Reported by Christian Tamez
Like many sewers, I am always on the lookout for things that will make my sewing projects look more professional and help me save time. Alex Anderson’s 4-in-1 Essential Sewing Tool is just that. Four essential tools all built into one hand-held application. What drew me to this one was the extra-long stiletto, a tool I had yet to have in my arsenal.
To begin with, this tool has two main components built into a wooden housing; a seam ripper on one end, and a stiletto on the other. Both the seam ripper and stiletto have differently shaped wooden caps and, when in place, these act as the two other tools, a flat-ended presser, and pointed wood end cap.
A stiletto is a long pointed tool that is used to protect your fingers when sewing or ironing. The stiletto was my favorite part of this tool; the handle seems to be ergonomically designed as it felt very nice in my hand. I started using the stiletto for all kinds of things, I would pull up hard to reach jump threads in embroidery designs, and easily trim them. It also served to keep my fingers safe from the needle of the sewing machine during some cutwork projects. I could foresee this being a very important tool in any applique projects that I may soon be starting.
The seam ripper is actually very sharp and the length and stabilization you get with the wooden handle make this a great tool for getting at thread nests underneath large embroidery hoops, without ruining your design. I actually had quite a few different seam rippers in my sewing box and this one is now my “go to.” This tool is very stable, and when you’re using the seam ripper you can guide the blade very nicely. That comes in handy when you’re doing a technique called “thread velvet” which calls for you to carefully slice only certain threads with a seam ripper on the embroidery design, leaving a velvety appearance.
The two wooden caps are interchangeable, and it seems they are the two lesser used tools. Being that the caps are removable you lose a bit of stabilization with these tools, which isn’t too big of a deal. On my particular tool the pointed cap was very loose and actually ended up falling off into the abyss of a sewing bag. I didn’t mind because this always left my stiletto free to be used. But the time came for a perfect use for the pointed endcap and I fished it out of the bag, and used it to push out all the corners on two pillow covers I had just finished for my sister. The shape of the pointed cap allowed it to beautifully fit into the corners and do a really fast job of turning them out.
Now I didn’t think I would have a use for the flat-ended presser until the day came where I laid out a large table linen project in my hallway and marked all over it with a water soluble pencil where I wanted the hem. It wasn’t until after I made the markings that I remembered you weren’t supposed to apply heat to water soluble pens or pencils lest you risk permanently setting the mark. This is where the flat-ended presser came in; I was able to use it to press all of the seams for my project, without any risk of heat setting the temporary pencil.
Want to see this tool in action? I used it recently in a video for a cutwork project, jump to the 1:18 mark to see me use this tool; I also name drop this bad boy in part one of the same video at the 6:24 mark.
- Four tools built in to one saves space and time when sewing.
- Ergonomic, felt great in my hand
- Very stable tool to use; it did not flex or give when in use
- Easy to remove and replace the caps
- On my tool the pointed cap kept falling off
- Wasn’t available at my Joanns
- Little bit of a rough edge on the flat ended presser – roughed up my linen a little bit.
Do you have a favorite handheld sewing tool? Like the idea of so many great things built into one? Leave us a comment and let us know!