Sew Gadgety

What’s your least used sewing gadget?

Vying for first place I have

this stuff


Seldom I remember that I have some dressmaker’s carbon, and rarely does it turn out to leave a useful mark . Its probably great if you always use smooth textured pale and washable fabric. Shirtmakers, this is for you.

Then there’s these things – honestly  two needles in the ironing board work so much better.

DSC_0462And today I realised that if I put two more needles in about six inches further along, I could get the tape folded in half again, perfect for seam binding.

And then there’s one of these . I have used it for cutting binding, but clearing space for the self healing mat, pressing uniformly and firmly on the steel ruler, not wobbling and avoiding slicing a finger tip, rapidly blunting blade – I’ll take the shears.

Got any space wasters lurking in your workroom?


About jay

I design and draft patterns
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18 Responses to Sew Gadgety

  1. sew2pro says:

    The most useless item I’ve ever bought was a Dritz Hem Marker. I fell for its vintage good looks. I suspect it’s actually wonky!

    The first two on your list I use quite a lot. But the third?! That’s for pizza.
    Actually, I prefer scissors on pizza!


  2. seweverythingblog says:

    Agree with you about the rotary cutter. I do use it but I reach for the scissors more often than not. But I use the Dritz Hem Marker (mentioned above by sew2pro) a lot, and find it quite useful!
    One thing that I purchased impulsively but never used is the “wave” ruler – a transparent ruler with wavy edges. Not sure what I was thinking. One of these days…..


  3. mrsmole says:

    Ditto on the rotary cutter, used it once, not impressed. I also bought this:, a needle felting claw and mat cleaner. It has never been out of the package.


  4. Kate says:

    Great post. I have the same carbon paper stuff. Never got it to work. Tailors chalk is miles better. Not bought either the bias maker or the rotary cutter but considered them so your advice is apposite! Many thanks. My most useful gadgets are my small measuring tools and my sharp snippers, and my luxury item is coloured basting thread.


    • Pella says:

      Coloured basting thread as a luxury? That’s interesting/surprising. We learnt using coloured threads , but I went off the idea, because its the devil to get it out of a stitch line if you run over it. You must be a more accurate machinist than me Kate!


  5. FabricKate says:

    well only that white is cheaper… I am not that accurate but find my best eyebrow tweezers (Tweezerman) get the threads out, and are always in my sewing box rather than the bathroom….


  6. helen says:

    I’ve been having a think about this and nothing that I own springs to mind.
    Actually I did waste a few pounds on a sewing set from Aldi recently. I already had most of the items (better quality versions). The sewing needles were rubbish. I did consider sending it to the charity shop last week but still think that maybe something will come in useful one day.
    I’ve never tried the Burda carbon paper as I bought some wax paper from the US earlier this year after doing the Craftsy Susan K course, now that is brilliant and well worth the price / wait for it to arrive.
    One thing I’ve had for years and is great is the sleeve board and I think I’d quite like a mini table top ironing board for those times when I don’t really need to get the big one out.


    • Pella says:

      Must be the same sewing sets as Lidl then. Pre wound bobbins hopelessly thread snarled, needle threader wires which break off first use, thimble feeble enough to shove eye end of the needle into your finger. A purchase lost in the memory hole.


  7. Anne says:

    I love my rotary cutter! I use the 28mm version though, which is easier to maneuver than the 45mm size. I also find the Clover bias tape makers useful and use the carbon paper whenever possible, though sometimes I need to trace over it again with a Chaco liner.

    My worst experience was with the Dritz snap pliers. Words cannot describe how poorly designed that tool is.


  8. I cut everything (except notches) with a rotary (45mm). Carl bought me a human sized cutting mat two birthdays ago and I’ve never looked back. The mat lives under the couch and the rotary and shears live there with it.
    I’ve got the clover bias tape makers, the non-stick one works better than the one meant for adding sticky seam tape. Also both work better on stiff fabrics (cotton, linen, raw silk, dupion) than slinky stuff. I generally do the fold in half then again for small pieces though.
    You’re right, Burdastyle tracing paper is sh*t. The clover stuff is awesome (regular carbon paper works fine too. I use black and it washes off-or has thus far, of everything). Using it with a bumpy tracing wheel works best and adds automagic seam allowance.
    The most absolute sh*t of a wasted device is the clover mini iron. Non-ergonomic, pretty effin’ useless and a burn hazard plus the thing’s made in china so probably assembled by blind three year olds for two sesame seeds an hour XP Really regret buying that POS. X..(


  9. Pella says:

    If only my patterns were merely human sized!And under the couch was not storage for cat hair, sweet wrappers and peanut shells. I agree about the mini iron, so little used I forgot I had it when I made my list. Wonder where it is?


  10. Laura says:

    I got bias tape makers last year for Xmas and use them all the time! Rotary cutters took me a while to warm up to but they get used for patchwork, while the shears get used for dressmaking. I have the Burda tracing paper but have only used it a handful of times – although I swear by my chalk-wheel-pen-thingy for marking fabric. Probably the most useless things in my sewing room are the piles and piles of fabric I have accumulated….


  11. grtescp says:

    Ha – so glad to see I am not the only one who is not head over heels about my rotary cutter… I have cut my finger quite spectacularly with it, I have had less success with fabric – until a couple of weeks ago when I was cutting out jersey scraps for undies, and found it coped quite well with the smaller curves there… it may be redeemed yet!


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