Cross Stitcher


Designers share with us their top stitching essentials



I’m always singing the praises of the humble sewing gauge in my classes. For such a small gadget, it is very effective! The ‘hemometre’, as I like to call it, is useful for marking hems accurately all the way around, keeping a consistent seam allowance and interval between buonholes, and the pointy end is good for pushing out corners.


I use fabric clips when I need to grip thick layers of fabric together where a pin would just bend. Clips are handy when sewing curves or holding binding or bag straps in place. They are also safe for children to use and because they’re so steadfast, you just need to remember to remove them a bit sooner than with pins, when sewing on the machine.


I have an old metal nappy pin in my needlework box that was probably used on my nappies as a child! Along with the more modern plastic version, they both have a convenient locking mechanism that is perfect for turning through bag straps or threading elastic or ties because the safety pin just won’t unpin itself!

Here are some of the most handy items I use when sewing …


I have a large pair of shears that, although they are heavy, allow you to cut with more accuracy without lifting the fabric from the table. They are sharp along the whole blade, so I can cut the smallest of snips around a curve, such as in toymaking, as well as slice through multiple fabric layers.


Pressing your work as you go is so important in every aspect of sewing, from quilting to dressmakin­g so I always make sure I have to-hand: my wool ironing mat, which helps create fabulous creases, a mini iron to manage the fiddly bits and a dressmaker’s ham which is invaluable when your projects such as a toy or bag aren’t flat, or you have a tricky collar.

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