Best Quilting Gadgets – Secret Hacks & Essentials For Your Sewing Room

Quilters FabriCalc

You will never again need to be some kind of math whiz or guess how much fabric to buy, how many strips to cut, how wide to cut your strips, or how much your fabric will cost if you use this handy little tool. It will do all of those things for you.

Because of how incredibly intelligent this calculator is, it will:

*store information for up to six different fabrics in your quilt * convert from inches to metrics and back again — now that’s something great for our overseas quilters * tell you how many blocks you can get from a specific piece of fabric * determine the yardage for corner and side triangles * estimate the cost for your fabric * and much more*

The FabriCalc removes all elements of guesswork from the process of calculating the amount of fabric required for your quilt, from the most basic calculations to the most complex.

You will save both money and time, in addition to avoiding the hassle of worrying about whether or not you will have enough fabric.

Freezer Paper

Stabilizing Fabric with Freezer Paper – When you sew, do the angled edges of your patches stretch out like mine do?

Here is a wonderful idea –

Make templates out of freezer paper and cut them to the size of your completed patch. Iron them onto the back of the patch, and then sew the patches together, keeping the freezer paper attached to the back of each patch as you do so.

Freezer paper can be used to help maintain the tucked-in appearance of seam allowances and prevent the stretching out of shape that can occur along bias edges.

Stabilizing the bias edges and preventing the fabric from stretching out of shape are two additional benefits of doing this. Not only will this provide you with a fantastic, straight stitching line that will guarantee an accurate seam allowance, but it will also give you a great stitching line that is straight.

Making perfect circles and curves with your sewing machine will be a breeze if you use this freezer paper trick. You only need to iron the freezer paper onto the reverse side of the circular or curved piece that you will be sewing onto your quilt top.

Stitch confidently around the curve, and then, to remove the freezer paper, cut a thin slit in the back of the fabric using a craft knife.

I will freely admit that the very first time I cut into one of my quilt tops in this manner, I held my breath and came very close to closing my eyes. It just didn’t sit right with me.

After I had completed that quilt, I read a book that suggested cutting out the entire area behind the appliqued piece, then trimming it back to the seam allowance. This would reduce the amount of bulk that was present in the quilt. I followed the advice in the book.

When I made the quilt shown below, I employed that particular method of construction. I cut out a template from freezer paper for each of the animal shapes, and then I ironed that template onto the reverse side of the fabric. In this instance, I appliquéd each animal and plant onto the background fabric by hand using embroidery stitches. After the piece was sewn, I removed the freezer paper and trimmed the background piece to match the 1/4-inch seam allowance that was left after sewing the piece.

Keeping the shape of my bias pieces does require a little bit of additional work, but I’ve discovered that the additional work is well worth it.

The technique involving freezer paper that was described earlier was used to create this quilt. After attaching each new piece, the background fabric was carefully cut away to reveal and remove the paper underneath. Even now, I count this as one of my all-time favorite quilts.

Moustache Trimmer

Moustache Trimmer!? What am I even talking about?

It is true… you might think it’s crazy, but once you give it a shot, you’ll be hooked for life. Everyone in the room will be able to hear the buzz of this beauty, which will let them know that you are ripping seams.

I took a short road trip of about forty-five minutes during a quilt retreat, and while I were there, I visited a quilt shop that was unfamiliar to us that was located in the general area of the retreat. I only needed to see one demonstration of how to use this incredible item that has nothing to do with quilting, and we were all sold. Because we purchased such a large quantity, the store kindly provided us with a generous discount.

The product in question is a straightforward Wahl Travel Moustache Trimmer, which can be purchased at most discount department stores, pharmacies, and even some quilt shops. This time-saving trick is absolutely priceless and absolutely worth every penny! I just want you to find a great quilting (or general sewing) aid and be as pleasantly surprised as I was when we found it. No, I do not sell them on our website; instead, we want you to discover one.

These are the essentials:

Start opening the seam with an actual seam ripper when you need to rip a seam; you only need to rip a few stitches at a time. In the event that you backtracked, you will be required to travel the entirety of that section. At certain points where multiple corners meet, it’s possible that you’ll need to rip them manually as well.

Place the fabric on the surface, with either the right or the wrong side facing down. Your right thumb should be near the Wahl name when you hold the trimmer in your right hand with the Wahl name facing you and the trimmer held upright. The exterior of your hand should be used to press down on the fabric (similar to picking up a glass or small bottle). The guards or blades on the trimmer ought to be pointing downward.

If you write with your left hand, the Wahl name should be oriented so that it is facing away from you while still being upright, and the palm of your left hand should be resting on the bottom fabric (similar to picking up that glass or small bottle).

While you effortlessly buzz the seam with one hand, the other hand will be pulling the fabric up and away from the bottom fabric in a gentle manner.

A word of caution, and these are important words to remember: if you are in too great of a hurry, you HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO SNIP THE FABRIC. Two members of our group went a little too far in their enthusiasm and nicked the fabric. The error was not significant and only occurred in a very small section that could be easily redone.

The other individual, who happens to be my sister-in-law, however, let out an audible sigh when she nicked what the four women who are working on this particular pattern affectionately refer to as the quilt from….heaven. No, not quite like that.

A number of years ago, this magnificent quilt was offered as a Shop Hop pattern. The pattern is not for those who are easily discouraged because it consists of finished blocks measuring twelve inches each (all quite different). Each 12-inch block consists of 36 individual 2-inch blocks that are laid out in a 6×6 grid and must be handcrafted individually. My opinion is that not a single one of them is the same.

The quilt has a large area in the middle that measures 17 inches and is designed to be used for embroidery. Additionally, additional embroidery details can be found in other parts of the quilt. The quilt that my sister made is breathtaking, and the embroidery, centering, and stitching are all flawless (her first time using an embroidery machine). It’s a beautiful quilt, but unfortunately, it’s not going to be on my To-Do List any time soon, nor will it ever be; in fact, it’s on the INGTGS List, which stands for the It’s Never Going to Get Started List.

Unluckily, the part of the quilt that my sister-in-law used to practice her nicking technique was about 18 inches long; it was an inset triangle in the border. While we watched the color leave her face, she had to be reminded to take deep breaths multiple times. She was keeping the piece close to her face and refused to let anyone else see her release her grip on it.

As soon as everyone found out about the catastrophe, the responses, which included suggestions and questions, started coming in. If you stitched over it and used Fray Check (a product that prevents seams from raveling), would that fix the problem? That tiny cut won’t even be noticed by anyone else. The inquiry that I believe to have been the most astute was…. Have you got any more of that particular fabric?

Thankfully, she did, and the buzzing started up again, albeit at a slower pace. The section that needed to be replaced was cut out once more, and then it was pieced into place. The way I see it is….

…..If I was going to spend all of this time and effort on a beautiful piece of artwork, I wouldn’t want that nick to be the only thing I thought about when I looked at my quilt, so I wouldn’t want to put in all of this effort in the first place. At the time, the catastrophe didn’t seem very funny, but I’m sure that we’ll all be able to look back on it and laugh about it in the future.

I really hope you give this fresh concept a shot, but before you do, don’t forget to treat that handy little device with due respect and maintain it in good working order. The sentence “No, you cannot trim your moustache, beard, hair, or the dog with my trimmer” is a good one to begin practicing with because it covers a lot of ground.

The most effective method for opening seams will be one that is slow and steady. I am holding the top piece of fabric above the bottom piece and as far away from it as I can get. That seems to be working for the time being.

Included in the Moustache Trimmer kit are a blade guard, a small brush for cleaning, and a bottle of oil in a miniature size. It is wise to follow the directions on the package for maintaining the trimmer, but before using it on one of my creations, I would be especially diligent about running the trimmer through some old scraps of fabric to remove any excess oil. While it is wise to follow the directions on the package for maintaining the trimmer, it is also wise to follow the directions on the package for maintaining the trimmer.

Even quilters with 25–30 years of experience can be caught off guard by their own mistakes. Think of your blunders as opportunities for growth, but make a conscious effort to avoid repeating the same ones; we pick up the most valuable lessons from making new mistakes. In addition, asking questions helps facilitate our learning, and remember, there is no such thing as a silly question.

Continue to educate yourself, improve your skills through practice (although I wouldn’t recommend practicing the nicking technique), and take pleasure in what you are doing. Being able to take a step back and admire a finished quilt top displayed on a design board is a very satisfying experience. When the piece is assembled into a quilt and the love that was sewn into it is being used to comfort another person, there is an even greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Treat yourself to some self-care, and have fun quilting!

Dritz Needle Threader

A conventional wire needle threader is replicated in an improved form by Dritz, which is a manufacturer. This one has a handle that is more substantial than the other, as well as a metal plate that protects the wire, guides the thread through the wire, and ensures that the needle is threaded successfully in the end. Because Betweens are so diminutive, I have frequently pondered the question of whether or not the wire would be too large to pass through the eye of one. “Yes, the wire does go through the needle, and the needle will get threaded,” is the response to the question that was asked. On the other hand, it does not pass through smoothly, primarily because of its diminutive size.

Put the wire loop in the eye of the needle and push it through.
The first thing you need to do is thread the loop of wire through the eye of the needle, then move it along the wire until it is next to the handle and has moved past the opening in the metal plate. The wire had an uncanny tendency to wind and unwind itself whenever it was in use. It didn’t have any impact on the threader’s performance at all; it was simply an interesting development. The next thing you need to do is thread your needle and pass it through the hole in the metal plate. You need to make sure that the needle emerges through the middle of the wire loop. It seems as though it does not make a difference whether you string your thread from the bottom up or the top down; the important thing is to get it through. There is also no need to cut your thread at this point, although doing so wouldn’t hurt even if it weren’t necessary. I did not cut it, so it is still on the spool (less likely to get lost).

Pass the thread you are using through the hole in the metal plate that is located inside the wire.
Now pull the thread through the eye of the needle as you slide the needle back across the wire loop. When you are threading a needle with a small eye, this may require some effort on your part, but not an excessive amount. I believe there is a good explanation for why this particular model of needle threader has been available for so many years. It is very simple to operate, and it delivers consistent results (as long as the thread and needle are in the right position). This model will outlast the cheaper ones that have thin handles and no guard around the wire loop because this one has both of those features.

Simply by pulling the needle across the wire loop, you will be able to thread the needle.

Quilt Sleeve

Do you have a quilt that belonged to your grandmother, a tapestry that you bought on vacation, or a wall hanging that you purchased at a craft show rolled up and stored in a closet, folded and stored in an armoire, or tucked away under a bed for safekeeping?

Or do you display these pieces on improper makeshift displays?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be jeopardizing the beauty of these projects as well as their ability to last for a long time.

Make sure you take a look at our comprehensive guide to displaying quilts to find out how to make the most of the quilt sleeve and showcase your priceless quilt.

Sewing Machine Needle Grabber

Okay, I admit it—I have a weakness for purchasing brand-new quilting tools and accessories. Even though I’m standing here in the store convinced that they won’t be any good, I have no choice but to buy one and try it out for myself. When I first got my hands on this one, I’ll be the first to admit that I had more than a passing doubt about it. In point of fact, it has been resting on my work surface for the past few months, looking directly at me as if to ask, “When will it be my turn?” It is such a sweet and humble little thing. It seems that this month is the one in question. I tore open the bag, removed it, and then looked for the instructions inside of it. It appeared that this was about the only instruction given, and it related to machine needles. After that, I went to my sewing machine, but I didn’t have very high hopes.

I removed the thread from the machine needle, and then looked at this itty-bitty item while wondering what the next step would be. I finally made up my mind to press the tiny button on the top (which had the ring going through it), and when I did, a hook-like device emerged from the other end. Ah-ah. Then I was able to realize. As you loosen the screw that is holding the needle in place in the machine, the little hook thing is wrapped around the needle. Presto! The needle has been removed. No more squeezing my large fingers into such a restricted space, risking getting pricked by the needle, dropping it, or who knows what else. In a nutshell, this is an excellent tool that more than justifies the roughly $5.50 that I spent on it.

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