new in the shop: my favorite supplies + tools

If you know me, you know that I’m a minimalist when it comes to sewing tools. My sewing spaces at home and at the studio are small, and I’m not going to clutter them up with non-essential gadgets. For example, I’ll always keep my pins in a small metal tin. I’ll never own huge, plastic, motorized pin dispenser. That’s just how I am.

Because I’m so picky about the tools I use, I often have difficulty finding exactly what I’m looking for. Part of the reason is that the number of manufacturers of good, high quality dress making tools is decreasing year by year. The other part is that I want to use the best tools I can, and often the tools that are most readily available aren’t of the highest quality. I hate nothing more than fighting with my tools when I’m trying to get a job done. For most of us, sewing is a relaxing, leisure activity. It takes some of the pleasure away if you have to contend with a dull rotary cutter blade or a wobbly tracing wheel.


Tracing Wheels That Are Definitely Not Wobbly


That’s why I’m happy to announce that we’ve added a new section for supplies and tools to the Oliver + S Shop. We’re going to begin carrying a small, tightly-curated selection of some of my favorite  tools and supplies that you can’t readily find elsewhere.

We’re opening this section with the four items that I use most often and that I think  you’ll find useful, too: waxy carbon tracing paper, in blue and yellow, and beautiful bamboo-handled serrated- and blunt-edged tracing wheels.


Yellow waxy carbon transfer paper and a blunt-edged tracing wheel


In thinking through my favorite tools, these were at the top of my list. And because they are not easy to find, I’m really glad we can finally offer them to you.

I’ll publish additional posts here over the next few days about why I find these tools indispensable and how you can use them in your own sewing.

In the meantime, leave a comment to let me know what other essential or hard-to-find tools you would like to see us carry.



  1. Emily

    I am SO excited to see this. I’d like to see some really, really high quality pins that are very fine, but that are long enough to work for apparel sewing and quilting and that have ball-shaped heads instead of the metal flat ends. SO many of the pins at Joann’s or wherever aren’t fine enough or sharp enough, making them difficult to use with certain fabrics.

  2. Second the motion. I am forever bending pins, or frustrated with dull ones.

  3. Karen

    Great, I will definitely pick up some carbon tracing paper with my next order. I’d also really love one of those little 6″ rulers I’ve seen you using in your videos to mark sewing lines/add seam allowance etc. It seems like such a simple thing, but I am yet to see one in an Australian shop.

  4. Cricket

    I would love to find a decent pair of thread snips. Not little scissors – ones you don’t have to put your fingers in. It seems like any pair I get either doesn’t work from the get-go, or stops working before long. I hate having to pull the threads taut to snip them.

  5. Jane

    Oh good – I have never tried a tracing wheel because I have never been able to picture how on earth they work. Looking forward to the demo!

  6. Jennifer

    I would like marking pens/pencils or tools that I can use to write lines on fabric and the mark will disappear but not too soon. I want an effective writing utensil that makes a fine line. I like to make lines for darts or to mark pocket placement or the draw the stitching line for curved top stitching.

  7. Rae

    What a great idea Liesl!! Love it.

  8. Shannon

    Yahoo! Love the waxy paper – can’t find it anywhere…have been considering sneaking some out of my mum’s sewing supplies. I think she used the same 3 sheets for about 30 years…haha.

  9. You had me at waxy! Ever since I went to one of Heather’s workshops and she had that great red waxy transfer paper, I was in love and on the hunt. Everything I’ve found so far is wax-free. Thank you!!

  10. Jamie

    I have found a lot of inspiration from you Liesl, pushing me to do more than quilting. I have three young girls and enjoy sewing for them or learning to sew for them. I am self taught on anything sewing and soak up whatever I can learn and use….look forward to seeing what a tracing wheel and wax paper are used for. Thank you!

  11. Addie

    I am so glad to see this addition to your web store. Indeed it is often hard to find the right kind and quality of tools. I agree with your philosophy about having just what works rather than lots of gadgets. I have not used a tracing wheel since I first learned to sew back when my mom used the tracing wheel and colored paper to transfer marks from the pattern. So I am wondering if I can use one to trace whole patterns onto the waxy pattern paper. Looking forward to the demos!

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