Cool Tool Monday

Cool Tool Monday hasn’t happened in awhile, but today I have something to show you. In one of my last posts, I showed a picture of a stiletto, and many of you wondered what that was. So today, we’re going to talk all things stiletto (not the shoes, sorry!).

What is a stiletto? Google’s second definition (the first is the shoe definition) is “a short dagger with a tapering blade”. In essence I suppose that is what a sewing stiletto is, without all the dangerous and ominous wording. However, I wouldn’t try taking your favorite sewing stiletto on a plane.

In my earlier post, I showed a picture of these two stilettos, recently gifted to me by quilty friend. In that picture, I had the sheaths on both stilettos. Here’s a picture with one sheathed and the other uncovered.

Cool Tool Monday - Sewing Stiletto -

When you see the points, you can understand why most of them come with a sheath.

Here’s the stiletto I was given by my mom. It has always been special to me, because when she gifted it to me I felt like she was telling me I had earned the status of quilter. Funny how little things  affect us like that, isn’t it?

Cool Tool Monday - My sewing stiletto -

So why is a sewing stiletto so handy?

One of the reasons I use my stiletto so often is to help guide the fabric as I sew.

Cool Tool Monday - Sewing Stiletto uses -

I’m chuckling as I look at this picture. I noticed in earlier pictures that my sewing foot was all fuzzy, so I cleaned it off (which led to cleaning out the bobbin, etc.) only to find that I missed the fuzz up and around the screw, not to mention the random threads in the photo. So just ignore that . . .

Anyway, the little point is handy for guiding the fabric through the foot.

Have you even had this happen?

Cool Tool Monday - How to use a sewing stiletto -

Using a stiletto as you are coming up to those seams helps to avoid seams flipping over. You can easily lift your sewing foot and use the stiletto to tuck that seam under, and get back to sewing.

Cool Tool Monday - Guiding the fabric through with a sewing stiletto -

Another use for the stiletto in my sewing is to rip seams. Rather than separating the seam with my hand and picking out the thread, I use it this way. It takes a little longer, but I find this method works well for me, especially with bias seams. I feel like I can keep the bias from distorting as I rip while slipping the point carefully under the stitch and gently pulling it out.

Cool Tool Monday - using a sewing stiletto as a seam ripper -

One other handy use for the stiletto is for lifting those little paper piece foundation papers out of those small spots where fingers can’t get to them. Although I prefer to use a tweezers, this works pretty well.

Cool Tool Monday - stiletto and paper piecing -

So, what if you don’t have a stiletto? Here are a few substitutes.

Cool Tool Monday - sewing stiletto substitutes -


I would only use this for guiding the fabric and picking out paper foundation pieces. It may not be strong enough for seam ripping.

Small Scissors

Again, I would only use this to guide the fabric, and then only very carefully. The scissors blades are too thick and make it a bit clumsy to use, but it will work in a pinch.

Seam Ripper

You can use the pointed side of the seam ripper to do the work of a stiletto. However, I think the single shaft of a stiletto works better and is easier to use when you need to feed that fabric well into the sewing foot area.

Some also use a chopstick or a wooden skewer that has a decent point. I don’t use my chopstick, since it has a thick point and is used mainly for turning corners and stuffing.

Until I received my stilettos from Rose, I didn’t know you could make them. (Who knew they can be made from turkey lacers?) They would be a fun, fast gift idea for a sewist, wouldn’t they? Bonnie Hunter shows how to make them. You can read all about it here.

Do you use a stiletto? If so, what is your favorite use for them?

Happy stitching friends!


16 thoughts on “Cool Tool Monday”

  1. Yes I use a skewer to guide my fabric through, keeping those seams going in the right direction, to open my seams to press open. I noticed the fuzz on your needle bar and thought hey her’s looks like mine, LOL

  2. I don’t have a stiletto, but I do have a pointy tool I sometimes use. It’s the tool that came with my Accuquilt Go, for picking tiny pieces of fabric out from around the die blades. It comes in pretty handy! I’ve never tried it for picking stitches though – I’ll have to give that a go.

    1. It’s not my first choice for picking stitches always, because it is slower than using a seam ripper, but I do like it for the bias pieces.

  3. I have made several from turkey lacers but the beads I glued on are coming off so I need to redo that. My favorites though is from the appliquick tools that I bought for applique and although I never use them as they are supposed to be used for applique – I seem to use it for everything else though

  4. I have a Purple Thang plastic tool that I use for guiding fabric under the presser foot. It works pretty well for that, and for pushing out corners. It wouldn’t work well for ripping stitches or removing paper, I don’t think. And it isn’t nearly as pretty as your stilettos!

    1. Oh, I forgot about the Purple Thang! I agree with you that it wouldn’t work for picking stitches, but great for the other things!

  5. Wendy your stilettos are adorable. I too was blessed to receive one from Rose. Mine is an angel, I think she was confused sending me and angel. Or maybe she was sending it to encourage me.

      1. Hi Wendy and Jan! First of all, if I didn’t mention it, these stiletto are called Mary’s Stilettos and Bonnie Hunter did link in one of her posts the tutorial. The one difference in mine is that for the life of me I can’t close the loop like Mary does. As for sending Jan the Angel, it was a done, tongue in cheek since we are the Problem Sisters. And for the Pig Stiletto for Wendy, we have the same sense of humor. Enjoy, Ladies!

  6. Wow. I have been sewing for so many years and never thought to actually use a tool for this instead of my finger! Of course, as you’d imagine, my finger is not the best tool for this because it’s too big but that is all I have ever done. Tomorrow is a new day and I can’t wait to go piece something so I can use something besides my finger! I think you have just changed my life Wendy. 😉

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