This post comes in response to comments from visitors asking for pictures of tools and supplies used by pattern makers. These two photos show the supplies and tools I couldn’t do without. I’ll also tell you upfront that my preferred supplier is SouthStar Supply. John Rebrovick is a fourth generation supplier who’s made long term commitments to serving the supply needs of designer-entrepreneurs long before I ever met him.
The Tools, left to right:
A – Snips (also called nippers or thread clips) are used to trim corners and cut threads. These are usually worn around the neck. I buy model STC-N from SouthStar Supply. These can be resharpened just like regular scissors.
B–Screw punch (SP-1). This is my favorite tool. It makes small holes through the oaktag for marking dart ends and the like. Also called a drill punch or paper drill, it comes with three tubes for making different sized holes.
C –Notchers. I use two kinds (one for leather). This marks seam allowances etc. I buy model 45N 1/16. This means the notch out is 1/4″ deep and 1/16″ wide.
D –Bent trimmers. The pair shown is a Wiss 20 or rather, what used to be a Wiss 20. The new Wiss 20’s are not the same -and I do not care one whit if the new owners of Wiss say I’m crazy- and I’m at a loss to replace them. I’ve been meaning to ship these off to SouthStar for a hands on comparison but have yet to do so. I bought these as a student over 20 years ago. Oh, I use these to cut out pattern pieces. Another entry reviewing features of scissors is here.
E–Applique scissors. I got these from a home sewing store and I love them. The points are extremely sharp and I haven’t found anything better for trimming out the “Y” on welt pocket ends. You won’t find these in factories either.
F–Sewing Hammer. Oddly enough, these seem to be hard to find these days. I couldn’t do without this tool; it makes all the difference in collar points and firming up edges. The hammer is made by Stanley; the head reads “Stanley No. 594 USA 57-594”. The technical name is “Soft-face Hammer, 8oz”. Amended 6/25/10: Someone told me this product is now available on Amazon. This sewing hammer is exactly the one I use.
Paper. The tools are resting on two kinds of paper. Paper 1 is white, (AN-60) with little blue dots (actually the dots are letters and numbers) is marking or alphanumeric paper. I was taught in school to call this 1 by 5 paper and I don’t know why. Paper 2 is yellowish and called oak-tag (MP6-48) or pattern board and it is the same paper used to make manila folders, only heavier. Oak-tag is sold according to weight; I prefer 125lb for general work and use the 150lb for final patterns.
In this second photo (above), you’ll find:
1 Vary form curve rule # 102-CC.
2 Vary form curve rule # 12-112R (love, love this one)
3 C-thru plastic ruler B-95. This one is preferred over B-85. Dimensions of both are 2″X18″
4 knitting needle I use to turn collar points.
5 White plastic eraser by Staedler.
6 White chalk pencil, also called Tailoring pencils #D242. These are good for your cosmetics kit too because you can use them to give yourself a french manicure.
7 Drafting pencil is Turquoise 4H. I don’t like anything darker than that because you can’t completely erase away the lines and I hate line ghosting.
8 Wax pencil (also called a china marker, Dixon 00092) for tracing the patterns onto fabric. White is best, I don’t know what possessed me to buy the yellow ones much less photograph it. Please disregard and buy the white. It won’t destroy your pattern lines like other colors will.
9 Drafting tape (pricey) Scotch brand
10-11 and lastly, pattern weights. The round ones (#10) are solid stainless steel scrap that I got from a machine shop but the one above it (#11) is a little hand weight that are sold in various weight increments by suppliers. Usually they’re called “cloth weights”. This particular weight was made by Hearn Machine Co in LA (213-626-6765).
Not shown: Pattern punch and hooks.