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PHD sharing party & Tools

PHD sharing party  & Tools 

PHD sharing party will be Aug. 27 at 2:30pm in the shop. Bring what you have – finished, still in progress, and what you haven’t sent away as presents. Snacks and prizes will be in abundance.


This week’s topic is TOOLS. 

What tools do you keep in your sewing room/studio near your machine or worktable? What tools do you keep in your travel/retreat/class bag/tool box?


Sometimes you may need multiples of things because you have multiple work surfaces in your sewing area. I also have many duplicates of these tools in a travel bag. This keeps me from robbing my sewing area for tools. I don’t have to pack and unpack all the time when going to teach or sewing with friends. For example, I have small, sharp scissors at my sewing machine, at my worktable, and in my travel bag. When paper piecing, I have a seam roller, rotary cutter, and mat at the machine and on my worktable.


My list –  

At my machine:  

            Snips – because the automatic cutter doesn’t always work.

            Neutral colored thread – several colors, light, medium, dark

            Small, sharp scissors – Kai, Karen Kay Buckley, Allory, Scarlet Today

          Seam ripper – SHARP ones. These need to be replaced just like needles and rotary blades, just not as often. If you can’t get through the threads easily, time for a new one.


            Machine needles in several sizes - 70 to 90. They are changed for different kinds of sewing and at the end of every big project.

            Cleaning wands – you need to clean around the feed dogs and bobbin housing after every project or more. Lots of dust, fuzz, threads get packed in there and need to come out. 

            Quilting Gloves

            Stiletto or Purple Thang -  to help push fabric through flat


            Magnetic pin holder

            Pins – flower head or glass head(this way if you miss one and iron over it, the head won't melt onto your fabric or iron surface.

            Thread Cutter – especially if you chain piece


My ironing board is right next to my sewing machine so I can share some of these tools:

            Wool pressing mat

            Snips or small, sharp scissors

            Mister bottles – one with water, one with Flatter or Best Press

            Of course an iron. I like to use steam in my iron. This a personal choice when pressing.


My work station:

            Large cutting surface/mat at least 18x24 or larger

            Spinning mat

            Rulers (we will talk about these in another newsletter)

        Rotary cutter – personal choice for size and style. I like the KAI pressure cutter. I have 28mm and 45mm blades. Staff also use 18mm and 60mm cutters.


            Rotary blades – KAI and Olfa Endurance seem to last the longest for me. Remember to change these more often than you think.

Sharp scissors – a good pair of KAI or Gingher 8” shears are worth the investment. Plus, you can resharpen them. A pair of 5 ½”-6” serrated scissors should also be on hand.  A small pair of embroidery scissors and a pair of paper scissors.

            Seam rippers

         Marking pens for light and dark fabric. I have General’s chalk pencils in light, medium, and dark gray. I also have a Bohin white marker. You just have to wait a few seconds for the white to show up. I also have Sewline pencils and Chaco markers.

            Wonder Clips

            Safety pins

           Magnetic pin holder (second one). This lets me pin at my large work surface, remove the pins when sewing to the other magnetic pin holder, and then switch when the one at the machine is full and the other one is low. Also, my cats leave the pins alone on the magnetic holders. The Clover Magnetic Pin Caddy also has a top. I can put the top on and take the pins with me for a class or retreat.

            Painter’s or Washi tape – to mark sewing lines, cutting lines on mats(built up layers for a “wall” for fabric to nest up to). Also use this at your sewing machine to mark your ¼” seam allowance, angles, or other distances for quilting. If you need to hang your project on a wall, tape around the edges should work.

            Hand sewing/quilting needles – size that you like


            Needle threader

            Hera marker


Make sure you have a way to organize these tools. Holders, drawers that are marked, commercial holders like Nests (these also have a rest for your electronics so you can listen to music or watch how-to videos). Large coffee cups, baskets, trays from the Dollar Tree work well too. Since I have three separate spaces, I have duplicates of many of these tools. If you have a smaller layout, you don’t need as many duplicates.


What do you take to classes or retreats? How do you transport your tools?

Many people use tackle and toolboxes. I use a tote bag and a Sew Together Bag (Class coming soon). Most of these items live in the Sew Together bag all the time. You should have a rolling bag for your sewing machine. It’s a safer way to transport the machine. Many of the rolling bags have lots of pockets to hold all of your tools. Or you can rest your tote or tool box on top of the bag when transporting your machine.


My travel list –

            Rotary cutter with a sharp blade

            Pins and magnetic holder

            Hand sewing needles

            Needle threader

            Pens, markers, notebook

            Sewing Machine needles in 70-90  sizes

            Thread in several neutral colors

            Scissors – small and medium

            Perfect Adjustable ruler – 6”x24” – comes apart and has its own felt holder

            Extension cord

            Little bag for sewing scraps

            Wonder Clips

          Small travel iron with insulated case, base, or ironing surface (small wool mat, Steady Betty, Omnigrid cut and iron board)

            Painter’s Tape

            Stiletto or Purple thang

            Extra bobbins

            Sewing Machine Manual

            Sewing Machine – I have a smaller, lighter machine just for classes or retreats


Remember, in the big picture of quilting and sewing; needles, seam rippers, and rotary blades are small costs compared to the cost of sewing machines, rulers, and fabric. Replace them before they damage your expensive items. Bring or have extras on hand for replacing.

What's your favorite tool? What have we missed on the list? What do you seem to collect in your toolbox the most. For me it's rulers. Email us at so we can add to the list next week!


Happy sewing everyone,

Phyllis and the QA staff

Quilting Adventures                                                                     Hours: 
6943 Lakeside Avenue                                                                  Tues thru Sat  10 - 5 
Richmond VA  23228                                                                     Sun - Mon  Closed
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