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Oddball Accessories to use when Sewing

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We all have little tips and ideas.  Things that are totally so smart if we would only remember them….or knew them to begin with!

Here is your chance to get a head start on all the sewing accessories smarts.  Today we will hit a ton of ideas on using oddball accessories when sewing.

I asked a couple of times on the facebook page and group what oddball accessories you used when sewing …and this is the list.  There are sooo many ways to use something and sometimes we just over think them.

We get in that mindset that we must have the newest and best little gadget out there.  One that is perfect for the job- but in reality, sometimes you just don’t.  Save some pennies (only so you can use them on a new fat quarter) and think outside of the box.  That’s what this is all about.  Thinking a little differently at something that might be laying around right next to you or in the other room — or in you honey’s tool box.  You never know where you might find your next ‘best friend’ in the sewing notion world.

odd accessories to use for quilting.  There are some I have never thought of!  Over 100 on the list. Great reminder to use what we already have sitting around. 101+ Oddball Accessories for Sewing~

  1. different color electrical tape for seam allowance lines on my sewing machine beds.
  2. carpenter’s T for squaring up grainlines. I use weights for pattern cut out,
  3. Vacuum your machine. Use it to blow out the lint in your machine. Easier than dusting and you get out all the lint.
  4. blue painters tape to mark my right and wrong sides of solid colored knits.
  5. magnetic bowl from harbor freight that’s made to stick to your metal toolbox in the garage. It’s cheaper than the “sewing deemed” magnetic pin holders. Although I’m finding I despise my pins being magnetized!
  6. washable glue stick if I need to do fold over hems or attaching things like ribbon on before sewing. Keeps everything in place and washes compleatly out in the laundry.
  7. water soluble one to attach my tags so they don’t move all over the place
  8. pencil cup to hold my scissors
  9. thread snippers (Ginghers) on a grosgrain ribbon which I wear around my neck
  10. Using a silicone pot coaster for your sewing machine foot pedal.
  11. old mouse pad under foot pedal
  12. old Kleenex box for trash container,
  13. hardware store washers for pattern weights
  14. crayola washable markers
  15. scotch tape to hold fabric in place
  16. wash out wonder tape for everything – seams, binding, zippers, buttons, trim
  17. chop stick for turning straps
  18. floss threaders for threading woolly nylon through serger loopers.
  19. cans from the pantry to trace circles
  20. Used boxes from recycle to make patterns
  21. pantry cans too…as an ironing form.
  22. A heavy metal stapler as a pattern weight
  23. When my fingers start feeling dry I use “working hands”
  24. dental floss for gathering, zigzag stitch over the floss, and gather gently as you go
  25. quilting thread in the bobbin for gathering fabric. It glides right thru the garment and makes it much easier.
  26. round toothpick under flat buttons when sewing them on. It creates a ‘shank’ so buttoning in the buttonholes looks nicer.
  27. Forceps are wonderful to hold things. Medical forceps and scalpels (super sharp blades for tight cutting)
  28. pot lids, plates, platters .. Anything that makes the size circle I need.
  29. small block of wood and hammer to flatten down a too fat seam. Works great on denim when doing any mending
  30. heavy plastic straw over my thread holder. This will accommodate Serger cones that I can use on my regular machine
  31. big jar candle to hold down a certain pattern piece
  32. A claw told that plumbers use to clean out drains. Use it to turn little straps
  33. old film canister for dull/broken needles/pins
  34. small hair elastics to hold bobbins onto their matching thread spools
  35. Pipe cleaner to clean around my bobbin case and feeder
  36. Divided boxes from the Dollar Store hardware department in various sizes. (They are like the Embroidery Floss boxes but with movable dividers) One for each machine for the various feet, one for all the hooks and eyes and snap fasteners
  37. dental mirror is good for changing needles on a serger
  38. Sucrets boxes to hold needles , pens , hooks etc when traveling .
  39. An old wooden , rounded lead regular pencil to poke out points and corners.
  40. Paper clip your patterns to the mini blind
  41. Regular white chalk for making marks
  42. Altoids cans for me for to use for needle disposing
  43. Altoids cans for me for to use for dull rotary cutter blades
  44. large dog bones clear plastic canisters to hold several cones of thread
  45. Canned food staff. Very good for holding fabric.
  46. 16″ circular cake board to draw circles
  47. Penny for changing your sewing machine foot- it’s a screwdriver
  48. Extra large pickle jar for buttons
  49. Napkins and silverware holder next to cutting table to hold scissors, rulers
  50. Large pencil case for a portable hand sewing (hexagon) sewing kit.
  51. walnut pointer- not sure what it’s called, but it’s pointy on one end, blundt on the other and is metal with a decorated handle. I use it as a stiletto and a help guide when sewing small pieces so I don’t run over my fingers.
  52. Casted sand coasters make great pattern weights
  53. Soapstone for marking on dark fabrics such as denim
  54. exacto knife also for making holes for placement of magnetic closures
  55. sticky lint roller handy for cleaning my cutting board & cleaning my fabric after ripping stitches
  56. kitchen utensil holder to hold my scissors
  57. fondue fork to push fabric through when I start sewing to keep it from getting stuck. It goes perfectly around by needle
  58. tweezers to pull out small pieces of thread after ripping seams and tying off thread
  59. two large hooks screwed into the underside of my sewing table. I can then hang the pedal from these hooks, then am able to run my machine by squeezing the pedal between my knees
  60. Carpenter’s chalk line
  61. Pedi toe separators…. PERFECT for storing bobbins.
  62. Command hooks to hang rulers and acrylic templates
  63. Seam gauge (red plastic) to sew the perfect seam width
  64. If you use purchased sewing patterns, iron fusible (one sided) interfacing to the wrong side of the pieces. It gives the thin paper stability and makes them last longer, too. They also fold nicely without bulk
  65. Fabric paint for writing on fabric
  66. A zipper foot when attaching D Rings for purse handles
  67. Wonder clips instead of pins
  68. Alcohol for removing glue/sticky residue from items like the thread spindle
  69. Alcohol also removes basting spray from surfaces
  70. ice trays that is the long tubes beside my machine. Its perfect for bobbins.
  71. Golf tees to hold my bobbins on the correct spool
  72. Broken chopstick stuck in the hole on top of my machine to hold the second spool of thread when using a twin needle
  73. Binder clips to hold together all the pieces of one pattern after they are cut
  74. patterns in plastic zip top bags after I cut them so as not to lose pieces
  75. doctor exam room table paper (you know, the long rolls) and that is what I use to trace my patterns on
  76. cardboard inserts from packages (like pillowcases) to lay on the table under fabric when cutting buttonholes open
  77. hair flat iron to press open quilt block seams
  78. hanging shoe organizer. I have one on the closet door to hold templates, notions, cutters, etc
  79. screw driver holders on a peg board to store my scissors in when not in use. For pinking shears just open the hole on the holder a little and they fit perfectly.
  80. set of chisels to cut buttonholes
  81. Automotive brushes for cleaning lint out of tight places
  82. Silicone mats you can use on your cookie sheets. Use it to help with ironing and to set my iron on if I need to use my whole ironing board for a project.
  83. Turkey Lacer for a Stiletto
  84. Freezer Paper for Templates
  85. Parchment Paper for nonstick ironing
  86. Glad Press n Seal for stitch through transfers
  87. Cuticle stick for turning & as an extra guide for sewing
  88. Tupperware citrus peeler also works great for turning & poking.
  89. Elmer’s washable school glue
  90. Carpenters 5ft aluminum straight edge for trimming before adding the binding
  91. Credit card that expired as a “wall” for quarter inch on the machine
  92. Brush for painting with water colors – to clean the bobbing area in the sewing machine
  93. Popsicle stick at the ironing board. Helps with small pieces so I don’t burn my fingers.
  94. A balloon is great for grabbing the needle when hand quilting
  95. Stamp collectors tweezers for holding small applique pieces
  96. Painters tape. Taping straight lines for quilting
  97. Command removable hooks for hanging mini quilts
  98. Large ring with embroidery floss squares- great for stapling fabric samples to if you need to carry them in your purse
  99. White eraser for picking up lint on your cutting mat
  100. Finger nail polish to mark your rulers and scissors
  101. Sandpaper dots on the bottom of your rulers to keep them from slipping
  102. Science project trifold- wrap in batting for a portable design wall
  103. Put a hole in the top of a pill bottle and put in your accessory container,so that you can pop used needles in it
  104. Use double sided tape to tape patterns onto plastic template in order to cut out pattern pieces
  105. Use garden gloves to quilt with on my domestic machine.
  106. Put your tools in a mason jar next to the sewing machine because the cat can’t knock it over or take the things (stiletto, scissors, marking pen, etc) out and drop them on the floor to play with.
  107. Use a plastic bin with see through lid and a battery operated “tap” light as a light box.
  108. Use styrofoam boards that come as packing in shipping boxes, glued next to each other, in order to make a design wall.
  109. Use a large lazy susan to put your smaller cutting mat on and use it as a rotating, cutting mat
  110. Plastic boxes that the strawberries and blueberries come in as containers for my smaller squares that eventually will become part of a sampler quilt
  111.  Pizza boxes (clean) for assorted finished squares
  112. Peach boxes from Trader Joe’s to put different projects in that I’m working on

Thank you again to all those who shared their ideas on the facebook page and group.  You are the best for when I need to pick some super smart brains.  And, if you aren’t in there…you should be! Come join the fun.

If you have an idea to add….. leave a comment!  There can never be enough here.

13 thoughts on “Oddball Accessories to use when Sewing

  1. Betsy Beech

    I made quilt row markers using 1.5″ safety pins and little white alphabet beads to keep my rows in order. I store them on a large safety pin and hang them on the peg board next to my sewing machine.

  2. Quilting Tangent

    Great ideas. Use a small hook crochet hook – to tie a knot with short thread; grab thread by the sewing machine needle; pull out a straight pin under the pressure foot before you hit it with the needle; pull out stuff in iron holes or in sewing machine; turn fabric corners; use to guide fabric under needle.

  3. Diane McDonald

    loved all the original helperes…I like to use a large button with a shank to pin on a quilt marking where I stopped handquilting.

  4. michele

    scrapbook paper storage boxes are perfect for 12.5 quilt blocks before assembly.

  5. Becky

    michelle– I use those, but haven’t for those blocks! I will have to give it a try. thanks for the heads up!

  6. Linda Bishop

    I stapled an old Christmas vinyl table cloth, felt side out, to my wall for a design wall. Fabric sticks to the felt. It is nice and large, I can have a couple of things up at the same time, or have room for a lap size quilt, or a full table runner.

  7. Becky

    oh man– what a great idea!

  8. Sherry

    I use Nexcare tape (the nubby bandage stuff that tears lengthwise/crosswise easily) under my rulers and plastic templates. It doesn’t let your ruler slide. I tear off tiny pieces for smaller templates – like my 2.5 inch tumbler and longer strips for my 6×24 inch ruler.

  9. Jolene White

    Unless I missed this in the list, I use a wood wallpaper seam roller like a wood Iron. It ‘rolls’ over seams and presses them without having to use an iron all the time.

  10. Edna

    I use the left over slivers of soap bars for marking dark fabrics. White works best, then it washes away with water.

  11. Rosemary

    Great ideas … I like the tablecloth idea for a design board. Super. I use a pair of forceps to help when I’m turning a narrow tube. Grab the end I turn into the opening from the opposite site, lock the forceps and pull. Not explaining well but it works … lol Love all the suggestions.

  12. Sheila McClurg

    Love all of the great Ideas. I also have a design wall made out of Styrofoam insulation boards and a vinyl tablecloth. It works great.

  13. Cynde

    At the Atlanta quilt expo I saw a sewing machine exhibitor using blocks (about the size of chalk board eraser) in his hand to guide fabric through the machine. He didn’t have a business card and I dont remember his name I’d really like to find the blocks. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

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