Last week, we shared the top 10 most essential sewing tools you need for your toolkit. This week, we’re going to share 10 nice-to-have tools. These tools are by no means necessary, but they will save you time and effort—plus they’re fun to collect!
A point turner. You can find these made from plastic or bamboo, and you’ll use them to poke out the corners of your garment, like on plackets, cuffs, or any place where you want a sharp, crisp point. Point turners are a bit superior to chopsticks or knitting needles because they also have a blunt edge you can use to finger press or turn over edges.
A bodkin. A bodkin will help you thread drawstrings or elastic through casings or help you turn out tubes, like spaghetti straps. You can use a safety pin, but if it opens up while threading, it’s a pain to get out. You can find a few different types of bodkins but the simplest one to use looks like tweezers with little teeth that you can clasp on one end.
A rotary cutter and mat: Fabric shears are great for cutting out fabric, but rotary cutters are definitely quicker. The general rule is to get a comfortable rotary cutter and then pair it with the biggest cutting mat you can afford. You can also look for pinking blades for your rotary cutter to quickly finish seams or prep fabric for pre-washing.
A Pressing Ham: Tailor’s hams aren’t necessary for pressing, but they really help make it easier, especially when you are pressing a curve, like a sleeve cap. A ham is usually flannel or wool on one side and canvas on the other, and it’s all stuffed tightly with sawdust. The two materials give you two different pressing options depending on the fabric you are using, and each can withstand the heat of your iron. You can also use a ham when you iron your finished or ready-to-wear garments. Most garments aren’t flat, so pressing them on a curve just makes sense.
A Seam Roll: Like a ham, a seam roll is densely filled with sawdust but it's more oblong. You can insert this roll into sleeves or along the inseam of pants to get a crisp press. If you want to read all about helpful pressing tools, we made a quick video of our 5 favorite pressing tools here on our YouTube channel.
A Clapper: A clapper is made of wood, whose function is in its name. After pressing a seam, you can use the clapper to reinforce the press. This is helpful with very thick fabrics like wool or canvas. Rather than holding your iron on top of your seam for a long time, you can press it as usual and then clap it into place.
Upgraded Marking Tools: A trustworthy marking tool makes such a difference in accuracy when you sew. If you want to move beyond chalk, look for something water-soluble, like pens or pencils. We have a review of some common marking tools here.
Specialty Presser Feet: The more you sew, the more tempting it is to sew quickly and more effectively. Your machine can do a lot of the work for you if you invest in special feet. We have an overview of the 10 best presser feet for sewing clothing here.
A Special Trimming Tool: This could be a pair of short shears, thread snips, or duckbill scissors. We also have a guide to buying the perfect thread snips here.
If you have the budget, these tools will lend you a hand while you sew (and even a clap!), so we recommend you add them to your sewing kit. To hear about specific brands and more details about the options for these tools, listen to episode 107 of Seamwork Radio .