Welcome to part 2 of Bag Making Tools, a mini-series discussing the important assortment of tools you need for bag making!
If you are just starting out, this assortment of tools will be the perfect place to start your collection and if you are an experienced maker, maybe we’ll have some you’ve never thought of! Find part 1 here – Bag Making Tools: Cutting and Measuring Tools!
~To see all the incredible bag hardware that you need, check out the Hardware Heaven Series we have on the blog too! ~
This series will cover our favourite tools and how to use them PLUS why they are important to have on hand! Let’s jump in and see this collection of Notions and Things you should have on hand when creating your next bag!
Clips and Pins
As you get sewing, you’ll notice that things get thicker and thicker as you add interfacing and foam to your fabrics. To accommodate all these layers, you need the right things to hold it all together and this is where your Wonderclips come in! They open wide to hold many layers and are easy to remove while you sew! Another great thing to have on hand is some heavy-duty pins! These ones are longer and thicker than your standard quilting pins so they won’t bend when used on thick or heavy layers!
One of the best tools to have on hand with bag making is a jumper commonly called “hump jumper”! It’s great to bump up to those thicker layers so your sewing machine doesn’t notice the height change nearly as much! You can get ones specifically for your machine like Lisa has, or you can get a generic one as I have! Either way, it makes those bulky seams much less work!
Sewing bags and all the different material types mean you need to have a variety of sewing needles on hand! Our top favourites to have on hand are:
- Denim needles (100/16) – great for sewing through thick bulky layers of foam and fabric
- Microtex (90/14) – are extra sharp so great for fabrics that can sometimes be difficult
- Leather (90/14 or 100/16) – needed when sewing vinyl, leather and cork. It pierces the material in a way that stops it from ripping as the item is being used! Make sure you have a non-stick or Teflon foot too when using your leather needles!
You don’t have to have a super fancy iron when it comes to bag making but you do want something that will get hot enough. Some interfacing glues are tricky so you want to make sure that your iron can get hot enough to fuse the interfacing to your fabric! I also use a lot of steam on my final project. It gives a crisper final look overall and removes every last wrinkle! I always look for an iron that can hold a lot of water to save multiple trips for refills!
Glues, Tapes and Adhesives
If you are looking to keep things in place while you sew, keep these adhesives and “glues” on hand for every make!
- Wondertape- excellent for keeping your zippers in place rather than pinning them. it stops things from rippling!
- Fabric Glue – always great to have on hand in case you have something that will not stay in place! Also a great alternative to Wondertape in case you don’t like or can’t get your hands onto it!
- Leather tape- amazing for creating leather/vinyl/cork straps and strap tabs. it’s stickier than regular tape and will keep these heavier materials in place!
- Fray Check/Stop – A needed liquid for all the snaps and locks you’ll be adding. it stops the fabric from ripping once to cut in the holes!
As you work your way through your bag projects, you will need various tools to mark snaps, lines or other things on top of your fabrics. You will want to have many different marking tools at your disposal depending on the materials you are using! Frixion pens are great because they press away with the heat of your iron but can return if your item gets too cold! Chalk markers are great for dark fabrics but can sometimes be hard to remove the marking lines!
A personal fave is a wax marker! It’s similar to the square chalk markers you find and usually found from tailor or alteration supply shops. The best part about a wax marker is that you press it with your iron and it’s gone for good AND you can actually see it clearly on black fabrics and prints!
Hammers and Hardware Tools
When it comes to adding all that pretty hardware to your final project or while you are creating, you want to make sure you have the right hammers and tools on hand! For rivets and press snaps, you will want a rubber mallet on hand. A regular hammer will work in a pinch but a rubber mallet reduces the vibrations! Teeny tiny screwdrivers are a must if you are adding turn locks to things! Try to find ones that are magnetic and it will make those screw much easier to pick up!
Youll also want to have all the various tools to actually add your rivets, grommets and things to your bags! Get some great hole presses right from the start and treat them well and they will last through many uses!
So that concludes the Bag Making tools series! Don’t forget to check out the Hardware Heaven Series and let us know below if you have any favourite bag making tools that we might have forgotten about!
Until next time,
6 thoughts on “Bag Making Tools: Notions and Things”
Hi Lisa – thanks for a great series – where do you get leather tape??
Hi Prue! I believe you can find leather tape in places such as alteration supply sites and possibly even your local big chain fabric store, however you may need to make a few calls or do some googling first to confirm that. 🙂
Regarding Frixion pens-thanks for adding the fact that the color will “reappear” with a temperature change. (The ink, I’ve read, is thermo sensitive, and the heat from the friction of the ‘eraser’ or an iron simply makes the pigment go away. A white line still remains behind.) I wanted to add that I discovered this when I used the pink pen on a medium blue fabric; when I used the iron to erase the color, I had a white line on the blue fabric that did not go away. That is why I started really reading up on the pens. Their original intent was never for work with fabric, according to the Pilot company.
As a plus, I love the pens when I am making notes about a pattern on the pattern itself, or on paper-I can just iron the paper and my mess or notes go away! (I reuse paper a lot for jotting notes.)
Hi Kris! Thanks so much for your comment about the Frixion pens! They are definitely a little more ‘finicky’ than the good ol’ tailors chalk, that’s for sure, though I know some customers swear by them so I think it really is personal preference! Great tip about using them on paper though!! That sure would save a fair few reams over time, wouldn’t it?! 🙂
I would like to know what are the best machine needles for sewing cork?
Hi Jenny! A lot of it depends on your machine and what it prefers, but over time I’ve found that just the regular Schmetz Universal needles work fine for sewing cork on my Bernina sewing machines. I always use a size 90/14 (so slightly larger than normal). Sewing cork is surprisingly easy but as always, make sure you sew a test piece first to check you’re happy with the stitches, tension etc. Have fun! 🙂