Here is a list of things I find useful. I have listed precise items. This is not generally as a result of comparing one brand with another, these are just things that work for me. I’ve included links directly to amazon.co.uk, or other suppliers where I know them.
- 45mm rotary cutter
- Cutting mat
- White gel marker pen
- Glue spreader
- Seam roller
- Cling film
- J Cloths
- Lining paper
- Ruler designed for rotary cutter
- Flexible ruler
- Masking tape
Useful for special tasks
- Pattern tracing wheel
45mm Rotary Cutter
A rotary cutter is essential. Scalpel or scissors are generally useless as the latex deforms as it is cut and a smooth cut edge is virtually impossible.
Fiskars 45mm Rotary Cutter (Amazon) and spare 45mm blade, blades 5 pack
Other rotary cutter sizes
Whilst the 45mm cutter is best for general use, it is hard to cut curves that have a small radius (<10cm). Having a 28mm and even an 18mm cutter can be useful. However, the smaller the cutter diameter the harder it is to achieve smooth gentle curves and straight lines.
Olfa Rty-1/ G 28mm Small Rotary Cutter (Amazon)
Olfa Small Rotary Cutter-18mm (Amazon)
White Gel Marking Pen
Ruler for cutting with rotary cutter
You will generally use the rotary cutter freehand. However sometimes you will want to cut very straight lines (e.g. for contrast trims). Using a rotary cutter with a normal ruler is not advisable. The cutter can roll up onto the ruler damaging the straight edge of the ruler, blunting the cutter and potentially cutting your fingers. A ruler that is designed for use with a rotary cutter has a vertical metal edge along which the side of the rotary cutter blade can run.
Jakar 60cm Acrylic Rule/Ruler with Steel Cutting Edge (Amazon)
Linex Hobby Cutting Ruler Anti-slip Light Aluminium 50cm (Amazon)
The roller is essential for creating strong seams. All seams should be firmly rolled once you are happy with them. I bought a very cheap one from Wilkinson – which is fine. Any with a plastic roller would be okay (avoid those with a brass roller).
Harris Premier wallpaper edge seam roller (Amazon)
Masking tape is very useful to prevent latex from stretching, for example when cutting very thin strips, or when gluing areas that must be perfectly flat such as zips.
Tesa Sensitive Surfaces Low Tack Masking Tape With 7 Days Residue Free Removal, 30 mm x 50 m (Amazon)
Tesa Sensitive Surfaces Low Tack Masking Tape With 7 Days Residue Free Removal, 50 mm x 50 m (Amazon)
Scalpel handle and 10/10A blades
Having said above that a scalpel is useless, it is actually sometimes essential for very tiny cuts. A retractable blade handle is useful. The blades can be bought in 100s very cheaply.
’10A’ blades are pointed.
’10’ blades have a curved tip and are more suited to cutting latex.
Swann-Morton Retractaway Premium Knife + 5 10A blades (Amazon)
Swann-Morton Retractaway Knife Handle – just the handle (Amazon)
Swann-Morton non sterile blade No. 10A – pack of 100 (Amazon)
Swann Morton Non-Sterile Surgical Blade Remover Unit (Amazon)
A good pair of tweezers is essential. Undoing seems requires a firm but fine grip.
Tweezerman Green Tea Mini Slant Tweezer (Amazon)
A roll of cling film can be cut (carefully, with a scalpel) into cling film tape of various widths. This can then be used to protect cleaned and glued seams until ready for construction.
J cloths, cut into small pieces (e.g. 8x4cm) are ideal when using the thinner/cleaner to clean seams. They are cheap enough that they can be disposed of as soon as they become ineffective.
Wilco’s ‘All purpose’ cloths (Wilco’s)
A good quality pair of scissors is useful. Most scissors are hopeless are cutting latex. These work really well:
CK Trimming Scissors 175mm / 7″ (Tooled Up)
Patterns can be drawn or printed onto lining paper and then cut out. This paper is stiff enough that you can trace around it with the gel pen.
Wilco’s Lining Paper 1000g (Wilco’s)
A flexible ruler can be useful when drawing patterns by hand.
Prym 50cm Flexible Curved Rule (Amazon)
Pattern Tracing Wheel
A pattern tracing wheel can be used for transposing a commercial pattern pieces (provided on very flimsy tracing paper) onto lining paper more suited to use with latex.
Get Precise Pointed, High Grade Steel Needle-Pointed Tracing Wheel- Pattern Making, Pattern Tracing (Amazon)