Bag making tools of the trade - how to make life easier!


Hi everyone,

Seeing as we're gearing up to the Nappy bag sew along I thought it would be helpful to share with you some of the tools I use when bag-making. Hopefully these will calm any fears you might have for the trickier parts of bag making, ready to tackle the Nappy bag which is considered an advanced pattern.

I'll be with you every step of the way though, as will the Facebook groups, and these tools below can really make a difference to how easy you find certain steps!

Firstly, some of my most basic tools are ones that I use on every bag.

I love a good comfy seam ripper. Let's face it, you're going to need to remove stitches, you might as well do it in comfort! I love this 'luxury' clover one. It is a possibly a touch more pricey depending on where you buy from, but I've had the cheap plastic ones as well as the little freebie ones and I can tell you, when you make as many mistakes as me, cost per use isn't much on the more expensive one!


Next up is some great glass head pins. They're fairly fine so I can usually sew over them (cue gasp!) although because the heads are glass they can be pressed and ironed too without worrying about melting. I use these from Hemline, although other brands are easily available.

I have always been a vocal supporter of Frixion pens as a fabric marker, but an unfortunate incident involving sub-zero weather and some hot pink marking lines has led me to be more cautious and my weapon of choice for markings that are in visible areas is a Chaco liner. It draws a fine line of chalk powder which easily brushes off or can be damp dabbed away. It's great for marking pocket dividing lines.

Don't forget that in the Nappy bag there's a few zips. Don't fear the zipper, there's two excellent products on the market which can help your zip placement lickety split.

Firstly, there's the glue pen. This is a pen which you can apply directly to the zip (or fabric zip opening depending on your preference). The glue fades and can be washed away.


Secondly you can use Wonder tape, I'd go for the smallest width you can find so that it's not visible in your welt zip pocket openings. It shouldn't gum up your needle and washes away easily.

Trying to sew a welt zip pocket such as you would have in a bag lining straight can be tricky if it's not properly secured in place and pinning seems to distort zips in the blink of an eye!

Another excellent tool and one that I would recommend over and above any other in this post is the adjustable zipper foot, sometimes known as an adjustable piping foot.

You use the little screw on the back to ensure that the needle falls exactly into that little cut out of the foot. I've yet to sew a straight zip with the zip foot that my machine came with, even with 5 years of practice. However, as soon as I screwed this adjustable foot on, my very first zip was incredibly accurate. So now you know my secret!

And finally, this next product is something that you've maybe seen around but aren't sure whether you need it, it's a set of binding clips. Sometimes called wonder clips or sewing clips. I love these pretty multi-coloured clips from Bobbin Girl although I bought the very expensive Clover ones when they first came on the market. Maybe I'll treat myself to a new set.

These clips are excellent at holding bulky seams together prior to sewing, and especially for easing around corners. I find that pinning around corners can result in one or the other part being too long whereas with the clips the seams are always perfectly aligned. They also save unnecessary pin spiking trying to get your pins through thick fabrics!

Have I missed any essential bag making tools that you would recommend to anyone embarking on their first nappy bag? Anything you'd add?

Don't forget, if you haven't already signed up for the Nappy bag sew along you can find more info in my previous posts.

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  1. I love Sewline glue pens and chaco liners!

  2. Thanks for the tip for damp-dabbing chaco liners. I've yet to come round to the idea of using glue when sewing, but I suppose I should move with the times.

  3. Aside from the glue pen, these all make my list of top tools to have on hand while bag making! I use the Pellon Wonder Under tape more often than I realize. And those clover clips are perfection! I was halfway through my Amy Butler Weekender before my clover clips arrived - they save a lot of frustration (and bloodshed)!

    I would add a pointy tool / stiletto to this list. Especially when sewing around a bag edge where there is a lot of bulk. A stiletto will grab into the fabric and guide it through the presser foot - without risk of sewing through your finger! :) The point to a seam ripper can be a substitute for this -- but the stiletto works best!

  4. I like that wonder tape idea! It's a whole new sewing world since I was really "into" sewing. Nice!


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