A Trip to the Hardware Store!

Sewing with Hammers on the back patio

Sewing with Hammers on the back patio

Today we have Sewing with Hammers!  Because hardware that’s available for clothing varies so widely in type and particular application, I opted this time to show what I’m working with and disambiguate the process for those who haven’t tried it but might if they saw how it works.

Sewing with Hammers

If you’re interested, check out Sewing with Hammers at SewingCake.  This is not at all an exhaustive post on the subject- I want to add jeans buttons and grommets and other fun stuff as it comes up in my sewing.

I took a little trip to the hardware store with my husband today.   I love hardware stores, scanning the shelves for tools and hardware and other things I can appropriate for my sewing room.  I picked up a tiny, perfectly calibrated metal carpenters’ square (I’ve been looking for one for such a long time!)  and a tiny hammer to keep in my sewing room:

A sewing hammer- slim and smaller scale, easier to wield with accuracy.

A sewing hammer- slim and smaller scale, easier for me to wield with accuracy.

The hammer I used last week was rather heavy and came from our house toolchest.  I figured a smaller hammer would suit my purposes better.  Besides, this hammer is clean and pretty, not all manky and manly like the household hammer.

As I roamed the carpentry section of Bunnings, I noticed some really cool work gloves:


I really had no idea such things existed, but obviously this particular style wouldn’t suit my purposes.

work gloves

Then I saw these!  These are serious work gloves, with silicon pads to absorb shock.  I’d been tweeting while I waited for my husband to finish his shopping, so the next part I blame on Gillian:

Picture 3

I thought that sounded absurd but plausible.  Left to my own devices, slightly bored with a hammer in one hand and a silicone glove on the other, I started to tap my gloved fingers.

Then I tapped harder.  Then I properly whacked my hand with the hammer a few times and felt nothing.  They’re incredible, those silicon gloves.  I convinced myself they were a worthwhile purchase and I went to find my husband.  But when I showed him my fancy gloves, his epic eyeroll sent me back to pick up some simpler (and possibly more useful) neoprene gloves.

Sewing with Hammers

These are lightweight and while I wouldn’t purposefully bang my fingers while wearing these gloves, I do think they’ll absorb some shock and provide protection for my nails and cuticles.   They’re not exactly necessary, but I’m not the worlds most graceful person and I do work hard with my hands.

Do you go sewing shopping at hardware stores?  What have you found there?  I think they generally have higher quality tools/hardware (when you can find it) for lower prices than sewing stores.  What do you think?


Australians- I just want to let you know I found out what was holding up our pattern shipment in Customs.  I’ve sorted it out, and fingers crossed I may get our patterns tomorrow!

Peplum Dress

Meanwhile, I have a Hummingbird Dress to go play with… I’ll be sure to document what I do and upload it to sewingcake!  What do you think about this dress, made up in a black and white stripe?  Maybe with 3/4 sleeves, no collar?


  1. I like the petulum dress, maybe with longer sleeves, but no across the body stripes.
    I love going to the hardware store, just not with my husband. I have a small hammer, eyelet pliers, metal hole punch, usually used for woodwork and metalwork and a small pair of springloaded pliers, all in my Bag making toolbox. Also found the tool box there also.
    Thanks Steph! I will have to look for a pair of those Loverly gloves. Hey! they would be great for driving, extra grip and no sun damage to the back of my hands. LOL

    • I like across the body stripes… I know it’s supposed to make people look fatter or something, but I’m not too convinced myself..

      Yes! A bag making toolbox! You know, after that Amy Butler bag series I did a few years ago, I was sick of bags. Sick.. But I’m starting to want to play again…

      That’s true about the gloves. And thank you for the flowers, they’re on my drafting table (that is, the dining table) right now, so cheery and pretty. What was the full name of those orchids you mentioned?

  2. I love going to the hardware store too…again without the husband. He always does SAS shopping – in…buy what you need…out. Where’s the fun in that. Especially when there are tools to be perused. And power tools. They have no idea how to have fun.
    Those glove are great. In our house its The Husband who needs them…he’s a liability with tools and DIY.
    I love the dress. And I think the stripe you are using is cuter than the inspiration. Go sew!

    • Aw! Am I a bad feminist for going with the husband? hehe. He was picking up a sheet of tin and wood to make our little nephew a sword and shield for his birthday. Very cute manly sort of project… So I guess this time he was also wandering around looking for inspiration… :)

      Thanks! I will go sew, shouldn’t take very long at all even with the documentation. :)

  3. Yay! I’m glad you found something that works!

    If you’ve got a high – really high – tolerance for cursing, here’s the informercial I was thinking of… It’s actually a guy who does spoof voiceovers of real infomercials. Definitely NSFW, and there’s at least one joke that is a bit too off colour for me… but also a hilarious mockery of American TV! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvbOKzdAJpo Sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy absurdity, right?

    • OMG Gillian, thanks for the warning about the Imfomercial. That woundn’t make it onto the TV at all in Australia. My husband laughed his head off.

    • hahahhaa.. Hilarious.”Oh sh*t, I don’t even have that many shoes…” And him with the hammer was me in the store with that glove, it was really interesting… :)

  4. My mom gave me a little hammer for sewing when I was putting snappers on an outfit for a little girl. Mom uses snappers on her bibs and buys them by the grosse, she’s a snapper/hammer expert in my books. It’s nice to have a clean hammer for the sewing room rather than trying to figure out what is on it from the last household project.

    • Heh heh… Snapper Hammer… Can that be a job title? It has a good ring to it. :)

      And yes- I can’t believe I didn’t have a sewing only hammer before but I do now. Sometimes I see even smaller hammers with flowers painted all over them but that’s not really my style… I suppose I could spray paint my hammer and maker her pretty in my own way… Or just leave her looking like a nice, polite little hammer. Hmm… :)

  5. Safety gloves! That’s so great–I wish I could find a solution for preventing iron injuries. (I’m a total idiot with an iron and have scars on my leg and arm to prove it).

    Personally, I really enjoy setting snaps. I’ve read about people having problems with them, but I think it just takes a little patience. Good tools also help. I’ve got one of those little hammers too. I will be trying rivets soon, which is new for me. I bought a half dozen sets from a ‘bulk’ shop and there are no instructions. I’m wondering if can they be hammered from the back instead of the front. I’m worried about marring the decorative surface.

    Thanks for the photo-tutorial and the great tip about safety gloves!


    • Ah! Don’t get me started about iron injuries… I can’t feel temperature in my fingertips anymore unless it’s really cold or really hot..

      I like them, too. When I’m worried about the face, I slip a very thin piece of cork or even fabric between the face and my hammer. That seems to work alright, even for pearl snaps that can be rather fragile…

      • Thanks. I have “collection” of wine bottle corks. So, I’ll just slice off a bit and use that!

    • Yaaay! :) Pink again? There is no conspiracy, I promise. Well, unless I don’t know about it but we’ve talked about engineering the colors and decided it was far too much work. :) heh…

      Thank you! Do you see the little chart? Im really happy with how the instructions came out. Have you looked at the linework? Did a little colored cloud of birds swirl up and fly around your head? That’s what I’m picturing when everyone gets their patterns… :)

  6. That inspiration pic your your Hummingbird dress sure is pretty. I do like the contrast collar, though if you’re doing the dress in 3/4 sleeves that will change the look enough that maybe the collar will be too much? Anyway, the black and white stripe fabric you’ve chosen is enviable! Keeping my fingers crossed for a brightly colored envelope to come my way this week. :)

    • Thanks, Mikhaela dangled the dress in front of me and I just *had* to go for it… I’m not keeping the collar… We’ll do collars later. :)

      I think you’ll get it! You should, they’ve been spreading out across the US and Uk… Now if only I could get mine!!!

      • My brightly colored envelope arrived today! It’s orange, so I’m in the Rufous house. And I love, love, love the pattern instructions and the paper for the patterns. ooh, thank you! Hoping your patterns have been released to you. :) Happy weekend!

  7. I love hardware stores too! I like your tiny hammer. A couple years ago I bought large washers at a hardware store to use as pattern weights. I need to get a pair of wire clippers for some hat making.

  8. My pattern arrived today (I’m located in Germany) – in a bright orange envelope. Boyfriend looked out of the window and thought it mighty impressive ;-)
    The striped dress is a stunner – I love those sleeves- Are you going to keep this feature?
    Happy Sewing

  9. I have just finished making my husband a pair of jeans from really thick denim – they are for him to ride on his Harley. I chickened out and decided to get a sewing shop to put on the button, though I have done it myself in the past. It only cost me $7.50 for the real jeans button to be applied so I reckon it was money well spent. I do like hammering stuff though. I use an old wooden chopping board to protect work surfaces and to absorb some of the shock.

  10. Zip ties for boning.
    I used to go to the hardware store and look out for things to use in my sewing, but it’s limited to the zip ties (from the electrictity shop) so far. I have not needed a hammer yet, though I suppose one day I will.
    Oh, and then there are those mixture hardware/hobby shops here that carry things like buckles and felt and leather pieces and something like garden seat canvas or whatever…

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