Small Sewing Tools that Make Things Easier

A few small sewing tools will be handy. Most sewers have at least some of these tools—they’re pretty much standard in any sewing room.

Sewing scissors are important for any sewing. DO NOT use yours for anything but cutting fabric or thread! And make sure your family knows to leave them along too - too many times, hubby grabs your best sewing shear to cut out paper or something else. Using them on paper will dull them. If you need to hide them - well, ya gotta do, what ya gotta do... 

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Marking Equipment is another sewing essential. You can transfer simple markings, such as matching points (usually shown with diamonds or circles) by eight-inch snips in the seam allowance--but on small seams, snips might weaken the seams so be very careful!

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Some Other Handy Small Sewing Tools

Seam ripper: Everybody makes mistakes... I find using a razor too scary—it’s too easy to slice into your fabric...  Clover makes a good seam ripper with a sturdy handle and there are many other nice brands available. You should keep one with your sewing machine and in your sewing basket too. Mistakes may be inevitable but a good seam ripper will make them easy to fix.

Sewing awl or trolley needle: Clover also makes a sewing awl to match their seam ripper. I learned this from a quilter—while feeding the fabric through the sewing machine, you use the tip of the awl to control your material. It’s really a boon to accurately stitch small pieces of fabric and it allows you to match up seams perfectly! Great for quilts and excellent on doll clothes. A trolley needle is the same idea, except you wear it on your index finger and use it to control the fabric as you stitch.

Small Sewing ToolsSewing Tools Back row: seam sealant, Fray Check brand seam sealant, basting thread. Front row: seam gauge, Clover seam ripper, Clover sewing awl. Far right: doll-sized tape measure from Dritz for Dolls.

Basting thread: Basting thread is not as “hard” or stiff as regular sewing thread. Also, it has no coatings on it, and it’s usually thinner than standard size sewing thread. I got a large tube of it at a quilting shop—another handy item used by quilters that works well for sewing doll clothes. It is also a mainstay in tailoring, so you can also get it through tailoring supply places, usually on the internet. It comes in buff colour only.

Seam gauge: A small 6-inch ruler with a sliding marker—you can slide the plastic or metal marker up and down the ruler to keep your place at any measurement you want. I find it useful for marking hems, but it can also be used for marking or for gauging seams for hand sewing.

Seam sealant or Fray Check: Doll clothes seams are usually one quarter inch, just like quilting seams. But unlike quilting seams, you may have to trim some of them, such as inside collars or other places. This makes a pretty small seam allowance! You don’t want it to fray or the clothes just fall apart. So use a seam sealant to keep it from fraying. Fray Check is a particular brand of seam sealant.

Tape measure: Using a regular size measuring tape for people will be too large for most dolls. A doll-sized tape measure is made by Dritz for Dolls.

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