Moore Approved: Sewing & Quilting Tools
Since I started sewing and quilting, I’ve spent a significant amount of time searching for and trying out lots of notions. Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite “Moore Approved” toys straight out of my own craft room.
Creative Grids rulers – Full disclosure: I own both Omnigrip *and* Creative Grids rulers, but I’m in the process of building up a collection of Creative Grids. While the Omnigrip rulers claim to be non-slip, I had to put rubber sticky grips on them and fabric would still slide around underneath. While at Quilting Live in Atlanta a few months ago, I purchased a 60 degree triangle ruler and noticed it had embedded gripper dots that really worked. My local quilt shop carries the Creative Grids line, and I added the 8 1/2 x 24 1/2, 6 1/2 square, and 12 1/2 square rulers. They are very sturdy and easy to read the markings. Beware when using your rotary cutter, as I accidentally gouged out a tiny portion along one edge. However – this would happen to any ruler – it’s more user error than anything else.
Sewline Fabric Pencil – Recently, an online shop was having a 50 percent off all sewing notions sale and I’ve been wanting a Sewline Fabric Pencil for a while, but they are pricey! I ended up scoring the one in the photo above for only $6 – with pink lead, and I got white refills for $3. This pencil makes very clear, fine, precise marks on fabric, and feels very smooth to use. I’m becoming a huge fan of Sewline products.
Elmer’s Washable School Glue and fine tip applicator cap – Also at Quilting Live, I had the pleasure of taking a quilt binding technique class with instructor and renowned quilter Deb Karasik. She posted a free tutorial on her website, and one of the top tips I learned was to use Elmer’s Washable School Glue to glue baste. We all received a small plastic bottle with two fine tip applicator caps. I have been using this pretty much non-stop ever since. Glue basting has made my sewing/quilting so much easier and accurate. It’s especially great for piecing and keeping zippers in place. I just ordered some Fineline Glue Applicator Tips from Pile O’ Fabric’s online shop, and am excited to try them because they have a super fine metal tip and a hard plastic cap. Here is a tutorial for glue basting if you haven’t tried it yet. Be sure to *only* use Elmer’s WASHABLE SCHOOL GLUE, as it is comprised of starch and can be washed out. Other varieties are *not* safe for fabric. The other great thing about this version of glue basting is that it’s so cheap! I got my bottle of glue for 50 cents during a Back to School sale.
Clover Wonder Clips – these are terrific as an alternative to pins, especially for keeping quilt binding in place and in handbag construction. I have two sizes, regular and jumbo. The wonder clips really stay in place and the tension is strong.
Free Gammill Goodies – During a longarm quilting introductory class sponsored by Gammill, we received a neat little green tote bag containing lots of swag. My most used items are the small snips and cute purple lip balm. I keep the snips right beside me while sewing to cut thread and sometimes rip out seams. While the exact snips are not sold because it was a promotional item, here is a similar pair I located on Amazon.
The lip balm stays in the craft room. I’m a total lip product addict and love that it has a “Gammill” label on it. I don’t know what manufacturer was used, but the stuff works really well and smells fantastic. Perhaps someday I’ll actually own Gammill’s signature longarm quilting machine, but for now – I’ll settle for snips and chapstick.
Gingher Scissors & Rotary Cutter – Hands down, I will say that I believe Gingher products are the best I have used. Expensive? Yes, but worth the money. Over the years I’ve used lots of cutting implements, including Fiskars and cheap no-name scissors. When I was growing up, my mom had a “good” pair of small sharp Fiskars scissors and we had to be very careful with them. When I started quilting, I shopped online for many of my supplies and frequently use Amazon ratings as a gauge for purchasing. If an item has at least 4 stars, and has LOTS of reviews – I feel comfortable with buying it sight unseen (or tried). I started out with the Gingher rotary cutter (around $35), which is a fabulously high quality product. I know lots of quilters swear by Olfa, but I truly love my Gingher. It really does cut fabric like butter. Sometimes Jo-Ann Fabric has a 50 percent off sale on notions – including Gingher – so that’s when I stock up on refill blades. I don’t discard my dull blades, as they can be used for cutting paper, batting, and interfacing.
One day while at Walmart, I noticed that the big box store had started carrying the high-end Gingher line of scissors. (Really???) I ended up putting the 8-inch Knife Edge Dressmaker’s Shears ($25) and the 3.5-inch Stork Embroidery Scissors ($15) into my cart. Both are very enjoyable to use, but if you’re going to buy one or the other – I’d go with the Dressmaker’s Shears first. I use that pair much more frequently than Stork Embroidery Scissors, probably because I use the Gammill snips so much.
I cannot express how much I love my Gingher rotary cutter and scissors – think of them as the Rolls Royce of cutting products. Seriously – they are that fantastic!
Sterilite Plastic Shoe Box – Let’s get real here – I am baffled by the fact that storage containers marketed for crafters are expensive. The storage “solutions” I’ve seen at craft stores are not at prices I would pay for plastic containers. One day while at Target, I noticed these Sterilite clear plastic containers with lids for only 97 cents. On the website these are classified as a plastic shoe box, but it’s the perfect size for scraps, zippers, scissors, etc. I now have six of these and keep them stacked in pairs in a tall glass Hemnes cabinet with glass doors I found Ikea’s As-Is room. They serve their purpose well, and cost less than a dollar!
Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite sewing and quilting supplies – see you next time!
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