If you are a crafty person, you know there is a big range of supplies and tools you can buy. Some are high end and expensive, and some are cheap and plain. Here is a list of sewing tools I find useful and practical after trying various products.
1. Singer 201 sewing machine
The black, all metal "antique" Singer is my favorite sewing machine. I used to have computerized modern sewing machine but sold it because the black Singer is more practical for me. Singer 201 only sew straight stitches, forward and reverse, but this is enough for most of the sewing. It does have an option of a zig-zag attachment but it is not the most robust one. The reason I love Singer old metal sewing machine is that it sews through a lot of different materials beautifully without skipping stitches. I have a problem with the modern plastic machine for skipping stitches or adjusting even stitches and end up get a tangled mass easily. Who needs 50 stitches patterns to sew? To me, simple to operate and a reliable result is more important.
They don't make the machine anymore, but still available on eBay or second-hand stores for a reasonable price.
2. Brother overlocking machine
An overlocking machine is a serger that cuts and connects 2 fabrics at the same time to create a neat, professional edge. It looks difficult to use if you are new to a serger, but it saves a lot of time sewing edges. If you sew a lot of knits or stretchy fabric, it is a must have. Even with the just basic setting, it is worth the investment. When you are more comfortable with the overlock machine, you can try different presser feet for different applications.
3. Disappearing Ink pens
Disappearing ink pens are so convenient. The ink will disappear after a certain amount of time, or after wash with water. It is easier to use than traditional chalk. Some pens even have an "eraser" at the other end to erase the ink when you make mistakes.
4. Magnetic pin holder
Sure you can use traditional pincushion, but a magnetic pin holder is handy when you can throw the pins on the dish and still keep your eyes on the project at hand. It also holds needles and safety pins. The heart design is pretty too.
5, Wrist pincushion with velcro
This is my recent purchase, but you can make it easily with scrap fabric and velcro. The point is to always have a pincushion nearby when you are busy moving pins around. Wrist pincushion is portable, convenient, and very handy.
6. Sidewinder for bobbins
This is a simple machine to wind the thread for bobbins. Every sewing machine comes with a bobbin winding mechanism, but it is annoying to unthread everything, wind your bobbin and re-thread everything again. I like to have a different machine just for this purpose. If you have an antique machine, a sidewinder is helpful in case the old machine's part missing or broken.
7. Thread/spool rack
This rack holds a lot of spool of threads. It keeps things organize and save space by hanging from the wall. You can see clearly what you have in a glance. It also makes the space inspirational for sewing.
8. Fabric glue stick
I started using it recently. Traditionally we use iron-on or sew-on interface, pins, and spray adhesive. I find fabric glue stick much easier to use. It's clean, quick and holds fabric well. Since it is designed for fabric, it does not leave residue on sewing needles and can be washed away with water. If in doubt, always test a small piece first. Very handy for sewing zipper or hems.
There are many other tools that are useful for a sewing room set up, such as a clear ruler, tape measure and a reliable iron. What is your favorite sewing tool?