One of my lovely ladies at a recent Beginners Sewing class asked me a great question – ‘what’s your favourite sewing tool?’ I have to admit I was speechless for a few moments (and that doesn’t happen very often!).

Like with most hobbies, there are loads of sewing gadgets and bits & bobs out there begging for us to buy them. Go to any sewing show or exhibition and you’ll see all sorts of weird and wonderful things designed to make your sewing experience easier / more rewarding / orgasmic (well, maybe not the last one … unless I’ve been missing something all these years).

Especially tempting are the gadgets you see being demonstrated. Let’s face it, in the hands of the person who’s had who knows how many hours training on it, anything would look easy to use and indispensable (take pasta makers, for example). But in the cold light of day when you’ve got it back home and struggling to even get it out of the box or packet, how many times have you thought to yourself – what possessed me to buy that?  Bit like a bicycle for a fish.

Anyway, putting aside my what was I thinkings, I settled on three things in no particular order: (good scissors and fine sharp pins are a given)

Magnetic pin holder

This is the thing that gets the most “that’s clever!” comments.  Really, really useful.  I’ve got three from Prym, Clover and Grabbit and they’re all much of a muchness to be honest.  The Clover one is the most expensive (no surprises there) and has a cover.  Sounds like a good idea, but the pins are not going to fall off, are they – it’s magnetic.

Seam gauge

These are great for accurately marking seam allowances, turning up hems, marking buttonholes and loads of other things.  Dritz is a good brand and easily available from Amazon – just be aware that they usually ship from the US and so take a week or two to arrive.  Worth the wait though.  Hemline make one as well but I find them quite flimsy and easily bent.  I prefer this one of theirs although it can be confusing, especially for a beginner.

Ergonomic rotary cutter

I have mixed feelings about rotary cutters.  Great for long straight lines, like in quilting for example, but not too sure when it comes to more complicated shapes.  That is, until I had to cut out 5 bridesmaids’ dresses in chiffon! This Martelli cutter was recommended to me and it worked like a dream.  It looks a bit weird, but it is really easy and comfortable to use.  There’s a left-handed version too.

So those are my choices – how about you?