruler! Heat safe, you can crease your hem at exactly the right allowance using one of these handy tools.
Bodkin: A bodkin is a little tool you can use to pull elastic through a casing, like in the back bodice of Apricot, for example. It’s a little tool that makes that job a cinch!
Seam Guide Washi Tape: This special tape allows you to mark your seam guides for perfectly straight measured seams when sewing, and it comes right off without leaving residue.
Heat Erasable or Air Soluble Pen: Pens that disappear with heat or air are excellent for marking fabric, without leaving a permanent mark. You can use it to mark where to gather between on sleeves, button placement, and so much more.
Washable Hem Tape: Washaway hem or seam tape is amazing for helping to keep fabric in place while sewing without the use of pins. My favorite time to use it is when I am enclosing the waistseam of a bodice. You just use your iron and this tape to keep everything perfectly in place while you stitch, ensuring no shifting and perfect lines every time.
Sewing Clips: Clips are an amazing alternative to pins. They hold strong, they are easy to use, and you can’t poke yourself with them. They are not a complete pin replacement as they can only be used on the edge of fabric and not the middle, but they are amazing for your edges. (Note- while you can find these a lot of places, the ones from Amazon that come in a pack of 100 in a tin are by far the best deal I have ever found.)
Small Tool Organizer: This little organizer is perfect for keeping your small tools handy while you sew. You can use it for things like thread snips, seam ripper, sewing gauge, bodkin, etc.
Our Favorite Medium Things
Topstitch Foot: A topstitch foot for your sewing machine is a bi-level foot that helps measure a perfect topstitching seam line, especially places where the fabric on either side of the seam is different levels of thickness, like the bodice to the skirt for example. You will need to find the correct foot to match your own sewing machine.
Gathering Foot: A gathering foot is exactly what it sounds like- a presser foot for your machine that helps you quickly and evenly gather fabric. This type of foot is available for both sewing machines and sergers, and you will need to find the correct foot to match your own machine.
Self-healing Cutting Mat: A self-healing cutting mat is ideal for cutting your fabric paired with a rotary cutter. They are available in a large variety of sizes; the larger you get, the bigger the pattern pieces you can easily cut.
Tiny Vacuum: A very small handheld vacuum with attachments for tiny spaces is wonderful for cleaning up a sewing room. I use mine to vacuum the dust out of my machines, in the corners under my sewing table, etc.
Iron: Quality sewing is nearly impossible without an iron. But the quality of the iron can also make a difference to your ability to neatly press a variety of fabric types, steam wrinkles, and get crisp seams every time. If your iron is not heating well, is leaving marks on fabric, or is not steaming well, it may be time to upgrade.
Quality Shears: Like an iron, scissors are a requirement for sewing. Any scissors that cut fabric will work, but higher quality scissors will cut cleaner lines, more accurate points, and be less likely to snag your fabric.
Quality Pinking Shears: Pinking shears are special scissors that cut notches in your fabric. When you sew a curved seam, like a neckline, and need to clip your curves, pinking shears get that job done so quickly and cleanly. Like any scissors, a higher quality pair will have sharper blades, and be easier on your hands to use.
Binding Attachment: A binding attachment for a coverstitch machine makes binding fabric a breeze. You can read an entire blog post here on binding tips and tricks using one of these attachments.
Our Favorite Big Things
Serger: This machine helps make sewing knits a breeze as you can use it for all the seams. It is also wonderful for finishing your seams with woven fabrics for a professional look. You can use it for decorative hems such as a rolled hem as well. If there is one large item besides your actual sewing machine worth investing in, it is a serger. They come at a huge range of price points, so you will be able to find one for your budget.
Coverstitch: A coverstitch is a machine used to hem knit fabrics. If you have ever hemmed tons of ruffles (like in Tiger Lily) you know how time-consuming (but so worth it!!) it can be. A coverstitch makes it much easier and faster and gives your knit hems a gorgeous finish. It can also be used for professional looking binding.
Projector: When I asked people for their number one favorite sewing tool big or small, one of the most popular answers was a projector. This technology has only commonly been used in the sewing world in the last couple years, but it became a favorite immediately. Once you sew using a projector, it is hard to go back. A projector is used for pattern pieces in place of paper. You no longer print/tape or large-scale print your sewing pattern pieces to then cut out. You cast your PDF file straight to your projector, and then project the image onto your cutting surface. From there, you can cut your fabric right out.
Projectors save a ton of time and a ton of paper and ink. Think of a pattern like Women’s Periwinkle that has an adult sized maxi skirt; projecting the pattern pieces saves a lot of paper for printing, and a lot of time taping and cutting the paper. Projectors are also handy if you sew the same pattern in multiple sizes, since you don’t have to cut out paper pattern pieces for each size. You can read all about sewing using a projector in our handy Guide to Projectors For Sewing. ALL Boo and Lu patterns include a file optimized for projectors.
And one last thing…
One final recommendation from our team of an absolute necessity while sewing? Your favorite snacks and drinks of course! After all, who can sew on an empty stomach?