My Top 10 Tools for Sewing Spandex Fabrics - Updated!

I started sewing when I was eight years old. Times when everything was done "offline".  No instant communication with cell phones or internet, we were used to do things the hard way and be patient.  Learning to sew is much easier nowadays.  Technology helps answer almost any question and sewing tools have been tested and improved.  I only wish I had all these tools 30 years ago!  I hope they help you to keep sewing, or if you are considering learning to sew, motivate you get started. 

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How many of you have at home the classic tomato pin cushion?  Reality check, times have changed and a pin magnet is definitely more helpful.  It helps keep pins accessible, especially when you drop pins on the floor.



Most people think all pins are equal, and just buy the least expensive ones. It is really frustrating if they are too small and difficult to handle, or not sharp enough that they rip the fabric.  Small ones also are difficult to be seen when they are dropped on the floor.  I prefer quilting pins, they are long and sharp, and the colored heads makes them more difficult to get lost. The ones shown here are from Dritz and measure 1 ¾” (45 mm).    





A newer option to pin fabric together is the Wonder Clips from Clover.  They are very popular with quilters because they can hold multiple layers of fabric without moving or damaging it.  I am fascinated with these clips! I use them to join slippery fabrics , for example, a swimsuit and its lining. They come in different sizes and colors, my favorites are the red ones.  These have ¼” (7 mm) and ½” (12 mm) marks, so they also serve as a sewing guide.  They are not inexpensive, but definitely worth the investment.




Unfortunately, if you want to learn to sew, you must learn how to unstitch.  But if you have to rip a seam, make sure to use a high quality tool to make this process more bearable.  This one is from Clover, it's ergonomic, super sharp and the grip makes it a lot easier to rip even the smallest seams.   So next time you have to unpick, take a deep breath and use this seam ripper.




Tiny scissors for cutting thread or  "thread nippers" have been around for a while.  To me, they are the best sewing invention (after the electric sewing machine, of course :0).  Their smaller size give you precision when cutting threads, and makes it less common to cut fabric by accident.  The self opening system makes it super easy to use, because they always open back, unlike regular scissors.



This tool is an amazing one for cutting spandex fabrics! Make sure your blade is sharp and even beginners will be able to easily cut curves, and with the use of the quilting ruler, you can make strips (like the ones you cut for spaghetti straps) in a jiffy.



Even though you can turn spaghetti straps using a safety pin, this inexpensive tool saves time because it is much longer than a safety or bobby pin, plus has a hook that helps turning around even the skinniest straps.



These needles are the best for sewing knits, especially when making swimwear. It really makes a difference because they prevent stitches from skipping. I use them in size 80/12 for my nylon/spandex fabrics.




I will soon make a post comparing different sewing machines.  One of my favorites is the Janome 8077 Computerized Sewing Machine (click on the image below).  I really liked this machine, for a few things: You can select a specific width and length for the zigzag stitch.  This is great because I used different length and widths to attach the elastic, to join pieces and and to topstitch.  You can adjust the speed so if you are sewing difficult curves or you are just a beginner, setting it in the slowest speed will help.  Also, it has several automatic buttonholes, automatic needle threader and lots of decorative stitches.  Finally, you can operate the machine using the pedal or with the touch of a button!


This is the serger I am currently using for my tutorials. It has an excellent price! For sewing swimwear, I it with three threads only. For sewing other types of garments I use the four threads.


JUKI is one of my favorite brands, this model is a bit pricier, but the bundle includes: 8 Piece Foot Kit, Serger Tote, 8 Thread Cones, 50 Needles, Electronic Workbook, Instructional DVD. 

If you enjoy sewing but are afraid of sewing spandex fabrics try this free PDF Instant Download Sewing Pattern.  It comes with printing and sewing instructions in English and Spanish. Click here to get it!

Please comment below and let me know what you think about my post and what is your biggest fear when sewing.

Also, I would really appreciate if you share it with people you know that might be interested.


- Tommie