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Cutting Tools; Pattern Fantastique's Ultimate list.

Posted: Sep 08 2016

Setting up a sewing kit or considering what tools might make your practice easier?  Sewing can lead us into a world of consuming purposeless, plastic items when ordinary things will do the job. You also have to then store the tools and hunt them down in a hectic sewing space. The more tools you have, the more tools there are to misplace and or store . Here's list of  my favourites to help refine your tool kit and hone your sewing practice.

1. TIME.

Give your self some time. There is no point in rushing or punishing yourself for not getting it done faster.  Chill and snip.


Have you got a flat surface to work on? A clean floor will do. Make sure nothing will snag or dirty the fabric and allow some space to move around your work. Cutting towards yourself is probably best left for the double jointed.


Try an get yourself something comfortable and sharp and threaten to stab anyone who goes near them.

Beautiful old school shears made me feel like the real deal but gave me RSI.

sewing scissors.


Now I have some plastic handled scissors that fit my child sized hands, they are light in weight and cause less pain.

scissors fabric

Spending some money on nice scissors is worth it,  buying second hand is another great way to go. If you find a pair of comfortable scissors they can always be sharpened, just check for chips in the blade.  

I wasn’t always a believer in not using them on paper theory, how could fibre be worse than paper?  But it is true. Paper has a mineral content in it that dulls the metal. All scissors will get blunt at some stage if yours are super fancy, find a service that will do it and they will feel amazing when they come home.


These are non-essential items but pretty awesome. Smoothest cutting possible. They make cutting silks, knits and bias strips so, much easier. They aren’t super cheap and you need a supply of replacement blades and a decent sized cutting mat. Go jumbo if you can. I have two AO sized mats side by side and that feels pretty luxurious. The blades go blunt quickly but they cut so slick and save time, totally worth it if your are a regular stitcher.

rotary cutter


Masking tape is my main tool in the sewing room. I love it. For cutting, I tape patterns directly to my fabric. No pins ever again, thank you. Label cut peices, what they are and which side up if it’s not so easy to tell. Low quality masking tape is good. It is often more transparent in case you stick over pattern markings and is less sticky, good for peeling off fabric when finished. A heavy tape dispenser is another excellent sewing room addition. Doubling as a general weight and pressing clapper.



I hate normal tailors chalk the texture alone makes me wince, let alone it’s crumbly nature and tendency to drag on the fabric.

Sorry tailors chalk.

I am quite fond of wax chalk, it has the texture of soap and glides on the fabric with minimal dragging. Unlike chalk pencils an other markers that require pressure to make their mark and result in fabric movement.  

Most brands iron off and vary in opacity. It's not a haberdashery standard and you might need to do a web search to track some down.  I get mine from fashion industry wholesaler that has shop front open to the public it’s very affordable and lasts ages.

I have seen factory machinists use whittled cakes of soap with a similar effect, it's less visible but easy to get.

wax tailors chalk



I only discovered waxed, carbon paper in recent years and think it is the best! I have never seen it used in the industry so had not known of the wonders for most of my sewing life.

The carbon is a wax coated paper that you sandwich face down on fabric and place your pattern on top add a weight. Using a blunt tipped tracing wheel, roll over the pattern lines to leave a wax imprint onto your fabric. The rolling of the tracing wheel doesn't disturb the paper or drag fabric out of place.

This is a great technique to use with PDF‘s that are multi-sized and I don’t wish to cut up. It is especially useful for marking darts and other mark points. If you are cutting in two layers place the carbon paper on your surface with the waxy side and copy through both layers. Mark points by making little X’s over the point because a single dot won’t show up. No tailors tacks needed ever (who want to sew those?). The wax washes off.

The tracing wheel needs to have blunt tips not the super sharp kind meant for cardboard.  Using the the wheel alone will often leave an impression in a plain smooth fabric.

The patterns will get perforated and after a couple of uses. if you want to reuse the pattern  more than twice, best to trace it off.


No need to buy sewing weights rocks, can of beans, tape dispensers will do the job perfectly. Use weights to hold patterns down and trace around, wax carbon copy or to use rotary cutter to cut directly. I don’t cut with scissors that are just weighted with no tape or markings, as I am just too reckless.

© Pattern Fantastique, 2016



  • Posted by Blogless Anna on September 09, 2016

    I’m always learning from you. Great list!

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