My Favourite Seamstress Tools

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

As a seamstress there are so many tools I use frequently, so I thought I would share my favourite, most used and “I can’t live without” tools (apart from my sewing machines of course!). I do have a few links to some of my favourite stores, but I am not receiving any commission or kickbacks for linking to them – so my recommendation is genuine!

1. Dressmaking Scissors 

I was gifted my scissors by my previous employer, and they are the best dressmaking scissors I’ve ever owned! They cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter and are gloriously smooth! 

You can get a good pair of scissors at a reputable sewing store or scissors store like The Scissorman

2. Snips 

Staying in the same line as before, my snips are tiny scissors I use for cutting loose thread tight against the fabric. I also use them to remove loose threads after unpicking, snipping into curves or cutting the excess on corners. If you do any kind of sewing or embroidery you need sharp little scissors like these! 

I get mine from Sewing Machines Australia

3. Grading Ruler & French Curve 

These two rulers are a must have if you do any kind of pattern making or grading of sizes. To create the perfect curves for armholes, necklines or across the hips you need a French curve. The grading ruler is used for all straight lines and to make sure when you grade sizes you are getting an exact increase or decrease as needed – down to the millimetre! 

I get mine from M.Recht

4. Tape Measure

My trusty tape measures are always at hand! Used for measuring clients for custom orders and for measuring when doing alterations. 

I get mine from my local sewing store 

5. Tailors Ham & Sleeve Roll (or sausage) 

These supports for ironing are essential if you want beautifully pressed seams especially on sleeves and curves like bust seams and hips. 

My mum made mine for me as a gift – but you can get them at most sewing stores 

6. Quality Pins (and hand sewing needles) 

Quality pins are so important – you don’t want to pin your fabric together only to have the pin put a snag or pull in your fabric. The same goes for hand sewing needles – you want to ensure they are smooth and won’t snap too easily in your hands.

The best pins I’ve ever used, and like to recommend are glass head pins. They last longer and don’t melt if you accidentally iron them. 

I’ve just topped mine up from The Drapery

7. Tailors Chalk 

I prefer the chalk in a piece than in a powder. I find the powder falls out the container when I don’t want it to, and it never comes out the roller! I use it mostly for marking during alterations, not so much in dress making. 

Again it’s something you can get at a local sewing supplies store. I bought a box of different coloured ones but generally only use white or yellow!

8. Rotary Cutter 

This is a newish tool to my tool belt but now it’s a go to! I used to think rotary cutters were just for quilters but I’ve learnt they are incredible tools for dressmakers too. Fantastic for cutting silks, stretch fabrics and tulle, they are great for getting a perfect cut on armholes and other tight curves as well as bias binding! 

I bought mine on sale from spotlight, but you can get them at any local sewing store. 

9. A Good Iron

My current iron is actually on loan from my mum (her spare one), after ours got dropped and broke! A good iron that doesn’t spit water but has a steam setting is great especially if you want to work with silk and other light weight fabrics that need a steam. 

You can purchase a quality iron from home living and appliance stores 

10. Overhead Lighting 

Excellent lighting is so so important if you are going to be sewing – especially if you’ll be working at odd times of the day like early mornings or late nights, and if you don’t have any natural light over your work area.  

I bought my light from Amazon and it’s definitely saving my eyes already. 

Bonus 11 – My Tripod 

I literally couldn’t do any of my content without my tripod – I film everything myself mostly with my phone and tripod. I have a fantastic one with bendy legs that I can wrap to any spot and get great camera angles! 

I bought mine from officeworks 

And that’s a wrap up of my top tools as a seamstress! Let me know if any of them surprised you. 

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