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Sewing shinies!

September 7, 2010

Warning: enabling ahead.

I’m a massive fan of sewing gadgets — things you never knew you needed until you get them into your craft room. Miniature darners? Hem markers? Loop turners? Yes, yes and yes. The only problem is that the UK market seems to lag a bit behind in gratuitous gadgets, probably because everything is so expensive here the Brits can’t afford to be as gung-ho about New Shiny Things as Americans.

But now I’ve discovered Sew-Quick, importer of foreign sewing shinies to the UK! In the finest tradition of UK online shops, Sew-Quick is practically undetectable by Google search. I only stumbled across it while looking for a Perfect Pleater (curse you, Wearing History!). My jaw slowly lowered as I clicked through their product list. Snapsetters! PerfectFuse, stay tape, Steam-a-Seam! Mini vacuums for cleaning your machine! Individual issues of Threads! And a panoply of the delightful little gadgets collectively known as notions.

Fiskars 12-in-1 sewing tool, for when you need to Macgyver that hem

Sew-Quick are located in Scotland and emphasize their customer service and shipping speed — I’ll be interested to see how they stack up against other domestic sewing supply businesses, some of which take several days to dispatch and/or backorder items for weeks without telling you. Warning: Do not compare Sew-Quick’s prices with what Americans are paying.

Another place to waste an hour and £50 is Shibori Dragon, a US online shop that specializes in Japanese sewing and tailoring supplies. Superfine pins (they make ordinary pins feel like nails) and the satisfyingly precise Chakoner marker are available, as are Omnigrip rulers and, oh dear, a whole bunch of Japanese fabrics, threads, quilting kits, stencils and more.

Just won the lottery or looking for somewhere to spend the kids’ inheritance? The Thimble Society sells exquisite antique thimbles, pincushions, needle cases, sewing sets and more. They would probably recoil in horror if you announced you planned to actually use them.

Rabbit pincushion, only £480

If you really want to lose yourself to lust, try Googling “sewing chatelaines”. A chatelaine was an early, feminine version of the Swiss army knife — a metal clasp that attached to a woman’s belt and from which she could hang small, useful items such as thimble cases, scissors, needle and thread holders, bodkins, memorandum books, spectacle cases etc. They started in the middle ages as utilitarian objects, but quickly became decorative. Some could be stunning, like these 18th and 19th-century chatelaines from the V&A:

Complete antique chatelaines sell on eBay for anything up to £1200. You can assemble your own modern-day chatelaine for slightly less from LACIS, Treasured Finds, Buckaroo Bobbins or Simply Scissors.

Where do you go for your favorite shinies?

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2014 12:14 pm

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody?
    This post posted at this site is actually fastidious.

  2. September 20, 2010 7:46 pm

    I go to my mom! She’s an antique dealer and since I too live out of the country far from the convenient craft mega stores (ie paycheck suckers) she sends me boxes filled with vintage notions, tools, lace, fabric and patterns.
    What I can’t get from her I snag off of amazon.
    Love your etsy shop by the way. I’m debating snagging that lovely little slip pattern for my collection.

  3. September 11, 2010 3:54 am

    Yes! I am a gadget girl, in that I am always wishing I had more… If I remember correctly you have a lot of goodies I want, like the marking tool, and the buttonhole-spacer-thingy. I love that 12-in-1 tool, so handy!!
    I buy most of mine from my local shops, I’m lucky to have good sewing supply shops within half an hour’s drive – one that has half-price-notions every long weekend, too.

  4. September 9, 2010 7:44 pm

    I thought only fabric could tempt me, but I’m very tempted by making my own chatelaine – and then using that word, too. Lovely.

    I get most of my tools at JoAnn’s because I’m cheap and that 40% coupon does me in. I am not a big tool person – in the kitchen or in the sewing room. I like simple, multi-tasking tools. But if I see the usefulness of a tool, I will pay a hefty price to have it! I bought my walking foot for my machine on ebay for more money than I care to remember, but still less than the Bernina foot for over a $100.

  5. September 9, 2010 3:58 am

    Oh my god, the Perfect Pleater! I have been killing myself trying to work out how to pleat a whole lot of navy silk to trim a hat, and after burning my fingers trying to iron tiny pleats into it, was dreaming up all sorts of ridiculous gadgets, which obviously really exist! Bless you and your obsessive love of haberdashery and notions.

  6. September 8, 2010 8:16 am

    A sewing store actually based in Scotland???!!?!? Wow! I am super excited!!! Thanks for posting!

  7. September 8, 2010 4:11 am

    Muahaha! The Perfect Pleater is a really neat toy… from one gadget lover to another.
    Thanks for the links to the stores. The Japanese import one has the cotton basting thread I *love*, and I was hoarding it because I didn’t know if I’d be able to find more. Yay!!
    Oh yes, and I found my Perfect Pleater on Etsy, previously used, so there probably are more floating around :)

  8. Kitty permalink
    September 7, 2010 8:57 pm

    Well, I’m big on buying Scissors with my 40 percent off coupon at Joannes. Next I need a pair of 7 inch scissors. not seven inch blades, seven inch scissors.

    I’ve already got 3 pairs of shears, since I can loose them at the drop of a hat. and 3 pair of embroidery scissors.

  9. Joanna permalink
    September 7, 2010 8:22 pm

    I am quite new to sewing, but after reading all sewing blogs I *need* to get a lot of indispensable gadgets :P I admit that getting anything a little bit more interesting in Britain is difficult. Thank god for online shops. I found that has very good selection of basic stuff and ‘gadgets’ and cheaper that other British online shops. It is a shame that buying fabrics can’t be that easy… You can’t feel them by squeezing a PC screen :P

    And I really like you blog. It is a source of information and a good laugh ;)
    Keep calm and carry on! :D

  10. September 7, 2010 7:44 pm

    Ack!!! I am particularly susceptible to Shiny New Sewing Gadgets! (Curse the universe that I’m broke right now. *sigh*) lol. Especially those of the really high quality/cute type that usually hail from Japan.

    I admit though, I’m a bit of a boring one when it comes to sourcing new gadgets: I mostly stick to JoAnns (because I usually have a 40% coupon ;). But I’ve ordered from Clotilde before… That Perfect Pleater that Lauren posted has been tempting me all day! haha!

    ♥ Casey
    blog |

  11. September 7, 2010 5:14 pm

    wow, they even sell a ‘third hand’! that would come in useful i’m sure.

    my notions basically comprise two seam rippers and a knitting needle as a point turner. i am not much of a gadget gal… :D

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