Tools of the Trade

Anyone who works with their hands will tell you that it’s the special tools of the trade that make the work both easier and fun. So from time to time I will be talking about tools unique to the fiber-arts.  This time it’s sewing and quilting.

So what is my favorite tool?Seam ripperThe Seam Ripper!!  I have never sewn anything where I didn’t need to use this little tool!. Always, without fail at least one seam needs to be ripped out.

Lesson no. 1 for new sewers – an expert seamstress is not someone who doesn’t make mistakes – WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES! It is someone who takes it in stride and knows how to correct the mistakes.

The most important use of the seam ripper is to rip out seams! Of course it also comes handy when opening button holes.

As you can see, I have a few examples here. Looking at the simple blue ripper – it’s a very basic tool, one long thin pointy blade – enables you to get in under the stitch and rip. the shorter end is tipped with a bead – to protect you and your fingers.Seam ripperThis is my favorite ripper today.  The handle is substantial and the cover has a wonderful rubber bauble that makes it easy to rub away at all those loose threads. The end of the ripper has a smaller rubber section – for the same purpose.P1020562My one complaint?  When open,  the cover does not fit onto the back of the ripper, so I never use that big lovely ‘eraser’.  It effectively becomes two tools. Since I have a way of misplacing my tools on my work table, it is hard enough for me to find the ripper, to then try and find the eraser is too frustrating.  So I find that I only use the seam ripper and the small eraser on it’s end.P1020566The blue one is fine, but a little small and uncomfortable to hold. This is a duel purpose seam ripper, came out a good 10 years before the Seamfix.  I guess the idea was that you could slide out either the ripper or the tweezers.  A very uncomfortable tool. So why do I still have this?  Because invariably I can’t find any of my seam rippers except this one, so it gets a lot of use – with a lot of swearing at the same time.eyebrow shaverThis is a new tool to me – the eyebrow shaver.  Yes it is intended for eyebrows but isn’t it wonderful when someone figures out how to adapt other tools to our sewing purposes!

P1020569As you can see, it is a wire wrapped razor-blade with a nice long handle.  I learned about this tool while taking a Craftsy class on Paper piecing. When sewing paper-pieced patches together one uses a very small stitch length. It isn’t easy to get in with the traditional sized seam-ripper.  So gently sawing with this tool shreds the seam. You are left with a lot of messy small thread, pull out the eraser from the Seamfix to take care of that.

I hope this gives you food for thought and any other seam ripping suggestions, please share!


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