Alternatives to Sewing: 15 Tools for the No-Sew Crafter


Alternatives to Sewing: 15 Tools for the No-Sew Crafter

Instead of sewing, try some alternatives for certain crafts. This easy guide to no-sew tools is a must-read for sewing beginners!

Alternatives to Sewing - 15 Tools for the No-Sew Crafter

Hello everyone! My name is Katie and I blog over at Running with a Glue Gun. Today I’m going to be talking about 15 basic tools for the no-sew crafter!

These alternatives to sewing involve some overlap whether you are picking up that needle or not. However, some of these tools are must-haves if you're not.

If you want to know what tools you'll need for sewing, take a look at Sewing Tools and Equipment Must-Haves!

If you want to know how to keep your tools safe and secure, read our Health and Safety in the Sewing Room guide.

Depending on your sewing experience, you may look at a sewing project or think of picking up a sewing book and want to run in the opposite direction. If that is you, then that is ok! This is because no-sewing is a great way to get into regular sewing but in little baby steps.

Also, if you're someone who is short on time, no-sewing is a great alternative compared to regular sewing. Even no-sew tailoring! So, take a look below and learn how to attach fabric together without sewing and other adhesive needs while crafting.
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Alternatives to Sewing: 15 Tools for the No-Sew Crafter

Today for all the no-sew crafters out there, I put together a list of 15 basic tools that no-sew crafters should consider having in their no-sew toolbox.

Now you may be looking at some of these supplies and thinking, these are sewing supplies!

Well, no one ever said that no-sew crafters couldn't benefit from a few sewing supplies. I promise you, (if you're a no-sew crafter), everything I listed will come in handy!

If you're new to sewing, this guide to no-sew tools is a must-read! Or, if you're a crafter who doesn't want to learn sewing or a sewist who wants a break from the thread and needle.

Image shows several no-sew tools and equipment including glue, scissors, an iron, and interfacing.

Basic Sewing Tools & Notions

It's time to get back to basics with tools that every no-sew crafter (and sewing enthusiast) needs in their craft room.

  1. Sewing Pins or Clips: Sewing pins are a must-have item! Whether you sew by hand, sew on the sewing machine, or are a no-sew crafter, having sewing pins is really a no-brainer. This is because even for a no-sew crafter, you will most likely be pinning fabric together at some time or another. As an alternative to pinning, try fabric clips!
  2. Fabric Marker or Pencil: Having one or two fabric markers or pencils on hand is great when you're doing those larger no-sew projects. Simply because fabric markers/pencils allow you to mark your fabric, without staining or ruining your fabric.
  3. Seam Ripper: A seam ripper is a great help to a no-sew crafter if you're working with fabric in which you have to remove stitches, buttons, and so forth. Having one on hand is always a good idea because you never know when you may need it!
  4. Tape Measure or Ruler: Having a tape measure is important whether you're sewing or not sewing because you really shouldn't cut twice and measure once! Non-flexible rulers, such as quilting rulers, are also helpful to have.
  5. Tomato Pin Cushion: Having a place to store and keep your sewing pins sharp is very important. A tomato pin cushion is a very inexpensive way to do both and it comes in various fun colors to fit your no-sew decor! Of course, it doesn't have to be the tomato, any pin cushion will do. This is just an iconic example in the crafting world.
  6. Iron: Having an iron is just as important as having any other basic no-sew tool, for two reasons. The first reason is that if you're using items like iron-on tape, having an iron is the key to avoiding sewing. Finally, the second reason is that 9 times out of 10 when you get your fabric home from the craft store, it is a wrinkly mess!

    In most cases, people do not want wrinkly craft projects. So having an iron is a great way to smooth out all those wrinkles from that fabric or trim that you may have bought from the clearance bin.
Images of the tools are shown from left to right. Top row: sewing pins/clips, fabric marker/pencil, seam ripper. Bottom row: measuring tape, pin cushion, iron.

Images of the tools are shown left to right. Top row: sewing pins/clips, fabric marker/pencil, seam ripper. Bottom row: measuring tape, pin cushion, iron.

Cutting Tools

Keep your cutting skills on point with these no-sew essentials.

  1. Rotary Cutter: Like a good pair of fabric scissors, having a rotary cutter on hand can definitely make your fabric-cutting experience much more enjoyable.

    With that being said, how a rotary cutter is different from a pair of fabric scissors in that it looks like a pizza cutter and is great for cutting long strips of fabric. Learn more by reading this guide on scissors and rotary cutters here.

    From a no-sew perspective, having a rotary cutter can come in handy on those bigger projects and give you those nice clean, ''fray-free'' cuts that you are looking for!
  2. Non-Fabric and Fabric Scissors: Having a good pair of sharp fabric scissors is a must for any crafter! Whether you're sewing or not sewing, having a pair of fabric scissors will make life a lot easier.

    Simply because you will be cutting out fabric, you might as well invest in a good pair of fabric scissors. You should have one pair for cutting non-fabric things, like paper, and one that's only used for fabric.
Image of the tools shown left to right: rotary cutter, non-fabric scissors, and fabric scissors.

Image of the tools shown left to right: rotary cutter, non-fabric scissors, and fabric scissors.

Adhesive/No-Sew Products

If you've never worked with adhesives, these products are great for sticky situations.

  1. No-Sew Fabric Glue: No-sew fabric glues comes in all shapes and sizes depending on the no-sew fabric job you're trying to accomplish. The pros of using a no-sew fabric glue are that (obviously) you don't need to sew, the glue is flexible when completely dried, and the glued fabric can be thrown into the washer or dryer.

    When looking for fabric glues, try to first consider the no-sew job you are trying to accomplish. This is because (much like normal glues) fabric glues can come in all types of ''strengths''. For example, you can buy fabric glues that are designed for hemming curtains (a simple project) or buy fabric glues for adding heavier embellishments to fabric (a more in-depth project).

    Either way, planning and researching your fabric glues ahead of time will help you create that project perfectly!
  2. Fray Check: Fray Check or Fray Block is a great product to have when adding those finishing touches to a project. If you've never heard of Fray Block, it's a product designed to prevent fabrics, ribbons, and other items from fraying. To use the product, you apply a little amount to the end of (let's say) a piece of ribbon and then set it aside to dry.

    Once the ribbon is dry, it should fray no longer and be able to be put into the washer or dryer. Much like no-sew fabric glue, fray block is designed to make your no-sew life much easier!
  3. Hook and Loop Fastener: The most popular brand is Velcro. As a no-sew crafter, you are probably trying every which way to avoid a needle and thread. With that in mind, items like sticky-back Velcro can make the dream of not using a needle and thread possible! Sticky-back Velcro is essentially what it sounds like; it's Velcro which has a sticky-back.

    Using sticky-back Velcro can help you to avoid sewing on buttons or zippers. Besides the ease of use, sticky-back Velcro also comes in a variety of colors and styles, making it another tool that is perfect for the no-sew crafter.
  4. Iron-on Tape: Another must-have is iron-on tape or iron-on adhesive is a double-sided tape, which is designed to bond fabrics together without the need for sewing! This type of product is great for hemming or for those projects that you want to get done in a pinch.

    Besides iron-on tape, this type of no-sew adhesive comes in a variety of styles. For example, it comes in tape, sheets, or even fusible interfacing form.
Images of the tools are shown from left to right. Top row: various craft glues, Fray Check. Bottom row: hook and loop fastener (Velcro), fusible interfacing.

Images of the tools are shown left to right. Top row: various craft glues, Fray Check. Bottom row: hook and loop fastener (Velcro), fusible interfacing.

Extra No-Sew Tools

Even no-sew projects need a little help sometimes.

  1. Self-Healing Cutting Mat: A self-healing cutting mat is a great extra supply to have on hand whether you're sewing or not sewing. This is because having a place where you can cut fabric on without damaging your work surface is important, along with having space where you can cut out those bigger pieces of fabric.

    Even if you buy a smaller self-healing cutting mat, it will make cutting out fabrics of all kinds much easier! Plus, it's thin and easy to store in any room.
  2. Seam Ruler: A seam ruler is a device that allows you to measure and then mark your fabric. This handle little tool is great to have on hand simply because it makes measuring much easier. Also, it’s a big help when trying to hem or fold the fabric in a certain way.
  3. Storage: Having a place to store all of your no-sew supplies can really save you some headaches in the future. You can use many different items to store your supplies, depending on how many supplies you actually have.

    For example, you could use a traditional sewing box, a fancy craft storage box, or a simple shoebox. No matter the storage box, creating a space to store all your supplies will help you to know what you have and keep your supplies in good shape!
Images of the tools are shown from left to right: self-healing cutting mat (and quilting ruler), seam ruler, storage.

Images of the tools are shown left to right: self-healing cutting mat (and quilting ruler), seam ruler, storage.


As you can see, for a no-sew crafter you do have many tools at your disposal! So grab a few of these supplies, find a fun no-sew project, and start creating!

Also, if you want to learn more about some of the items in this list, check out this Craft Guide post, which discusses 10 of these items, in more depth.

Want More?

Best Glue for Fabric (and the Worst!) >>>

What alternatives to sewing or no-sew products do you use?
Let us know below in the comments! 

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This is such an informative basic list to get anyone off to a really good start. There are some other things that one acquires as time goes on - I find I very often use a set square, a circle stencil, a long ruler or straight edge as well as various other adhesives and finishings. Those, however, are not vital to start off with and following the above listed suggestions will provide you with a good basis.


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