19 July 2023

Sewing with Disabilities: Five Accessible Tools (Guest Post by Samantha Purple Sewing Cloud)

Flatlay of pink cutting mat with sewing tools laid out and title text Sewing with Disabilities: Five Accessible Tools

There’s a whole world of amazing sewing tools out there that have been designed to make your crafting easier. To celebrate Disability Pride Month, we’ve commissioned Samantha Waude from @PurpleSewingCloud – who you may recognise as a Tilly and the Buttons model from Make It Simple and Agnes – to share her top five accessible sewing tools. 

Whether you consider yourself to have disabilities or not, you will want to get yourself some of these! Over to Sam…

Samantha is a white woman with curly dark hair smiling at the camera and posing with accessible sewing tools

“Hi, I’m Samantha, I’m feel very excited to be invited by Tilly to write this guest blog post about my top five sewing tools. 

As a sewist with disabilities, my sewing tools are very important to me. Over the years I’ve curated a collection that works best for my needs and disabilities - without them I wouldn’t be able to sew and create a beautiful wardrobe of clothes that make me smile.

I’ve chosen my top five tools that I use every time I sew and are essential to me. These tools will work for everybody too, not just for people with disabilities - so keep reading or watch my video!

Easy grip pins on a magnetic pin dish, the heads all pointing around the edge

1. Prym Easy grip pins

The large heads on these pins make them really easy to grip. This helps with low dexterity, low grip or numbness in the hands.

2. Zirkel magnetic pin dish

The pin dish they're on is a life changer! On a normal magnetic pin dish, the pins can end up in a mess, making them difficult to pick up without stabbing yourself. With this one, the pin heads are splayed around in a circular formation, the pin heads always around the outside, which makes them much easier to pick up. It makes my sewing easier and safer. 

Snips and easy grip pins on a pink cutting mat

3. Fiskars easy grip snips

Snips are my most heavily-used tool - for trimming threads, notches, corners and more - so they need to be easy for me to pick up. These ones are spring-loaded, and my fingers go around the non-slip rubberised handle rather than in holes, making them simple to use. They're also incredibly sharp and precise.

4. Silicone iron mat

I place this next to me on my ironing board and rest my iron on it when I need to put it down. It avoids  me having to tilt the iron up and down at an angle, which put strain on my arm and shoulder.

Purple needle threading tool on pink cutting ma

5. Clover desktop needle threader

I've tried various needle threader tools over the years and this is my favourite. To thread a hand sewing needle, all you need to do is insert the needle in the hole, lay the thread over the tool, push down on the lever, and it threads the eye of the needle like magic. It's great with people with vision difficulties, dexterity or grip issues, children, or just anyone who wants to make their life easier.

So those are my top five accessible sewing tools. Everyone’s disabilities and bodies are different but these are what works best for me - I hope you will be able to find something that works for your needs too. Sewing should be fun and, if there’s ever any part that's frustrating and can be easily changed with a new or adapted tool, I highly recommend it. 

If you're hunting for a new accessible tool, or having any problems with a specific task, please feel free to send me a message via Instagram and I’ll be happy to help.”

Sewing tools on a pink cutting mat
Samantha is a white woman with curly dark hair smiling at the camera and posing with accessible sewing tools


Author, video and photos: Samantha Waude 
Samantha is wearing a Mabel dress in Liberty Tana lawn