Tag Archives: seam ripper

A Few of My Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things...

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 affiliate links below.  If you have a tool that you like better, or one I didn’t include, I’d love to hear about it!

I have included Amazon and other links for easy reference, but if you have a favorite local quilting store, please give them your business. ♥

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, all used for paper piecing, and are 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 or Organ brand Top Stitch Needles I’ve had excellent results with both brands. Paper piecing dulls needles faster, so having spares on hand is a must!
  • 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! 
  • Mini-Seam Fix Seam Ripper – this is my all time favorite. I keep several on hand because seam rippers get dull and occasionally need to be replaced. This little guy is a champ! It’s great at getting those tiny paper pieced stitches. The eraser end rubs away all the bits of leftover threads!
  • 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 – 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 (nothing will kill an iron faster than actually putting water in it!). 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!
  • Steamfast Iron – This palm sized iron is a CHAMP for paper piecing.  Originally my “to go” iron, when I have RSI flare ups, this is a much better choice for me to use. As much as I love the Black & Decker classic, I definitely use this one more.
  • 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. Sadly, this Iron caddy doesn’t appear to be currently available. This one is similar, though I haven’t used it myself.
  • 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! You can also use newsprint (also avaiable in printer-size) if you prefer a lighter weight paper.

Is your favorite tool not listed? I’d love to hear about it!

My patterns can be found on sewhooked.comfandominstitches.com,  & various Quiltmaker Magazines.

Thanks for stopping by!


Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links but I have no control over “sponsored posts” which are the price I pay for a less expensive website. Thank you for your understanding & support. ♥

Birthdays and Blocks

Bluebird Quilts Retro BOM Block 1

Well, that embroidery business seems to be working out pretty well! I have finished Block one of the Bluebird Quilts BOM and have moved on to Block 2. There are five in all, so I have a feeling, being a girl that likes order and organization, I might have to do them all…

In other news, it’s my birthday! I’ve already received oodles of birthday wishes and a fantabulous birthday gift from friend Kerry that I just have to share here because I know you all will truly appreciate it’s awesomeness!

Awesome Seam Ripper Is Awesome

Awesome seam ripper of awesome doubles as a backup wand! It’s handmade by a local craftsman.

Thanks, Kerry, it’s too fun for words!

A small correction from yesterday’s post… ALL the free patterns posted yesterday now have numbers. In my excitement to get them online, I uploaded the wrong copy of the patterns. Oops!



How To: Repair a Broken Seam Ripper

In case you haven’t heard, March is Mending Month.  I do a lot of mending both on clothes and on items around the house, but nothing terribly exciting has popped up recently that seemed worth sharing.

Then I broke the little red tip off the head of my seam ripper and proceeded to stab myself in the thumb.  Ouch!   Now, a seam ripper is a super cheap tool and I have dulled my fair share of them.  This particular one is fairly new and I hated to buy a new one when it’s still in fine stitch-picking shape.  While casting my mind around for a solution to this problem, my eyes landed on my tray of ball head straight pins.

Now there’s a thought!

It took about 5 minutes, and that’s including the time it took for me to run and grab my camera!

You’ll need:

  • Seam Ripper
  • ball head straight pin (You could also use a bead, though the centers of all the ones I tried were much too large.)
  • two pairs of jewelers pliers
  • glue (optional)

seam ripper with broken head

Using the jeweler’s pliers, remove the pin from the ball head.

ball head with pin removed

If the opening in the  ball head is too small to fit, place the pin on the point of the seam ripper and gently turn to enlarge the existing hole.

Place the ball head on the broken part of the seam ripper head.  Use the pliers to apply enough pressure to secure the head in place.  Be very careful, the seam ripper point is sharp!

If the ball head you’re using doesn’t seem secure, use a tiny dot of Super, Tacky or hot melt glue.

Wallah!  Repaired!

As always, if you make any pattern or craft from sewhooked,  I’d love to see a photo. Email me or add it to the Friends of sewhooked flickr group.

Happy crafting

also available on cut out + keep