Essential Sewing Tools – The Sewing Gauge

I have to thank Liz over at zilredloh for choosing me as the winner of her awesome March Giveaway! Look at all the amazing stuff I won!

March Giveaway goodies from zilredloh!

Guys, that’s a real sewing book from 1957! Can you believe it?! And a belt making kit, and vintage rayon seam binding (I love the stuff!) and vintage buttons!

I also have to thank my sewing gauge, that little inconspicuous but much loved tool that was the subject of discussion in my winning comment (a response to Liz’s question over what sewing tool we wished we had known about when we first started sewing), I said:

“Oh goodness that’s easy, I wish I had invested in a sewing gauge when I first started sewing because my seam allowances were never correct and I ended up with very strange-looking garments and used to get so very frustrated! It’s a good thing I smartened up and got one later!”

Liz suggested I demonstrate how I use my sewing gauge so here it goes, sewing gauge, this one is for you. It is ridiculously easy to use (people who can count with average math skills and a steady hand probably don’t even need it).

Here is how I measure my 3/8″  (1cm) seam allowance, I count three little fractions (marked by small lines at the top). The little blue slider helps position the fabric precisely, use it!

And here’s how to measure a 5/8″ (1.5 cm) seam allowance – count five little lines!

Most patterns call for a 3/8″ or 5/8″ seam allowance.  All you have to do is just count the little lines until they match up with the right fraction of 8. If I’m stitching on slippery fabric (I mean you, chiffon) I just make tiny pen dot marks at the end of my gauge and follow it with my needle (you could use that circle at the top left hand corner to mark your fabric, but people like me get confused because the circle takes up 1/8″ and then I have to add another 1/8″ at the end to even it out – I’m making this sound more complicated than it really is).

I know it might sound unnecessary but I think all beginners need one, it makes the difference in fit and a clean finish for whatever you’re sewing. It’s also ridiculously cheap (unless you want to splurge and buy one designed by those brilliant German and Scandinavian companies). I bought this for 1$ at the local dollar store, and it came with a seam ripper and a needle threader (yay!).

There you have it, the sewing gauge, an essential sewing tool.

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