7 tools to help quilters start making clothes!

Tools of the Trade

In last week’s blog post, I told the story of my journey from garment-making to quilting and back to garment-making. This week, I’m going to introduce you to 7 notions & tools that I think quilters should invest in to start making clothes. It’s a small list because, as a quilter, you already have almost everything you need!

With all the rotary cutters, marking tools, pin holders, rulers, mats, and sewing machines you’ve invested in over the years, you’re practically all-set! You just need a few things to help you fill in the gaps.

Here are 7 inexpensive tools and notions that will help you on your way to making clothes. (In no particular order):

Creative Grids 1” x 6” Ruler


I know, I know – as a quilter you’re probably thinking ‘not another ruler’! But this compact ruler from Creative Grids is absolutely perfect for measuring a seam allowance or drawing a dart. I find myself reaching for it over and over again when making my way through a garment.

Find this ruler here!

1/2″ Extremely Fine Fusible Knit Stay Tape

All of our fusible stay tapes from Emma Seabrooke are fine and wonderful, but the one I can’t live without is the 1/2” Extremely Fine Knit Stay Tape. I use it to stabilize shoulder seams in knits. I also use it in knit hems. The stay tape adds just enough body to prevent the stitches from tunneling and keeps the hem from getting wavy.

Find knit stay tape here.

Kai 5.5″ Embroidery Scissors

It may surprise you, but I prefer cutting out my garments with just a rotary cutter and these 5” scissors. I find that a rotary cutter is faster and more accurate than shears, and that I’m able to finish up the nooks and crannies with my nifty embroidery scissors.

I also use these scissors to cut notches when preparing my tissue pattern. And, while I’m sewing, I use them to clip and notch curves, and trim loose threads.

Find these scissors here.

Clover Glass-Head Pins

For garment-making, I only use fine glass-head pins like the Patchwork Glasshead Pins from Clover. They don’t snag the fabric and – because I love to pin my hems to the ironing board and iron right over the top – I don’t have to worry about the heads of the pins melting.

Find glass head pins here.

Schmetz Costume Variety Needle Pack

As a quilter, you know the importance of a new needle in the correct size. I always have a variety of needles near my sewing machine so that, regardless of the fabric I’m sewing with, I am equipped with the proper needle. This 10-needle costume pack is a great way to get started as you make the switch from quilting cotton to other substrates.

The pack contains: two sizes of Stretch needles for knits; three sizes of Universal needles that can be used for any fabric; two sizes of Jeans needles for heavy-duty wovens; two sizes of Microtex needles for rayons or silks; and, a Topstitch needle, great for thicker threads. With this pack, you’ll be ready for anything.

Find this needle pack here.

Dritz Measuring Tape

You might have a measuring tape moldering away in some corner of your sewing room because you really don’t need it for making quilts. You do, however, need one for making clothes!

I use my measuring tape to take my bust, hip, and waist measurements every time I start a new project. (My weight fluctuates, and I can never find the little slip of paper I wrote them on last time!) Also, many sewing tape measures are ⅝” wide, so you can use them to easily mark your seam allowance. Plus, they’re great for measuring the curves on your pattern pieces.

Find a tape measure here.

Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Fuse Light Interfacing

Interfacing a garment is different than interfacing a bag. You want the interfacing to add structure without changing the fabric’s drape. Pati Palmer imports a wonderful weft fusible interfacing from France, and we carry it in four different weights.

I suggest starting with a one-yard pack of Perfect Fuse Light in Ecru White. It works for most fabrics, and doesn’t bubble or pull away from the fabric, like some other brands I have used. One yard will last a long time because this weft interfacing is 60 inches wide.

Find light interfacing here.

And that's it!

That’s all you need. We have all of these tools and notions for sale individually (find them here!). But you can also invest in our Garment-Making Starter Kit which includes all 7 tools & notions at a 12% discount! I hope you’ve found this list helpful, and, if you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment below!

Happy Sewing,



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