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.
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.
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:
Where do you go for your favorite shinies?