Pins and Needles SAL: My favorite sewing tools and notions


As we gear up for the Pins and Needles sew along, I wanted to share some of my favorite tools and notions with you. I use these tools for many of my small patchwork and quilted projects—they are helpful to have on hand for lots of stitching situations! This is not a sponsored post; I purchased each of these items for my own use. Links below marked with an asterisk are affiliate links.

Sewing Tools

My favorite things for sewing bias binding:

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing tools
*Clover Wonder Clips - I rarely need to use straight pins because of these little clips. They are fantastic for binding, zippers, thick fabrics, and for preventing pin holes. I keep them ready to use by storing them in a cute vintage teacup!

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing tools
*That Purple Thang – I love this little tool! It’s super handy for adjusting fabric under your presser foot (and keeping your fingers out of harm’s way) and as a point turner or stuffing tool. The square end is 1/4” wide and there is a 1/2” slot which is great for putting elastic or ribbon through casings. I use it especially for sewing the binding around curved edges.

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing tools
*Sewline Glue Pen - This water-soluble glue is perfect for English paper piecing and also for getting a really clean finish on zippers and binding. After adhering fabric with the glue, press with an iron until dry and it stays put until you pull it apart. This glue pen is refillable and cute to boot!

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing tools
*Disappearing Fabric Pen - I’ve tried several brands of marking pens but this one is my favorite. The tip is soft enough that it doesn’t dent the fabric, but you can still get a pretty thin line with it. The ink typically disappears between a couple of hours to a few days, or you can speed it up with water. But if it disappears too fast—just press the fabric with a hot iron and the marks reappear like magic! Store these pens with the tip down to help keep them from drying out.


Two of my most frequently asked questions are about zippers and tags, so I’m going to let you know what you need and where to find them!


 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing notions
For the Pins and Needles Book project I recommend nylon zippers because we’ll need to cut them to size. YKK brand is terrific; they are reliably smooth and come in a ton of great colors.

If you do need to buy zippers, my favorite online source is Zipit on Etsy. For the medium needle book you’ll want a 6” zipper, and for the small needle book a 5” zipper, but you can cut nylon zippers down from any size so feel free to use whatever you have on hand! Zipit also has a great selection of metal zippers, which are great for my Quilted Notions Pouch pattern.


One of my favorite kind of embellishments is to tuck a little folded ribbon underneath binding. I love making tags with cotton ribbon, twill, jacquard, or my own custom labels!

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing ntions
Try searching for French twill ribbon on Etsy for this pretty double striped cotton ribbon.

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing notions
I also love these cute cotton twill measuring tape ribbons. Both versions are made by Creative Impressions, and you can also find them by the yard or roll on Etsy.

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing notions
Jacquard ribbon is a wonderful option for super colorful, detailed tags. Some of my favorites are from Renaissance Ribbons.

 Retro Mama | Favorite sewing notions
My own logo tags were made by ClothingLabels4U. I found this company very easy to work with, the quality is great, and they have low minimum orders!

I hope you found these ideas helpful! If there is anything else you're searching for, let me know in the comments and I'll try to help out!

Happy Stitching,


  1. Love the Purple Thang! And your little logo tags are adorable.

  2. It's always great to hear what tools work for other people. I use many of the same ones you do. Thanks for sharing, Kim!