There’s been fairly regular conversation over on the Project of Doom Facebook group about favorite tools for different aspects of quilting and paper piecing.
I thought I’d take that idea and share a list of some of my personal favorites.
Disclaimer: These are my favorites. I personally use and recommend every single one of things. This is not a paid ad, though there are some affiliate links. If you have a tool that you like better, or one I didn’t include, I’d love to hear about it!
I love my rotary mat, rulers, etc., which are all fairly basic quilting supplies, so I’m not including those here. I have a variety of different ruler brands and I enjoy them all. These are my special favorites, the things that I wouldn’t want to live without in the sewing room!
- Add-A-Quarter 6″ Ruler & 12″ Ruler (the 12″ is by far my most used ruler) – for trimming seams to 1/4″ as you go. These are ideal for paper piecing and make quick work of trimming as you go! More about paper piecing here.
- Add-An-Eighth Ruler – also great for paper piecing, especially when there are lots of overlapping seams that need to be graded to avoid bulk.
- Olfa 45mm Ergonomic Rotary Cutter – great for constant cutting and for anyone that forgets to close the blade on their standard rotary cutter. My first rotary cutter was not ergonomic, which I found harder to deal with as I began using it more and more (and let’s be honest, as I got older!). The Olfa is easy to use and has a squeeze grip that closes the blade when not in use.
- Mary Ellen’s Best Press – Excellent starch alternative to get out stubborn wrinkles and to give fabric body without flakes or stickiness. Use sparingly when paper piecing if the paper is still attached to your block or you will end up with a soggy mess. I love the lavender, it smells just lovely!
- Superior Top Stitch Needles – THE BEST. I can’t give these enough praise. Smooth stitching, especially when free-motion quilting and easy to thread. Best yet, they last longer for me, especially with paper piecing, which tends to dull needles faster.
- Havel’s Ultra Pro Seam Ripper – ideal for serged seams, but it also cuts like butter through seams that need to be “unsewn,” including the small stitches that are best for paper piecing. Do be very careful with this, though. It’s a super sharp blade that will pierce your fabric (or you!) if you’re not careful! Refillable blade, which is a bonus!
- Fiskar 5″ Softgrip Scissors – I keep these handy little guys hanging on a 3M Command Wire Hook right on the side of my sewing machine. I always know where they are and they are useful for everything from trimming threads to snipping corners.
- Black & Decker Classic Iron – my favorite iron of all that I’ve used, including the different places I’ve worked, taught and other places besides home where I’ve had the opportunity to try different irons. The Black & Decker has a nice heft to it, which I find I really prefer to lightweight irons when pressing. I use it without steam to press when piecing. It has a safety feature that will turn the iron off when it hasn’t been picked up after about 10 minutes, but turns on and heats up quickly once it’s moved again. That’s a great safety feature if you, like me, tend to get distracted and forget that the iron is on! I also like the Hamilton Beach Retro Iron. It’s nice and simple and gets the job done.
- Variera Iron Holder from IKEA – keeps the iron off the ironing board and safe from jumping and grabbing critters like cats and kids. I have had my iron holder for years and I couldn’t live without it. My iron stays safely mounted and out of the way when not being used and is a safe place to keep the iron even when it’s on.
- Recycled Printer Paper – The number one supply question I’m asked is what kind of paper I use for paper piecing. There are a number of products out there specifically for paper piecing, and if those work for you, that’s absolutely brilliant. My personal favorite is recycled printer paper. It comes in reams, is reasonably priced, it runs easily and smoothly through my printer, it’s easier to remove than regular printer paper, but it has enough body that it stays in tact while you sew (and occasionally rip!) seams. After paper piecing, I recycle it again, making the circle complete!
Is your favorite tool not listed? I’d love to hear about it!
In honor of my mother-in-law’s memory, I will be giving away one free copy of My Kitchen Window to a Sewhooked Flickr Member that shares photos of projects made from my patterns during February 2015. This wall hanging pattern was inspired by a stained glass piece made by Carol and gifted to my family many years ago.
My patterns can be found on Craftsy, sewhooked.com, fandominstitches.com, & various Quiltmaker Magazines. Photos must be shared with the Sewhooked flickr group to be entered to win the monthly giveaway.