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