Saturday, July 25, 2015

2. Stash and Dash - Recommended Tools For This Project

Tools You Will Need for This Project

best sewing toolsfree sewing tutorial

Having the proper tools for any job makes accomplishing the task so much easier and more fun. Here is a list of tools that we'd recommend for use in the Stash and Dash project. Please note that all of these opinions are mine, and not all of these tools are NECESSARY to complete this project. It will just be much easier to assemble this project if you use them. 
  • Sewing machine in good working order with these feet:
    • Walking foot (with guide if available)
A walking foot is essential when machine quilting to keep the top and bottom layers moving together at the same rate. This helps to prevent puckers and wrinkles in the bottom fabric. Many feet come with guides that can be attached to help guide straight-line stitching. Using a guide means less marking as you can just run the guide along the previous line of stitching.
    • 1/4" foot
A 1/4" foot makes sewing accurate ¼" seams easy. Some feet (such as the amazing Bernina #37 foot) also help make accurate 1/8" and 1/16" seams quick and easy.
    • Zipper foot
A zipper foot enables you to move the needle to one side of the foot and is especially helpful for attaching zippers or sewing in tight spaces. We love Bernina's #4 foot as it gives great visibility while maintaining good contact with the fabric. 
    • Teflon foot (optional)
A Teflon foot is helpful when sewing on vinyl as it cuts down on static and drag. We love Bernina's #53 foot which also is perfect for sewing 1/8" seams.
    best sewing tools
    • Rotary cutter and mat
    We recommend a 45mm or 60mm rotary cutter for cutting the project pieces. A 28mm rotary cutter is helpful when rounding the corners; its smaller size makes cutting curves extra easy.

    A 24" x 36" mat will be helpful for this project, though you can get by with a smaller mat if that is all that you have.
    • Quilter's rulers
    We used 4" x 4", 8½" x 24", 12½" x 12½", and 15" x 15" rulers for cutting the pieces for this project.

    If you have a 20½" x 20½" ruler, use it for cutting the largest pieces. This is a ruler that you don't use often, but when you are cutting large pieces, it is so wonderful to have!
    • Scissors/snips
    We use rotary cutters to cut the pieces for this project but you'll need scissors for clipping threads, trimming dog ears, etc. Our favorites are the Fiskars Easy Action 5" Micro-Tip spring-action scissors.

    For clipping threads, we love the Snip-Eze Multi-Use Comfort Snips
    These light-weight small snips enable you to get really close to the fabric and are extra-sharp for a quick and easy cut. Just squeeze to cut. Their curved tips prevent cutting fabric and also allow the snips to fit easily under the presser foot.
    • Needles
    For this project we recommend a #90/14 topstitch needle.

    We prefer using topstitch needles for all of our sewing. Topstitch needles are strong and sturdy and have an eye that is twice as big as a regular needle eye which makes for extra-easy threading. My mature eyes love this! The large eye also prevents thread from shredding as you sew. They also have a groove down the shank in which the thread rests. This, too, prevents shredding and fraying of the thread.

    We love Superior Threads' titanium-coated topstitch needles; their titanium coating helps them stay sharp longer and extends the life of the needle.
    • Pins
    We recommend two types of pins for this project: extra-fine pins for pinning fabric pieces together and a longer, sturdier quilting-style pin for pinning parts of the project together. These are our favorites:

    Extra-fine pins
    These extra-fine pins pass smoothly through fabric and are especially helpful when pinning binding strips together.

    Quilting pins
    These extra-long yellow-head quilting pins are strong and perfect for pinning project pieces together, especially when you are using Soft and Stable or batting. 
      • Wonder Clips
      Wonder Clips are one of the most useful sewing tools ever devised and are a match made in heaven for projects made with Soft and Stable. Easy to grip, they open wide to hold multiple layers. We use them almost any time we are joining pieces on an outside edge. We recommend that you have at least 10 of the regular-sized Wonder Clips for this project, but you won't regret buying a pack of 50 clips. They are that wonder-ful and useful!
      • Stiletto/pressing tool
      This is a tool that we consider to be every bit as important as a rotary cutter. 

      The point of the stiletto enables you to hold pieces in place easily and is especially helpful when piecing or attaching bindingsThe point helps to grab and pull the fabric into place and you can keep the tip of the stiletto in place on the fabric almost until the needle reaches the point. It is impossible to keep your fingers in place when you get that close to the needle. 

      We also love the wooden pressing tool for pressing seams open. There is no need to move to the ironing board for just a small seam. I can press right at my machine!

      NOTE: The stiletto/pressing tool that Annie is using in these tutorials is a prototype of a brand-new tool which Annie designed. In development for well over a year, the ByAnnie Stiletto/Pressing Tool combines two favorite tools and adds improvements such as a ground tip for better grip, flattened sides to prevent rolling, and more. The new ByAnnie Stiletto/Pressing Tool should be available in early fall 2015. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter so that you will be among to first to know when it is in stock. 
      • Chalk markers
      We'll mark lines on the organizer to indicate where to place the strap and pockets. The lines don't need to last long, so we prefer marking with something temporary but easily visible. We love the Clover Chaco Liner Pen Style Markers for this project. Lines and marks are easily visible and the marker is easy to use with straight edge rulers.  The tapered fine point permits accurate drawing of both straight lines and free hand curves. We prefer using the white marker on medium to dark fabrics and the blue or silver markers on light fabrics.  
      • Quilting gloves (optional)
      Keep your hands from slipping off the fabric when quilting by wearing specially-designed quilter's gloves. We especially like the Machinger's brand. 
      • Basting spray (optional)
      If you like, you may use basting spray to attach the fabric to the Soft and Stable before quilting. Because Soft and Stable has a soft, lightly napped fabric on each side, it "hugs" your fabric, so we usually don't bother with spray. We just smooth the fabric to the Soft and Stable and pin every 6" to 8". It's your call!
      best sewing tools
      • Turning Tool
      We like to make straps and handles that match our project so usually make a fabric tube into which we insert polypro strapping. These tubes are narrow and turning them right side out can be a challenge. That's where a turning tool comes in handy. We love the Quick Turn Fabric Tube Turning Tool and will demonstrate it in the tutorial. Perfect for making straps and handles, the Quick Turn tool comes with 3 sizes of plastic cylinders and wooden rods used to push and turn fabric tubes quickly and easily.
      • Hemostat gripper (optional)
      This handy tool is one of those items you don't know you need until you have one! With gripper teeth and locking handles, a hemostat gripper comes in handy for many uses. In this project, we'll use the hemostat to adjust the polypro strapping inside the fabric strap. 
      • Bias tape maker (optional)
      Small and simple, yet big in convenience, a 12 mm bias tape maker makes 1/2" bias strips as easy as 1-2-3. Post #20 will show all the steps.
      • Corner rounder
      It is much easier to attach a binding to a curved corner than a square corner, so we will round the corners of the organizer before binding. We like a gentle curve, so will mark around the edges of a 2-1/2" round object. A cone of thread is the perfect size — and it keeps our fingers up and out of the way. Cheap and easy!
      • Seam ripper (optional)
      Though none of us like to un-sew a seam, sometimes it's just something a person's gotta do. We've got two favorite seam rippers, both of which we use regularly.

      Clover's classic white plastic seam ripper is light-weight, comfortable to hold, has an extra-sharp, well-shaped point and is our go-to seam ripper.

      We also like the Seam-Fix Seam Ripper. It goes a step beyond ripping seams as it addresses all those
       little threads that are left when you use a seam ripper to take apart a seam. Instead of taking the time to pluck out all of those little bits of thread, you can use the Seam-Fix to simply erase the bits of thread right off your project. The specially-designed plastic tips at each end make this easy. The Seam-Fix Mini Seam Ripper is the perfect size for carrying in a sewing kit.
      best sewing tools

      Next Up: 

      3. Cutting Instructions

      Click here for the full schedule of postings for ByAnnie's Summer Sew Along - Stash and Dash.


      1. I'm so excited to make this wonderful pattern! Involves lots of techniques that I want to learn. I just placed my order for the kit except I forgot to request the black mesh. I sent a reply email to my order confirmation- I hope this is ok!

      2. Janet:

        Thanks for joining us on our Sew Along. You will definitely learn a lot of techniques with this small project. Welcome!

        Sending a reply email to your order confirmation should work fine. I'll double-check too to make sure that Diana sees it when she fills orders on Monday.

        Happy stitching!


      3. im so excited. im making two at once so i hope i dont mess them up!! thanks for the free pattern and sewalong

        1. Making two at once is always a great idea. . . unless you make the same mistake twice! Once when I was making some miniature paper-pieced blocks, I chain-pieced about 20 blocks and had the pieces on upside down. Because I'd made such small stitches, it was easier to start over than to try to take them all off. Fortunately, I was only on the 3rd or 4th step, so it wasn't a huge deal. Moral of the story: BE CAREFUL!

      4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      5. Can't wait to start. Waiting for my kit to arrive.

      6. I'm a little late to the party, but I stumbled upon this just this evening. I've done some of Annie's bags in a Craftsy class so I'm looking forward to this.

        1. You'll be able to catch up in no time, it's a quick sew! Welcome to the party :)


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